We’re back into the swing of things and moving along swimmingly, just like a nice little bunch of fish.
Okay, okay… get off the caffeine, Susan. I KNOW that was bad, but it’s out there and you’re laughing, so it’s a good way to start the day.
This is why they don’t let me out of my cage very often.
ANYWAY… I’m here today not to make a total fool of myself (because I do that enough without the aid of the internet), but to introduce everyone to a friend of mine and fellow NBP castaway, the Icelandic Princess, Erica Pike. Let me start by telling everyone that Erica is an amazing woman. She’s smart and resilient and quickly becoming one of my favorite people in the world. But enough of that…
Hey everyone 🙂
I’m Erica Pike, a purebred Icelander, and I write m/m erotic romance. Until June this year I’d been published for a little over a year and a half with two publishers: MLR Press for my novel-length work and No Boundaries Press for my shorter works. Now I just have MLR.
When I got my manuscripts back from NBP, I decided to use the opportunity to try my hand at self-publishing. I’d wanted to try it even before I first got published, but didn’t feel I had enough knowledge (I didn’t). However, after two years of experience with the publishing industry, I figured it was time to take the plunge. I’m a business undergrad with focus on marketing and management; I’ve built a good online presence; I have a growing readership; and I’m a bit of a computer geek, so the formatting shouldn’t be difficult. I mean, how hard could it be?
Hard. That’s how it was. Hard, but fun. I could have used these past couple of months to write the next novel. That was the plan until I learned I was getting the manuscripts back. Instead I’ve spent the last two months on this project alone. Granted, these were five stories I was republishing and one I was publishing for the first time.
I began by revising them, working with an editor (Douglas Black) until they seemed perfect enough, and buying beautiful covers from Zathyn Priest (Scarlet Tie Designs). This took about three weeks. Apart from releasing individual stories, I made two separate anthologies from these six stories and set them up in print through Createspace. I had to learn how to use the photo manipulation program to make the cover (using Zathyn’s individual covers) and make sure the pint manuscript was as perfect as it could be. This took a whole week, from morning to midnight, to complete (my sons were vacationing with their dad).
Then it took about two weeks (again, from morning to midnight) to get the eBook formatting perfect. I started publishing through All Romance eBooks and Amazon. The versions I made were nice enough, but then I decided to give Smashwords a shot. I’d been dreading it since forever, because they have this “meatgrinder” they put every manuscript through to see if it meets requirements for their premium catalog (where a whole new market opens up). With a knot in my stomach, I watched a simple video tutorial by a Smashwords user, and with my good understanding of Word formatting I was able to make it through the meatgrinder. Then, of course, I wanted to change all the other versions and use the same method, so it’s been a long process of getting everything right. Not to mention all the promotion I’ve poured into this in between the formatting.
Yeah, it’s been hard work, but I don’t regret it. It’s been challenging and invigorating. A steep learning curve, but I now possess knowledge I didn’t have before. I’m even finding the Smashwords formatting so much fun that I might offer a cheap service in the future. Of course, now that I know how it’s done, it all seems terribly easy 😉
Does this mean I’m dropping traditional publishers? No. I’m a hybrid now and I’ll continue on that route. I’ll probably self-publish my shorter titles and leave the longer ones to the publishers. Publishers not only possess excellent editors (that I won’t have to pay for), but also experience to learn from and added exposure through their established readership and promo channels. They also very often have an online group for the authors, so you get to know a lot of nice people with experience and connections.
So, my College Fun and Gays series got a nice overhaul and new covers. They have done extremely well: Four titles reached an All Romance eBooks’ category bestseller list and three titles reached the overall Top 50 Bestseller. Only one of those titles reached an ARe bestseller status with NBP. I’m blaming NBP; there are many factors involved: the new covers, the splash of promoting six titles at the same time, and the addition of the newest title. However, these results have been very rewarding and encouraging in continuing my path on the publisher/indie hybrid route.
For weeks, college student Casper has been the victim of sail-by goosing and groping. The problem is that Casper would very much like to get more than groped by those wonderful, big, hot hands. With a journal full of clues, he sets out to discover who his mystery groper is. He may, however, be in serious trouble once he discovers the ominous identity.
Hot Hands focuses on the effects of high school bullying for being gay.
“Hot-Hands” and Casper have been dating for a month, but their relationship is about as smooth as shattered glass. It doesn’t help that Hot-Hands is racked with guilt over his high school bullying of Casper, or that Casper darts away whenever his boyfriend gets a little too frisky.
Desperate to hang onto Casper, Hot-Hands tries to earn back the trust he destroyed years ago, so they can face their disastrous past and have a chance at a happy future.
Cold Hands focuses on high school bullying for being gay. This is the sequel to Hot Hands and contains big spoilers if read first.
The rest of the series: College Fun and Gays.
Also By Erica