NEW RELEASE: Beneath the Surface (Pink Bean Series – Book 2) by Harper Bliss

Beneath the SurfaceWe’re very happy to announce our final release of 2016: Beneath the Surface by Harper Bliss.

This is Book 2 in Harper’s Pink Bean series and in it we go back in time to the very beginning of Kristin and Sheryl’s (the owners of the Pink Bean) relationship. This kind of makes it a Pink Bean origin story, if you will.

We’re planning a big Pink Bean extravaganza in 2017. A lot of ladies will be passing through the Sydney-based coffee shop (and a lot of loving will follow.) 😉

Here’s the blurb:

The path of true love never did run straight.

Twenty years ago, Kristin Park and Sheryl Johnson were brought together by wine. Is wine also what will tear them apart today?

Beneath the Surface goes back in time to the moment Kristin and Sheryl first meet, and offers a revelatory glimpse into the ups and downs of their seemingly perfect relationship.
Grab a cup of coffee—or a glass of wine—and find out what really happens behind the closed doors of The Pink Bean.

Don’t miss this brand new instalment, and origin story, of best-selling lesbian romance author Harper Bliss’ much-loved Pink Bean series.

Available as ebook from
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon AUS
Amazon DE

Available as paperback from
Amazon US
Amazon UK


All we’ve left to do now is wish you all an amazing holiday season and a wonderful new year. See you then!

Limited Time May/December Lesbian Romance Box Set

Early Christmas treat alert! We’ve put together a very nicely priced boxed set of my two May/December romance novels Seasons of Love and In the Distance There Is Light, plus four cougar-themed short stories!

When you count up the words, this boxed set totals around 140.000 words (442 pages) and you can get it for the crazy Christmas price of $3.99 (or the equivalent in your currency.) The current retail price of Seasons of Love is $4.99 and $5.99 for In the Distance There Is Light so even if you’ve read either one, it’s still a pretty great deal.

There is one big caveat: this box set will only be available for one month! On 15 January 2017 it will disappear from Amazon (but will, of course, remain on your Kindles or other eReaders!)

You have one month to fill up your Kindle with a whole lot of May/December romance!

Here are the Amazon links (the bundle is FREE in Kindle Unlimited!):
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon AUS
Amazon DE
Amazon FR


P.S. Don’t forget: this box set will disappear forever on 15 January 2017. Don’t wait to snap up your copy!

Ladylit’s Olympics

Recently I was listening to Joanna Penn’s podcast The Creative Penn and she talked about measuring your life in Olympic periods, how she looks back at how her life has changed and what she achieved in cycles of four years. I thought this might be an interesting exercise to do for Ladylit as well.

2008 Beijing Olympics

Hong KongWe were living in Belgium, both in an office job with varying degrees of satisfaction. Harper (although the concept of Harper Bliss did not even exist back then) was writing a blog about things that happened in her life, but no fiction. I had tried my hand at running my own business but I had no passion for what I was selling and had given that up in favour of regular employment and a steady pay check. We did, however, have ants in our pants and were looking at ways to move away from Belgium and find a job abroad. Then in 2009 my boss asked me if I was interested in moving to Hong Kong, so we jumped at the chance and after long months of preparation, we finally arrived here in October 2010.

2012 London Olympics

logo_squareWe’d been in Hong Kong for for almost two years. I was still working my same job and Harper had started writing fiction. She had published her first novel in early 2012 (under another pen name; we shall not speak of it too much) and had started writing short form erotica under the name Harper Bliss. As this seemed to be a potentially successful endeavour (thank you Fifty Shades!) we set up a limited company through which to publish these stories. And thus Ladylit Publishing was born in June 2012.

At this point Harper did basically everything: writing, covers, promotion. I edited her stories, and did some basic admin stuff, but we were still so small that there wasn’t really that much to do. And we were making a two to three figure monthly income.

