I haven't publicly posted about this yet, in part because I haven't known what to say, and in part because I've been busy with deadlines and teaching. Now that I'm between LitReactor classes, and actually getting over a cold as I prepare to hit the road for my Virginia and Maryland events and post my first call for submissions in a while, it seemed appropriate.
This year, in marked contrast to last year when I had to move because I wasn't bringing in enough income, I'm approaching work from a steadier place, but still one that is lived freelance check to freelance check. I'm working on doing everything I can to best bolster my business, including making smarter choices than I have in the past. I used to flit off to every event that asked me to speak, paying no mind to the cost either because I had a full-time job then or I thought it would be "good for my career" to always say yes. This year, I am soundly focused on minimizing my costs while also making sure I meet the deadlines for my steady writing gigs at Thought Catalog, Philadelphia City Paper and DAME and pushing myself to write for new venues. This means that I will be drastically cutting back on travel and events, even those in New York City, in order to protect my time for my work and my personal time. I'm learning that in order to have the energy, interest and focus to do what needs to be done, I have to say no almost as often as I say yes professionally, and think hard about the things I do say yes to.
It also means that I have to make the best choices for my career, including when I sign on to edit more anthologies, which I've held off on as I catch up on previous ones (which I am wrapping up this month). My approach is not the same as it once was, when I was crazily editing 6-8 anthologies a year, which meant a heavy workload for me, less enjoyment of the process, and what I see as my book sales cannibalizing each other. Now, I am being more choosy and doing fewer books per year, but putting my heart and soul into the creation and promotion of them. For instance, this year, I see Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica as my strongest release because it's likely to have the most widespread appeal, it's very fun, and it's one I'm incredibly excited about (my copies are shipping to me from the printer today!). Therefore, I'm putting a lot of my own time, effort and money behind promoting it. I couldn't do that if I had another book coming out right behind it. (That's all me and my particular personal situation; plenty of authors, especially romance and erotica authors, can and do successfully put out and promote numerous books per year. I strive to learn from them but also know my limits.)
So for every new book or writing project, I very carefully consider and decide how they best fit into my overall goals for my work and my business. Part of why I now strongly prefer teaching writing online is because the only cost to me is time. I approach any new business decisions the same way, which is why I hired a lawyer for the first time in my life to help negotiate the contract I just signed. Trust me, as a former law student who still feels tremendous guilt about dropping out, even 15 years on, this was not an easy step, but it was a necessary one that had an immediate result. It reminded me that I have to always work to protect myself first and foremost. I've made the choices that work for me, and will evaluate any future decisions on a case by case basis.
That being said, yes, I've been troubled reading the recent accounts by Violet Blue, Alison Tyler, and Kristina Wright about their treatment in publishing, by the press we share in common, all of whom I consider friends and colleagues and all of whom have published my writing in previous, current or future anthologies. I care on both levels; as a friend/colleague and as an author.
Here's the part where I don't really know what to say, so what I'm going to say is: support their work and buy their books. How have I done that? In addition to purchasing their books, by doing things like interviewing Violet Blue about her must-read The Smart Girl's Guide to Privacy, which genuinely changed how I approach so many aspects of my life; it's also being re-issued this July by No Starch Press and I strongly urge you to read it and take the necessary steps to protect yourself (see the book's Tumblr for more information). By mentioning their books, like Morning, Noon and Night in a column about sex at various times of the day. Stay tuned for Thursday's sex column about threesomes quoting Kristina Wright.
Here are covers and links to their recent or upcoming books. I hope you'll support my fellow authors' work and my work. I don't see this as an either/or situation. How can you support them? Buy their books, read their books, blog and Tweet and post on other social media about their books. Review them on Goodreads and Amazon. Spread the word. Follow them @violetblue @AlisonTyler @kristinawright on Twitter. Sharing book news counts for so much in an age when many of us, me included, find out about what we want to read next online. As someone who lives in a town without a bookstore, I do support brick and mortar stores when I'm in them, but most of my book purchases are made online because that's what I can access on a daily basis.
