posted by on Publishing

No comments

Fool for Love Ladylit is proud to publish Fool for Love, Harper Bliss’s first novella in the brand new High Rise series.

Here’s the blurb:
Betrayed by her long-term girlfriend, Alex moves into The Ivy to share a flat with her friend Nat. When she meets their neighbour Maddie, a jaded expat who’s had about enough of Hong Kong’s demanding life style, both Maddie and Alex are forced to reassess their warped view on love.

This new title is novella-length, meaning 23.000 words of lesbian erotic romance goodness. Fool for Love is free until Saturday on Amazon, so go grab your copy now!

The next High Rise novella will be released just before Christmas.

Why is Fool for Love only available on Amazon?
Once again, we’ve opted to put our latest release in the KDP Select program. This allows us to do a big promotion off the bat, by giving Fool for Love away for free the first five days. I wish I could say we’re only doing this out of the goodness of our own heart, but publishing is a business just like any other and, business-wise, KDP Select has been very good for us.

The first book we put in was Learning Curve which, as a result, has been in Amazon’s lesbian best sellers list since the beginning of August. Quite a feat for a short erotica story. Summer Heat and Younger Than Yesterday followed the same pattern, soaring into the top 20 a few days after their release date, and remaining there until now. (In fact, Younger Than Yesterday has been holding steady on number five the past few days.)

In all honesty, we never expected this kind of immediate success. We believed, like with many good things, it would be a slow build, with sales increasing after every new release, but KDP Select blew all of our expectations right out of the water.

I’m not saying that every book put into KDP Select will be a success. A few other key elements need to be present for a book to work. It needs to be good, for starters. (You may think this is a no-brainer, but, sadly, it’s not.) You need an attractive cover and, last but not least, you need to publish in a competitive category.

Erotica as a genre has been doing astonishingly well in the aftermath of Fifty Shades of Grey and I believe Harper’s books are filling a certain void in lesbian erotic fiction. All too often, lesbian erotica is written by men posing as women, resulting in the same old tale of a young straight girl discovering the joys of lady-loving with her roommate/best friend/other generic partner. Harper writes stories about real lesbians (and the occasional straight woman) and her characters don’t just meet and dive into bed together. They actually have conversations and… chemistry.

Add that to what KDP Select can do for a book, and the last three Harper Bliss stories have been very successful. But what does KDP Select do for a book exactly? Here’s our experience.

It makes your book visible
This is probably the single most important advantage. Thousands of new books get released every day. When a few thousand people download your book for free, it will very quickly make an appearance in the ‘Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought’ lists, which is of vital importance.

It makes your book lendable to Amazon Prime members
Prime members get to lend one free book per month, but the publisher still gets paid for every borrow. Even better, Harper Bliss’s last three short stories have been consistently priced at $1.99, but when someone borrows it we get royalties as if the books were priced at $2.99. With the difference between the 1.99 and 2.99 price point being 35% in royalty rate, this is very advantageous for lower priced titles.

These are the main two reasons why we love KDP Select and will take advantage of it as long as it’s available. Don’t worry if you’re not an Amazon fan though, we plan a first High Rise Omnibus by the end of the year (which will be available from all retailers) and a second one, including a paperback edition, by March 2013.

Still haven’t downloaded Fool for Love? What are you waiting for?

+ + +
Latest releases: Beneath the Surface by Harper Bliss, In the Distance There Is Light by Harper Bliss and No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss
+ + +
Sign up to the Ladylit mailing list to get notified of new releases and participate in giveaways.
+ + +

posted by on Publishing

No comments

Can't Get Enough Congratulations to our naughty girl Harper Bliss with the publication of her first paperback book.

Can’t Get Enough bundles all the Harper’s novelettes we’ve published so far, plus three short stories.

Here’s the blurb:
Eight sizzling tales of lesbian lust and love.

Harper Bliss takes us from romantic Paris and groovy Berlin all the way to the scorching beaches of Thailand. The stories in this sensual anthology include a threesome, a steamy locker room encounter, a teacher crush and old friends discovering each other in whole new ways.

