Category Archives: Sex For Money

Upcoming Publication Schedule

Well… it’s been a while since I’ve released a book. The President And The Rentboy came out in early February. That was five months ago… that’s a long time in the world of erotic fiction. While in genres like sci-fi or fantasy, an author can release a book a year and be considered productive, erotic authors are often held to a more frequent release schedule.

While I generally don’t like to give into the pressures of this sort of thinking … this is what I’ve got planned for the next year (if a specific date isn’t mentioned, the release will happen toward the end of the month)…

  • July 2017: Forbidden Desires: The Complete Series by Cameron D. James and Sandra Claire, in both ebook and paperback. This collects Seduced By My Best Friend’s DadErotic Love and Carnal Sins: Confessions of a Priest, and The President And The Rentboy. I just saw the concept art from my cover artist and holy crap is it amazing. I can’t wait to get this book out!
  • August 2017: Sex For Money: How to Write, Publish and Sell Gay Erotica and M/M Erotic Romance — 2nd Edition. While it’s only been about a year since the original Sex For Money came out, the world of self-publishing has changed dramatically. This updated version will have much of the same content, but will expand on areas that have grown and remove areas that have disappeared (like All Romance eBooks). The revision has been written and it’s with my proofreader right now. If you bought the first edition and would like to see the second edition, I’ll share here on my blog on in my newsletter how you can get your copy for free. (Basically, you’ll have to show me that you purchased the first edition and I can email you the second edition — but those details will be sorted later.)
  • September 2017: Currently Untitled (Academic Discipline #1) by Cameron D. James and Dominic LeBlanc. This is a new school-centered series by myself and Master Dominic. Apparently, Amazon doesn’t allow Dominic to use “Master” as part of his name, so his pen name for “respectable fiction” (as he puts it) is Dominic LeBlanc. We’ve written the first draft of this book already — it’s a BDSM-themed love affair between a college student and his professor.
  • October 2017: Schoolboy Secrets (Academic Discipline #2) by Cameron D. James and Dominic LeBlanc. Like the Forbidden Desires series that I co-wrote with Sandra Claire, this Academic Discipline series is non-connected … each book is entirely standalone. Book 2 features a love triangle between an 18-year-old student at an all-boys private school, his PE teacher, and the principal, and will feature BDSM elements. We’re presently partway through the first draft.
  • November 2017: Currently Untitled (Academic Discipline #3) by Cameron D. James and Dominic LeBlanc. We don’t actually have a plot outline for this one yet … but we will soon!
  • December 2017: Academic Discipline: The Complete Series by Cameron D. James and Dominic LeBlanc. This will be a bundle of the three novellas in ebook and print format.
  • January 16, 2018: Autumn Fire. This was my very first novel, which had been published by Champagne Books. It’s currently unavailable because I’ve had the rights returned to me. I’m rewriting it (fixing a few things that bothered me and smoothing out some of the writing now that I’m a lot more experienced as a writer) and will be publishing it through my company, Deep Desires Press.
  • Winter/Spring 2018: New York Heat. This is a project I am very excited about. It’s a continuation of my two bestselling series, Men In The Hot Room and Go-Go Boys of Club 21. It will be a full-size novel in ebook and print. In a nutshell, Simon and Brad from the Hot Room stories move to New York to open a yoga studio next to Club 21, and the novel will follow all of the men as they confront the changes in their lives. It will be written so that if you have not read the previous books, you will get along just fine.
  • Spring/Summer 2018: Ryan’s Stars (might be renamed as Ryan’s Boys). This is also a sequel to Go-Go Boys of Club 21, but follows Ryan, Francis, and Damien in Los Angeles and the hedonistic world they live in. It will also be a full-size novel in ebook and print. It will be written so that if you have not read the previous books, you will get along just fine.
  • May 8, 2018: Silent Hearts. This was my second novel, also published by Champagne Books. It’s also currently unavailable for the same reason as Autumn Fire and I will soon be working on rewriting it. It will be published through Deep Desires Press.

