Tag: Author

I Got Mentioned in the “Loving BDSM” Podcast

 

My Fucking Day Job keeps me pretty busy physically, but not mentally. Consequently, I have long and boring periods of time where I don’t have the opportunity to read, but I am perfectly able to entertain myself by listening to audiobooks and podcasts. I try to use this as an opportunity not just to be amused, but also to further my education on my craft, as well as the world in general. I listen to classic novels, in order to study the great writers. I listen to many modern novels for the same reason. I listen to non-fiction audiobooks on subjects that I think might help me strengthen my key weaknesses as an independent writer: self-promotion and sales. I also listen to a lot of stuff just for ideas, and to broaden my knowledge of the world in general, as well as my knowledge of more specific areas of expertise that can come up in my writing.

One of the podcasts that I am subscribed to is the “Loving BDSM” podcast, by Kayla Lords and John Brownstone. Kayla is, in her own words, “a masochistic babygirl,” and John Brownstone is her Daddy Dom. Their podcast is about BDSM relationships, but is less geared toward the technical details of mechanics and biology, and is more focused on how to form and maintain strong, safe, and loving (if desired) relationships in the context of BDSM and the BDSM community.

I stumbled onto their podcast while searching for more information on BDSM relationships, because I’ve written some BDSM stuff in the past, and plan to write more in the future. Their podcast was useful in this regard, but I also quickly became charmed by the couple themselves, and have become quite a fan.

The Loving BDSM Podcast has a Bonus Section at the end of each episode, where they engage in general chitchat, discuss tangents that didn’t make it into the episode, provide updates about their lives, and so forth. Another thing they do in the Bonus Section is to discuss the postcards that they get from their fans.

I toyed with the idea of sending them a postcard, because I thought it would be nice to hear my own name mentioned in one of their episodes. I got the idea at some point that instead of mailing them a local postcard, I’d try to have a postcard made off of the cover of one of my books. I considered doing this with “Letting Go,” the romantic BDSM novel that I co-wrote with Kelli Roberts, but eventually settled on my story “Satisfied By A Stegosaurus,” because I love that cover in particular, and I thought they’d get a kick out of it.

Then I procrastinated for a long while, and recently decided that it would be simpler to just mail them a physical copy of the book, because it’s one of my stories that is long enough to work with Amazon’s print-on-demand publishing feature. So I mailed them a copy of the book, along with a note thanking them for their podcast.

Then I waited almost a full week to see if they mentioned me on their podcast.
AND THEY DID!!!!

More than just a quick “ we got this thing from Richard Bacula,” they spent a bit of time discussing the book, and Kayla read the back of the book for her listeners. I knew that it’d feel good to hear myself mentioned, but I was surprised at how over-the-top happy it made me!!

It’s a small thing, but it’s one of those things that makes me feel like a real writer. Thanks to working with Kelli Roberts on “Letting Go,” I’ve seen my name in a couple prominent places before. We got a press release on the AVN (Adult Video News) website when the book came out, and a couple of years ago the novel got a mention in Women’s Health Magazine as a way for couples to spice up their love life (i.e., read this book it will make you both horny), and while those were each certainly an absolute blast to see… this mention in a podcast with a much smaller audience than AVN or Women’s Health gave me as big of a thrill, perhaps more.

It’s one thing to see your name in print somewhere, and it’s another thing to hear it, and to hear people talking about your book. Hearing it makes it all seem more real somehow. I wrote a thing. I self-published it. I got a physical copy of the book. I mailed that copy to a couple of strangers. And They Talked About It!!

So I’m in a good mood.

This is the kind of success that is in some ways more important than direct sales, because morale is often at least as important than money when it comes to writing, at least for me.

 

Anyway, if you want to hear what they had to say about my book, you can listen to the entire episode here:
What You Can and Can’t Say in a D/s Relationship LB130

 

(Or just skip to about 59:47, if you just want to hear the part where they talk about me!)

