Only 40 Self-Published Authors are a Success, says Amazon

Having tried self-publishing before going into erotic romance and finding a publisher, and then re-considering self-publishing, I found this rather interesting to read.

Claude Forthomme - Nougat's Blog

The cat is out of the bag, finally we know exactly how many self-published authors make it big: 40.

Yes, that’s not a typo.

40 self-published authors “make money”, all the others, and they number in the hundreds of thousands, don’t. This interesting statistic, recently revealed in a New York Times article, applies to the Kindle Store, but since Amazon is in fact the largest digital publishing platform in the world, it is a safe bet that self-published authors are not doing any better elsewhere.

“Making money” here means selling more than one million e-book copies in the last five years. Yes, 40 authors have managed that, and have even gone on to establishing their own publishing house, like Meredith Wild. Her story is fully reported in the New York Times, here, and well worth pondering over.

That story reveals some further nuggets about the current…

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Under age sex and slut-shaming women

Before I go any further, I’m not advocating under-age sex at all. The legal age of consent is there for a reason. But as much of a taboo subject as it is, it happens. I read articles on under-age sex when trying to find out the average age for losing your virginity (it varies wildly depending on where you live, your gender, and what study you read), and a lot of the comments that went with said articles. The majority of these slut-shamed girls, and congratulated the boys. Girls were slags, probably going to become a single teenage mum with no prospects, end up on benefits, drain the system, blah blah blah. The boys however were studs, and “you go boy!” “whoop, whoop, well done!”. This angered me.

I recently started writing a new novel, the premise of which is, girl comes back into boy’s life after ten years and the relationship is rekindled, even though her dad disapproves. Nothing new there, but I am enjoying writing about a hot farmer and his beautiful girlfriend. Then an issue arose – under-age sex.

No, I’m not writing about an under-age romance, “girl” and “boy” are in their twenties. But it is a relationship that spans the decades, well, one decade. It occurred to me that, considering the four year age difference between them and their current age, that she would have been about 15 when they first started dating, and he would have been 18 / 19. In the UK, the legal age of consent is 16. Anything below this is considered statutory rape. Oops. Of course, I could make them slightly older and will probably have to considering the majority of erotic / romance publishers frown on the mere mention of illegal sex (of any sorts). Still, it got me thinking about under age sex and how women are perceived.

As a mum, I don’t think “children” should be allowed to have sex until they are in their twenties, and my hubby would say thirties for his little girl! It’s a conversation that has come up when discussing what we want for our children, and then I talk about our experiences of sex, and losing our virginity. Hubby claims to have been legal, and for many years I managed to convince myself that I was 19. I’m lying though. To myself and everyone who has ever asked. And I pray to God that my mum doesn’t read this blog! Why? Because I was 15. And even though we didn’t do it properly, finish the job, or go much further, penetration was involved, and therefore it was legally classed as sex. (I should point out that my boyfriend at the time was also 15.)

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20 year old me

As a woman who lost her virginity at 15, I feel I should stand up for my gender. Now I did not sleep around. Between losing my virginity and meeting my husband when I was 20, I slept with 6 men. That’s an average of 1.2 men a year for 5 years. Unremarkable really. I also didn’t have my first child until I was 25. Neither did I contract any STIs, because although I was sexually active, I used contraception. Yet according to many, this is not possible, because I was aware and comfortable with my sexuality before it was legally allowed.

But my number is irrelevant, because even if my average was 1.2 men a night, it shouldn’t matter. I have friends who could probably beat that average of 1.2 a night, and now we’re all in our 30s and they are happily married with their own families, and working good jobs (quite high powered in some cases). I have friends who kept their virginity intact until they were well into their twenties, and are now happily married with a family and working good jobs. Do you see any difference between these two examples? No, neither do I, other than one has a higher average of men they’ve slept with.

I also have male friends who have the same sort of figures and averages. I have male friends who slept with anything that looked in their direction – sometimes two or three different women in one night. I’ve known men who kept it in their pants until they were almost 30. And again, we’re all older now, in relationships with children and jobs.

