Saturday 23 November 2013

Broken Moon - Part 1 Published!

Here it is! The first chapter of my brand new serial and sequel to Wild Instincts is now available to purchase on Amazon and Smashwords, with other retailers to follow!

Safety, security, and the promise of a doting mate. Everything a young female could wish for amongst the isolated Highland Pack -- and all things April has no choice in.
Part of her longs for more. For a relationship of passion rather than necessity, a life of discovery rather than obedience, and a future as something more than a mother to the next generation of werewolves born to her pack.

But the Highland wolves are strict in their rules, resistant to outside influences and viciously protective of their way of life.
When tragedy tears April's world apart, her only hope for salvation lies with a lone wolf from outside the pack; an exiled alpha with a dark past.
Is the Highland Pack's strict way of life the price she must pay for a safe future? Or is there something more for her waiting in the arms of the outsider, even when it sets a chain of events in motion that threaten to drive a dangerous divide between the wolves of the Highland Pack?

Romance, drama, intrigue, and a generous helping of steamy sex are all on the menu for this novel, and I'm more excited about it than any of my previously published titles!

As usual the current plan is to have it stretch over nine parts, and the total length should wind up at something in the ballpark of ~100k words. Unlike my previous novels and shorts this one is going to edge closer to romance than it is erotica, though sex is still going to be a prominent theme, and there'll be plenty of it in the chapters to come!

This is also the first story I've written that's been conceived as a novel from the very start. His Darkest Desire and Wild Instincts were initially short multi-part serials in my mind that later developed into novels, but with Broken Moon I know exactly what it's going to be right off the bat.
As a result I'm hoping it'll turn out to be a much better, tighter, more engaging story. I have a lot of stuff planned out already, and spent a long time fleshing out the characters and their personalities beforehand compared to my previous books, along with concocting a whole bunch of heartstring-tugging ideas for future plot developments!

It's early days yet, but I have high hopes for Broken Moon!

As the Xmas season closes in I'll be working on chapter two, along with starting another editing pass on the compiled edition of Wild Instincts. I'll also be posting more thoughts about my first year in self publishing next week!

Monday 18 November 2013

A Year in Self Publishing (Part 1!)

Goodness, time really flies by, doesn't it?
Actually it's been a little over a year since I published my first few titles on Smashwords, and longer still since I first started looking into self publishing, but now seems like a good time to have a quick look back at how this first year in the indie community has gone for me.

Overall, I feel as though I've had a very strong start to my career as an author. It hasn't come on in the leaps and bounds over the months that I hoped for after my initial success last January, but it's certainly at the level where I feel comfortable calling this my "job", rather than just a hobby or something I'm struggling to break into.

Sales numbers started out slow (practically non-existent) last September, before picking up rapidly into the triple digits in November/December when I got published on Amazon and Smashwords started distributing me to other retailers, before peaking at pretty fantastic levels in February/March, and finally settling down into modest but consistent numbers over the rest of the year. Right now my sales are really starting to perk up again, and I'm hoping for the beginning of 2014 to bump my income up another notch and hopefully stay there for a good long while.

What's pleased me most about this year has been the consistency of sales, even when they've been less spectacular than I've hoped. I attribute this mainly to having books spread out across multiple retailers, rather than having all my eggs in one basket in KDP select or some similar service. If one retailer doesn't do so well, I can rest assured that at least one of the others is probably going to pick up the slack in some way. Even during drought periods of content when I've been busy working on a large project, or otherwise delayed by other happenings in my daily life, sales haven't dwindled away to nothing. This probably has a lot to do with the serialised structure I've been using with my releases. At most there's usually only around a month between releases right now, so I've almost always got something new-ish out there to attract attention.

However, the biggest help to me by far has been the free promotion for erotica titles available through What to Read After 50 Shades of Grey and more recently Korner Kafé Exposed. I send titles their way roughly once every couple of weeks, and my freebies every few months as per their submission guidelines, and the results have been absolutely fantastic. We're not talking massive explosions of sales overnight, more a consistent handful of purchases every couple of weeks, and incredibly helpful bumps to free titles to help them get into (and stay in) the top 100 in their category on Amazon.