Finding Words And Thoughts

It’s the 19th of May, and my challenge this year is to write a new blog post for each day of the month. So far, I’ve written only TEN blog posts! That’s not great. I need to catch up, and I need to do it fast. I’ve set an 800 word minimum for my posts this month, so if you’re following my blog you should probably expect to see a number of upcoming posts that are short and hopefully sweet, things that I churn out quickly in order to get to the next post.

I’ve gotten quite good at doing that kind of thing with short stories, but blog posts are a different kettle of fish. With writing short erotic fiction, especially stuff in the 800-word range, the only thing to focus on is the sex itself. There’s no time to say much else in that kind of project, although other stuff can be squeezed in. With blog posts, it’s all saying other stuff, which is less in my area of expertise than with writing highly-detailed sex scenes.

As I’ve mentioned before, the key to cranking out a lot of writing fast is learning to get out of your own way. You have to push all of your doubts aside, shove your insecurities into the basement and lock the door. You can’t spend time second-guessing or third-guessing everything that you type, because you’ve got to get through the word-count and move on to the next project, then the one after that, and so forth.

This is also where it becomes important to be what they call “fluent in writing.” Writing is a kind of language all its own, different from and more difficult than speech. Being fluent in writing means that the time it takes to translate the thoughts in your head onto the page are minimal. Ideally, you can more or less type out your thoughts as quickly as they occur.

Learning fluency in writing takes time and effort, which is why most writers hand out advice like “write every day” or “keep a daily journal” or so forth, because learning fluency takes a lot of practice. When you first start writing, it’s difficult because you have all this stuff in your head, and it’s hard to get it onto the page properly.
You might envision a tall, muscular, dark-haired man with a mustache, with a basket-hilted longsword on his hip, a cloak on his shoulders, and a top hat on his head, riding a black seventeen-hand Shire stallion with lovely brown eyes that match his light brown leather horse tack. This man is riding quickly, but not at a full gallop, and he’s in a forest of Scotch pine. The full moon is high in the sky, but the forest is still dark. He’s in a hurry to reach his true love, but he’s wary of the bandits that sometimes set upon unwary travelers in this forest.

You might, in your early years of writing, write that down as “James rode Augustus through the woods,” and then be completely puzzled why your friends and family aren’t blown away by what is–in your imagination–a very powerful scene. That’s because you haven’t learned the language of writing yet, so important details were lost in translation.

Fortunately for me, I have wasted decades of my life arguing meaningless minutia with people on online message forums. I started out on dial-up Bulletin Boards, and continue to some degree to this day. More fortunately for me, I have always had in my head an inkling that I wanted to be a writer someday, so as I was typing furiously back and forth with all those people online, I tried to use it as practice. I put forth some level of effort in everything I wrote, trying to make sure that things were well-spelled, well-punctuated, and whenever possible cleverly phrased. The net result of all this is that I am fairly fluent in the language of writing, to the point where I can usually write rather smoothly, with little to no need for serious editing or rewrites. Usually.

Another helpful factor is that I have always been a big reader, and it is always helpful when learning a new language–such as the language of writing–to immerse yourself in that language. The more you drink in, the easier it is to spit back out. You can subconsciously learn all sorts of rules and subtleties of the language that aren’t taught in school, and you find it easier to think in that language as well, minimizing the translation required to put your thoughts to paper.

All of which is to say that when it comes to blog posts, I know that I’m capable of the speed which will be required for me to catch up to my goal, and to complete my May Challenge for this year. The main obstacle will be finding enough material to write about. All the fluency in the world is of absolutely no avail when one runs out of things to say.

Why He Thinks You’re Pretty

You know you’ve wondered.

You’ve probably also worried about it. You might might not think that you’re an utter beast, and you might think that you’re fairly good looking in certain light from the right angles, with the right clothes and the right makeup. You might be confident in your looks sometimes, but at other times you get those doubts, and you don’t understand how he can think that you’re pretty when you’re… just you.

Doesn’t he see your flaws?