These dates are flexible. The only ones that are absolutely firm are Autumn Fire and Silent Hearts as they are scheduled to be released through Deep Desires Press. Everything else depends on me being able to stay productive — but with a full-time day job and running Deep Desires Press, finding time to write can be difficult. I think, though, that I can do this.

Send coffee.

And cute boys.

Leave a comment

Filed under Autumn Fire, Cameron D James, Deep Desires Press, forbidden desires, Go-Go Boys of Club 21, Men In The Hot Room, Publishing, Sex For Money, Silent Hearts, Writing

Understanding the Smashwords Survey — Sex For Money, Post #20

Sex For Money is a semi-regular blog series about my experiences in writing, publishing, and marketing gay erotica and M/M erotic romance. All of this information is from my own experience, so your experience may differ. It’s hoped that sharing this information might be helpful to new and aspiring erotica and erotic romance authors, as I see a lot of questions and a lot of misinformation out there. To read more Sex For Money posts, click here.


Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve written a Sex For Money post! The last one was in December 2016 — so it’s about time I got back into them!

I’ve been fairly dormant lately, at least online, because I’ve been working on getting my new publishing company kicked off and into high gear. Now that it’s underway and the bumps have been smoothed and the team is working together well, I’m finally able to start getting back into writing and blogging and publishing (my own stuff).

And I figure a necessary part of getting back into my role as a smut writer is to get back into these self-help posts. And the timing is pretty much perfect.

Late last week, Smashwords released their annual survey, which compiles massive amounts of data collected by Smashwords in relation to book sales. While, for most authors, Amazon is the powerhouse of sales and Smashwords is a distant second, this data is still useful. (On that note, though, I should point out that for many authors, myself included, Smashwords is a prime source of royalties. I make about 1.5-2 times more on Smashwords than on Amazon.)

The first reason this data is useful is that it shows you trends regarding what’s selling through Smashwords and their third party vendors. If you’re wondering what sells on Smashwords, you’ll find our answer here. The second reason this data is useful is that even if you’re a devoted Amazon fan, Amazon gives its publishers almost no data.

If you haven’t already, I’d strongly suggest taking a look at Smashwords’s annual survey and flipping through the slides. You might take something different from the data than I did.

Some of the data is likely useless. For example, they found that the bestselling books had longer titles. Does this mean you should come up with longer titles for your books? The problem is we don’t know if the better sales was because of the longer titles… or if it was more or less coincidental. If JK Rowling released a book through Smashwords, it would be a phenomenal bestseller, regardless of the length of title. We don’t know if the books were selling because of their titles or because of the author.

However, it could be that the longer titles were better for keyword searches. While I generally don’t like “keyword stuffing” — which is where you have something like Title of Book (gay erotica with lots of gangbangs and forbidden hook up discrete encounters tentacle sex BDSM) — a slightly longer title that catches search traffic is a good idea. One of my bestselling titles is Seduced By My Best Friend’s Dad. It’s also one of my longest titles. What drives sales? I doubt it’s the length of the title that is making sales. But I bet that because I have a more descriptive title, I’m catching search traffic, clicks, and sales. If I had gone with something artsy like Hotter Than The Campfire or simply Camping Trip, I wouldn’t get that search traffic — and even if I did get that search traffic, the titles are not sexy or appealing.

Smashwords found that bundles and box sets sell well. That’s something most authors in the industry have found. As soon as you have a number of related titles or a completed series, it’s to your benefit to create a box set or bundle and price it at a low price. It’s believed by many that those who buy individual ebooks are a different market than those who search out bundles and sales and deals — so by offering a cheap bundle, you’re not necessarily undercutting your sales, rather, you’re reaching a new market you weren’t reaching before.

Their findings on prices were interesting. $3.99 might be the new norm. I firmly believe (right now anyway) that short stories should still be $2.99. If you’re in a non-erotic genre and you’re reading this post, you might want to price a short story a little lower — it’s really in the erotic genres only that readers will spend $2.99 on a short story.

If you have something longer, then maybe $3.99 is the way to go. I generally price my novellas at $3.99.

