Strip the Market Bare and Whip It: Ten Things Authors Must Do To Survive 2013

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This is publishing. She will spank you.

“Come, I want to show you my playroom.” … Taking a deep breath, I walk in. And it feels like I’ve time-traveled back to the sixteenth century and the Spanish Inquisition.
― E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey
“There’s a very fine line between pleasure and pain. They are two sides of the same coin, one not existing without the other.”
― E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey

Let’s talk BDSM—bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadomasochism—also referred to in some quarters as “publishing.” Throw in a spreader bar and a safeword and you’ve got “self-publishing,” where you not only have to participate in, at times, unpleasant scenarios that hurt-so-good, but you’re the kinky dominatrix of the whole damn show.

Listen, I’m not going to lie: like most of the women in this country between eighteen and eighty, I read the three Fifty Shades novels, and I think I can say with confidence that I am now an expert not only on erotica and BDSM-related matters, but the price of a quality leather riding crop in China. More on that later…

As many of you may be aware, I am the bestselling self-published author of five novels—four contemporary romances/romantic comedies and one thriller. I have taught workshops to standing-room-only audiences of mostly traditionally published authors at national writers conferences. I have advised New York Times bestselling authors how best to transition from the world of traditional publishing to that of self-publication. I have been interviewed for articles on self-publication for both TIME Magazine and Writers Digest. I have unflinchingly and publicly documented my successes and my failures (and will continue to do so for this series) making them available to the widest possible audience in the hopes that others might learn from what has worked for me and, perhaps more importantly, what has not.

I have been called an e-publishing “expert,” as evidenced by the fact that I am a regular blogger for Digital Book World’s Expert Publishing Blog (ergo, I must be one, yes?). I have also been called many other colorful names that would get this blog deleted by Digital Book World’s editorial director if I repeated them here.

Despite that, I have continued to offer my opinions (or, as some would characterize it: “shooting off my mouth into cyber-space”) on topics ranging from encouraging readers to Dumpster-dive by using strategic pricing methods, to why you’re better off pretending your book is a cup of Starbucks coffee or an online date, to how cover design is like flying the friendly skies without wearing pants.

This often makes people really, really angry (the opinion-sharing, not my pantlessness; most people are fine with that), as it did in May when I posted a blog on this forum suggesting that authors should absolutely respond to negative reader reviews the same way a business owner would respond to a customer complaint. (Quick, let’s have some fun…whoever correctly tallies up the number of F-bombs in this blog that may or may not be about me—wink! wink!—wins a free pair of Smart Balls). My controversial blog on responding to negative reader reviews would later be named to Digital Book World’s “Top Ten Digital Publishing Stories of 2012.”

Bottom line: I’m well-known for pushing the envelope and for advising other authors—both self-published and traditionally published—to do the same. Don’t like my advice? Don’t. Follow. It. It’s as simple as that.

Over the next month (give or take a week or two here or there for things such as My Life and My Career), I will be sharing ten things I believe all authors must do (or at the very least think about doing) in 2013. Get your safewords ready because I’ll not only be offering you a collection of tools you can use to stock your own Red Room of Pain (also known as “marketing” or “rising above the white noise of 10,000 new titles a day”), I will force you to think long and hard about every aspect of self-publication before you find yourself suspended from the ceiling, wondering if the handcuffs were such a good idea. For your reading pleasure, I will dispense this advice Fifty Shades of Grey-style.

As was the case with the book, some of my advice may shock you, some of it may feel familiar to you, and some of it may sting like the bite of leather riding crop across your backside. Then again, like Anastasia Steele, you may just decide that you like it.

And you don’t even have to sign a contract.

There will be nine more “THINGS” in the “Strip the Market Bare and Whip It: 10 Things Authors Must Do to Survive 2013.”

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Elle Lothlorien

About Elle Lothlorien

A “military brat,” Elle Lothlorien was born in Germany and spent her childhood in such far-flung places as Puerto Rico, Charleston, S.C., Italy, and Washington D.C. Sadly, the only language she ever became semi-fluent in is English. Elle’s first two self-published romantic comedies, THE FROG PRINCE and SLEEPING BEAUTY went on to become Amazon bestsellers. She is considered a “reluctant expert” on the business of electronic, independent publishing (also called “indie-publishing”), and frequently writes and speaks on the topic. Elle lives in Denver, Colorado. She keeps two dachshunds around the house to provide comic relief. Find out more about her and her books by going to her website, or by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

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