Doesn’t he know what you look like when you’re not at your best?

You sometimes feel like an imposter, like maybe when he looks at you he’s seeing somebody else.

And he is.

I mean, he’s still seeing you, but it’s not the same you that lives in your mirror. He’s seeing a you that you’ve never seen before, because he’s looking at you entirely from the outside, without your familiarity, preconceptions, or your doubts. Beauty is a matter of perspective, and his perspective is different from yours.

You’ve had your entire life to look at your own body, and your perspective has been shaped by what you’ve seen. You know that perhaps you used to be thinner. You know that maybe things didn’t develop the way you expected. You look at yourself, and you see everything that you think you should be, and everything that you think you have been, and there’s this whole long history attached to how you view yourself. A history that he doesn’t have.

He has his own history, his own attachments, and his own standards of beauty.

Yes, sure, the beauty standards of the majority of people fall by definition within the mainstream. He probably likes those stunning models and pornstars, probably lusts after them and fantasizes. There are various features that are fairly universally attractive. Yet everybody within the mainstream still has their own personal tastes, their own ideas of what beauty is. Mainstream beauty is Vanilla ice cream. It’s Bud Light. It’s the generic middle of a much, much larger zone of tastes, and it’s the most universally popular in many ways because it’s generic.

The only way to have universal appeal is to be middle-of-the-road in all categories. The more that any physical feature stands out from the crowd, the more divisive it becomes, because tastes vary. Some guys like big breasts, but some don’t. Some like big butts, but some don’t. Some like thin waists, but some don’t. Some like big noses, but some don’t.

And the reverse is also true: for most every feature that many people don’t like, there are people out there who do like it.

There are many reasons for this, but the biggest reason is simply because our individual ideas of beauty are heavily based in lifelong Pavlovian responses to what we experience. When people are good to us as children, we often imprint on their physical features as representing that goodness.

We are often attracted to people who remind us in some way of our parents, simply because our parents are our models for what people “should” look like. Perhaps your eyes remind him of his mother’s eyes, for example.

We are often also attracted to people who remind us of other people we’ve been attracted to. Perhaps your smile reminds you on some level of his first crush.
But mostly–and increasingly over time–your features remind him of you, of all the things that he likes best about you.

The longer you’re with him, the more he associates your appearance with those good and unique things that you provide for him. Your smile reminds him of all the times he’s made you laugh, and of the way your face lights up when you see him. Your hair reminds him of all the times he’s run his fingers through it during intimate moments. Your eyes remind him of the way you look at him, the way they flash when you’re angry, and so on.

When you look at yourself, what stands out are your imperfections, because anything that makes you stand out as different can (and will be, and has been) used against you by somebody or by the world in general. You see these differences, and they appear ugly to you.

When he looks at you, he’s seeing the best features, the things that he likes about you. Any features that he actually doesn’t like are going to be ignored in favor of the features that he finds pleasing.

More importantly, those same traits that you dislike about yourself because they make you different from other women? He’s likely to like them, because they make you different from other women. It’s the traits that are most uniquely yours that make you stand out, and those are the ones that he’ll most strongly associate with you.

And because he loves you, he’ll tend to love the things that he associates with you, including physical features.

Why I Don’t Review Fellow Authors

I don’t review other authors, not as a rule. This is for several reasons, starting with the fact that many of my fellow authors’ egos are easily bruised. I, on the other hand, went to college specifically to study the craft of writing, and I experienced years of peer review sessions where my work was constantly judged by my fellow classmates. This judgment was not always kind, and was sometimes even brutal.

That was fine with me, and with most of the rest of the serious writers in the classroom, because what we wanted most was to know how we could improve our work. Yes, praise for the things that we did well was important, but we also needed to hear what our areas of greatest weakness were, and how to fix them. That’s not the kind of lesson that we could learn if we were easily hurt by hearing what other people really think of our writing.

Consequently, I’ve built up a callous that many other indie writers often seem not to have.

