Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

Watch my first and favorite book trailer for Spanked: Red-Cheeked Erotica. Get Spanked in print and ebook

Thursday, June 29, 2017

I was in Library Journal and I didn't even know it, or how to be media savvy when promoting your book

It's fitting that as I'm in the midst of planning my upcoming online course on How To Get Publicity for Your Book, Event or Creative Project, yesterday I found out that back in March, Library Journal wrote up my Bluestockings Best Women's Erotica reading. The one I frantically ran around the Lower East Side to get cupcakes for, the one my heart was pounding with stress over, the one I was convinced nobody would attend because it didn't get listed in Time Out New York or the other papers as far as I know plus it was cold out and a Saturday night in New York with umpteen other cool things to do. By that point, I'd been traveling on and off for a few weeks for book events and was pretty exhausted and burned out, living in NYC hotels for a few days. While I was thrilled to be reading with the four authors I'd published for the first time (one reading her first published erotica story, one her first in print), I was frazzled.

But despite my fears and franticness and concern that I'd be stuck with all the cupcakes, people came and listened and ate and asked us really great questions, which you can read more about in the Library Journal article. This series has been a complete and total learning curve for me, and often feels like I'm just starting out in anthology editing, rather than 60+ books and 13 years in...and I mean that in a good way. Because I think over the years I'd gotten stale and lazy at my job as an editor. I'd done the bare minimum: select stories, put them in order, maybe slap up a Tumblr site and post a few Tweets, then let the publisher take over. Yes, along the way I've done book trailers and events and virtual book tours and I'm sure other things, but the anthology creation and promotion process had felt both somewhat out of my control and secondary to my life. I told myself that I had to focus on other aspects of my career, like freelance writing (and now, copywriting), which is true in the sense that those aspects bring me income that arrives on a more consistent basis than widely varying quarterly royalty statements. But it was also an excuse to not push myself to be the best anthology editor I could be.

When I took over this series, following in the very brilliant leadership of the first two editors, Marcy Sheiner and Violet Blue, I knew I wanted to step up my game, and I have. I've done so many things differently with this series, which I'll detail in their own post, but some of them include: Only allowing new authors per volume, hiring an outside copyeditor from Volume 2 onward (who is a lifesaver), hiring a social media assistant who made quote graphics for every story in Volume 2, launching Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram accounts that I keep regularly updated, making sure authors see both their copyedited stories and the copyedited proofs of the book so they can carefully proofread their stories, doing outreach directly to bookstores about the titles and planning book tour events many months in advance.

Where I fell down on the job last year was doing sufficient media outreach, especially in New York, because time got away from me and I was in a post-election fog for a few months where all I was really excited about was playing bingo. Where I excel, though, is learning from my mistakes, so I'm booking my next readings over six months in advance and will be making detailed media lists so I can contact them and follow up at the appropriate times. I know how to do media outreach because I ran a reading series for five years that was written up in almost all the local media. I hustled every single month for In The Flesh because I knew it was on me to bring a crowd and that nobody wants to read to two people in the audience. I actually loved that part of the job because it had a rhythm to it that was easy to repeat each month; being out of practice and only running a few events a year means that those skills are rusty. Plus I live in suburbia so am not as up on what local people in any given city are reading.

That being said, I've done my best to keep track of all the media the Best Women's Erotica of the Year series has garnered so that I can use that to make the series grow, both in sales, bookstores stocking it and reach. We got a huge unexpected and incredible bit of national publicity when the wonderful Bea and Lea Koch, owners of Culver City, California romance bookstore The Ripped Bodice (check out their Summer Read-Along Bingo on their site and stay tuned because I'm planning to teach another erotica writing class there in late February) mentioned it and in the May issue of Cosmopolitan, which also ran the cover of Volume 2. I'm working on a media list for galleys for Volume 3 now while also spreading the word as wide and far as I can about the call for submissions for Volume 4, which is the last one I'm currently contracted to edit, so I gave it a timely theme: outsiders and risk.