2016 Rio Olympics

We’ve been in Hong Kong for six years. I quit my previous job and have been working for Ladylit full time for about two years.screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-10-43-11-am

From having a couple of novellas out in 2012, we now have a catalogue of more than sixty titles. We now almost exclusively publish full length books, and at the moment are focusing on Harper Bliss novels. And I’m working on a book of my own and have another one planned as well.

We’ve grown our reader platform bit by bit over the past four years, so much so that we now expect any new title to go to the top of the lesbian romance and fiction charts when it’s released.

As for our income, at the end of last year we set ourselves a goal for 2016. We wanted to reach a six figure US dollar income from book sales. As the year progressed, we adjusted that goal to a five figure US dollar income per month. As of the end of August we reached that first goal. And we’re pretty confident we’ll reach the second one by November. So now we’ve adjusted the goal again, to a seven figure HK dollar income.

In 2016 we also made the decision that we no longer wanted to be in Hong Kong full time because there is so much of the world that we want to see. So in early 2017 we’ll be setting off to try to be digital nomads, staying in different places around the world a couple of months at a time and then coming back to Hong Kong in between.

2020 Tokyo Olympics

So where do we see ourselves in 2020? Hopefully still making a living from books, both Harper’s and mine. I also hope we’ll still be traveling around, but we might have found a couple of places that we want to focus on and divide our time between. Possibly even think of settling down there by the 2024 Olympics.14324288_10155286876674816_1686291023557515264_o

When I look back on the last eight years, I can’t help but be a little bit proud of what we’ve achieved so far. I come from a family of several entrepreneurs so having my own successful business has always been an ambition. One thing is for sure: I’m very excited about the future, working on growing our business further and, most importantly, having many new interesting adventures with my partner in business and life.

NEW RELEASE: In the Distance There Is Light by Harper Bliss

In the Distance There Is LightHow is September treating you so far? At Ladylit we decided to escape the Hong Kong heat for a few weeks and headed to Brisbane for some cooler weather, nice food and wine, and overall Ozzie awesomeness. We are also treating this as a short trial for our future digital nomad lifestyle, and we’ve loved every second of it.

We’re especially happy that we’re able to enjoy the excitement of a new release while on our getaway, and what a release it has been so far. Harper Bliss’ newest novel In the Distance There Is Light shot up the charts right from the start and has been sitting at the top ever since in most Amazon stores.

This book is a bit controversial and not your standard lesbian romance story, but it is packed full of emotions and of course it features Harper’s signature steamy scenes.

Here’s the blurb:

Two women lose the man they love. All they have left is each other.

Sophie’s life is turned upside down when her partner, Ian, dies in a tragic accident. The only one who can understand her devastation is Ian’s stepmother, Dolores. Together, they try to make sense of their loss and rebuild their shattered lives. While their shared grief brings them closer, it also takes their relationship in an unexpected direction. Where does sorrow end and romance begin? Or has Ian’s death blurred the lines too much?

If you love deeply emotional lesbian romance with a twinge of controversy, don’t miss this intense but hopeful novel by chart-topper Harper Bliss.

Early reviews have been great:

“A wonderful and deeply moving romance novel!”

“This is in no way a unicorn farting rainbows book. But the way she writes this, it makes sense.”

“Harper Bliss handles this delicate subject with sensitivity and panache.”

You can get it as an ebook from
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon AUS
Amazon DE

And as a paperback from
Amazon US
Amazon UK



It should be apparent to anyone following this blog that a weekly post is probably too much to ask, so I shall try to make this a bi- or tri-weekly occurrence. Let’s see how that goes.

This week, I would like to write about BookBub and how it can be a very powerful advertising tool for authors and publishers.

For those of you who are wondering what BookBub is, here’s a little excerpt of their About page:

Screen Shot 2016-07-23 at 2.48.48 PM copyBookBub is a free service that helps millions of readers discover great deals on acclaimed ebooks while providing publishers and authors with a way to drive sales and find new fans. Members receive a personalized daily email alerting them to the best free and deeply discounted titles matching their interests as selected by our editorial team.

