So you’ve uploaded your book to Amazon but once you go to Amazon.com you see that the categories are not what you wanted. What now?
There seems to be a lot of confusion about categories on Amazon.
People often feel like their books are in the wrong categories, or they don’t know why they are in the categories they find them in. Below is a great resource to help you use keywords to land your book in the proper place. Being in the wrong category can mean less sales, reviewer complaints, and early onset erectile dysfunction in men and menopause in women. So beware and use the list below to find the categories that are best for your book.
The Category List on Amazon is a good resource about categories in Amazon. Use this list to find out what categories lead to which categories. This can be quite helpful.
**in case the link above is broken just copy and paste this into your browser: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A200PDGPEIQX41
Due to the success of the illustrious Linzi Basset’s interview, I’ve decided to try my hand and chatting with a few more writers. Hopefully readers can learn how other writers go about their craft and get to know about the author answering the questions. Today’s interview is with R.B. O’Brien. I admittedly know very little her. So please get to know Miss O’Brien with me.
A Note About Formatting: my questions are in purple and everything else is R.B.
First, since I don’t know anything about you, let’s get some basics on the table. Tell us your name and who you are.
R.B. O’Brien. The initials are named after my Nana and my great aunt. I’ll leave it at that. It is a pen name for a reason, right? I write erotic romance. The Natalie’s Edge series is contemporary BDSM Romance. The last in the series is loosely based on a real-life experience and is nominated for the Golden Flogger Award for Best BDSM Romance of 2015.
I’m a huge Shakespeare fan and teach for a living. I’m a seeker of knowledge and never stop asking questions and even when I have the answer, I’m never satisfied. I know this may be a cop-out, MJ, and I apologize. But the best way to get to know me is to direct you to my blog. I wear my heart on my sleeve there. It is the essence of who I am. A writer. A dancer. A teacher. A thinker. A dreamer. A hopeless romantic. An artist.
What’s the name of your latest book and what genre it is considered.
My latest book is Thorne: Rose’s Dark Contract, coming out this month, god willing (or something like that). I’m struggling to classify it. BDSM; dark romance; dubious consent; erotic romance; suspense. Ha! Here is the blog I wrote about it. Take from it what you will:
This is a book I started quite a while ago. I was in a rather dark place when I began writing it. I never thought it would see the light of day. I almost just bled the words and didn’t give much thought to it. When I put an excerpt up on Mr. Blackthorne’s site as well as here on my website, I got a lot of interest. People asked me to finish it. Seems I’m not the only one who likes dark characters, damaged men, and an exploration of human motivation.
So I decided that as soon as I could, I would get back to it.
When I picked it back up a few weeks ago, I realized that dark place I was in was no longer at the forefront of my emotions. I had buried, or at least accepted, certain things in my life as truths and the depth of my confusion and sadness had worked itself out.
Well. That may not be fully true. The struggle continues, but it’s not debilitating. There is life again after hurt. Love abounds. All around me. In all different forms. And the love I thought I might have felt seems sort of surreal now, almost like an out-of-body experience. That’s what distance does. Writing doesn’t hurt either.
Don’t think this isn’t dark though. It is. If you’ve read Natalie’s Edge, you’ll know that a story without angst, upheaval, insecurities, and flaws is not something I’m capable of writing. And this is from the male’s POV and let me tell you: This dude is indeed flawed! But his story is interesting and I think there is a twist that you will not at all see coming.
I hope you’ll read it when it’s complete. And if you hate him or think he’s too controlling or that he has too many issues, keep reading. You just may be quite surprised at what happens.
Now, the burning question my readers have for you, what’s your stance on getting dick pics from your twitter followers? Yay, Nay, or May(be).
Hahahahahaha. Get one every day and when I don’t I wonder what is going on in the universe. Dicks aren’t all that attractive. That’s what I feel about that. J What one does what said dick, that is far more important. I think there’s a reason that the female nude body far outweighs the male in art!
Now, straight to the hardest and most profound question of them all, do you really write in lingerie on a chair with dildo strapped to it, or is that make believe? No, seriously, why do you write? How did this hard, lonely life become your passion?