Visibility is everything, and having a free title hanging around in the top 100 of its category has consistently netted me around double the number of sales I've gotten in months when my books have been floating around in the vacuum of low Amazon rankings.

Of course, getting into the top 100 of a popular category in't super hard, but staying there certainly is. Tempted to Submit, the first part of my debut eRom novel, has been as high as #2 in Amazon's free erotica category before, but it's never stayed in the top 100 for more than a few weeks at a time before other titles hop in to take its place, and the rank has always fluctuated wildly on a daily basis. Erotica is a big old slush pile, and new titles are being shovelled on every day. Unless you're a big name like Selena Kitt with lots of promotion and authorial clout across the web, it's hard to cling on to a spot in the top 100 and rely on it for consistent visibility over time.

That's where a nice niche can help!

The first part of Wild Instincts, my paranormal eRom title, has been hanging on to a very consistent rank and rarely moving more than ~10 spots up and down the top 100 of Romance > Paranormal > Werewolves and Shifters for roughly a month or so ever since it arrived there. A month isn't the longest time in the world, but the fact that a title can hold on to its spot so consistently tells me that there's far less competition in this subgenre, which should mean that Wild Instincts will carry on netting itself a lot of visibility for a good while yet, even if it slides a long way down the overall Amazon rankings.

The monetisation model of serials and shorts has definitely been a big contributor to my (very modest!) success as well, but I think I'm going to save that topic (and perhaps a few more) for next week!

There's a lot to cover in a year of self publishing, even for a quick and dirty recap like this, but hopefully I can get around to all the key things that have been most important to me by this time next week!

Monday 11 November 2013

Pets & Punishment Published, The Great Edit-a-thon of 2013 is Complete!

Phew, it's been way too long since my last blog post, but I've been working hard to get Broken Moon #1 ready and this final bundle of mine put together.
Pets & Punishment consolidates the last three of my erotic shorts into one steamy package, and is now available to purchase on Amazon and Smashwords!

Whips and canes, cuffs and gags, leashes and collars -- some girls love nothing more than the firm hand of a domineering master to teach them a harsh lesson in the bedroom.
Filled with pain, pleasure, and sizzlingly wicked punishment, Claudia King presents three erotic shorts themed around BDSM, pet play, and rough, wild, passionate encounters.
Not for the faint of heart!


Confessions of a Slut Puppy
More Confessions of a Slut Puppy
Punishing the Principal

Confessions of a Slut Puppy:

When Fiona's husband buys her a cute little puppy tail to wear in the bedroom she is more than happy to indulge him. With the long days at home driving her to boredom, however, her tail soon becomes more than just a sex toy, and she finds herself fascinated by the prospect of becoming an obedient puppy slave for the man she loves.

More Confessions of a Slut Puppy:

Fiona is her husband's obedient puppy slave, completely devoted to both him and the kinky games they play together. When the couple start to become involved with a local BDSM community, however, Fiona's husband soon has plans for her to serve more than just one master...

Punishing the Principal:

Uptight Principal Alexandra's newest teacher Bret aggravates her to no end, but when she invites her cocky colleague to her house for a serious talk about his future, tempers and passions quickly flare. Does Lex really want to punish him? Or is she the one longing to be punished, spanked, forced, and made to feel like a whore for the first time in her life?

15000 words total.


So! This means that my great edit-a-thon of 2013 is finally complete (and just in time!). All of my old erotic shorts from last year should be updated across most retailers by now with minor revisions and much tighter editing. I've done my best to turn all of those pesky hyphens into emdashes, turn a few commas into full stops, iron out some awkward run-on-sentences, and catch as many typos as I can. I'm sure there are still a few lingering problems, but I think I can safely come to the end of 2013 feeling a lot more confident about the quality of my back catalogue!

Now that I've cleared most of my backlog I'll probably do another article soon about my first full year in self publishing (gosh, it's flown by!) sharing some of my experiences, the tricks I've picked up, the mistakes I've made, and what I'm hoping to improve upon in the future. I'm by no means a seasoned veteran yet, but I've definitely reached the point where I feel confident in calling myself "a writer".

Next up on the schedule is publishing the first chapter of Broken Moon, followed by further revisions of Wild Instincts in preparation for release as a standalone novel at the beginning of next year.