Another factor is simply my own decades of internal critiques and analyses of various popular works. When I read a book, watch a movie/play/TV show, listen to a song, and so forth, I always come away from the experience with a list of praises and complaints. I vivisect the writings of others, and I discuss writing with other people, and I read reviews. All of which has thoroughly demonstrated to me that audiences as a whole have very different tastes in entertainment, writing included.

There have been many popular works of entertainment or education that I have personally loathed, and have felt were absolutely horribly written. That doesn’t affect their popularity. Likewise, there have been any number of critically panned and/or unpopular pieces of entertainment or education that I have personally found quite enjoyable and/or well-written. Again, my opinion doesn’t affect the overall popularity or success of the work. Just because some people dislike something doesn’t mean that everybody else will, and just because some people think that something is bad doesn’t mean that everybody else will agree.

I’ve learned over time to not take bad reviews very personally, because everybody has a right to their own opinion, but that opinion doesn’t necessarily mean much about how other people might view the same work.

Moreover, there are quite a few works of entertainment that are masterfully written, but that are simply not to my particular tastes, and there are any number of works of entertainment that are poorly written, but that I personally enjoy. Quality is only one aspect of appreciation, and personal taste accounts for a lot.

So when receiving reviews, I tend to take most criticisms in stride simply because I’m not likely to be much affected by one person’s opinion of my work. Not all authors have the same attitude, however, and cannot seem to take my review of their work as simply my personal view of their work, as just Some Guy’s Opinion. They can often take it personally, no matter how politely, and/or gently I try to express myself to them.

For that matter, some authors don’t even want reviews to be gentle, and can take that kind of soft serve response as an insult in its own right. Even when attempting to determine what kind of author I’m dealing with, what kind of feedback they’re looking for, I’ve inadvertently hurt people’s feelings. After reading one author’s work, I asked how they wanted the criticism, if they preferred it to all be super-nice, or more toward the soul-crushing side of things.

Just the fact that “soul-crushing” was a possible end of the spectrum greatly upset this author.

All of which wouldn’t matter much, except that there’s often a lot of drama that goes along with hurting another author’s feelings. Especially as an indie author, I try to avoid feuds and drama with fellow writers. It all gets in the way of accomplishing my goals of writing and selling my own stories. I’ve seen too many other authors get caught up in drama following a review of a fellow author’s work, and I’ve rarely seen it pay off very well.
Even if I was willing to deal with that kind of thing, yet another factor is that I don’t have nearly as much free time to read as I’d like, and I already have a reading list that would take months or years to get through. Adding to that list, only to end up hurting another author’s feelings, is not a particularly enticing opportunity.

In short, I am a picky reader who is likely to find some kind or level of fault in almost anything and everything that I read, and in my experience most indie writers cannot deal well with people pointing out their faults. That’s perfectly fine; I’ll be quite content to avoid reviewing them for that reason.

Of course, there are always those authors who feel insulted when they don’t get reviews at all.

TWITTER!! Huh, Yeah, What Is It Good For!?