But even I, who thinks I'm so diligent and on top of things, can miss things, like the Library Journal article. I didn't realize there was a reporter there and if I had, I would have made sure they confirmed that all my authors wanted to be photographed. My authors' privacy is paramount to me, because if I breach that, I should quit anthology editing immediately and never return. I would never deliberately compromise that, but I had no idea they were there, hence I didn't look for the article, hence I found it yesterday when a publicist whose services I can't afford emailed me to tell me that my book was mentioned in Publishers Weekly.

As it turns out, Volume 3 got a mention in a roundup of fall romance and erotica titles. Woo-hoo! That's wonderful and I hope will go a long way toward having bookstores and libraries offer it to their patrons. While I was searching for that, I decided to check out Library Journal, and here we are. So these lessons will be going into my upcoming online class (stay tuned for launch news): Track your media mentions like a hawk. Never rely on anyone else to keep you updated. Be diligent with your Google alerts. Regularly search for yourself and your book title in prominent publications.

Don't worry, I'm not beating myself up over missing this, but am simply grateful I found it because I can now use it to let the stores I'm contacting about 2018 events know that my event just might get written up and get their store some publicity and that I know how to bring in audiences. In the Bluestockings case, I reverted to my old trick of bringing free cupcakes, because old habits die hard and there's a little part of the people pleasing side of me that thinks just an erotica reading isn't enough, and I'm happy to shell out for snacks or desserts (hello, business expense!) again if stores think it will draw people in.

I'm pretty sure now that the reason on a cosmic level that I was selected to edit this series is both to publish as many authors as I can (once Volume 4 comes out in December 2018, I will have published over 80 authors in the series) and to keep me on my toes. To keep me always with what the Buddhists call monkey mind. To keep me constantly brainstorming new ideas, trying new experiments, finding ways to reach people that I may not have thought of before, reaching for the stars and learning lessons from what works and what doesn't. It's challenging, because sometimes it feels overwhelming, like now when I'm working on finalizing Volume 3, planning a book tour and making sure Volume 4 gets amazing submissions. It's especially so because it's so different from the other work I do, where there's a fixed rate by the hour or project. This work has no fixed rate because it's all dependent on how many books are sold, and at a certain point you have to let go and realize you have no control over that. But the parts I can control? I am determined to hit them out of the park. And I have faith that I will be rewarded for this work, and that these books are reaching both newcomers to erotica and those who've been reading it longer than I have.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bisexual BDSM romance Booked interview and what else I've been up to

Lately, I've been trying to get more into routines. Just as I make coffee for myself each morning, set out my vitamins, get lunch ready, etc., I want to treat my prime writing time that way as well. Yet that's easy in theory, harder in practice when I often get distracted, or wake up to a to do list from the night before. I actually get more done on the mornings of the three days I work in an office, because I know at a certain point I'll have to stop and get dressed and head off, than I do the days I work for myself on my own projects at home. It's a conundrum I'm trying to change. Today at noon EST (9 a.m. PST) I'll be doing my best to register for the Palm Springs 2018 conference Altitude Summit (generally called "Alt Summit") because I want to start learning from successful creative business entrepreneurs about how they manage their time and their best practices.

One thing I've been doing is getting more involved with Lady Smut, the group romance blog where I post monthly. I'm still posting once a month, but also working on our Lady Smut Romance Blog Facebook page.


My latest for Lady Smut was, for Pride month, an interview with Leandra Vane, author of the new BDSM romance Booked, whose action largely takes place in and around a small-town library. It has a kinky, bisexual male protagonist (who also deals with nerve damage), who has a male love interest and a female domme (Mistress). There's a lot more going on, but that should give you a good taste! Leandra took the time to answer my many questions about kink, disability, ownvoices, her characters' relationship with books, self-publishing and more.