The ladies in this collection just can’t get enough.

And the TOC:
Younger Than Yesterday
New Girl
Learning Curve
Wetter
Summer Heat
Hired Help
All of Me
The Honeymoon

Can’t Get Enough is available as e-book for $6.99 from Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon DESmashwordsKoboAll RomanceRainbow eBooks and the Ladylit web shop. More retailers will follow soon.

A paperback edition is available for $8.99 from Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon DE and Amazon FR.

We used Amazon’s print-on-demand service to print this paperback and, much to our own surprise, we were able to move the publication date up with one week. Here’s a time-line.

  • Last Monday we created the interior PDF and cover PDF and uploaded it to CreateSpace for review.
  • On Tuesday we made a few alterations to the cover after an e-mail from CreateSpace telling us some text was spilling over the spine.
  • On Tuesday evening, after a second review by CreateSpace, we ordered a proof copy.
  • On Friday the proof copy arrived in Hong Kong. We chose the slowest (and cheapest) delivery method and only paid $8. CreateSpace used DHL anyway and it took only three days to print and deliver the proof. US to Hong Kong in three days for $8. Amazing service!
  • On Saturday we proofed the proof. We made some minor modifications to both the interior and cover PDF and uploaded the new versions. Submitted them for review and… a day later the book is available as a paperback from Amazon.

So, in summary, creating (uploading, reviewing, having proof delivered and publishing) a paperback with CreateSpace takes one week. Needless to say, we’re impressed with CreateSpace’s service. The only cost we had was the printing ($2.91 for a 5×8 book of 172 pages) and the delivery ($8 for a super-speedy DHL delivery).

 

+ + +
Latest releases: Beneath the Surface by Harper Bliss, In the Distance There Is Light by Harper Bliss and No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss
+ + +
Sign up to the Ladylit mailing list to get notified of new releases and participate in giveaways.
+ + +

LadyLit’s Ten

Oct
2012
03

posted by on Promo

3 comments

Endless SummerNo, we’re not celebrating our tenth anniversary just yet, not even our ten month anniversary for that matter, but we are throwing a LadyLit book giveaway to celebrate our tenth release. Today we published Endless Summer by Harper Bliss, which combines the well-received Cat-and-Rose novelettes Summer Heat and Younger Than Yesterday.

As this is a festive occasion, we’re going to keep the contest simple. The first five people who comment on this blog post, get to choose one title from our catalogue (e-books only). Make sure to leave your e-mail address when you comment (you will be prompted for it but it won’t be visible), so we can send you your title of choice in your preferred format.

You can check out all LadyLit books here. Two of them (Wetter and Dirty Pleasure) are free, so I wouldn’t pick those. Happy commenting and thank you to everyone who has bought one of our books since we started LadyLit.

+ + +
Latest releases: Beneath the Surface by Harper Bliss, In the Distance There Is Light by Harper Bliss and No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss
+ + +
Sign up to the Ladylit mailing list to get notified of new releases and participate in giveaways.
+ + +

All About Harper

Aug
2012
24

posted by on Authors

No comments

Summer Heat Harper Bliss writes naughty stories. Now we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk business. Harper is the reason why we’re having a summer of erotica at LadyLit*. She keeps churning out the dirty stories and, in fact, her latest e-book Summer Heat was just released on Wednesday. (If you haven’t done so yet, pick up your free copy before Sunday when the free promotion ends.)

Summer Heat tells the story of Cat, who, after being dumped by her girlfriend right before their holiday, decides to join her parents on their annual trip to Tuscany. Prepared for two weeks of sun-drenched melancholy, she finds much more than nostalgia in the house where she used to spend her summers as a child.

Unable to let the characters go, Harper decided to write the story again, only this time, from the point of view of Rose, Cat’s cougar love interest. (Hm, perhaps we should have called the book Cats & Cougars.) This second story doesn’t have a definite release date yet, but it does already have a cover (and a title). Ta-dah!