Not one of us is a disease-riddled, scrounging, homeless criminal. What age we lost our virginity, how many people we slept with, had no bearing on how our lives turned out. That was all down to the type of person we were, our friends and our home lives.

A 1950s marriage in 2016

That’s probably not at all accurate. I wasn’t around in the 1950s, so I can only go by stereotypes, films, and things my grandparents told me. But in a sense, yes I have a 1950s marriage in the modern day age.

This all came about quite recently when discussing what the word “authority” meant, and who has authority over us. I said my husband, and the immediate response was “how can you let your husband control you!” Well, I don’t.

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That’s us on a night out. Does it look controlling to you? No. Because it’s not.

I don’t work, or not in the sense that other people do. I’m a mum, 24-7, and a writer, and I work as a stylist for Rich when he’s doing one of his photography shoots. I don’t stop. But I don’t get paid for it either. Rich, however, works full-time in an office as well as running his own photography business, which means we are comfortably living off his wages alone. This means he controls the money, more or less. Hence a 1950s marriage. He looks after the money, I look after the home.

I have been asked if we have a sub/dom relationship. If you think that, then you’ve been reading faaaar too much Fifty Shades of Drivel. There is no red room of pain in our house. He doesn’t stalk me. He doesn’t tell me what I can wear, how much make up I can put on, what to eat, who I can see. He doesn’t insist that I have my hair styled a certain way, or visit the spa to get waxed on a regular basis (yes, I’ve read the books). He’s not an abusive arsehole! He wouldn’t dare tell me to lose weight – the last time he suggested that, it did not end well, for him. Although it did result in my Amazon wishlist being emptied rather rapidly… Getting back to the point – he does not control me, but he does control how much I spend. He pays of my credit card – if he doesn’t pay it off, then no new shoes for me that month! Even then, he would’t ever say “no you can’t have that” unless we were really strapped for cash, and then he’s saying it because he’d rather we have a roof over our heads than I have yet another handbag that will only see the light of day once a year.

So you see, it’s not about control. It’s about working together in a partnership – he sells, I buy. He’s the accountant, I’m the purchaser.

Whenever I talk to other women about our marriage, they’re always surprised by how traditional we are, i.e. getting married before having children, and him working while I stay at home. Is that really such a bad thing? It doesn’t make me any less equal to him. I haven’t suddenly lost the right to vote or wear trousers. I’m not restricted to the house and abused in any way, shape or form. It shouldn’t matter what era our marriage is from. It matters that we love each other. He doesn’t control me, he takes care of me. And that is what’s important.

 

Burlesque – Guest Post by Katey Lovell

The (Really) Naughty Corner

I’m thrilled to have Katey Lovell as my guest today. Katey has penned a novella for the Tirgearr City Nights series, set against the glamorus backdrop of Los Angeles. Welcome to the Naughty Corner, Katey.

People hear the word burlesque and automatically think ‘striptease’. They’re taken to an idea of Dita von Teese writhing in an oversized champagne glass, or a curvaceous performer popping the eye-and-hook fastenings on a red satin corset.

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Steamy.

Sleazy.

They’re all words I’ve heard used to describe burlesque by people who’ve (generally) never experienced it first-hand.

The truth is, the world of burlesque is so much more diverse than people think. In the six years I’ve been attending events I’ve seen jugglers, magicians, contortionists, singers, comedians, fire-eaters, hula dancers, musicians, strong men (and women), an axe thrower, and all manner of other entertainers too. Yes, there have been plenty of ‘tease’ acts in the…

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Why it’s not okay to assume I’ll sleep with you

I sell sex, I’ll admit that. But, the sex I sell is in the form of the written word. Yet there are many middle-aged men out there who seem to think that because I can write the words ‘vagina’ and ‘penis’, then I must be willing to sleep with them, or at least send them some photographs / videos. Well… No.

