I've been publishing erotica and erotic romance for sixteen years now, and I've seen a lot of changes. With the tsunami of self-published work flooding the electronic shelves these days, it has become harder than ever to find readers and make sales. Sometimes I get a bit discouraged. (I think we all do.) But then I remember that I'm really not in it for money or fame. There are other rewards, more enduring and ultimately more satisfying.
Ten Things I Love About Being an Author
1. I can create worlds. There's something magical about starting with a premise, a set of characters and a setting and building a fully-fleshed world, entirely out of words – a world that can make people laugh, cry, hope, and believe.
2. I can let my dirty mind run free. For years I kept my most outrageous fantasies to myself, but now I can share them with like-minded readers without feeling (too much) like a pervert.
3. I get to use all my years of education. From the time I entered school, I spent nineteen years in educational institutions. (Some might say I was trying to escape the real world. Yeah, we authors do that sometimes...) During those years I wrote a lot of non-fiction and honed my ability to express ideas clearly in written form. Writing fiction demands some of those same skills – at very least competence in grammar and spelling!
4. I can relax from my day job. Writing fiction provides a welcome contrast to my real world occupation. I enjoy my technical, detail-oriented day job, but writing lets me practice a very different kind of thinking.
5. All the books I buy are tax-deductible. I've sometimes thought I should try to deduct the costs of travel as well, since so many of my books have foreign settings. Rajasthani Moon, for instance, is set in India. The Ingredients of Bliss is mostly set in France. My first novel, Raw Silk, takes place in Thailand. However, I've decided not to push it...! Books though, are legitimate business expenses, since I need them to evaluate potential new publishers, suss out the competition, or do research.
6. Royalty checks. I don't make my living from my writing, nor do I write primarily for the money. However, I'd be lying if I pretended I don't get a thrill whenever there's a new deposit into my PayPal account.
7. Reviews. Yes, of course, reviews are a double-edged sword. A negative review can definitely ruin my day. However, for me, the joy that comes from a positive review more than balances the funk I get into when someone pans my book. I know that I can't please everyone. That just makes every person who does like my work even more precious.
8. Book covers. I've been fortunate to have had some great cover artists over the years. When I look over the collection of my covers, I feel warm all over. It's almost like looking through an album of family photos, reliving the creation of each book. I don't have children, so in some sense my books are my babies. Lately I’ve been making some of my own covers. That’s a whole other sort of joy. Though I’m often frustrated by my lack of skill in graphics, I love having control over the content.
9. Other authors. I've come to know many amazing writers through my various online communities. I count some of them among my closest friends, even though it may be that we've never met in the flesh. I value their support and advice – and I try to offer the same to them, and to new authors just getting into the business. When I first started publishing in 1999, writing was a lonely occupation, but the Internet has changed that completely.
10. Readers. The absolute best thing about being an author is getting a note from a reader, telling you that he or she loved your book. There's a deep sense of validation that comes from knowing you've managed to communicate your vision to another human being, though the fragile medium of the written word. More than anything else, that's what keeps me going - even as Amazon mucks around with search algorithms, as trolls post negative reviews, as poorly written and cliched titles hit the best seller lists, and everybody in the world seems to shouting about his or her masterpiece. As long as there are readers who want more of what I've got, I'll probably keep writing.
If you'd like to check out some of my covers, take a look at the cover gallery on my website (http://www.lisabetsarai.com/covergallery.html). Just click on a cover for more information and an opportunity to buy.