On that note, the Romance Writers Association found a few years back that $6 was considered by readers to be an appropriate price for a romance novel ebook. So, I tend to price between $2.99 and $5.99, depending on the length. ($5.99 is a good price for a bundle.)

However, again, we don’t know if the surge of $3.99 books is because that price is somehow appealing… or if there were a number of appealing books that happened to be priced at $3.99.

The lack of clarity in the data can be frustrating sometimes, but it’s not like the staff at Smashwords necessarily know what’s causing these trends. They’re just crunching the numbers and presenting it to us. Even so, it’s far more helpful than what we get from Amazon.

Part of being an author in the erotic genres is simply going out there and trying your ideas and seeing if they work. Erotic authors and romance authors have been at the forefront of the ebook revolution and have led the industry into that new realm. If you do something that doesn’t quite work, that’s fine — dust yourself off and try something new. And if you find something that works well, then ride that wave until it runs out.

Leave a comment

Filed under Sex For Money

Sexy Descriptions — Sex For Money, Post #19

Sex For Money is a semi-regular blog series about my experiences in writing, publishing, and marketing gay erotica and M/M erotic romance. All of this information is from my own experience, so your experience may differ. It’s hoped that sharing this information might be helpful to new and aspiring erotica and erotic romance authors, as I see a lot of questions and a lot of misinformation out there. To read more Sex For Money posts, click here.

If you find these posts handy, or you’re looking for more information on the business of writing, publishing, and selling gay erotica and M/M erotic romance, check out my in-depth book, Sex For Money.


As I’ve mentioned a few times here on the blog, I’ve recently helped co-found an erotica and erotic romance publishing house, Deep Desires Press.  Part of being a publisher involves reading through the submissions that come our way — and I’ve come across some very, uh… interesting ways to describe body parts and the act of sex.

I won’t use any actual quotes here because I don’t want to publicly shame anyone and I also don’t have permission to do so.  Instead, I’ll give examples that are reasonably similar to some of the body part descriptions I’ve come across.

When writing erotica or erotic romance, you want to paint a very sexy picture of your hero(s) and/or heroine(s), and one way this is done is by using metaphors and similes, saying that the body part resembles something.  However, if you do this, make sure that the comparison is sexy and appropriate.

I’ll start off with something I’ve actually done that was quickly killed by my editor. Back when I was writing the Go-Go Boys of Club 21 series, I tried describing a twink’s bubble butt as a pair of melons.  You know, they’re nice and firm and round.  But when my editor told me to take a step back, I realized that “melons” is a slang term for breasts and it would seem really out of place to describe a man’s ass.

And if you’re going to use a food comparison–which seems to be a somewhat common practice–make sure it actually makes sense.  I came across a submission where the narrator described a woman’s breasts as being like a food item that’s not even breast-shaped.

For the most part, I’d advise staying away from food comparisons.  For me, I often find myself distracted by imagining what, say, a hunk would look like with a cucumber instead of a dick.  You’ll get more bang for your buck if you describe the body part using adjectives rather than through comparison.

On the subject of adjectives, you also need to make sure you pick sexy ones.  Describing the inside of a person’s vagina or anus as “slimy” or “greasy” are a bit of a turn off.  (The only case where I can see “greasy” working is in more hardcore fetish erotica, such as a fisting story, where a thicker lube is often used.)  For the most part, that also means your characters should be more or less clean (as in freshly-showered), with a few exceptions.  Sweaty characters can be appealing, or a hard-working character with the grit and grime of a long-day’s labor can be very sexy.  But describing bad odours and stained underwear is not a good idea (unless, again, you’re into some niche fetish).

One way you can determine if the description is a bit off or it’s okay is to read it to someone and gauge their reaction–but assess their first, instinctual reaction, not necessarily what they tell you after a few moments have passed (as they might not want to hurt your feelings).  If you’re uncomfortable reading it out to someone, then another strategy would be to think of if someone were to describe your body in this way… would it be sexy or would you think they were odd?  If someone were to say I have a dick like a zucchini, I wouldn’t know how to take it–a much better description would be “long and thick.”

