Love Out Of Lust Series

Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer Daniels Guest Blogs on The AfterDark World

AfterDark Online is pleased to have Summer Daniels - one of the most expressive indie-authors to tell us about the importance of being an indie-author, and such interesting reasons of becoming one.


When did you consider yourself an author?

I have been a writer for many years, but never really considered myself an author until I hit "publish" on the first part of my Summers' Journey series back in August, 2011.

I was wrong.  Being a published writer did not make me an author.

I am a self-published indie and I am quite proud of that fact.

Traditional publishing can stand upon the decks of their sinking ships and attempt to stigmatize self-publishing until the waves of change finally crest over their heads.

I could care less.

Forget the stigma that traditional publishing has attempted to label self-publishing with.  Why would I care?  Why would YOU?

Being self-published gives me total control.  It also makes me a writer, editor, content format expert, website guru, marketing genius and saleswoman all rolled up into one busier than ever package.

That still did not make me an author however.

I did not come to realize this fact easily.  Introspection does not come naturally to most of us and I am certainly no exception to that rule.

It has been pointed out to me in the past that I was what we will politely term a "pigeon" promoter.  I came flying into a particular Facebook group / Goodreads forum / etc. / etc. and I dropped a load of self-promotional material - then flew off again.  This particular strafing run marketing technique did not earn me a lot of friends and followers among my fellow authors.

In my defense - my writing is my part time career (for now) and it is hard to keep so many promotional "balls" in the air without dropping one here or there.

I felt like some marketing was better than nothing and certainly - being self-published - no one was standing in line to volunteer to give me a hand.

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It was about this time that I came across a quote on J.A. Konrath's blog site - A Newbie's Guide to Publishing.  Feelings about Konrath tend to vary widely among writer's circles - everyone has an opinion.  Some see him as a standard bearer for new publishing.  Others see him as a slickly packaged marketing genius - using his blog reach to further his sales.

Say what you will about him - he speaks his mind freely - and more often than not is absolutely correct in predicting developments and trends within the changing times in the publishing world.

So - you can call me a Konrath fan - of his blog and of his writing, but that is not my point.  I digress - as I tend to do on occasion.

I found a quote on his website that really struck a chord in me.  As a writer.  As an author.  And truly as the person I want to be when I grow up.  (As if writers ever grow up - but humor me for the sake of my argument for a moment.)

Here is the quote - and I have no idea whether or not to attribute it to Konrath as it was listed with a bunch of other motivational quotes.

"Always have two hands reaching out.  One, for your next goal.  The other, to help people get to where you're at."

That's it.  That was my "aha" moment.  Simple and concise - yet it speaks volumes.

It is not a new concept of course.  Not like anyone was reinventing the wheel.  Help one another.  Or as Joe (notice how we are on a first name basis now - even though he doesn't know I exist?) also said in that particular blog post - "we are all in the same boat - and we all need to row."

I did not stop my self-promotion, but I began to embrace the tremendous feeling of community all around me.  I began to review books for other indie authors I had interacted with.  I volunteered (with much trepidation) to write a blog post or two myself - thinking all the while that as a newly self-published indie - who on earth was going to care what I had to say?

There is another famous quote that I shall paraphrase as follows:  Half of success is just showing up.

I began to show up.  I began to re-post other's promotional efforts, re-tweeting other author's tweets, sharing links to helpful articles or promotional sites I had found.

I became part of the community that I felt truly supported me when I was a nobody with a dream.  Now I'm a nobody with a dream AND a few books on Amazon, but I digress once again.

I became interested in more than my own goals, desires and needs.

I became someone that was happy to help with advice, opinions, beta-reading, reviewing, etc.

I became an author.

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There are many among us who truly go above and beyond to help one another.  They actively promote other author's works on their blogs, posting reviews, hosting blog hops, sharing knowledge and wisdom gained through countless hours of finding their own way in this changing digital landscape.

There are many others that are still out there trying to find their own path.  There is no right answer for success when it comes to indie publishing.  You experiment and find something that works for you.  You tinker, adjust, change, adapt and overcome.

It can be very overwhelming.  Social media abounds and there is always just one more site to post to - surely this one will be where I discover success.

I am starting to digress once again - and I'll be shocked if anyone is still reading this blog post.  The cynical among you might even point out that this blog post is approaching the length of one of my stories.

Anyway ... back to your regularly scheduled program ...

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My point is simple.  You have to do what feels right to you.  Know that for me personally - I never truly felt like I was an author in this wonderful community until I took the time to reach that hand back and attempt to help someone else get to where I had already been.

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I write erotica, albeit with a highly intelligent, witty and humorous bent.  Writing erotica - or just happening to be on Earth and breathing these days - it has been a little difficult to not notice the phenomenal success of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Say whatever you would like about the writing, the fact that it was Twilight fan-fiction first, or whatever else you might have thought about the story.  The fact remains that the success of Fifty Shades has brought a lot of people (okay - a lot of women ... a whole lot of women) - back to reading in a big way.  The effect it has had on erotica is very similar to what Harry Potter had on children's books.