Here's a snippet of what she had to say:
I used to think I shouldn’t write about disability in my fiction because people would call me a self-absorbed “Mary Sue.” But I learned that most of us carry around shame and never grow because we guard our secrets and experiences from each other. I believe by sharing our stories we can all learn and grow together. So I started mining the experiences living with a disability has given me and putting them into some of my stories. All my life I’ve turned to books to have the conversations with me that people in the real world were unwilling or unable to have.
Leonard also have a story in my anthology Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 3, which pubs in exactly five months, on November 21, in ebook form (the print version will be out December 12). Hint: Right now the print price on Amazon is only $10.47 (subject to change at any moment), lower than the $11.49 Kindle price (neither of which I have any control over, by the way). I'm in the midst of planning what I hope will be a BWE of the Year 3 book tour, though perhaps one spread out over a few months depending on my schedule and availability, so stay tuned.


I enjoy working for Lady Smut because I miss having a group blog; Cupcakes Take the Cake was my life for so long. I lived and breathed cupcakes, always on the hunt for the latest news, planning any trip, work or pleasure, around where to get cupcakes. Eventually, I had to step down because we weren't generating enough income for that project to be worthwhile. It's always hard to step away from a project you love, especially one you've built from scratch. I felt the same way shutting down my In The Flesh Reading Series, and this year, putting an end to my Between the Sheets LitReactor class. I miss the creative aspects of those projects, but they simply weren't feasible for my life or career by the time they ended.

Of course it's also hard when projects I've been hired to do end, like my Village Voice column or other ongoing columns I've written, but what I've learned over my career is that when one door closes, another may not automatically or instantly open, but those new doors are there, waiting for me to unlock them. For the record, I don't get paid to write for Lady Smut, so that and this blog are the only writing I do for free, but both are valuable to me in their own ways. I used to write for free (if anyone remembers all those Gothamist interviews), and while I don't regret it exactly because I got to do some amazing pieces, I think it set me back in terms of how I approach writing and money. These days I'm still doing as much freelancing as I can, but the majority of my income comes from my copywriting job and book sales. That may change, since last year I made most of my income from book sales, entertainment blogging and writing for sites like Salon. The one constant is that things will change, and I'm doing my best to pay attention and plot my own course. Speaking of which, this summer I hope to launch some new online classes related to writing erotica and having an erotica career. I don't have an exact date because there's a lot I have to learn on the technical side, but that too is something I'm working on, if not every day, most days, as I plot and plan and get ready for a new adventure that I hope will reach people who need some encouragement and guidance. When I've taught erotica writing classes in the past, I've been so thrilled with how many students have gone on to publish short stories and novels and truly make a name for themselves.

For now, I'm offering one-on-one consultations via my site Erotica Writing 101; you can learn more about working with me here. I've also written a blog post there on why erotica anthologies take so long to help writers understand that process, because I know it's frustrating to have to wait over a year to hear back from an editor such as myself. I'm working on more posts relevant to erotic writers and will be sharing them as they go up.


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Friday, June 16, 2017

Sexy free read: Except from The Reward by Jade A. Waters

Today I'm bringing you a guest post from my friend Jade A. Waters, erotic novelist and frequent contributor to my anthologies, including The Big Book of Orgasms and Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1. This week, her third kinky erotic romance novel, The Reward, the final in her Lessons in Control series, was published, following Maya and Dean on their relationship journey.

The Reward 400 Res

Here's the official blurb:
What if the fantasy never had to stop?

It's been a year since Dean Sova turned Maya Clery's world inside out. There isn't a secret fantasy that Maya and Dean haven't explored—each one more tantalizing and mind-blowing than the last. But while their relationship may be stronger than ever, taking the next step pushes boundaries neither one of them is prepared to face.

Dean couldn't care less about Maya's background—all her choices made her the woman he wants to tie to his bed and never let go. But not even a Dom as strong as Dean can keep the past at bay. When a threat from Maya's old life surfaces, she'll have to choose once and for all: fight for freedom under Dean's command, or lose the reward she's worked so hard for—the chance to be happy with the man she loves.
BW Bio Pic

From The Reward by Jade A. Waters, out now:
“Come see what I did.”

Dean winked, then shifted his body to rise from the couch. I arranged myself into a sit, entranced by the shimmer in his eyes once he reached his hand out for mine.