For readers, it’s a great way to discover books that are temporarily on sale or free. They can choose which categories of books they are interested in and will only receive deals featured in those categories. And they can also follow authors they like (if the authors have claimed their author profile on BookBub) and they will get an alert whenever these authors have a new book out.

For authors, BookBub, with its millions of subscribers, feels a bit like the holy grail of advertising. Every day hundreds of books are submitted to the BookBub editorial team, hoping to get included in a daily email, but only a few are selected. The criteria for acceptance are not clearly defined, but we know several things factor in: is it an interesting discount for the readers? Does the book have reviews and how good are the reviews? Does it look like a professional product? Will enough people potentially be interested in this book?

The cost of having your book featured in a daily email depends on the category in which you advertise and the price at which your deal is set, and for some categories it’s not cheap. But still, people submit because they know that a book featured in a BookBub email will earn back the price of the ad, and more, either through sales of the advertised book at the discount price and even after it gets back to normal price (the so-called halo effect), or, especially for free books, through sales of other books after people have read the advertised one.

We have submitted a book to BookBub four times in the past nine months and have been lucky enough to get selected every time. We think one of the reasons for our success in getting accepted is that the category we advertise in, LGBT, is less competitive than others, such as contemporary romance or crime fiction. But we also like to think that the books got picked because the editorial review team at BookBub saw that we were offering a qualitative and professional product that could bring in a substantive number of sales. BookBub is in it to make money as well of course, so they want to make sure they offer products that people will want to buy.

French Kissing: Season OneSo far we have only advertised Harper Bliss novels or series, and they have all earned back the cost of the ad through sales of the discounted book. French Kissing: Season One was especially successful because we saw an impressive sell-through of Season Two and Three in the weeks after the ad.

We’ve seen other publishers advertise anthologies in BookBub daily emails so next month for the first time we will submit an anthology. We have no idea whether it will be accepted, and if it is, whether it will sell enough to recoup the cost and what, if any, the sell-through will be. But as we have several anthologies in our catalogue, we are curious to see what the BookBub effect can be for that kind of book.

BookBub has really become an important part of our marketing strategy, and we recommend it wholeheartedly. Even if you’ve tried and been rejected, keep submitting, because it’s really worth it.

Don’t forget to check out our weekly podcast Harper Bliss & Her Mrs on The Lesbian Talk Show!

NEW RELEASE: No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss

No Strings AttachedHappy summer! It’s scorching hot at Ladylit HQ in Hong Kong, mainly because of the climate, but also a little because of this very hot new book we just released (which is currently racing up the Amazon charts)!

Here’s the blurb for No Strings Attached by Harper Bliss:

It’s never too late to find the right person… and yourself along the way.

Micky Ferro has lived her entire life according to other people’s expectations. She married a man, had two children, and became a dutiful stay-at-home mom in suburban Sydney. Until she realized, with a little help from her best friend, that her picture-perfect life wasn’t making her happy.

On the first anniversary of her divorce, Micky decides it’s time for the next step in her journey and gets a job at her neighborhood coffeeshop, The Pink Bean. Becoming a barista sparks a big change in Micky’s daily routine, but could loud-spoken American customer Robin do the same for her love life?

Don’t miss the first book in this heart-warming new series from the bestselling author of the French Kissing and High Rise series

(This is a standalone book and there are no cliffhangers!)

Early reviews have been great:

“Beyond 5 stars!”

“A brilliantly executed mid-life coming out story.”

“I was locked in from the first page to the last.”

“Fun yet thought provoking.”

“Sexy, funny and with an excellent sub-cast for future books in the series. Read it and smile!”

You can get it (ebook and paperback) from:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon AUS
Amazon DE


Print is not dead, hurray!

Hi, remember me?