Twitter first caught my attention until I was Googling myself one day to see if I was famous yet, and I found a conversation where people were tweeting about various dino-erotica titles and covers, and somebody mentioned that they liked the title “Satisfied By A Stegosaurus.” I made a Twitter account, and it swiftly became my main social media format. I tried Facebook back in the day, and I don’t like it. I have a FB account currently, but I keep forgetting that it exists, so it’s poorly maintained. Likewise, I’m on LinkedIn, Tumblr, G+, and probably some other stuff that I don’t remember. Twitter is the main one that I use.
Occasionally I’m asked if Twitter is good for promoting one’s work, and the short answer is that no, it’s not. Granted, I’m not good at optimizing self-promotion. Granted, self-promoting via Twitter is better than nothing. Still, in my experience, it doesn’t yield very much in returns.
For a stretch of time, back when I just had ~10 titles on Amazon, I spent about an hour on Twitter every morning, and another hour every evening, faithfully tweeting and retweeting and interacting and such. The net result was that for as long as I kept up that level of activity, I’d make about $10/month. Then when I slacked off, sales would trickle down to zero, or very close.
As I said, Twitter is definitely better than nothing. $10/month is–looking at straight numbers–infinitely better than $0/month. The problem is that it’s still just $10/month.
I figured okay, but I only have 10 titles right now. That’s about an average of $1/title/month, so if I get 100 or 1000 titles, I’ll be pulling in much more money for the same effort. But I don’t have that many titles. I ran into a bottleneck in my production, one I’ll talk about later: cover art. I still believe that IF one has enough titles, and IF one is active enough on Twitter in the right ways, it CAN get a decent financial return for the effort. But there are most likely other, better returns out there for the same amount of effort.
Twitter’s strength is quite simply NOT promotion.
Twitter’s strength is making connections.
It’s not hard for any indie writer on Twitter to fall into a network of other indie writers. We all occasionally (at least) ask people to buy our books, and most of us don’t do much buying of other people’s books in return, because most of us are poor and/or don’t have as much time to read as we’d like, and/or are picky bastards who became writers in the first place because most writing isn’t up to our standards.
While Twitter friends might not overall be the best buyers, they can become invaluable assets in one’s writing career. You can find beta-readers, editors, writing partners, and business opportunities that you might not be able to find otherwise. I’ve made a number of friend connections that aren’t just fun, but that help me focus on what I need to focus on most: writing.
My friend @AngoraShade, for example, is fun to shoot chitchat or food pictures back and forth with, but she’s also an invaluable beta-reader, somebody to exchange tips and information with, somebody to help boost morale, and so forth. We’ve passed ideas back and forth, tipped each other off to tempting anthology calls, discussed experiences about different formats and websites to share our writing on, and so forth.
A good friend/contact can be more important than finding dozens of customers. I have made dozens or hundreds of dollars over the past several years trying to use Twitter to self-promote, but I have made thousands of dollars by making connections via Twitter.
Most of this came from a single opportunity in the form of an encounter with erotica writer, AVN-nominated, and webmaster Kelli Roberts. We ran into each other online, and I ended up shooting her a link to my free erotic Halloween story “Corn Hold.”
She was impressed enough with my writing that she brought me in on a project she was working on, a romantic BDSM novel called “Letting Go,” a work designed to ride the wave of the “50 Shades” popularity, only with better sex scenes, and written not only for those unfamiliar with BDSM, but also for the more experienced crowd.
While the project didn’t turn out as profitable as we had hoped, due to our major promoter all but backing out of the deal, it’s still my most profitable endeavor to date, as well as some of my best work. I was able to pay some bills when the book debuted, and again when it got a mention in Women’s Health Magazine.
(Incidentally, the ebook version of “Letting Go” is free until May 11. So get a copy now!)
That’s the best way to use Twitter: use it to connect with the right people and opportunities. You don’t want to spam out random pitches to everybody, but you can get to know all sorts of people over Twitter. People are accessible on Twitter in ways that you just don’t get on other social media. You can tweet at a celebrity or a large business, and you have a chance–maybe a very tiny chance–of them responding to what you’ve said, compared to a cold email that would likely just end up in the spam folder.
Twitter is a useful tool, but it’s better for the precision work of pointed, deliberate connection-making than it is for just spamming out blindly and hoping for results.
At least, that’s my personal experience with it.

The Nature and Nurture of Pain

This is quite a few years ago, and I’m sitting in a car with girl. I was giving her a ride, but now we’re pulled over on the side of the road. It’s raining, and the windows are fogging over. The girl is thin, and so is the fabric of her dress. She has pale blonde hair, a pretty smile, and a pleasing frame. We’re talking about sex, and there is zero possibility of us having it with each other.