Younger Than Yesterday

We’re aiming for publication in the second week of September. We’ll also be putting them together in a special edition e-book, alongside another short story featuring the two characters. (She really can’t get enough of them.)

Harper’s stories all feature lesbian lovers and quite a few explicit sex scenes. There’s an encounter with a high-end escort in Hired Help, a threesome in The Honeymoon, a teacher crush in Learning Curve and all of that bundled together in A Hotter State. You can also read some of her stories for free on her website if you want to know what you’re letting yourself in for. (And there are PDF previews available of all her e-books here.)

Harper Bliss Books

Over the weekend Harper is participating in the Follow the Rainbow Book Reviews Blog Hop and you can win a free copy of A Hotter State. She also likes to blog about all the things that inspire her on her website.

So far for our introduction to our resident erotica writer Harper Bliss. She has some hot stuff out there already, and we’ll be seeing regular releases of her new books throughout the year. Enjoy.

* We have other, less saucy projects in the works. By the end of the year we should have a new Lee Harlem Robinson novella out. And in 2013 we’ll publish a brand new LGBT novel set in Hong Kong.

+ + +
Latest releases: Beneath the Surface by Harper Bliss, In the Distance There Is Light by Harper Bliss and No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss
+ + +
Sign up to the Ladylit mailing list to get notified of new releases and participate in giveaways.
+ + +

posted by on Publishing

No comments

Amazon categories are tricky but essential. They’re tricky because for some inexplicable reason Amazon makes them very complicated, but they’re of the utmost importance because they give your book visibility, which is, in these days of abundant self-publishing, the single best marketing tool you can get your hands on. (Note: this post is about our experience with Amazon US. The European Amazon stores seem to handle categories differently.)

Say, you’re a beginning author with no extensive mailing list, nor a very big author platform. In other words, you don’t have much of an audience yet. How on earth do you get your book out there? How do you get it noticed amongst the other hundreds of books published that day? Here’s how we managed to get Harper Bliss’ Learning Curve into Amazon’s Lesbian Fiction Top 20. (Note: this blog post will specifically deal with lesbian erotica/romance but the same principles apply to other categories.)

First off, Amazon Best Sellers lists are a rare (and probably the best) gift to self-publishers. Your book can be listed alongside titles by well-established authors, giving you enormous exposure. And, in the end, that’s what it’s all about. While the lists may be great and all that, they’re quite complex to figure out.

Let’s take Learning Curve as an example. We published it on 25th July, starting with five free days on KDP Select. Essentially, it’s a lesbian erotic story, and for the free days we picked the categories ‘Lesbian’ and ‘Erotica’. (Amazon allows you to choose two categories when you publish your book.)

Amazon is not overly fond of erotica as a genre (but that’s a whole other post) and it doesn’t offer any sub-genres. This means that when you publish a book in this category it has to compete with all other books in that genre, and there are a lot of those. Nevertheless, on free days, with a bit of promotion and a lot of luck, you can hope to graze the edges of the Free Erotica Top 100, which does wonders for free downloads (and that’s what it’s all about on those days).

What about that other category? Is it not easier to get into the Lesbian Fiction Free Top 100? Well, it would be, if only there were one. There is, however, a Free Gay & Lesbian Top 100 (Lee Harlem Robinson’s Dirty Pleasure has been hanging out near the top 20 for a while now), but this list doesn’t mix well with the Erotica category. In other words, once you catalogue your book as ‘Erotica’ and e.g. ‘Lesbian’, you’re only eligible for the Free Erotica Top 100, which, due to humongous competition, is very hard to get into.