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The type of sex I sell can be bought here: http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Howard_Charlotte/index.htm

I’m not saying that all middle-aged men do this, and I’m not saying it is just middle-aged men, who feel the need to contact erotic romance writers and perv on them. But, the majority of icky, skin-crawling, and sometimes downright disgusting, messages I get have the profile picture of a white man who looks to be in his 40s/50s. I have been contacted by a Turkish man in his 30s looking for a wife, but his messages were actually pleasant and flattering – there was no malice, and when I declined, he thanked me for my time, and that was that. I’ve also had simple messages of “You look stunning / beautiful / sexy” from younger men in Britain and America. Sadly, I have also been asked for topless pictures, full-length, full-colour, naked pictures. I have been asked for naked, open-leg pictures. And these, have all been by the middle-aged, British / American man.

The pictures that sparked the messages

Before any of the trolls start telling I’m a stuck-up bitch with a huge ego – that was already a response by one of the Pervs when I told where he could stick it. And if you ask my husband (yes, I have one of those) he will tell you that I am actually quite introverted at times, (is ambi-vert? Is that what I am?) and don’t respond well to flattery. I go one of two ways – either over-the-top, huge ego, “why yes, I am amazing”, or laugh and ask what medication they’re on. I don’t think I’m that great – and no, I’m not fishing for compliments – I know every single one of my flaws, and I use a lot of supportive underwear, make-up tricks, and poses and good-lighting to fix them. Have a look at those two pictures. Do you see the similarities? I’m stood like that and sucking it in for a reason…

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The first of many. At least this was mild…

But going back to the messages – most of it is just “send pictures”, and I am glad to say that I do not publish my address or phone number for obvious reasons, so I can just delete the messages. Then it escalated and someone called my laptop via Facebook. Did you know that was possible? No, neither did I until a little icon popped up saying this man was trying to call me. I didn’t answer, and he called again. And again. And sent abusive messages. And I blocked him…

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Sometimes they send pictures to me – attachment unavailable now, but take a guess at what it was…

It might seem irritating – just block them right? But it’s much more than that. I received another message last week, and I responded on Instagram and Facebook:

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And I began to question myself.

I’m trying to organise a new photoshoot to create a new profile picture for my website, social media sites, and book covers. I wanted to do something sexy, but after this latest message, where I was not only propositioned but asked how much I would charge, I started to have a re-think. Maybe I should just be a mum and a writer. Maybe my photo should be of me, in a baggy jumper with a mug of tea. I cried. I huddled into the corner of my sofa and I cried because this Perv had made me devalue myself. But as I’ve mentioned, I’m married, and I thank God for my husband and his opinions and values.

More appropriate photos??

“Why the f*** would you let some dickless wonder with no life, dictate how you should look?” he said. “Of course you should do a sexy shoot! Saying that you’re asking for the messages by putting up a photo of you in a corset is like saying that the girl who got raped in town was asking for it because she wore a mini skirt! Do you go pawing and licking at man just because he’s got a six pack and walked down the street half-naked? No!”

And he’s right… Just because I like to wear a top that shows off my cleavage, just because I like to wear skinny jeans that lift my arse up, does not mean that I am putting it on sale.

So I am going to do a sexy shoot, and a gothic shoot, and a comfy shoot, and the Pervs can all cram it.

I’m a huge flirt, and I love having a laugh. But it is not okay to make me question what I should wear or what I should say.

I sell sex, and it doesn’t matter what form that takes. It is not okay for you to treat me like an object and think that you can be inappropriate.

It is not a two-way street. It’s a one-way street, and you’re going the wrong way if you think that any of that kind of behaviour is okay.

Out Now – Love Bites by Queenie Black (@queenieblackwr1) #erotica #ku #kindleunlimited

Out Now – Love Bites by Queenie Black (@queenieblackwr1) #erotica #ku #kindleunlimited

 Love Bites

Blurb:

Elevator Magic
A steamy encounter in an elevator makes Cass the center of attention for two sexy men. Is it just hot sex for them or will Cass have to make some life-changing choices?

Immortal Longings
Not one, but two Greek gods in her bed. How’s a girl to choose? Must Zoe’s sensual holiday romance end in farewell, or will she try to make her own heaven on earth with two demigods?

