The purpose I believe for any writer is very simple. Get the stories out. The purpose for anyone living in a capitalist society that strives for happiness is to make money. So why not do both and enjoy what you do for a living as it is no longer a job, but a passion that pays the bills.
The publishing business is still in flux as things change, the E-book revolution shatters old business models and new champions emerge but what can the average author do to survive the mess and still be standing when the dust has settled? Your friendly editor offers some publishing tips that should help.
Make some friends. You’ll need the support system for things like going to Romantic Times, Romance Writers of America Nationals, RomCon, and other large industry conferences. Plus that support system will keep you together when you’re ready to throw away your career, no matter HOW long or short it is. Did you all see what happened to Judy Mays when someone outed her as an erotic romance author? The fans of hers rallied and supported her to the tune of 5,000 likes on her newly fan established Facebook page. In less than four hours.
Social Media – Learn it. Use it. Master it. It’s that simple. You have NO choice nowadays but to be on social media. If you're a shy person, quit writing and expecting money to roll in.
Read editor blogs like mine and Guide to Literary Agents. The information there is jam packed with tips outside of my experiences. Also, don’t forget WriteSEX - both our publisher, M. Christian and myself contribute weekly to this very important blog.
Take classes on craft, marketing and education. This advice hails from the importance of learning and expanding your ability to write about various genres, cross genre write and refine your voice. Unlike investing and “Get rich quick” classes, the real profits belong to both the instructor AND the students. FYI, I teach two classes and that information can be found here
Pick up the following authors and devour their work:
Angela Knight, Morgan Hawke, Christine Feehan, Laurel K. Hamilton (not exactly traditional erotic romance) Julie Templeton, Kate Douglas, Candace Havens, Dakota Cassidy, Joey W. Hill, Lori Foster, Diane Whiteside, Lora Leigh, Christina Dodd. Don't bother with Dodd's historicals (this is a bias against historical romance novels on my part) but her contemporary and paranormal stuff is excellent. That's just print stuff. For E-books, Lora Leigh, Joey W. Hill, Marianne LaCroix, Kiernan Kelly (We just put out her second collection of m/m erotic romance stories) Stephanie Burke, Treva Harte (writer and owner of Loose ID) Marty Rayne (one of my students)Joanna Wilde, Celia Kyle, Alexandria Rayne, Em Petrova, (hell, go pick up any of the Secrets Anthologies out from Red Sage) Sascha Illyvich, Cherise Sinclair (another student of mine) Brenda Williamson, Brenna Lyons, Belinda McBride, Barbara Karmazin (RIP) Marie Harte, MaryJanice Davidson (over at Loose-ID) Suzanne Rock, Cheyenne McCray. That should get you started learning about Erotic Romance. Most of those authors mentioned I've either mentored, grown up with (sort of) taught in my classes or read their work, interviewed for the radio show and they are dynamite writers. At the local library, hit up the print stuff and find yourself in the romance section. You want to go no "less" hot than Harlequin BLAZE. That's their "attempt" at erotic romance and they are the gold standard in publishing, with numerous authors who go onto bigger, better and more lucrative careers.
I mention these authors though only a few of them are ours because not only are some of them firmly established in the romance genre, but they are the cornerstone for the formula to write a successful erotic romance for my line.
Join the Romance Writers of America. If you're a male romance author, attend meetings, regularly and get over any nervousness that may occur because the chapter members are predominantly female and many are where you want to be already. And many of them are gracious enough and kind enough to pay back as well as forward. Be warned RWA is still jumping (slowly) on the ebook bandwagon but that's a national issue, not a local chapter issue. The local chapters are very supportive of their members and share a TON of information. If you can afford it join Passionate Ink, the erotic/spicy chapter of RWA. Next year I plan to be speaking at their annual club meeting at RWA Nationals since it'll be in Anaheim CA.
Find and follow Deborah Riley Magnus on Twitter and Facebook. That's my publicist. She'll help you (via her blog) with marketing tips, tricks etc. She isn't geared towards this genre but she IS geared towards the trends in publishing and collecting information that is geared to help the author become a better success. After all, she IS the Author Success Coach. She also has a book coming out through Sizzler Editions in November, I believe.
Continue to write and grow. Reading other romance authors gives you something which to work from, now it’s up to you to use your imagination and go forward into the wild blue yonder!
Sizzler Intoxication Guidelines can be found here