So, moving on to non-free days. Despite the expected boost in sales after its free run, we realised that keeping Learning Curve in the Erotica category wouldn’t make much sense. It would have to sell too many copies to even reach the outskirts of the Paid Top 100. But, we had another trump card to play. We diversified and focused on the other category. We wanted Learning Curve to get noticed by lesbians, who are still our prime audience, and fortunately, the Amazon’s Romance category has an ‘Adult’ section. We updated Learning Curve and kept it at the lowest price possible and this is what happened:

Amazon categories

No, I’m not seeing the ‘Adult’ bit reflected in that either. You see, to confuse us even more, the categories you choose when publishing (from the KDP dashboard) do NOT correspond with the ones consumers get to see. And instead of popping up in Books > Gay & Lesbian > Lit & Fiction > Fiction > Romance > Adult (which you would expect after choosing your category), it pops up in ‘LGBT Romance’, where again, the competition is much stiffer.

This is what you get when you publish a book in the ‘Lesbian’ and ‘Romance > Adult’ categories (and the case for Learning Curve):

More categories

Out of these, Amazon magically distills Best Seller Lists (based on ever-changing algorithms). This is also the reason why so many erotica titles appear in the general LGBT lists, despite being catalogued as ‘Adult’.

Anyway, this post is not about criticising the lists (although making them more transparent and easier to use would make a lot of self-publishers’ lives a lot easier), but about stressing the importance of getting into them.

To summarise:

  • When publishing, narrow down your category as much as possible and don’t be afraid to change it. (But be careful not to switch once you’ve hit a list!)
  • Experiment and see in which category you can score the highest (the more drilled down, the better.)
  • Once you make it onto a Best Sellers List, sales will jump. People love lists and they’re an excellent browsing tool.
  • Breaking your head over Amazon categories is well worth it, and once you figure it out, you’ll know what to do for subsequent books.
  • (But hey, it is a bit of a Learning Curve.)

+ + +
Latest releases: Beneath the Surface by Harper Bliss, In the Distance There Is Light by Harper Bliss and No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss
+ + +
Sign up to the Ladylit mailing list to get notified of new releases and participate in giveaways.
+ + +

posted by on Promo

2 comments

Contest 'A Hotter State'

To celebrate the release of A Hotter State (which includes all three of the currently released Harper Bliss novellas!) and the six month publication anniversary of Come and Go, we’re having a contest. This is 2012 so it kind of has to be a social media contest. The prize is a free copy of both A Hotter State by Harper Bliss and Come and Go by Lee Harlem Robinson (both e-books, any format).

How to enter
TWITTER
– Follow @LadyLitPub on Twitter (if you don’t already)
– Tweet a link to this blog post: http://www.ladylit.com/2012/08/10/contest-win-two-ladylit-books/ or http://bit.ly/MFtobB (shortened)
– Be sure to include @LadyLitPub in your tweet otherwise we won’t know you’ve entered the contest
– The rest of the tweet is up to you

FACEBOOK
– Like LadyLit on Facebook (if you don’t already)
– Share this on your wall: I joined the @LadyLitPub contest to win two free books! http://www.ladylit.com/2012/08/10/contest-win-two-ladylit-books/
– You can modify the text but be sure to include the link and @LadyLitPub otherwise we won’t know you’ve entered the contest

Rules
– There will be 1 Facebook winner and 1 Twitter winner (so 2 winners in total)
– If you both tweet and share on Facebook your entry will be counted twice, so you’ll double your odds (but you can only win once)
– Contest ends on midnight Wednesday 15 August (Hong Kong time, so GMT+8)
– Winners will be picked at random and will be notified on Thursday 16 August

Prize
1 copy of A Hotter State & 1 copy of Come and Go (e-book – any format) sent to you by e-mail.

Thank you and good luck!

+ + +
Latest releases: Beneath the Surface by Harper Bliss, In the Distance There Is Light by Harper Bliss and No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss
+ + +
Sign up to the Ladylit mailing list to get notified of new releases and participate in giveaways.
+ + +

posted by on Editing, Writing

No comments

Harper BlissToday we’ve invited Harper Bliss (the naughtiest member of the LadyLit family) to share her self-editing process. Mainly because erotica must be the worst edited genre out there, and also because, these days, people seem to think they can write down their favourite sexual fantasies, upload a poorly formatted word document, slap a picture of a half-naked woman on the cover, and wait for the money to roll in. (Maybe they’ll make a few bucks, but it’s hardly the basis for a sustainable career in writing.)