Curious, I followed him upstairs. I figured he’d spent the time I’d been at dinner unpacking things as promised, but when he led us toward the spare room, I didn’t suppress a chuckle.

“Did you spend all that time I was gone setting up something dirty?”

“Not all.” Dean spun to take both my hands, backing us through the doorway and into the center of the room before drawing me against his chest for a full-body embrace. “But I didn’t think you’d object to what I did do.”

He kissed me and I closed my eyes. I surrendered to the feel of his tongue and the strong rake of his palms down my back. It amazed me how this man could wow me with both sweet and sexy, the promise of something naughty dancing in his eyes when he caught my bottom lip in his teeth. Dean gave it a tug, and his hands curved down over my ass to grip me tight.

“What is it?” I asked.

“Wait.” He backed away, and my body drooped, but my blood started to churn harder in my veins. Dean opened the top drawer of the antique dresser he’d shown me the week before, and I kicked off my flip-flops as fast as I could. I didn’t think I’d need them. Dean pointed at the wall a few feet away from us and across from the window, the same one he’d backed me against the last time we were in here. I peered over. “Do you see?” he asked.

At first, I didn’t see anything. But I lifted my head and spotted two large eyelet screws extending from the wall up toward the corners. I turned back to Dean to find him holding a blindfold in his hands.

“This could be interesting,” I said. Aloof as I played it, my heart had kicked into a merciless pound and I cinched my knees together. Dean came over, his face serious before he circled me. I marveled at how fucking sexy he was—appraising me in his pajama pants, for God’s sake—and once he came back to press his chest against mine and lifted the blindfold over my eyes, I huffed out an excited breath.

“You know I hate not seeing your eyes,” he began, the husky murmur a tantalizing force when the satin of the blindfold met my face and he pulled the long ties behind my head to form a knot. “But I figure, with me going away for so long, we need a big send-off. Something sexy and dramatic.” His fingertips traced faint lines down my back that coaxed my nipples into stiff peaks, and then he cupped my ass again. “Something intense. I want it to be a sensation you savor while I’m gone, a memory you’ll keep playing back in that beautiful head of yours.”

My pussy clenched with Dean’s grasp of my shoulders to spin me in a slow circle. With his chest to my back and my view blocked, I hated not being able to see yet loved how hard it made me concentrate on his words and the shivers tripping along the surface of my skin. Dean brushed my hair aside to kiss the nape of my neck, then grabbed the hem of my shirt to whisk it up and off me, careful not to disrupt the blindfold he’d secured over my eyes.

“How do you feel?” he asked.

That question. Our question.

“Excited,” I whispered.

“Good.” Dean’s mouth covered my earlobe before he slid his palms up my belly and over my breasts, caressing me through my bra. I arched to rub my ass against him more, because I wanted to feel his arousal, too. The fabric of his pajama bottoms wasn’t leaving much to the imagination with him as hard as he was.

“Oh, Dean,” I growled.

“Yes, Maya?”

“I…” I tried to find the right words while he started to nudge me forward with the width of his body. He pinched my nipple in two fingers, and with his other hand, he drew the strap of my bra off my shoulder to kiss the spot it’d covered. “I love how you play with me.”

“That’s superb, because I love playing with you.” He bit my neck and we took one more step before he stopped me. The presence of the wall felt close by, and I lifted my hands to confirm it was directly in front of me. Dean said, “Tonight, I really want to play with you. Hard.”

He rocked up his hips, the move forceful enough to push me flush to the wall. I gasped, my pulse clattering. Dean unsnapped my bra fast, and after he pulled it off and tossed it aside, he trailed his mouth in hot kisses over my shoulders and down my sides before stripping away my jeans and panties.

Naked for him, I quivered. He took my earlobe in his teeth again, the sensation making me cock my head with a wisp of a sigh. In the press of his body along my back there was such a contrast between his hot, muscular form and the soft cotton of his T-shirt compared to the cold, unyielding wall before me. Smashed between them, every nerve in my body ached for more, for touch. I moaned at the slip of Dean’s tongue in my ear to taunt me, and once I turned my head, he guided my arms out to the sides. I stayed in place when he backed away, leaving my palms, cheek and chest pressed to the wall. The lack of his contact felt abrupt and cold.