Eleanor’s Choice
Eleanor explores the shadowy world of submission – her marriage depends on it. Will the Master give her an experience she can use to please her husband, or is it time to walk away?

Love Bites
Lonely Ella is mesmerised by the owner of a chocolate shop. Drawn into Lang’s rich, seductive web, she grows to fear as well as desire him. What is the secret he is hiding from her?

These four short stories contain too-hot-to-handle Greek gods, a sexy Vampire who might just turn out to be a killer, a Master who can wield a crop with artistry, and two delicious CEOs who know how to keep a woman happy. Oh, and chocolate, BDSM, MFM Mènage and sex in an elevator.

Universal Amazon link: http://viewbook.at/lovebites

Excerpt:

ELEVATOR MAGIC

“You know what? You can take your job and stick it.” Mad as hell I grabbed my purse and stomped out of the little cubicle I called my office. I was done here and I was never coming back and fuck the giving notice part.

The elevator always took ages to creak its way between floors and I could feel the stabbing pressure of what felt like a thousand eyes in my back. Of course they were all watching. They’d been waiting for something like this to happen for twenty months. Just then melodic chimes signaled the arrival of the executive elevator. The one that normal people like me are forbidden to ride in, the one for the exalted rich and the bosses who live in the penthouse. I wanted to escape the avid looks that were directed my way and, what the hell, what could they do anyway? Sack me?

So I stepped into it.

I turned and, just before the doors closed, got a good view of open mouths, staring eyes and was that…envy? It certainly looked like it from where I was standing. As the doors slid silently shut, I raised my hand and gave a little finger wave.

The car was bigger than my bedroom, and a thousand times more luxurious but I hardly noticed the mirrored walls and the thick-as-a-mattress carpet. My attention was caught and held by the two guys already in there, one on my left and one on my right.

My gaze darted between the two of them and I felt guilty colour sting my cheeks. I hadn’t expected company but I wasn’t objecting. These guys were fit and built. One dark-haired and smoooooth, the other blonde and just-got-in-out-of-the-wild rough.

And I knew them. Brandon Shaw and Mitchell Graham owned the company I work – ooops, scratch that – the company I used to work for. I’d met them at work events, like the Christmas party and the Halloween party and the Employee of the Year party. I’d seen them a couple of times from a distance. They always had a flock of female employees around them.

I’d heard people described as chick magnets but only realised exactly what it meant when I saw these two. I used to feel their magic pull yet always stayed away because initially I was in a relationship, and then afterwards was suffering from a broken heart and struggling to cope with a job where my ex was screwing a colleague. Pity my ex didn’t take a leaf out of these guys’ books – there was never any suggestion that they had slept with anyone from the company. Which meant in the end that there was a gentle rumor that they were a) gay, or b) didn’t like vanilla and went for the more exotic, with their tastes catered for elsewhere.

I positioned myself with my back to the wall and let my gaze slide over them. To my right was Brandon. He’d taken off his suit jacket and had it hooked over one shoulder. Beneath the fine fabric of his shirt I could see the hard muscle of a broad chest, arrowing down to a pair of narrow hips and a huge bulge… Oh man.

I licked my lips and dragged my reluctant gaze away to focus on his face. He was watching me scope him out. There was a hard predatory glint in his eyes. Heat speared through me from my cheekbones to my pussy, part embarrassment and part desire. I squeezed my thighs together to stop the growing ache.

I quickly glanced away and found myself checking out Mitchell on my left. He was slightly shorter than his partner, and seemed kinder and less predatory too. His eyes were a softer green, more jade than emerald. But his shoulders were as wide and he sported an identical erection. Were they lovers? A pity for womankind if they were gay. What a loss.

I shouldn’t be in the elevator with them in the first place but the new militant me with nothing to lose didn’t care. So instead of fixing my gaze on the floor and fighting the temptation to look again, I enjoyed the view. They put my slimeball ex to shame and my panties grew damp while they silently watched me. I wished that I was wearing something a little less conservative when the elevator jerked to a sudden halt.

Not a nice, slow, we’ve arrived kind of halt but the scary kind.