We both have girlfriends that we’re committed to, for starts. I don’t know if she’s flat-out gay, or if she’s bi, but it doesn’t matter. Our excitement in this conversation, the gleam in each of our eyes, isn’t about each other–it’s about sex itself. It’s the kind of thing that happens when you get two enthusiastic and informed hobbyists together, and they babble back and forth about the object of their mutual interest. Strong mutual interest in a topic doesn’t necessarily translate into strong interest in each other.
In addition to being into BDSM, she’s a cutter.

I don’t find that appealing, but I do find it fascinating. I’ve never talked to a cutter before, not about cutting. She’s explaining how it works, the physiology and psychology of it, and she really knows her shit on this topic. She’s researched the fuck out of it. I’m learning a lot.

A decade or two into the future, I’m going to strain to remember the exact things she told me, and how she phrased them. I’m going to fail, and I’m going to just say ‘fuck it’, and I’ll fake it, writing this blog post as if I have the kind of mental precision of memory required to accurately dictate something that happened so long ago.

“It’s not just about the pain,” she’s telling me. “And it’s not just about the control.”

I’d brought up the subject of control, the idea that one part of self-cutting was that the cutters were looking for a way to exert some kind of power over their own life. She’d given me the kind of physical, non-verbal response that you get when you’ve said something that’s perhaps in the right direction, but only part of the answer.

“When the body suffers trauma, when it feels pain, there are physical responses that take place. Pain lets you know that there’s an emergency going on, and the body starts responding to that emergency immediately. As soon as there is pain, the body starts pumping out painkillers to deal with it.”

She mimes cutting herself, using a single long fingernail to draw a thin line across the pleasantly pallid flesh of her forearm.

She uses the technical terms, naming the emergency hormones and what they do. The specifics will get lost with time, but the lessons remain burned into my brain. I’d read any number of things about people who were into pain, but none of them had really addressed this kind of root cause. The simple truth of it all–or of one key aspect–was that when the body experiences pain, the body produces painkillers, and people can use painkillers for recreational and/or medicinal purposes.

“These painkillers not only help numb you physically, and to give you a physical buzz, but also help do the same thing on a mental level. That’s why cutting and BDSM are popular among people who suffer from depression–they’re using the chemical results of physical pain in order to battle their mental suffering. That’s why I got into it–I have pretty severe depression.”

I haven’t yet realized that I suffer from depression, because it doesn’t generally manifest as sadness, and I haven’t realized that sadness and depression aren’t the same thing. I know at this point that I have periods of inactivity where getting out of bed in the morning seems like a horrible fate. I’ve often felt as if life was hollow, pointless, and cruel, but it hasn’t yet occurred to me at this point that the problem lies at least partially in my own brain. At this point in my life, I’m still young enough and foolish enough to think that I’m the one who sees things clearly, and all those happy people are the ones who are wrong. This outlook will change over the next decade or two, but in the moments of this particular conversation in the rain, I’m taking notes on self-medications that I naively believe are applicable to other people. I don’t consider self-medication, because I don’t yet consider that I have any form of mental illness or disorder.

Time will pass, and this will change.

I’ll remember the girl and the conversation many times in my life, particularly when I get my first tattoo. I’ll sit in the chair for an hour or so, having my flesh punctured repeatedly, enduring the pain, and I’ll ride a kind of semi-euphoric high for the next several days. I’ll feel like life is good, like things are right, and like it all makes sense. After the direct chemical high fades away, I’ll look at the tattoo from time to time, and I’ll have an echo of that high flash through my memory because there’s a Pavlovian link in my brain now between that particular piece of art and those feelings of well-being. I’ll remember this conversation, and I’ll understand what’s happening to me. I’ll wish that more people could have that kind of education into the nature and nurture of pain.

The Rubik’s Cube solver runs in your web browser and it finds easily the solution for your puzzle.

Being An Invisible Writer

Conventional wisdom is that independent authors can’t ever achieve success by going around asking everybody they meet to buy their books, especially if they do it by spamming out social media posts, emails, and what not, asking people to do exactly that with no other introduction. Conventional wisdom is correct.