Amazon is flooded by atrocious erotic e-books crawling with spelling and grammar mistakes, giving self-publishing in general a really bad name. The main reason to not use a professional editor is, of course, money. Today’s post is not meant to promote self-editing, but, hey, we all know it happens. So, if you’re going to do it, at least try and do it right.

We’ve asked Harper to break down her self-editing process from first draft to submitting a manuscript.

1. First, I write. That’s the easy part. Usually when I’m writing, I don’t edit. I try to get the story out without looking back. Of course, I write stories of no longer than 10.000 words so there are usually no big continuity issues to deal with. After I’ve finished the first, very rough draft, I go over it and eliminate the most glaring mistakes.

2. I wait. I don’t mean I sit around twiddling my thumbs. I just focus on something else than the story. I usually start another story or have a previous one to work on. I try to give it a week before going back to the first draft, but whatever’s long enough to get your mind off it is fine.

3. This is where the real work begins. I go over the story and basically edit and re-write it until I can live with it. Here’s a very good checklist on editing drafted by the mighty Selena Kitt. It’s meant for editors of stories on Literotica, but I believe everyone can benefit from it. After a while, you’ll find these things will become part of your routine and you’ll automatically implement them.

4. The next step is reading my story out loud. This is excellent for catching forgotten words and spelling and grammar mistakes. Of course, reading erotica out loud can be a bit daunting, which is why I use Scrivener’s built-in speech tool. The voice is a metallic computer voice, but it works fine. I check if the words flow well and keep my ears open for clunky sentences.

5. By this time I usually get very chuffed about my story, only to have my hopes dashed in the next step. I read it away from the computer. I used to print my story and scribble in the margins, but now I just send it to my iPad and read it on the Kindle app. It allows me to make notes I can actually still read afterwards. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you’re away from your computer screen.

6. At last, it’s time to share the magic. It’s not for everyone to see yet, though. This is where the ‘first reader’ comes into play. This can be your wife, your best friend, your badminton partner, whoever really, as long as they can give you an honest opinion (and speak your language.) However, this is not the time for harsh criticism yet. Your first reader is someone you have a personal relationship with and they will usually sugarcoat things for you a little. Don’t worry though, that’s why we have beta-readers.

7. Before sending the story  to my beta-readers, I accept or reject the changes my first reader suggested and then send the story to my Kindle. I like to read it on different devices, but if you only have one, paper will do. Making notes on the Kindle is not easy though (not on mine, anyway), so I keep a notebook and jot down what I want to change.

8. Beta-readers. The life-blood of self-publishing. I’ve been working on a lengthy ode singing the praises of these wonderful creatures who invest their time (always a precious thing) in reading our stories. I worship my beta-readers, but, because of the nature of our relationship, I have to keep my distance. I’m the first to admit it’s not easy to find good beta-readers (and I’m always looking for more), but they are out there. On forums, Yahoo groups, blogs… the internet is your friend. (Here’s a very informative blog post on finding beta-readers.) Find them, befriend them and be nice to them for the rest of your life.

9. The last step is accepting or rejecting my beta-readers’s comments. Ideally, this would be your process before either submitting your manuscript to your publisher or sending it to your professional editor. Either way, if you must self-edit, do yourself, and especially your readers, a big favour by not writing something on Monday and publishing it on Tuesday. And NEVER publish something that has not been read by at least one person who is not your mother, spouse or another extended family member. Never.

Happy editing!

PS Only a few hours left to get all of Harper Bliss’ books for the rock bottom price of $0.99!