In all seriousness, I write my life. I write to escape real life. I write to live moments over again. I write to rewrite the moments I’ve lived over in a way that makes more sense to me. I write the moments to heal. I write the moments I hope never happen. And I write the moments I hope will happen.
I’ve also learned that much of my writing comes from my subconscious. And I’ve discovered so much about myself in my writing. I don’t see it on the surface necessarily. But then I go back and realize how much of myself is in my work. The Natalie’s Edge series was taken from a lot of my reality and is autobiographical in places. But the story is fictionalized…until I go back and really read it. It is a self examination—no question.
I can’t just write a little each day like many writers. I have to sequester myself for long periods of time. I have to travel into the world, immerse myself as if I’m actually living it myself. I have to become lost in my imagination and in the minds of my characters. I often tell people that I live two lives. My waking world and the world of my writing. If I don’t find that place, that quiet spot in my mind to let the world exist, it simply doesn’t come together for me. Again, because I teach, I get long stretches where I can do that.
Where do you publish your writing and why?
I have a publisher, EXtasy Books. So my books from the Natalie’s Edge series are everywhere and coming to print. Thorne: Rose’s Dark Contract will be self-published and I will try Amazon and KU.
I really like to know what other writers like, similar to what songs musicians like to cover. It says something about both artists. What’s your favorite line of somebody else’s writing? Something tells me you’re going to quote the bard.
Nope. I love the Bard, but you’re right. Too obvious. And choosing just one? God, MJ. How cruel. If I must it is this: “To write is to descend, excavate, to go underground.”—Anais Nin
With which writer would you secretly trade places? (so, no Shakespeare is not an option, use your brain!)
If I tell you, it will no longer be a secret! All my favorite writers led tragic lives it seems. Depression. Suicide. Mental insanity. Or, they led “lives of quiet desperation.” Hemingway, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Kate Chopin, Emily Bronte, on and on and on. So….my favorite works do not equate to trading places, you sneaky interviewer you!
To answer, I think I would wish to trade places with E.E. Cummings. A male. An artist. A writer. A genius. Someone who did want he wanted instead of what others expected of him. A glutton. A sexual deviant who loved and lusted many at one time. But only to see what it’s like to have that lack of conscience and to live in moment (“since feeling is first”) without the fear I carry. The fear of guilt. The fear of consequences. And the fear to really fly and live. But then, deep down, I don’t dislike myself or my life so much that I would REALLY want to trade places. In fact, I rather like the life I’ve had, the life I have, and the life I will continue. After all, it is me. It was who I was meant to be this time around. I like that I care. I like that I care for others and their feelings. And I like that I want love and loyalty and honesty. I think it’s important to live life in the moment but also with conviction and attention to those around us. I don’t really WANT to be a glutton or a sexual deviant. I think it would get old. Fast. But… for a day or a week or a month? I’d like that!
Thank you for stopping in to chat with me, R.B. Best of luck with your new book. Let us know when it’s out so we can have a look!
Find more about R.B. O’Brien
Grammar Tip: Lie v Lay
One of my new friends, Jamie McLachlan, has written a post with editing tips. Below you’ll find what I find to be a golden nugget for editing the dreaded lie v. lay that I still struggle with.
I don’t think any of us in the modern writing world are safe from needing the occasional (to constant) help of the grammar gods. I wish the grammar gods would just wave their magic grammar-wands and make my work right. Thanks to the heavy demands on authors today, I rarely can afford a proper editor and merely read my own work backwards shortly after I’ve finished it (and often poorly and half-asleep, at that). I am no island. I welcome help. Jamie has kindly offered some, so if you want some tips on editing your own work,take advantage of her (ooh that sounds fun) and click this link to the lovely and charming Jamie McLachlin for an in-depth blog post on her site. Below you will find one “example”-nugget for you to chew on in the meantime.