Really, the simpler the words, sometimes, the better.  It’s like using the word “said.”  Sure, there are so many variations and options to avoid re-using “said,” but the word “said” allows us to very quickly read the story and not get caught up in fancy language.  Apparently, our brains don’t even register the word “said,” but we still use that information to help guide our understanding of text.  I suspect that description is similar.  Calling a dick “long and thick” gets us to the point right away and we probably don’t even really register that the language was plain.  But if we see “zucchini-like dick,” then we’re caught up in unusual language that draws attention to itself.

Appropriate language for description is best.  If it’s simple language, that’s even better.

Leave a comment

Filed under Sex For Money

The Tools of Twitter — Sex For Money, Post #18

Sex For Money is a semi-regular blog series about my experiences in writing, publishing, and marketing gay erotica and M/M erotic romance. All of this information is from my own experience, so your experience may differ. It’s hoped that sharing this information might be helpful to new and aspiring erotica and erotic romance authors, as I see a lot of questions and a lot of misinformation out there. To read more Sex For Money posts, click here.

If you find these posts handy, or you’re looking for more information on the business of writing, publishing, and selling gay erotica and M/M erotic romance, check out my in-depth book, Sex For Money.


[This is a cope-and-paste of a post I recently put up on Oh Get A Grip!]

Like pretty much every present-day author, I market my books through social media. And, like many erotica authors, I have multiple pen names. I currently have three pen names and for marketing I have one Facebook page, one Mailchimp newsletter, one Pinterest account, three Tumblr accounts, and three Twitter accounts (plus two more Twitter accounts for other things). It’s gotten to be a bit much and is overtaking my writing time.

To be 100% honest, I actually have an assistant I hire once a week to do some of these things for me. Primarily, I have him going through my Tumblr accounts and finding smutty pictures to reblog, and then I let him go crazy on my Pinterest account. I used to have him also manage my Twitter accounts, but it was becoming unwieldy for him.

So… here are the tools I use for Twitter. Some are free and some cost money, so some may be of use to people reading this and others might not be applicable.

Tweetdeck

TweetDeck

This is my main go-to for Twitter management.  Tweetdeck is made by Twitter, so it’s an official app and it’s free and safe to use.  From this, I can create columns for all the things I want to track — my newsfeed, notifications, direct messages, lists, my pen name’s Twitter feed, and various hashtags — allowing me to see everything all at once.  (Whereas on Twitter this requires clicking through to different pages to see everything.)  You can also install multiple accounts on Tweetdeck, allowing me to manage everything in one place.

What I like most about Tweetdeck is that I can schedule tweets to appear at a certain day and time.  So, what I was originally doing was having my assistant take all my promo tweets and scheduling them to appear at certain times throughout the week.  Peak times tend to be before work, after work, and late evening.  This requires a lot of effort, but in setting it up, I can then not worry about Twitter for the rest of the week.  (I used to do this on a day-to-day basis, logging in first thing in the morning and setting up tweets for the day.)

It doesn’t allow you to schedule identical tweets, though.  So if you’ve got a new release and you want to tweet about it several times on your release day, each tweet needs to be slightly different or it will reject all the repeated tweets.  (And “different” can simply be changing a hashtag or a punctuation mark — changes that don’t take much thinking.)

Tweet Jukebox

Tweet Jukebox

This is one of my newer Twitter toys.  When having my assistant schedule tweets became unwieldy, I investigated apps that would take care of Tweets for me.  With Tweet Jukebox — which has a free plan with limited ability (but I find it does exactly what I need) — I throw all my promotional tweets in a “jukebox,” and then at pre-determined times, Tweet Jukebox posts a random tweet.  When it’s cycled through all of the tweets, it starts over again.