+ + +
Latest releases: Beneath the Surface by Harper Bliss, In the Distance There Is Light by Harper Bliss and No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss
+ + +
Sign up to the Ladylit mailing list to get notified of new releases and participate in giveaways.
+ + +

posted by on Promo

4 comments

In need of an extremely well-priced beach read? You’re in luck because LadyLit specialises in beach reads and this week we’re lowering ALL our e-book prices to a crazy $0.99. Yes, that’s the price in USD, and yes that’s less than 8HKD or about 0.80EUR. Hey, this is a promotion after all. This means that for an entire week none of our books will be priced higher than $0.99 and of course there are the freebies. Let’s break it down.

FREE
Learning Curve by Harper Bliss

Blurb
Ada’s company relocated her to Berlin, provided that she’d take an intensive course in German. It proves to be a steep learning curve, until her teacher Giselle implements some alternative educational methods.

Available from
Amazon US
Amazon UK
This title will only be free until 29 July 2012 Standard Pacific Time, after that it will also be available for $0.99

Wetter Wetter by Harper Bliss

Blurb
Rachel has had a crush on her spin instructor Toni for months. One late night visit to the locker room steam cabin transforms her fantasies into hot, steaming reality.

Available from
Smashwords
iTunes
Kobo
All Romance
Rainbow eBooks
Barnes & Noble

Dirty Pleasure Dirty Pleasure by Lee Harlem Robinson

Blurb
During a decadent weekend in Hong Kong, Lee and her best friend Charlie encounter a slew of interesting characters. One of them is Stevie, a girl who ignites a spark in Lee. Can Stevie restore Lee’s hope that Hong Kong is not totally void of lesbians?

Available from
Amazon US
Smashwords
iTunes
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Rainbow eBooks

$0.99 (*) (UNTIL 4 AUGUST 2012)
(*) In some countries (like Hong Kong) Amazon adds VAT and Whispernet costs so the price may not be displayed as $0.99.
Come and GoCome and Go by Lee Harlem Robinson

Blurb
Lee Harlem Robinson is used to getting all the girls, until she arrives in Hong Kong. Faced with a severe shortage of dateable lesbians, it takes Lee months to find romance and surrender to her first summer of love in 100% humidity. Her affair with posh banker Stella doesn’t last into autumn and she’s left scouring happy hour with her single gay friends again.
She’s on the brink of a melt-down when she meets Nikki, a leather-clad lawyer-cum-photographer. Can they defy the odds and find love in a harsh and loose city like Hong Kong?

Available from
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Smashwords (with this coupon code SS99V)
Kobo
Rainbow eBooks

The HoneymoonThe Honeymoon by Harper Bliss

Blurb
A sizzling novelette featuring a couple of newlyweds honeymooning in Phuket. When they encounter a mysterious Asian woman in their beach side resort, they decide to give each other a very special wedding gift.

Available from
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Smashwords (with this coupon code TS32G)
Kobo
Rainbow eBooks
All Romance

Hired Help Hired Help by Harper Bliss

Blurb
Olivia’s girlfriend walked out on her months ago and she’s desperate for some action. Her best friend recommends some hired help.

Available from
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Smashwords (with this coupon code QR83D)
Kobo
Rainbow eBooks
All Romance

Enjoy!

PS Want to be the first to know about these promotions? Sign up to the LadyLit mailing list >>

+ + +
Latest releases: Beneath the Surface by Harper Bliss, In the Distance There Is Light by Harper Bliss and No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss
+ + +
Sign up to the Ladylit mailing list to get notified of new releases and participate in giveaways.
+ + +

posted by on Writing

No comments

I’ll be wearing my writer’s hat today, while disclosing which apps are completely indispensable to me. They’re not all free, but more than worth their money.

1. Scrivener

My absolute number one piece of software. Without wanting to sound too dramatic (but I know I will), Scrivener changed my life. Word or Write or any other word processing programme, is not built for writing—Scrivener is. Long gone are those horrendous days of endlessly scrolling through a fifty-page Word document looking for that scene I wanted to paste right after a new one I just added.