So I had an idea.  At the time I had no idea if it was even a feasible idea, but I would say it has worked out.

Shamelessly riding the coattails of the Fifty Shades wave, I set up a Facebook page called What to read after Fifty (50) Shades of Grey.

The intent behind the page was to simply expose these new readers of the erotica genre to other erotic authors, including myself.

To say it has worked would be an understatement of epic proportions.

The Facebook page was launched 78 days ago.  It has resulted in 6,500 sales - an average of 83 books a day!  Not of my own books mind you - but of a wide variety of authors.  Some just starting out, others who are firmly established veterans of the genre.

The page is open for any and all authors that wish to post there and promote their works.  The vast majority of books that have sold have indeed been erotic in nature, but there are particularly voracious readers here - and if your promotional blurb appeals to them - you never know.

The point is that I finally feel like I am giving back - in some small way - to the community that has supported, encouraged and nurtured me from the very beginning. 

It takes some of us longer to see the obvious - right in front of us - than it does others.  That is just human nature.  It took me a while to reconcile the cyclical nature of Karma.  Do good for others - happily and willingly - and I truly believe that goodness will return to you ten-fold.

It took me awhile to stop being that pigeon marketer - and to start being an author.

Many thanks to Ray for allowing me to spew forth my opinions on his page today.  As always - your mileage may vary.

Support Indie Authors!

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Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others.  Unsuccessful people are always asking "What's in it for me?"  ~Brian Tracy

He who gives when he is asked has waited too long.  ~Sunshine Magazine

In about the same degree as you are helpful, you will be happy.  ~Karl Reiland

Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.  ~Norman B. Rice

I wondered why somebody didn't do something.  Then I realized, I am somebody.  ~Author Unknown

The only gift is a portion of thyself.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Summer Daniels is the author of the incredibly intelligent, witty, hot and sexy True Romance / Erotica series called Summer's Journey.  You can find her works exclusively on Amazon here: Summer Daniel's Amazon Author Page

You should go check out her series immediately.  No, really.  I'll wait here.

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Find Summer online at her Facebook Page or at the book recommendation / author promotion site that is What to read after Fifty (50) Shades of Grey.  

Go now - she'd love to hear from you.

8 comments:

  1. Nice Summer...and just liked your "What to read after 50 Shades" page...see ya' around...

    Cheers,
    Alan.

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  2. Very good post. My stuff is YA supernatural (I guess) and not erotica, but I believe I stand out from others because it tries to talk about the importance of friendship. I have felt much better about my writing since I met and became part of the community. Kudos to you for recognizing the importance of that in self-publishing.

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  3. Like you, I also have a full-time job, at least for now. It's a temporary assignment that looks like it will go on forever at this point. But, like you, I digress. :) I have very limited time to perform my "authorly" duties, but I try to promote others when I can, especially on my blog. I have a What I'm Reading feature, and every Wednesday post a writing tip. I wish I had time to do more, and I would certainly like to, but I have to be content with taking the baby steps for now and hope that the baby steps will add up to giant leaps down the road, because I would love to begin doing author features on my blog once or twice a month. It's tough juggling all the balls, but if we have the passion, we just have to keep trying.

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  4. The erotica self-pubbing community is amazing. For a new author, it's a little like a country bumpkin walking into Times Square. There are many friendly faces, crazy people running around, screaming to no one in particular at the top of their lungs, those trudging along with their eyes glued to the ground, groups of giggling girlfriends walking arm-in-arm, and that one weird guy standing on top of a cab, singing Copacabana. It's a tough crowd at times - it's hard to know who to trust, especially with so many alias's and multiple personas - but overall, everyone is in pretty much the same situation, in varying degrees.

    I agree, though, Summer. It's important to make good alliances and help your fellow authors. You've made a huge impact with your savvy, What to Read After Fifty. Fantastic idea and impeccable timing. Congratulations on the success of the page and well done on the guest post. Hopefully, one day soon, we'll all sing together at the top of the Times Square Tower.

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  5. Great post, Summer. Thank you for all you do. :)

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  6. I'm glad I've been doing this since 2006. I've critiqued others' work and recommended a few people to my publishers. They are published now, by the way. LOL Anyway, like you, I digress.

    I think helping others, also helps us. I've thought that all along. I love helping people and do so whenever I can. Sometimes a helping hand can mean the world to someone. Time is free, and I do my best to give mine freely.

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  7. Helping others is the only way to go. Karma, ne?

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  8. Great post, Summer. I also have trouble juggling all the balls that go with indie publishing; I try to do what I can but sometimes it becomes overwhelming. Your post confirms that I need to stay on top of the game.Congratulations on "What to read . . ."

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