Unfortunately, you can’t set it to tweet at truly random times.  The scheduling option allows you to set tweets to appear at certain intervals during certain times on certain days.  So, for the most part, I have tweets appearing roughly every three hours between before-work-time and midnight-ish.  By making each day’s start time different and making it roughly, but not exactly, three hours between tweets, the timing appears somewhat random, rather than being at, say, 8:00, 11:00, 2:00, 5:00, 8:00, and 11:00 every day.

Crowdfire

Crowdfire

This is, admittedly, one of those apps that people dislike being on the receiving end of. After someone follows you, Crowdfire sends them a direct message (DM) within a day. You can set this DM to say whatever you want, and you can have multiple DMs set up and it will send a random one.

These automated DMs can direct new followers to your latest release, your catalogue on Amazon, your website, your Facebook page, your newsletter, or anywhere else you want your fans to go. For one pen name, I direct them to my newsletter, and for another pen name, I direct them to my latest release on Amazon. (In the picture attached to the TweetDeck section, you can see the direct messages that Crowdfire sent out to point people toward my newsletter.)

Automated DMs from Crowdfire are like pop-up ads on websites — everyone hates them, but they work. I’ve had an increase in newsletter subscribers since I started using Crowdfire, and for the other pen name I’ve had people reply and tell me they’ve bought the book or they’re checking out my website.

Tweepi

Tweepi

This is my newest tool, and I only use it for one pen name (not this one). With that pen name, I’m experimenting on getting aggressive in following people, in the hopes that they will follow back. This tool has a small cost associated with it, but one I’m willing to shell out.

Tweepi allows you to put in someone’s Twitter handle and it will show you a list of their followers. From there, you’re able to sort the list using a ton of handy tools and filters.

I filter the results so that they have a followback ratio of 60% to 140% — this is a number that rates their likeliness of following you back. (It’s just a calculation of their following divided by their followers, I think.) I also filter out anyone who follows more than 1,000 people, with the reasoning that someone following thousands upon thousands of people will not see my tweets, as they’ll be buried amongst all the others. And, finally, I filter out anyone that hasn’t tweeted in the last seven days, with the reasoning that if they’re tweeting, they’re online and active and likely to see my tweets.

Tweepi lets you follow 950 people every twenty-four hours — so I max it out every day. I later follow it up with unfollowing anyone who hasn’t followed me back after seven days — and Tweepi lets you unfollow 500 people per day. There are other limits imposed by Twitter, like you can’t follow more than 5,000 people unless your number of followers is within 10% of the number of people you’re following. And Twitter may ask you to change your password when you start using a tool like this, as it assumes that a sudden change in your Twitter behaviour means you’ve been hacked.

I’ve been using Tweepi for a little over a week and have more than doubled the number of people following that account. Have I seen a huge increase in sales? Not yet, but I have had some new followers tell me they’re going to check out my stuff or say that they just went and bought my newest book.

Marketing through social media is one of those things that everyone says is necessary and successful, but in reality, it’s difficult to do it effectively. It’s been a process of a few years to figure out my Twitter strategy, and while it hasn’t led to a stellar increase in sales, it has absolutely led to somewhat of an increase and has led to wider engagement with and following from readers.

Leave a comment

Filed under Sex For Money

Quick and Clean Formatting — Sex For Money, Post #17

Sex For Money is a semi-regular blog series about my experiences in writing, publishing, and marketing gay erotica and M/M erotic romance. All of this information is from my own experience, so your experience may differ. It’s hoped that sharing this information might be helpful to new and aspiring erotica and erotic romance authors, as I see a lot of questions and a lot of misinformation out there. To read more Sex For Money posts, click here.

If you find these posts handy, or you’re looking for more information on the business of writing, publishing, and selling gay erotica and M/M erotic romance, check out my in-depth book, Sex For Money.




You’ve written the hottest story ever and you’ve had it perfectly edited – don’t let it fall flat on your face by submitting a poorly-formatted document to Smashwords or KDP! Too often, I’ve seen people panic when they discover that their ebooks show up all wonky when people download them – bizarre indenting, strangely-colored text, changes in font and size – I’ve seen them all.

To prevent all of these mishaps, all it takes is about ten minutes of formatting in Word, to help you produce a professional and top-notch product.