Scrivener is perfect for complex documents, which most multiple draft novels are. Every scene gets its own document that you can drag and drop where you like. It may sound like a small feat, but let me tell you, the effect is enormous. Even the most messy, erratic writers (ahum) can find their way through their manuscript with Scrivener, because it’s so straightforward and easy to use.

No doubt, Scrivener has plenty of other features, but the orderliness it creates in your writing is the most important to me. Simply put, it just makes it the easiest it can be and eliminates the grievance of dealing with long blocks of text.

What’s more is, that with a few clicks, you can produce impeccable e-books in both mobi and epub-format, thus catering to most devices.

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Scrivener and I even believe that, as a serious self-publisher, you can’t really afford to ignore it (unless you like messy drafts and find romance in waiting for Word to boot up.)

Scrivener is available from Literature and Latte for $45. You can try it for free for 30 days and they have both a Mac and Windows version.

2. Dropbox (or any other online back-up system)

True story. I had just finished the first draft of a manuscript when I spilled juice on my Mac, crashing its hard drive. There’s no need to tell you this was the worst day of my writing career. I had slaved and sweated over that manuscript (and I also loved my Mac dearly) and now it was gone. Well, of course it wasn’t really gone, because that’s the moral of this story. I had it back-upped all over the ‘cloud’. What makes Dropbox so ideal though is its seamless integration with Scrivener.

When you create a backup in Scrivener you can choose ‘backup to’ and I have this set to my Dropbox folder, so every time I backup (which I do religiously and way too often, only there is no such thing as too often when it comes to backups) my Scrivener document, it automatically uploads to my Dropbox account online. An account I can access from anywhere/any device I want.

In the end, a technician managed to save my hard drive and I didn’t lose any data, but if I hadn’t had my backups readily available via Dropbox I would have lost a lot of time getting my manuscript ready for its deadline with my editor.

I don’t just rely on one backup service though. I think as a writer my documents are too important not to be paranoid. My main ‘backup of a backup’ is CX which automatically backs up any chosen folder to the ‘cloud’, i.e. you don’t have to do anything, not even click a button.

At the risk of sounding incredibly pedantic: be smart and back up!

Dropbox (2G) and CX (10G) both have free versions.

3. Evernote

I’m not on of those writers who constantly carries around notebooks (even though I have masses of them because people sure do like to give me notebooks). For starters, I can barely read my own handwriting, and, secondly, this is the year 2012. We have smart phones now and tablets and 3G and wifi… and, honestly, when it comes to quickly jotting down ideas, notebooks are being outsmarted by apps.

My favourite app for taking notes is Evernote. When I’m watching American Idol and Jennifer Lopez says something inspiring (it has happened, I swear, or maybe it was just a particularly inspiring dress she was wearing), I type it into the Evernote app on my iPad. It will sync automatically so next time when I’m sitting in front of my computer and check the last synced notes I will be reminded of the comment about J.Lo’s dress and ‘try to do something with it.’

Admittedly, this was a poor example, but imagine this. You’re out walking and an irrestible idea pops into your head. You may have a pen but no paper or vice versa, but what you do have is a smart phone. You open the Evernote app, write it down, and your precious idea is saved for eternity (or until you decide it’s crap and delete it). Now you can go about your business without fretting over possibly forgetting this stroke of genius—and have that extra drink or two.

I have notes for promotional ideas, resource links, to-do lists, checklists, possible titles, everything really… I can search through the notes, I can tag and sort them… and I can no longer live without them.

Evernote is free software.

4. Anti-Social
For most writers, time is the biggest issue. There always seem more important things to do than finishing a manuscript, e.g. raising children or going to work. Then, when you do finally get some time in front of your computer, there’s that damned internet distracting you. Especially Facebook, which needs to be checked right now, and Twitter, because, who knows, maybe your favourite celebrity just tweeted a picture of their cat.