I started this blog a couple of months ago, full of ambition to keep it updated on a weekly basis. And now it’s been two months since the last post. Let’s attribute this delay to travelling, moving office, book launches, taking courses. Definitely not to fear of the blank page, or even less to laziness…

For the first post in this new attempt at regular blogging, I thought I would write about print books, and how they have become more important to us recently. You see, Ladylit reached a milestone in June. For the first time in our history we sold 100 print copies in a month. This may not seem like a lot, but to us it was a significant number.

We have always produced a print version of books above a certain length through Createspace, ever since we started publishing. Even though our focus is on (and our income comes from) ebooks, there is something quite magical about being able to hold in your handScreen Shot 2016-07-06 at 10.30.33 AMs a hard copy of a book you wrote or had a part in producing. Maybe it’s because we grew up with print books; it’s quite possible the younger generations who grew up in a mostly digital world will not have the same feeling. So, in the beginning the main purpose of producing the print version was just personal satisfaction. Holding the book in our hands made it somehow feel more real, I think.

We soon also started using the print version as a promotional tool, for giveaways or for gifts. After all, quite a bit of work goes into producing the files for the printer, both the cover and the interior. Especially at that time, when we still used the Createspace Word template file. Too much work just to stroke our egos…

We also realised that having the print version on the Amazon page next to the Kindle version, gave the book a more professional look, and made the Kindle version seem like a good deal, as Amazon helpfully shows how much money you save by purchasing the Kindle version.

We always sold a few copies each month, but never enough to get a monthly royalties cheque from Createspace (the payment threshold is US$100). As we put out more titles, the numbers increased slightly, but were still pretty insignificant. We also never put any marketing efforts towards selling more print books.

In the last few Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 10.30.08 AMmonths however, since Harper started publishing regular full length novels, we have seen a considerable increase in the number of print books sold, especially newly published titles. Whereas before a new book would sell maybe 5 to 10 copies in its first month, the last two Harper Bliss novels we published each sold about 30 in the same period of time. As I write this, on July 6th Hong Kong time (but it’s still July 5th in the US), Harper’s most recent book The Road to You has already sold 6 copies this month, and we’ve sold 17 print books in total. (That’s more than 3 per day!)

This means that nowadays, instead of getting a $100 cheque every few months, we now get a few 100 dollars every month. It’s not enough to live off, but it’s a nice enough extra, especially since we still don’t do any promotion or marketing specifically for the print books.

We can’t really pinpoint what the increase in numbers is caused by. Of course, the print books benefit from our marketing work for the ebooks, since their visibility is improved by being linked to the Kindle version on Amazon. Harper’s reader base is increasing steadily and surely some of these new readers enjoy reading print books as well as or more than ebooks. We do know the extra sales do not come from bookshops, as they tend to not order books from Createspace. Additionally, at least one of the more successful titles is not even available to them to buy, as we are in the process of distributing through another company that does sell to indie bookshops more easily (hopefully more on that once the book is available.)

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 10.31.34 AMIn any case, these increased sales are starting to make me wonder if we should maybe look into promoting our print books more. And they are a confirmation that print is definitely not dead. It takes a bit more work than an ebook to put it out there, but it is definitely worth the effort.

NEW RELEASE: The Road to You by Harper Bliss

The Road to YouHarper Bliss’s brand new novel The Road to You is out now and, as summer approaches, it could be your perfect poolside companion!

Early reviews have been very positive. Here’s what readers are saying about Harper’s new book:

“I always feel like I know Harper’s characters personally and can imagine myself interacting with them in the real world.”

“The story line draws you in, and the characters keep you turning pages until you’ve reached the end!”


“Deeply satisfying!”

“As always, beautifully presented, written, edited and proof-read by the inimitable Harper Bliss. Another one to add to my favourite book collection. Five stars.”

“There would be nothing better than relaxing by the pool and sipping a cocktail or two reading The Road to You.”