This post assumes that editing has been completed – there are no typos, your grammar is correct, and plot holes have been filled. If you haven’t done that yet, do it first! Formatting for publication should be your last step. If you do editing after formatting, you run the risk of accidentally introducing new errors into your file.

These steps should fix most, if not all, of the problems that appear in your manuscript. I’ve followed these steps and have had no problems (that I’m aware of), and I’ve had no difficulty getting my file through Smashwords’s notoriously-finicky “meatgrinder” software.

Correct Spacing

If you’re like me, you double-space after a period. It should only be one space. (Even if you don’t have a habit of doing this, it’s still advisable to complete this step, in case you put one in there without knowing.)

Do a Find and Replace with this:

  • Find: [space][space]
  • Replace: [space]

Of course, replace [space] with an actual space!

Correct Indentation

Ideally, your paragraphs should be indented, rather than “block style.” (Block style is where you do not indent paragraphs, but you have a blank line between them.) However, you should not use your TAB key to indent paragraphs.

Highlight the text that needs to have correct indentation – this could mean highlighting the whole thing OR doing a chapter at a time, as you don’t want your centred chapter headers to be indented. Click on Paragraph Styles (in the newer version of Word for Windows, at the bottom right of the section of the toolbar that has the paragraph alignments, there’s a small angled arrow in the corner – click that). Set the indent to “first line” at .3”. We’re setting it at .3” rather than the standard .5” because if someone is reading on a small device like a phone, a .5” indent is massive. Click okay.

If you had used the tab key while writing your manuscript, you need to get rid of the tabs.

Go to Find and Replace and enter this:

  • Find: ^t
  • Replace: [blank]


Correct Font

Dedicated ereaders (Kindle, Kobo, Nook) tend to have, at most, eight basic fonts on them. You generally don’t want fancy fonts in your file. Ideally, it should all be Times New Roman, 12 pt. If you have variation in your file, for whatever reason, make judicious choices, but don’t rely on people reading it in the exact font you chose – if you chose a weird one, the ereader will default to one of the fonts pre-loaded in them. And if you choose something too big or small, your readers can adjust the size on their device.

If, for whatever reason, you changed the color of the font – even if you set it to black – then you need to correct this. Highlight the whole document and choose “automatic” from the font color list.

Correct Punctuation

Depending on how you wrote your book, you may have a mix of apostrophe and quotation mark styles. You may have some that are straight up and down lines and others that are curled properly. To ensure all is proper, go to Find and Replace and enter:

  • Find: “
  • Replace: “

It will automatically correct it to curled right and left quotation marks. Then do the same for the apostrophe.

Minutiae

You may have a space at the end of a paragraph or a space at the beginning of a paragraph and not know it. Here’s how to find them and get rid of them. Go to Find and Replace and enter:

  • Find: [space]^p
  • Replace: ^p

And then follow up with:

  • Find: ^p[space]
  • Replace: ^p


One Last Step

Smashwords will only take a DOC file, and not a DOCX. Amazon’s KDP apparently doesn’t care if it’s DOC or DOCX.

But here’s the tricky part – if you just go File, Save As and then save your document as a DOC file, Smashwords will sometimes recognize that at one point in the file’s lifetime, it had been a DOCX and Smashwords’s meatgrinder will reject it.

Highlight and copy the whole document, then paste it into a new document. Then save this file, making sure to select DOC from the file type option at the bottom of the window.

You’re Done!

Once you do all that, your file should be fine to submit to Smashwords and KDP. I say “should” because there might be other errors in there that will make things go screwy. The trick is to be patient and to work through things slowly. It’s a steep learning curve if you’ve never done it before, but once you get the hang of it, it just becomes automatic.

Happy self-pubbing!

Leave a comment

Filed under Sex For Money

Proper Author Self-Care — Sex For Money, Post #16

Sex For Money is a semi-regular blog series about my experiences in writing, publishing, and marketing gay erotica and M/M erotic romance. All of this information is from my own experience, so your experience may differ. It’s hoped that sharing this information might be helpful to new and aspiring erotica and erotic romance authors, as I see a lot of questions and a lot of misinformation out there. To read more Sex For Money posts, click here.