What you’re supposed to do is to come at things a bit more sideways than that. You have to create a “platform,” some kind of format or forum where people come for something other than your for-sale writing. Once you have the crowd good and hooked on whatever free thing or things you’ve been giving them, then you casually mention that oh, you’ve happened to have written something that happens to be for sale, in case anybody is interested. By this time, the people all know you, and they presumably like you, and they’ll be much more likely to be interested in whatever it is you happen to be selling.

Conventional wisdom is very likely to be correct again… but it doesn’t do me any real good at this point.

I’ve put in the time and effort to study my craft at a national university. I got my degree, but it’s not bringing me any money, so I have to have a day job to pay my bills while I try to fend off the student loan jackals repeatedly. I’m not asking for pity here–it’s all perfectly normal, and I’m not exactly a starving artist. But if I had it all to do over again, I’d do things differently, because the only real skill I picked up in college is writing itself.

I have the skills it takes to weave (hopefully) compelling stories, full of interesting characters and/or situations. I do not have the skills required to make a podcast, or to have a YouTube channel, or whatever else it takes to build a decent platform. So it seems to me a bit like going to law school, then graduating to discover that all lawyers must hand-build their own office before they can take any new clients. It’s a bit frustrating.

Not only do I lack the skills it takes to build a pre-existing audience for my work, I also lack the time. It can take years of dedicated work to build up a decent base of potential consumers who are all interested in you and what you have to say, and I’m in my mid-forties. Taking on what is essentially an unpaid second job, in a field I’m uninterested in, and spending a few years at it before seeing real results, just doesn’t seem like something that I’m realistically able or likely to do.

All of which means that I have to find other ways to let the world know that I exist.

I mean, sure, I’m going to try to work on my platform, and my brand, and so forth. That’s one reason why I’m dedicating this entire month of May to adding to my much-neglected blog. Blogs, actually, because in addition to my old Goodreads blog, I’ve set up another blog on WordPress, and it’s seeing some activity already. I only started my WordPress blog five days ago, and I already have 13 followers. That, plus my 150 followers from my Goodreads blog means that I have a potential platform of 163 people. Maybe it’ll increase significantly by the end of this month, and much of my irritation and hand-wringing about platform-building will turn out to have been for naught. I doubt it, but that’s okay–I have other plans.

Because I don’t envision much success with building my own platform, I plan to try to figure out ways to use other people’s platforms. For example, this year I’m focusing more on submitting work to anthologies, because while I only get a one-time fee for that kind of work, the people putting together and selling the anthologies are going to do the heavy lifting when it comes to promotion. The people will hear about the anthology because of the antho-makers’ platforms, and when they buy the book, they’ll read it, see one of my glorious stories, and think to themselves, “My! Who IS this Richard Bacula chap, and where can I read more of his wonderful writing?” Then they’ll go to Amazon, see my 30-something titles currently available for sale for as low as 99 cents (ahem!), and perhaps make a purchase or two.

Similarly, I plan to look into doing some guest blog posts on other people’s better-supported, better-promoted blogs. If you’re reading this, and you have a blog with any kind of decent following, and you might like a guest post from yours-truly, let me know.

For that matter, I’m always open to co-writing short fiction with other authors. There are plenty of authors who have the opposite problem that I do–they’re significantly better at promotion than they are at the actual writing part. For that matter, there are non-authors who have a platform and a following, and who haven’t really considered breaking into the erotic fiction market, and who could use a talented co-author like myself. Again, if this sounds like it might describe you or somebody you know, contact me or have that person contact me.

As things are, I feel that my main obstacle is simply getting the world to know that my writing exists. My sales currently make my writing a fun hobby that brings in beer money, or the occasional minor windfall like when my BDSM novel (which happens to be free for Kindle today if you want to check it out) “Letting Go” was mentioned in Women’s Health Magazine a couple years back.

I guess that’s all that I’ve really got to say at this point. I’ve got some other irons in other fires, and some secret schemes to rocket me to the top, but nothing really worth discussing at this point.

See you next time!