Here’s the blurb:

Opposites attract… or do they?
Workaholic Katherine and free-spirited singer Ali have disliked each other since college. Fate, however, keeps bringing them together and the paths of their lives keep crossing. Are some differences in personality simply too vast to overcome? Or are some things just meant to be? Find out in this light-hearted but epic new book from best-selling author Harper Bliss.

If you love a deliciously slow-burning lesbian romance, The Road to You is sure to satisfy!

It’s available from
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon AUS
Amazon DE

Add it to your Goodreads shelf >>

Work-life balance

This post is less publishing related and more general and personal than the previous ones, I apologise to anyone who was hoping for some publishing wisdom. However I think it’s an important topic for any self-employed person, including in the publishing business, so here goes.

Questions we’re asked often are “How do you find a good work-life balance? How do you keep your work and home life separated?”

As a self-employed couple who live and work together, it’s an important question. When you’re passionate about your work, as we are, it’s very easy to let it invade every aspect and moment of your life. I don’t think a single day has gone by in the last few years when we haven’t discussed some work-related stuff, even when we were on holiday. So many times we’ve caught ourselves talking shop when we were supposed to be enjoying time off and had to explicitly state: “No more work talk!”

Ladylit HQ - AfterOne of the things we did after deciding to try to make Ladylit a full-time business for us both, was find an office space outside of home. It was important to me to try to keep work outside of the home as much as possible, after several years of working from home and finding myself replying to emails from my laptop in the couch at 10 p.m. (which partly had to do with the time difference with Europe, but was also definitely related to the fact that home equalled office and work).

This outside office for me to go to every morning allowed Harper to have a dedicated writing space at home where she could create in complete isolation, without me around to distract her. It also gave us a space to discuss work related issues, leave them there when we went home, and the ability to say, “Let’s talk about this at the office tomorrow,” whenever we found ourselves drifting towards a work topic over dinner or when we were supposed to be off the clock. This definitely helped achieve some kind of balance and is something I can highly recommend to any freelancers/entrepreneurs.

Of course this does not stop us completely from talking about work even on our days off, especially since we’re in the business of creating and the world around us is a constant source of inspiration. An experience while on holiday can spark an idea for a new story for Harper to write. She will usually bring it up and we’ll discuss it and make some notes in order to not forget. And I think that’s okay because that’s the fun part of our business and it doesn’t feel like work. But as soon as we start on things that do feel like work, we try to stop and make plans to discuss them later, when we are at the office.

This balance that we’ve found in the last couple of years is going to be thrown overboard somewhat starting in February next year. You see, we have decided that part of what helps us be happy and inspired and balanced, is traveling and seeing new places. We’ve come to realise that we value experiences much more than things.

We love going on holiday and discovering somewhere new, and being in Asia for several years has allowed us to do just that. But staying somewhere for a week or two is too short to really experience a place fully. So we’ve decided to take advantage of the fact that most of our work can be done pretty much anywhere and see more of the world by becoming what is now commonly called ‘digital nomads’. What that means is that we’ll be going somewhere and staying there for two to three months, so we can experience what it’s like to live there, at least for a short while. Our first stop will be in New Zealand. We’ve tentatively decided on having Christchurch as our base so we can explore the beauty of the South Island. (Any Kiwis out there, please feel free to offer any pointers on places to stay, things to see, etc.)

We’ll be renting a flat or house for our time in each destination but of course we will no longer have our own outside office to go to in order to talk about work issues. However we think we’ll still be able to find the right work-life balance, albeit in another way.

We’ll be in a new place, experiencing new things, which, apart from providing fresh inspiration for new books, will give us plenty to talk about other than work-related stuff. Additionally, even though we’re already in a position where we can choose when we work, and are not bound to a regular Monday to Friday schedule, we do tend to stick to one because most of our friends are in jobs that are in that pattern. If we worked at weekends and took weekdays off, we would never get to see them. But when we’ll be ‘nomading’, that will no longer be a factor and we will truly be able to make our own schedule, depending on how much we have to do a specific day, week or month.