If you find these posts handy, or you’re looking for more information on the business of writing, publishing, and selling gay erotica and M/M erotic romance, check out my in-depth book, Sex For Money.


Several few weeks ago, I wrote a rather personal Sex For Money post in which I spoke about author self-doubt. I feel the need to follow-up with it as there have been some important developments and it underscores the need for further discussion.

Though I couldn’t see it at the time, it wasn’t actually writing that was causing me stress. Rather, my writing was suffering due to stress from another source.

Like many writers, or perhaps most writers, I have a day job that pays that bulk of my bills while writing income supplements all that. Work had been growing more and more stressful everyday and I had assumed it was due to other influences (as there was both my birthday and my mom’s wedding at the same time, both of which required a lot of work and time from me) and that everything would be back to normal once those obligations were over.

Well, the obligations came and went and the stress I was experiencing at work only grew. So much so that one day my hands were shaking for half my work day. The stress was paralyzing me — both at work and at home. I realized then that I hadn’t done more than a couple hundred words of writing in the last four weeks.

I sat down with my boss to talk about it and we uncovered what was really going on — problems in the workplace that were putting enormous amounts of stress on me, and this stress was eating away at me all day everyday. I’m now on six weeks of stress leave to work on getting better and getting back to work.

Now… I have a rule of not sharing negative personal information on my author platform. You readers are not my therapists and this is not a private journal — this not the place for such a discussion. However, I chose to break my rule this one time to talk about the impact this has on a writing career.

With my day job, even when it was at its most paralyzing, I could still show up for work and do the basic tasks I needed to do and manage to get through the day — even if it meant hiding in bed for the rest of the day once I got home. This meant I was still earning my full day job income.

My writing, though, froze dead for four weeks. While there are continued sales of older works that generate income, an erotica and erotic romance writer’s income comes from regular releases. And with paralyzing stress, I couldn’t write, couldn’t publish, and couldn’t generate new income. If this stress had been caused by something I couldn’t deal with as effectively as I actually am, and if writing income was my sole source of income, I’d be in serious financial trouble.

Writers need to continually work on self-care so that they can remain healthy and productive. A big component of this is thinking proactively, rather than reactively. Spending some time and money on staying healthy and preventing from getting sick is far better than getting sick for an indeterminate amount of time and running the risk of financial ruin.

Every once in a while, I see a post about self care for writers and it contains cliche things like fancy pens, unique notebooks, literary-themed merchandise like teapots and clothing, and good coffee or tea to keep an author warm.

While these suggestions certainly have some validity and do have some effectiveness in maintaining good mental health, they are likely not enough if there is a truly stressful event in your life that can create paralyzing stress. Over the past four weeks, no amount of fancy pens, notebooks, and coffee would’ve gotten me to write more.

Here’s a real list of self-care resources for authors:

1. Get the name and phone number of a good counsellor. If you have difficulty coping with stress, a counsellor can help you figure out techniques to keep you healthy. Two or three sessions, while they can be costly, could save you from succumbing to stress and requiring several sessions at a later point.

2. Get the name and phone number of a good massage therapist. I prefer trigger point massage. It can be painful, but it’s effective. Visiting this person even just semi-annually could help work out the painful kinks in your back and neck before they become too serious. Again, there’s a cost, but an annual or semi-annual appointment is a good investment if it prevents having to go for half a dozen appointments after a stress crisis has riddled your back and neck with knots and twitches.

3. Make a list of things that stress you out and then figure out how to reduce the impact of these stressors. This can be as simple as re-organizing your day or your work flow so that you are better able to get things done. Effective time management makes a huge difference for stress and stress relief.

4. Exercise. Authors sit at their computers a lot. Exercise gets us up and active, increases blood flow, increases oxygen, and just makes us feel good. Figure out what works for you. For me, my favourite exercises are hot yoga and outdoor walks. I’ve got a beautiful cemetery near my house with a 5.5 km walking path that is a great hour and a half break in my day and gets me out in nature and fresh air and sunshine.