I'm proud of the stories I have in their books, and hope we all have incredible success whatever publishing path we choose because I believe the market has room for great sexy smut of all kinds. I'm linking to Amazon, as I often do, because they have an affiliate program and I think Kindle is one of the most common ways of accessing ebooks, but I encourage you to support your local independent bookstores and publishers. For Violet Blue's ebook titles, including erotica anthologies Filthy Housewives and Holiday Kink, get them from Digita Pub. Now, a reading list for you:
Bisexual Husbands edited by Violet Blue, out this Thursday, March 20th (read the introduction)
Seven stories skillfully depict seven different bisexual husbands whose cravings for a same-sex tryst have reached the point of no return, and their wives can't wait to watch -- or join in, sometimes controlling the action. Layered characters and vivid, clever fantasies drive this compendium of bisexual men in loving couples who want to get dirty -- sometimes taking turns as the center of a three-way where there's truly no limits.Alison After Dark: Sultry Stories to Keep You Up All Night by Alison Tyler
In "Your Turn" an unsuspecting husband is turned into a plaything by his wife and her dominant executive boss; in "Pick Up The Interest" a woman orchestrates payback for a secret same-sex favor her husband received in college. "Roger's Fault" watches a husband find out his wife wants to be "one of the boys" in a same-sex threesome; "Sparks Will Fly" finds a wife picking up a total stranger in an exclusive hotel for a surprise encounter her husband will never forget.
In editor Violet Blue's award-winning style, this collection takes graphic erotica, casts each story with complex and relatable characters, puts them in the hands of exciting writers, and blends literary erotica with hardcore. Bisexual Husbands delivers a rich erotic anthology, artfully spiked with charming cocktail recipes and playful tips for trying out bisexual fantasies in real life. Blue's introduction to the book "Bisexual and Voracious" features steamy story excerpts within an essay that looks at perceptions of male bisexuality and takes apart what everyone gets wrong about bi men -- namely, that they don't really exist. This book shows exactly (and graphically) just how hot bisexual men can be.
This book contains adult situations, including domestic discipline, backdoor and oral play, power exchange, role-play, bisexual men, and explicit scenes. The book also depicts non-monogamous relationships and sexual activity (and penetration) involving more than two individuals.
Alison After Dark features nine naughty stories by Alison Tyler. "Insomnia" is Ms. Tyler's middle name—in fact, if you're up, she's probably up—and these tales explore many of the different illicit events that occur in the middle of the night. Themes include watching a girlfriend with another man, to cheating, to anal, to figging.Three of Hearts: Erotic Romance for Women edited by Kristina Wright, out now in print and ebook, including Kindle (contains my story "An Extra Pair of Eyes")
The sultry stories in the collection are a mix of brand-new, never before published pieces (The Keymaster, The Key, The Keyhole, All Things to All Women), as well as several hard-to-find stories (Too Dirty to Clean, The Prince and the Upholsterer, Cherry Slushie, and Seeing Stars). Finishing the collection is: Planes, Trains, and Banana-Seat Bicycles (originally published in The Mile-High Club).
Violet Blue says, "Alison Tyler is a prolific, sharp editor and a hell of a writer."
Publishers Weekly says, "Readers tired of sensationalistic portrayals of BDSM will appreciate Tyler’s nuanced and realistic approach..."
City Book review says, "Alison Tyler shines as a literary voice in erotic fiction."
This book contains erotic content and is intended for adult audiences only.
Three’s company? No, three’s a charm! Three of Hearts features sexy trios who are not just falling into bed, but are also falling in love. These stories fearlessly explore the emotional and sexual dynamics of three hearts romantically intertwined. Voyeurs and exhibitionists alike get what they want in Rachel Kramer Bussel’s “An Extra Pair of Eyes.” “What Happens in Denver” leaves indelible memories when three co-workers get snowed in during Cheyenne Blue’s romp. Editor extraordinaire Kristina Wright outdoes Kerouac in her wildly romantic “Three for the Road.” From a couple introducing a third person to their relationship for just one night of fun, to a woman torn between two lovers—who decides not to choose—and long-term triads who collaborate on all their desires, Three of Hearts focuses on joy in triplicate and female pleasure.