The lights went out.

Panic dug its claws into me, not letting go even when the emergency lighting kicked in.

“What’s happening?” I didn’t even try and keep the terrified squeak out of my tone.

“Hey,” Brandon said softly, “it’s going to be alright. They’ll have it fixed in no time.”

“It’s broken?” I hated the idea of being shut in closed spaces, and the car, despite its size and luxury, suddenly felt very small. I couldn’t bear to spend hours locked in here hanging over all that empty space. The walls closed in, my hands and feet went cold, and I struggled to breath.

“Now you’ve done it, Brandon.”

“Easy.” When had they got so close to me? I was crowded by two warm male bodies that smelt good. Having them so close, almost touching me, took my mind off the elevator.

“Rub her hands, Mitchell. Get some warmth into them, she’s freezing.”

Mitchell sandwiched my hands between his palms and rubbed hard. The movement distracted me, not because he was making my hands warmer, which he was, but because he kept bumping my breasts.  Awareness rushed through me and my nipples went hard as cherry stones and poked at my blouse. Brandon’s hands rested lightly on my hips but they might as well have been brands. I could feel every finger as if there were no clothing between us. Woodsy cologne, mingled with clean male musk, swirled around me. My pussy creamed and I couldn’t help it; my wayward body leant back until I was pressed hard against Brandon.

His cock, huge and promising, seared my lower back. I couldn’t prevent a small sound escaping. I felt my cheeks go hot. What must they think of me?

Mitchell’s expression was rich with satisfaction in the dim light.

“Shall we carry on distracting you, baby?”

I shivered, my panties drenched as my body answered the question for them.  Brandon nuzzled the sensitive spot beneath my ear. His voice rumbled right through my body as he asked, “Ever been double-fucked before?”

The crude honesty of his question embarrassed me and I couldn’t answer. Then I forgot what he asked because Mitchell dropped to his knees in front of me. His hands stroked slowly up the back of my thighs. They smoothed over stockings, and then paused when they reached my lacy garters.

Author bio:

I’ve been writing pretty much since I was able to read. I juggle fundraising for charities, family life and writing with varying success. My children have mostly flown the nest and I live in a small village in North Yorkshire, England with my husband and some chickens. I write in an old caravan in the garden where I can’t be tempted to procrastinate on the internet.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/queenieblackauthor/?fref=ts

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/queenieblackwr1

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RIP RWLS

Some of you may know that 6 months ago (or just a bit over), I headed down a new fork in the road of life. With almost 10 years experience of editing and fact-checking, and 15 years of CV writing, I set up RW Literary Services, offering these (and other) skills for a price. And for the past 6 months, whilst not wholly successful, I have been happy with the way things have been going. However, 2016 has bought a whole series of new challenges and something has to give. Unfortunately, it is a case of last thing in, first thing out, and so it is with a sad heart that I say RIP RWLS, and close down the business.

However, this is not the end, simply a junction with a ‘Give Way’ sign. 2016 will see one, if not two or three, new books being published, and I need to give my previous books some much needed love, marketing and promoting. I am studying for an English Lit & Creative Writing degree, which requires me to study for an exam in June. My photographer husband needs some with a creative mind and flair for the dramatics (can’t think why he chose me…) to help design and style his models as he embarks on a new project. I volunteer for the Girl Guides, and am studying to become a qualified leader for Brownies. I run blogs and websites…

And more than that – much, much more than that – my children need me. My daughter has minor health complaints. I say minor, because it is nothing serious, and something she will grow out of eventually. But until she grows out of them, she needs GP & hospital visits and regular medication. My son is a typical boy, but struggles with hyperactivity and attention problems. With so much energy to burn, he needs a mum who isn’t sat on her backside editing someone else’s novel saying “in a minute sweetheart.” On top of that, I am a full-time housewife, mum and pet owner – a 24-hour job in itself!

Something has to give before I burn out. I’ve already given up article writing and freelancing. I’ve already given up my paid job and several volunteering bits and pieces. I now have to say goodbye to RWLS.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me on this journey.