One Golden Tip from Jamie
The ever-frustrating Lie v. Lay:
LINZI BASSET – Interview on The Bullshit Blog Tour Bus Stop Smutpunk Show | #SSRTG #LPRTG #EARTG | Real questions and answers, erotica’s version of 60 Minutes
Interview with Linzi Basset
Many people know Linzi. I verified this by checking how many people Amazon search her name each month and the number is staggering. After reading two of her books, I can see why readers are hooked on this writer who I’ve taken to calling the Vladimir Nabokov of erotica. Read the interview to see why! A quick note about the formatting, Linzi’s answers are in italics, my questions are in regular text. Enjoy!
First, let’s get some basics on the table. Tell us the name of your latest book and what genre it is considered.
This is the final book in the Club Alpha Cove BDSM club series but it’s written as a complete standalone. This one came about by demand from my readers and it’s the story about the children of the couple in, ‘His Defiant Sub’, book 8 in the series – seven years later.
Now, straight to the hardest and most profound question of them all, why do you write?
This is the question we always have to think about, isn’t it? For me, it boils down to what Vincent Van Gogh once expressed: “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” That’s why I write. To express the deep well of passion that lives in my soul which is the part of me that I keep secreted away from my day to day existence. It’s a part of me that had been suppressed for a long time primarily due to a very conservative upbringing. It was part of my familial and cultural heritage and what was expected of me. Now, I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m able to liberate myself and share my passion with others. Blossoming out of what once was the genesis of my own confined existence! Passion is what drives my creativity. Passion is what allows me to ‘see’ and express my own sensuality through the medium of the written word; to be able to draw from that deep well to define the beauty of eroticism and all that it encompasses. I want to share what I feel with others.
Isn’t it a universal truth that it’s our singular experiences and passion, for whatever thing or things that it may be, that molds us all into the individuals that we become? Whether it’s hidden in the depths of our soul or exposed for all to see?
How would you describe your writing style?
Now that’s a question I’ve never considered and the honest answer is that I really don’t know. I guess you could say I shoot from the hip…lol!
If I had to define it, I’d have to say that it’s somewhat stream-of-consciousness, descriptive, emotional. It’s what makes me tick. Every book starts out with just an outline of sorts of who the main characters will be and how the ‘theme’ of the book might be woven into the fabric of their lives. Then I sit down in front of my laptop, I type Chapter One … and off I go. The plot and character development and slowly emerge. I come alive within every story. When I write, I become the character, I live each and every scene. A part of me is engrained in every story that I write…hahaha …no, MJ, I won’t tell you which part! Does it always work? I hope it does. I made some mistakes in the first few books of the Club Alpha Cove series, which is why I did some rewrites. I do a lot of research, factual research, logistical research etc., but ultimately, of course, the story and the characters have to “work” for me. If I don’t feel connected with either one, I’ll ditch it and begin anew because it won’t feel authentic. It’ll lack the depth and the passion I “live” into my writing.
Unfortunately, there are flaws and facets in and of ourselves that we don’t necessarily like. When I read my own writing, I cringe at some of the things that I don’t like about myself and my style. I’m not saying that you scream out your own name in absolute horror, but surely there are a few spots you wish you could strengthen. What are they? What would you say is the weakest part of your writing?
That’s a tough one, a difficult question to answer and one that I’ll come back to later …so off I go to the next question for now!
Okay, I’m back. Let me start by saying this, and it may come as a surprise to many people, but English is not my first language. When I started writing again a few years ago, I struggled with the enormous versatility of American English. All my stories are American-based, so I obviously needed to ensure that they would appeal to the American people. It was a massive struggle until I found an American editor that “Americanized” my writing!
The one thing that I battle with that needs constant work and attention is the passive voice…ahh!…and when I get a script back from my editor with notes indicating where I need to correct it. I do actually scream. And why…why does English have so many tenses? Good heavens! Why can’t everything just be in past, present and future? Why do we need past present, future present, past perfect…or is it perfect past…geez!!