I’m perfectly willing to admit that, when it comes to creativity, the internet is my biggest enemy. Yes, it’s a source of inspiration and without the internet, frankly, I’d be nowhere and Ladylit wouldn’t exist, but oh my, have I wasted hours and hours of time on it. That’s why, before every writing session, I allow myself time to check all the necessary procrastination outlets (KDP sales dashboard, anyone?) and then I start up Anti-Social.

Anti-Social shuts you off from social network sites like Facebook and Twitter, and you can add as many other websites you’re not allowed to waste time on during writing either. The only way around it, is rebooting your computer and really, that’s just silly. You do still have access to other, more helpful sites like Wikipedia or a thesaurus, so it’s very much about killing temptation.

Anti-Social costs $15, which is cheap if you consider the extra words per day you can churn out when you use it. It’s currently only available for Mac, but I’m sure there are Windows equivalents out there.

This is my top 4 of indispensable writing/productivity apps. Please feel free to share yours in the comments.

+ + +
Latest releases: Beneath the Surface by Harper Bliss, In the Distance There Is Light by Harper Bliss and No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss
+ + +
Sign up to the Ladylit mailing list to get notified of new releases and participate in giveaways.
+ + +

posted by on Publishing

No comments

The HoneymoonYesterday we launched Harper Bliss’ The Honeymoon (it’s only $0.99 until next Thursday!) and today we’d like to take you through the various steps from completed manuscript to publication. Because this blog post is about publishing (and not writing), our starting point is a beta-read, edited and proofread manuscript.

We’d just like to give you a look behind the scenes of producing and publishing an ebook Ladylit-style.

1. Design a cover
We design all our covers in-house and while some only take a few hours to put together, others take Illustrator sessions spread over several days. Most time consuming by far is finding the right stock photo to base the design on. That being said, we love Deposit Photos (and making covers for naughty stories).

2. Format the ebook
At Ladylit we don’t just want our books to look good, we need them to. When we upload to Amazon we upload a mobi, not a Word-document that can get all mangled up in conversion. We pride ourselves in delivering books with no unnecessary line breaks and faulty characters (otherwise we wouldn’t sleep at night). When we upload to Smashwords we make sure we don’t get any dreaded AutoVetter messages so our books get accepted into the Premium Catalogue as quickly as possible. We also make a PDF-version of the book that we sell directly from the LadyLit web shop. In summary, at this stage we create a mobi-file for Amazon, a clean doc-file for Smashwords and a PDF for our own shop.

3. Upload to various platforms and check
This is fairly straightforward. The KDP (Amazon) and Smashwords platforms are easy to use. We use Sellfy to sell direct, which is even more user-friendly. (Side note: it is handy to have a blurb ready at this stage!)

4. Update website
We update the Books section of the Ladylit website and add the new book to our shop. We create a downloadable PDF preview and add the cover image to the sidebar. We also blog about the new title and try to tie it in with some useful information.

5. Adjust description on Amazon Author Central
When we upload to KDP the description field doesn’t leave a lot of room for creativity, but this can easily be changed from the Author Central. We add some titles in bold and (in Harper Bliss’ case) some heat warnings in italics. In other words, we make our Amazon product page look more attractive.

6. Update social media
We add the new book to our Facebook and GoodReads page for starters. Maybe tweet about it a few times (but not too many).

7. Contact reviewers
We contact some people of whom we think they’ll enjoy the book and leave a review, and we keep our eyes peeled for new reviewers (every book brings a new opportunity).

8. Promote
We make announcements in GoodReads groups, to Yahoo mailing lists, send out our own newsletter… the list is never-ending and this step usually takes most time (because it never really stops.)

Conclusion
I’d say the entire process takes about two days (not including designing the cover, which is usually ready a few weeks before publication) considering that it takes 24 hours before a book goes live on Amazon.

+ + +
Latest releases: Beneath the Surface by Harper Bliss, In the Distance There Is Light by Harper Bliss and No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss
+ + +
Sign up to the Ladylit mailing list to get notified of new releases and participate in giveaways.
+ + +