“Come back.”

“I will. But I have to look at you right now. You’re always gorgeous—but waiting, naked, knowing you can’t see what comes next… It’s so sexy, Maya. Fuck.” He clapped his fingertips against my ass cheek in a sudden burst, and I jumped. “Spread your legs.”
Intrigued? You can get The Reward for Kindle U.S., Kindle UK, Nook, Google Play, iBooks, Kobo or directly from publisher Carina Press.

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Thursday, June 08, 2017

Free book offer and giveaways - act fast!

I've shared these book promotions at various times and in assorted ways, so I wanted to gather them together in one post for easy access, especially since the deadlines are coming up relatively soon. The first two are giveaways; the third is a commitment to post a review in exchange for an electronic copy. Thank you for signing up and remember, I do monthly giveaways in my newsletter! I just bought a bunch of different titles, from Tasting Him and Tasting Her to my mile high club anthology Flying High to give away later in the year.

Win my femdom erotica anthology She's on Top - enter by Friday, June 16, 11:59 pm EST (newsletter subscribers only, open worldwide)

The She's on Top giveaway is open to anyone who subscribes to my monthly newsletter (you must use the same email address as your subscription). I select a lot of winners for these monthly giveaways who I then have to reject either because the email address listed doesn't show up in my subscriber list or they've left an incomplete mailing address, so make sure both of those fields are filled in correctly! Fun fact: This is one of my favorite book covers for my books, and one I've gotten a lot of wonderful comments on. I don't generally have anything to do with my book covers aside from weighing in with my opinion (ultimately that choice is ultimately left to the publisher in almost every case I've been involved with, though I'm lucky because with over 60 books, I only truly hated one, Glamour Girls, put out by a now defunct press), so it's always exciting when a cover image really wows me.

Win a copy of Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2 - enter by June 15, 2017 (U.S. only)

The BWE of the Year 2 giveaway is only open to U.S. residents. (Why? Because overseas postage is astronomically expensive. It leapt up a lot over the last few years, so while I do newsletter giveaways overseas, I can't do them all that way and still afford to buy books for giveaways!)

Get On Fire: Erotic Romance Stories free in exchange for an honest review - sign up by June 18, 2017, 11:59 pm EST

This one is the easiest; sign up, and I email you the book! The final giveaway isn't a contest, but an offer of a free copy of my summer anthology On Fire in exchange for an honest review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Since, for reasons stated above, I can't send free print copies to everyone I encounter, I'm doing an electronic copy giveaway and hoping to give this book a little extra attention online with the reviews. These help authors immensely (as in, I consider them my number one way of promoting my books), because of things like Amazon's algorithm and because potential readers/buyers can see what others liked or didn't like about the book, and act accordingly.

So I consider this a win/win; lots of people are getting to try a free book they may or may not have picked up on their own, and I and my authors are getting invaluable feedback. And if the words "book review" intimidate you, fear not; all I ask is that the review is honest and at least one sentence long and, as you'll see in the signup above, contain the line "I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review" to comply with FTC standards. Beyond that, anything goes and on Amazon you get an email confirming your review has been posted, and on Goodreads you can see your review immediately. Lastly, if this goes well (meaning if the large majority of people actually follow through and leave reviews), I will likely do this for future books I've edited, so keep that in mind.

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Friday, June 02, 2017

Like free erotica books? Subscribe to my monthly newsletter!

Since I'm both sending out signed copies of Please, Sir to May's newsletter giveaway winners and sending out June's newsletter today, now's a good time to remind you that if you like free erotica books and want to know what I'm up to, you can subscribe at or the left-hand side of this blog, Lusty Lady. I send one newsletter per month. You can also keep up with me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and, less frequently lately, Tumblr. If you want to know when my books are on sale, like the current Big Book of Submission $1.99 ebook sale that ends tomorrow, June 3rd, follow me at BookBub and you'll get notified any time my books are on sale, books with my short stories are on sale and when I have a new release.


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