What I’m saying is, don’t let anything stand in the way of your dream to be a writer. I’ve grown so much over the past year and have confidence in every story that I produce, but it’s hard work. Even though my thoughts, my words and my stories flow easily, I have to work on each and every sentence I write because no matter that I “think” in English, there is still a basic interpretation of my thoughts from my mother tongue to not just English, but American English in all of its formal and idiomatic shapes. It can be absolutely daunting at times, extremely so, but I refuse to let it faze me. I approach it with just as much passion as I do with the stories I write.
Many writers might simply get some kind of bot, load it with links to their books, and set it on BLAST. As I gain experience in this genre, I’m realizing there are better ways to get your voice heard.
You have quite a loyal following actively searching for your work to the tune of eight hundred plus people per month typing your name into Amazon. What kind of publicity do you (or those around you) do for your books? How did you start out? What advice can you offer newbies?
Oh dear…another question I’ll have to come back to…off to the next question!
I am sad to say that I haven’t done much as far as publicity is concerned. I have a very demanding full time job, therefore to find the time to properly market and promote my books is a challenge. I do make use of Twitter to promote my work and I’ve developed a more “social” profile on Facebook to connect with followers. Most of the promotional marketing aspects of my work is generated by its very own popularity and that’s the best kind there is. Word of mouth. You can’t buy that. I’m amazed at the number of readers that tell me that someone told them about me which got them interested in reading my books.
I’m starting to do book trailers and the odd teasers, but not enough. Most of my followers connect with me via my website. I do direct mail shots to them and the responses I receive are a clear indication of how much the personal connection I make means to them. I personally respond to every email I receive from fans. For 2016, I plan to start a blog page as soon as someone can tell me how to stretch time to slot it in with everything else!
This advice is not just for others, but for myself as well. You have to create a ‘presence’ in your work, of yourself as an author. Decide in advance what that presence and profile should be and make sure it’s the right one for you and for the type of books that you write. When you market and promote your work, mix it up, don’t get caught in a rut by doing the same thing over and over. It’s something we all tend to forget and I have to admit that I have, too, on occasion forgotten to take my own advice. Join other groups of authors who share the same interest and love of the genre that inspires you. Do guest blogs, interviews and be honest about mistakes you’ve made. Help others and mentor them by way of short articles that might address their concerns. Above all else, never harbor doubt in your ability to write and never give you power away to negativity.
I’m curious to know what other writers like in the same way maybe that musicians share among themselves what other songs they like to cover. It says something about both artists. What’s your favorite line of somebody else’s writing?
Considering the genre I write in, most of you will find this amusing, but this line has stuck with me throughout my life. It’s what has informed my life in a way. It’s what has driven many life changing decisions that I’ve made recently and something I believe that ultimately guides all of us…helping us to decide the path of our own destiny. My good friend RB O’Brien will love this.
It’s from William Shakespeare: “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven stages.”
With which writer would you secretly trade places?
John Grisham. I just love his writing. I’ve read a variety of genres, but I have to say that I greatly favor legal suspense and thrillers.
Lastly, I really love your writing style. I find that you have an incredible way with words. How did you become such an incredible writer? Any tips for us newbies and lackeys that can help us improve?
Thank you, MJ. That’s high praise coming from someone who has the prodigious talent to be able to paint a canvas with words the way you do.
I believe that telling stories in my own voice, driven by my own passion is what motivates me and that is the very essence that gets insinuated into each and every one of my stories. It’s a distillation of who and what inhabits my being. I truly experience and live each and every scene. I feel every touch, every kiss, every harsh word uttered and that to me is the key. I write from the inside out. My stories are me. I live them. I couldn’t imagine writing a story looking in from the outside to try to describe something that I cannot see or feel. When I feel myself laboring unnecessarily to write a scene that I can’t connect to, I know it’s going to come out wrong. My editor always tells me to leave some things to the reader’s imagination, because I become so involved with describing what I see and feel.