5. Healthy eating. What you eat affects how you feel. For me, too much coffee and too much fast food has me queasy and unhappy, no matter how delicious those things are. I’m working on improving my diet with lots of chickpeas, lean meats, and vegetables.

6. Do things that make you happy. It can be easy to put off things that make us happy — time with family, seeing the latest movie, going out with friends — because we have so much work to do. But if your whole life becomes work, then life loses its fun appeal and just becomes a chore.

7. If that’s not enough, reach out. Being an author is an isolating experience, even if we have a family that loves us. It’s easy to believe that we’re stressed because we’re not handling our workload properly and thus it’s all our fault. But reaching out to someone can make a world of difference and help you sort out what’s stressing you and what you can do about it. A writer friend recently reached out to me because he was near the breaking point due to stress and we examined his workload and we broke it into small manageable chunks, discarded unimportant things, and relaxed some self-imposed deadlines. For me, when stress was overwhelming me, I reached out to a close friend and said what I was feeling — he encouraged me to have a talk with my boss and, well, it led to where I am now, with six weeks to focus on getting better.

A healthy writer is a productive writer, a productive writer is a successful writer. Taking care of your health means taking care of your writing business. Don’t put off taking care of yourself until it becomes a bigger problem than it needs to be — take care of yourself now.

Leave a comment

Filed under Sex For Money

NEW RELEASE: Sex For Money

Today, I’m got something a little different. While I’m still hard at work on the next Forbidden Desires novella (about a priest and a parishioner who fall for each other), I took a little side detour to write a project that’s been nagging at me for a while now.

Sex For Money: How to Write, Publish, and Sell Gay Erotica and M/M Erotic Romance is a handy manual of everything I’ve learned in my years of writing dirty stories. If you’re one of the many people that have heard there’s money to be made in writing erotica and erotic romance, but don’t know how to get started, this book is a basic primer to the publishing landscape for these genres.

So if you’re only interested in my dirty writing, but aren’t interested in writing some yourself, this book isn’t really for you — there’s no sexy content in it. But if you’re an erotica or erotic romance writer, either aspiring, newly published, or you’ve been around for a while and are looking for some perspective, then this book might be just the thing you’re looking for.

Now, time to get back to work and pump out that next dirty novella!

Sex-For-Money-Ebook-Cover-2400

Cameron D. James is a multiple-bestselling author of gay erotica and M/M erotic romance, and in this all-in-one book, he shares his personal experiences and advice on how to write, publish, and sell your erotic fiction. While it can be difficult to make a living off of writing, the secrets in this book can help you grow your career and increase your sales month after month. Years of experience, research, trial-and-error, and experimenting have led Cameron to hone his approach to writing, publishing, and selling, and he shares everything with you in this book.

This handy manual explains:

  • Key writing and editing advice to ensure the quality of your fiction rises above your competitors.
  • What to look for in a contract if you choose to publish your fiction through a publishing house.
  • The realities of the hard work behind self-publishing your fiction.
  • How to give your book — including the cover and blurb — a spit and polish to make it draw readers in and close that sale.
  • The truth about which online vendors are worth your time… and which ones are best ignored.
  • The secrets of marketing an erotic book in a highly competitive genre.
  • How to effectively use social media to network with readers and sell your books.

Don’t waste time and money trying to figure all of this out on your own when you can learn how to do things correctly on your first try. This book gives you what you want to know, all in one convenient place.

Sex For Money is available as an ebook at AmazonKobo, and Smashwords and retails for $5.99. Are you a Barnes & Noble or iBooks user? It should upload to those sites soon.

Would you rather buy this book in paperback and hold it in your hands? I’m in the midst of finalizing the paperback printing and should have it available in a week or two — I’ll announce it as soon as it’s available!

Leave a comment

Filed under Cameron D James, eBooks, Publishing, Sex For Money, Writing, Writing Tips