Email: rachelkramerbussel at gmail.com



 

Lusty Lady

BLOG OF RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL
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Monday, July 17, 2017

What it's like to work on three books at once

The past week has been especially busy, with my mind and to do list pulled in many directions. Firstly, I've been helping my boyfriend promote and prepare for the play he's directing, which will be performed this Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Princeton, New Jersey. I don't know the first thing about theater except that I enjoy going as an audience member, but I know a few things about event promotion based on my five years of In The Flesh reading hosting and assorted book event organizing. Getting Instagram photos to show up in Blogger is not my strong suit, so if you can't see the image below, it's also here - evidence of my adventures in poster hanging (my takeaway: bring a stapler, not tape, next time).



So I've put up posters in Princeton, posted on the Chimera Productions Facebook page and Instagram account and helped make some goodie bags. I love that I'm part of an artistic couple and am happy to help out where I can.

onfirebox

At the same time, I've been working on three anthologies simultaneously, and that's quite a mental challenge to keep track of what stage each one is in, attend to the seemingly umpteen emails and tasks associated with each, and not go into ultra panic mode. My anthology On Fire: Erotic Romance Stories publishes tomorrow, and as part of my efforts to reinvent my book promotion efforts, I've done a few new things. It will be listed soon on Netgalley, which is exciting for me because it has the potential to reach so many more book bloggers and reviewers that way, and I've done some outreach but would like to do more. It will also be On Fire week over at Lady Smut so stay tuned for related posts, including one from me Wednesday on the backstory of why this book took three years to come out (spoiler alert: I messed up) and a sexy excerpt.

At the same time, I'm diving in to self-publishing by reissuing my 2007 anthology Sex & Candy with a super hot new cover, new title and a few new stories. For that I had to contact all the original authors, some of whom had changed email addresses so the email bounced back to me, some of whom have updated their bios and bylines. I also solicited a few new stories so that the book isn't entirely a reprint of the first. The original was print only; the new edition will be ebook and audiobook only. So far I've only worked on the words part. Next it will go to the authors to look over for typos or grammatical errors, then I will send it to my amazing copyeditor, who is helping save my books from being horrifically riddled with grammar issues. Then...I'm not exactly sure because I've only self-published one short story and my then assistant did the hard part. So I'll have a learning curve in terms of formatting it for Kindle and possibly other retailers. Then Rose Caraway will be recording the audiobook. I'm hoping to have the ebook out by September, so stay tuned.

bweoftheyearvolume3medium

Along with all of that, I'm in full-fledged marketing mode for the book that will probably outsell the other two a few times over and therefore deserves the bulk of my attention, from a business/logical perspective: Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 3. Since this is part of a long-running series, which started in the year 2000 with Best Women's Erotica edited by Marcy Sheiner, then moved on to titles with calendar years before I took it over and we switched to Volume numbers, bookstores seem to be more inclined to stock it. Volume 2 was in over 50 indie bookstores and my hope is that more will sign on for Volume 3. So what am I doing all these months before the publication date? I'm making a list of long lead media for my publisher, Cleis Press, to send early galleys to. I'm booking readings for 2018 before bookstores fill up. I'm researching bloggers to contact about the book. I'm brainstorming with my social media assistant about what we will do in the months leading up to the launch so I am not sobbing in agony over having too much to do right before. Basically, I'm trying to set in motion a successful book launch, because the better the book does out of the gate, the better the chances that Volume 4 will do well. My hope is that if the books continue to sell well, I'll be asked to edit more of them, but even if I'm not, I want to make sure all the time, effort and money (I don't have the exact figure handy but I've easily invested thousands of dollars in promoting the series) pays off. If it doesn't, then I will turn to other income sources, because I'm 41 so am thinking about if I have a kid, how I will support them, not to mention retirement.

On top of that, I'm trying to launch a new series of online classes, for which I have to write the lectures and video scrips and learn how to use my new Blue Yeti microphone. That's another project that I decided to do to try to reclaim a semblance of financial stability for myself, because even though I'm on track for my business to have a six figure year and surpass last year's income, that doesn't mean 2018 holds any such promise. So there's a lot on my mind as I navigate all these projects, and any day now I will get edits back for The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2, the book that's coming out one month after BWE of the Year 3, and will therefore add a fourth book to the mix. For that one I'll have to finagle 68 author contracts (there's 69 stories in the book, but mine is one of them), prepare marketing materials, and more. So there's a lot on my plate, but as I said above, there has to be, because I need to be firing on all cylinders in order to make this whole career thing work.

When I break it all down like I have here, it's overwhelming. The only way it isn't is if I do a little bit each day so I can assure myself when I go to sleep each night that I've done the very best I could to provide for myself and my family, to make my authors' work seen and read, and to do right by my publisher (where applicable). Just as I never know how long any given employment will last, I never know if I'm about to edit my final anthology or not. Many factors go into those decisions but ultimately it's a matter, for me, of supply and demand. That may sound cold and artificial, but it's more than just business for me. I only want to produce books that readers want to read, and only ways I have to measure that are via book sales and reader feedback. I'll write soon about the incredible notes I've received recently that buoyed my hopes and reminded me of the human faces behind the numbers on a royalty statement. Those are heartening and incredible, but as much as that's true, I can't turn in a lovely handwritten note to my landlord. Or I could, but they could still evict me if I don't pay the rent. So that's on my mind, not because I'm in danger of eviction, but because until I save up several months' worth of rent, not to mention pay off all my debts, I won't feel like I have any kind of financial stability. The way I see all these marketing efforts is that while there's only 24 hours in a day, I literally can't afford not to market the hell out of my books. So that's what I'm doing, while also promoting my authors, especially my Best Women's Erotica of the Year authors, on social media. At the same time, I'm also trying to get as many worldwide authors as possible to submit stories to my upcoming anthologies Erotic Teasers and BWE of the Year 4, which can sometimes be an uphill battle and stressful because 90% of people submit in the last week, but until that happens I often think, What if I have to cancel this book after I've accepted an advance because there's not enough author interested? So, you know, no pressure or anything.

If you've read this far, you are very kind (thank you!). If you're thinking, Rachel, I want to help you and your books succeed. What can I do?, here's my answer: If you've read it or plan to read it, leave a review of On Fire on Amazon starting July 18th, no matter where you acquired the book, and/or Goodreads, or mark it as "want to read" on Goodreads.

On fire review calls

Retweet when I Tweet about my books. Let someone know about my titles if they're asking about erotica. Ask your local library or bookstore to stock my books. Sign up to get a free copy of BWE of the Year 3 from me and leave a review. Lastly, you can think good thoughts (I know, that's super woo-woo, but I believe every little bit helps). It's certainly what I'm doing as I prepare to launch a new book into the world tomorrow.

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