It may be that my advice to the writer in you, whoever you are, might sound overly simplistic, but it’s essentially the discovery over time of listening to your own singular voice and the application of it, through hard work and passion to speak through the medium of the written word. Be comfortable within yourself. Write every story as if it’s your own, your dirty little secrets that you’re telling…and yes…maybe some of them are mine…lol! Find your voice with the words that truly express what you think and what you feel and it will flow into your story, make each one stand out, make each chapter shine and make each scene come alive in every reader’s mind. Let your passion come through and connect and your words will have the power to transport the reader into the story as a voyeur, or better yet, as a participant. You really want them to read your erotica books with just one hand….wink*wink!
Thank you, Linzi, for taking the time to answer these questions and the many that led to this interview taking place. It’s a pleasure to be in the company of someone who commands the English language in such a powerful way. You really are like Nabokov in that regard. English wasn’t his native language and he has penned one of the most powerful voices in the literary canon. You, my dear, are most definitely erotica’s Nabokov. Best of luck with For Amy – Their Beloved Sub. As of posting this, For Amy was #5 on Amazon’s bestseller’s list for Suspense.
Want to appear on my blog? Contact me
I’m happy to have people guest post and would like to do short interviews.
Let me know if you’re interested.
Some useful links for writers:
The Smutpunk Blues – Bullshit Bulletin #2
by San Esperma de Desgracia
Well, we had very few sales and then a ton and then very few again this period so I guess even Smutpunks get the Blues. Oh well.
Emme’s working on Part 2 of her Confessions of a Whore Series. Yay! Also, she has the beginning and ending written for Buttplug Blues. Lot’s of folks singin’ the blues these days. Times are hard. Hard as cock. Buttplug Blues is the sequel to That Fucker, who shows up to torture our heroine again. This time she’s ready and has a few surprises of her own.
Saharah Shae has a new blurb out about Fun with the First Sergeant. Mouse over the link to the book to visit Amazon shops from all over the globe. Isn’t that handy, gals and pals?
Callie Press (aka Queen Kegel) is up at the plate to knock some Yeti’s out of the park. There’s this bit about Cunt Punting that some people may find offensive. (See deliciously offensive artwork)
I wrote Book 3. Looks like I forgot to write the sex, well except for some tit-fucking an unconscious ex-wife in her hospital bed while hijacking her milk. Callie says that’s dubcon. I think that’s a pretty fine line.
Don’t forget to stay up to date with Milked by the Yeti at literaryporn.net
You haven’t heard of MILKED BY THE YETI? Do you live under a rock? Well, get yourself a quick one-minute taste at xvideos.com’s trailer of Natasha and Lena in Milked by the Yeti. Please give it a thumbs up if you enjoyed it. Thank you. I made it, so I could really use the encouragement.
Is anybody doing a blog tour or anything because I’m up for hosting a stop. I don’t really even know what that means, but I’d like to try being a host and finding out.
In Twitter news, authors keep blastin out tweets lauding their own books. I do it too, but man I’m getting bored of it. Also, Sarcashmo was able to cockslap fools until he was able to catch Christiano Kale, the clone of the sexy, talented Christian Bale (with or without beard).
In other Twitter news, dudes keep sending me photos of their junk. I’m pretty much as obviously male as Big John Slade, so clearly half of India is gay although they will not admit they are (consider this when marketing toward the sub-continent). I’m going with something alone the lines of “My White Co-Worker Made me a Bollywood Cuckold” or something to that effect.
I had something else to say, but it’s gone.
My new TriStain is coming alone. Those of you who have pre-ordered, please hang loose a little longer. I was flying along but with the holidays and all, I am trudging through molasses now. However, the idea sounds good to me. See the clippings by Dean Diddlewitz (aka DD) if you’d like to see what’s up with “The Stain.”
Remember to take advantage of this great service:
— Moctezuma Johnson (@MJKingOfErotica) December 18, 2015
Poet for hire is always a good thing, right? I suggest you buy the ever-popular hate poem. The poem is emailed anonymously to anyone you choose and features nasty, MJ-style abuse. Great for ex-husbands, bosses, cunt family members, and nemeses. Buy today, guaranteed delivery by Valentine’s Day (plan ahead)!