In the last few months we have worked really hard at streamlining our work process (we’ve had to with Harper publishing a book every month!) and we think we’ve developed a rhythm that allows us to be very efficient in the time we spend working, so that we will have enough time to explore and experience every destination we choose to go to. Of course, we’ll only know if it works out that way once we actually do it, but we’re very excited to try!

We’ll be talking about this topic more on next week’s Harper Bliss & Her Mrs podcast and I’ll be posting regular updates on our plans and adventures so stay tuned to find out if we manage to find our balance on our travels.

How we keep learning in order to grow

In this week’s episode of Harper Bliss & Her Mrs. we talked about the most important tools and software we use for writing and publishing. Something we did not get into, but is a big part of what we do every day, is our constant endeavour to keep learning and educating ourselves on new developments in the publishing industry, as well as possible techniques to use and avenues to explore to grow our business. These days the internet offers many resources—books, blogs, podcasts, coursesto do just that and in this post I would like to share some of our favourites, which we also consider important tools for writing and publishing.

Iterate and Optimize

One major source of valuable information for any independent author or publisher is the trio of Sean Platt, David Wright and Johnny B. Truant, also known as the guys behind The Self-Publishing Podcast. Their weekly flagship show is hugely entertaining and offers insights from them and their guests on the writing as well as the publishing side of things and they also have other podcasts, like The Authorpreneur’s Almanac and The Smarter Artist which offer very specific tips on the many facets of being an indie author or publisher. In addition to that, they published a book that inspired us a lot to get to where we are now: Write. Publish. Repeat. And they now have a follow-up to that title with Iterate and Optimize, which I am currently reading. There will be a blog post in the next few weeks about how we have iterated and optimised our work here at Ladylit.

Successful is THE place to go to learn about marketing books as an indie. Joanna Penn is a very successful author of both fiction (under the name J.F. Penn) and non-fiction books, such as Successful Self-Publishing: How to self-publish and market your book in ebook and print, and her weekly podcasts always feature very informative interviews with the creative movers and shakers in the publishing world and beyond. We listen to it religiously and have definitely been inspired to apply to our business some of the things we learned from Joanna and her guests.

Supercharge Your Kindle SalesAnother great source for marketing advice, specifically on how to grow and use your mailing list, is Nick Stephenson. He has books (Supercharge Your Kindle Sales is one of them) a paying course (which we took and has helped us in various ways, like growing our mailing list, building a launch team, getting extra reviews), but also some free videos that are a good place to start for anyone reluctant to spend any money.

The Self-Publishing Formula PodcastOne of the things we are planning to get better at this year, is Facebook ads. The authority on this is Mark Dawson. His website has some instructional videos and he has just started his own podcast with beginning author James Blatch, called The Self-Publishing Formula Podcast. The combination of an experienced and successful author with a newbie, makes for an interesting exchange of perspectives on publishing. Mark also provides monthly income reports where he details how much he spent on advertising and how much he made as a result of that advertising, which is very informative for us, in view of our plan to do more Facebook advertising ourselves.

2k to 10kFor the writers among you, a book that Harper found very helpful is 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love. As her followers will probably know, she is obsessed with her word count and this book has really helped her crank those words out faster, and also better.


Finally, some blogs we follow:

Joe Konrath is a pioneer and one of the most staunch defenders of indie publishing (and Amazon). Check out his blog for, among other things, entertaining takedowns of the traditional publishing industry.

– Even though here in Hong Kong we seem to be geo-blocked from accessing the site directly, we follow The Passive Voice through a feed reader for links to articles about all things publishing.

This is just a short sample of resources and there are so many books and blogs that could be listed here as well, but hopefully they can provide some interesting reading to anyone looking to start or grow their author and publishing business.