Sarchashmo is the poet for hire. He’ll cockslap any fools into submission. If he cannot, he’ll employ the help of his “friend”, Queen Kegel the Sextacular.
Got something important to add?
Let me know.
I’m always around. Email, comment, tweet, or stop me on the street (grabbing me by the balls is the best way to get my wandering attention).
‘Nuff said, says San Esperma di Desgracia
What’s in a Twitter Hashtag? Which one is the best?
Phuket — 2014 I was originally blown away by the smarts of Tony Queef and his Erotic Hashtag until I realized he was a hashtag nazi and didn’t want your tag mixing with his tag. He couldn’t stand mine and yours tagging together or else his panties would get stained with too much hot sticky hash-(tag) and then you know what? He’d be impregnated. And that he just couldn’t have, which I respect.
His idea is good, even great, but he’s not a visionary. He’s more of a hater, an egomaniac, and a credit-, attention-, and genre-whore. All those things are good in their place, but when I am trying to sell erotica I’d prefer to do so without the nazi DM-YELLING, in a high-pitched 144 character frenzy, to take down artwork of spread ass or posts about psychedelic mind control allusions before he…whatever, dude. He made me nervous with his rants so I long ago tuned him out. I recently found I’d been booted from his blog, blocked from his hashtag, but I didn’t really give a fuck because I had better plans already anyway.
I had replaced the “other” hashtag with ours: #LPRTG. Using a tag for all erotica work (whether tame or brashly uncensored, whether fine art, literature, or pulp fiction) is a solid idea because it makes google and amazon and the other creators of bots and algorithms aware of our hard work as independent erotic writers and artists, and it helps us form a web of interrelation. This helps us get noticed in various mediums. Nothing wrong with being noticed when you’re trying to get readers.
In my opinion, nothing replaces the success of simply sitting down to write but some retweeting, sharing on FB, and the employment of bots like crowdfire and roundteam, can help us all reach more potential readers and easily spread the word about each other and ourselves. So please use a few characters of your 144 character to add #LPRTG (or @LiteraryPornRTG) and let us (and our followers — which will be growing) share for you. It has already gotten some traction and this is just the beginning. We would like to get 5 times larger to really help out. That starts with people adding the #LPRTG tag to their erotica books, their dirty poems, their sexual artwork, and more.
Also, feel free to combine the hashtag with any other hashtags you so desire. I couldn’t care less how you choose to use it and will support your posts unconditionally. I’ll suggest combinations that seem to do the best periodically.
Some News about the Literary Porn Hashtag
Since I love erotica and I love porn I want to make the phrase Literary Porn stick as a sub-genre of erotica writing. This is porn aimed more at the mind, at the taboos, than simply at the cock and cunt. Use the #LPRTG hashtag and I will retweet your posts (as long as they are smart and dirty). I love the #LPRTG hashtag and think it has done a lot of good for erotica writers. I want to keep with that awesome tradition and give us other ways to reach even more readers and writers of cerebral smut.
Also, if you have designs about guestposting, please contact me (by comment, email, twitter, facebook, instagram, etc). I’m all ears and hard tongue.
“You on point, Phife?
All the time, Tip!
Then grab the microphone and let your words rip!”
Just go about your business and don’t get too attached to any one medium. In other words, don’t spend all your time on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. Also, don’t completely trust yourself to just iBooks, Kobo, Amazon, or Smashwords. You should be ready in case one of these suddenly fails. Your writing business should persevere without dependence on only one avenue. Also, when it comes to social media it can be a bit deceptive. Really, you don’t get the sales from tweeting/posting that you might think you get. The most helpful thing is popularity on the various sales channels you are using. Amazon Rank, Reviews, and just gold old fashioned sales is what drives an author’s popularity. The best thing you can do is keep writing and stay on point. There are some good people out there who it will be a pleasure to befriend. Consider buying as many books as you can afford, reading them, reviewing them, and interacting with the authors you like. This will inspire you and teach you. Also, it’s fun. Remember, though, that there happen to be trolls and other nasty people out there, so use common sense always. That’s a sad fact of internet life.