Monthly Archives September 2012

To Agent or not to Agent

Just when you think you know what’s going to happen in the publishing industry, everything turns upside down again. I spent the summer recuperating from a back injury, and when I came back to the world of the Internet I found something rather stunning had happened. My genre (erotica and erotic romance) had exploded. Apparently, the flood of erotica in the market went crazy after the success of Fifty Shades of Grey. And what truly amused me was that writers who previously shunned the idea of writing “that stuff” were now invading the erotica genre like panhandlers looking for sparkly stuff in the early days of the California gold rush.

Of course, there’s no recreating the organic success of something like Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s like trying to recreate Harry Potter, Twilight or The Hunger Games. Yes, wizard, vampire and post-apocalyptic fiction can and has ridden the coat tails of such bestsellers. But you can’t recreate the first, because the original had an x-factor that the later copycats couldn’t capture. It’s like cloning – you can get a facsimile, but it’s never going to be the same.

That said, apparently my name has been bandied about this summer, after the popularity of the James’ series, because I’ve had not one, not two, but… well actually it’s now more than three, agents approach me in the past month or so with the promise of, “You could be the next EL James!” First of all, you’re assuming I want to be the next EL James. You’re also assuming I want to be traditionally published. Two pretty big assumptions.

I’m not sure I want to do either. Do I really want to open that door? Most of the agents have approached with the caveat: “I know you’re doing well on your own…” so at least they know the score. I’ve got 100 titles out there with my name on them and I’m pretty close to a million ebooks sold (if I haven’t passed it officially already… I still have to run the numbers) in the past two years. “Pretty well” is a bit of an understatement, I think.

I always said, “I’m glad I write erotica, because no agent is ever going to approach me with a ‘too good to turn down’ offer from traditional publishing.” I was so sure of this fact, especially given that everyone from Amazon to Apple to Paypal wanted to get rid of the stuff.

Then Fifty Shades of Grey became a runaway bestselling series.


Now I’ve got a decision to make. To agent, or not to agent? I know all the arguments for and against. I think we all do. But self-published erotica and erotic romance authors are heading toward traditional publishers in droves. Sara Fawkes recently signed with Amanda Hocking’s agent and he got her a book deal with St. Martin’s. Maya Banks just signed a 7-figure deal with Penguin for a three book series.

Publishers are now banking on erotic romance.

Whhhhaaat!? Really!? Have I entered the Twilight Zone?

I’m leery, I admit. I’ve heard so many horror stories about traditional publishing from authors who have jumped ship to self-publish. But there are authors (like EL James or Amanda Hocking) who have decided to go the other way, from self-publishing to traditional, and they’ve had good success.

The fact is, I have a three-book series based on Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed waiting in the wings. It was a huge seller for me in the days before Amazon decided to ban “certain types” of fiction, and although its ranks have never recovered there, it’s also the book that spurred people to run over to Barnes and Noble to buy it and clock in record sales (over $100,000 in a month!) last year. It’s also my “most requested” book in terms of a sequel. It’s different while still tapping into the erotic romance genre, it’s controversial, it’s already got an enormous following of readers who want to read a sequel and it’s hot–in short, it has huge potential.

Now I have to decide… do I want to self-publish it? Or give it to an agent?

What would you do?





Selena Kitt

Erotic Fiction You Won’t Forget

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Top Ten Purchases with “Selena-Kitt-Kind-Of-Money”

I heard a phrase the other day that stopped me. An author said, “Oh man, what I wouldn’t buy if I made Selena-Kitt kind of money!”

Yes, I had a pretty good year, in terms of income, in 2011. I sold over half a million books. That translated into a lot of cash. I’m not sure if 2012 is going to top it, but it’s looking as if it’s going to come close. There are times I still look around and wonder how I got here. I also know that life is a wheel, and it turns. Sometimes you’re on the top, and sometimes you’re on the bottom. And this wheel may turn again.

I remind myself of that fact all the time, especially when people find out how much I make. And what I do to make it. Friends, family, neighbors, etc, they’ve all said some variation of:

“HOW much!?”

Usually followed by, “Wow. Writing, huh? I could do that. I’ve always thought of writing a book.”

People still believe that money buys happiness. I can tell you that it really doesn’t. It just buys stuff. Granted, stuff can be nice. Lots of people seem to want to tell me all the things they would buy if they made “that kind of money.” (Of course, I don’t tell them how much the government takes in taxes. That would just be too depressing!)

So just for fun, I thought I would tell you the top ten purchases I’ve made since I’ve been making a living as an erotica writer.

1. A Sybian. This was my first significant purchase when I first started making any real money. I figured, I’d written a whole book about it… I should probably get to finally ride one! It was well worth it!

2. A Kindle of my own. And an iPhone. And an iPad. Not all at once, but gradually, over time.

3. New computers. This was a nice write-off for taxes, and it make writing a lot easier when my computer didn’t crash every hour or so, because it was so over-crammed with stuff!

4. Clothes. I’m not a spoiled, high-maintenance sort of girl, but I did go clothes shopping. Especially lingerie shopping. Oh what fun!

5. Wedding rings. My husband and I only had plain white-gold bands – it was all we could afford when we got married. We decided, for our tenth anniversary, to splurge and buy each other real wedding rings. I now wear two-carats on my ring finger.

6. We went on vacation(s) for the first time since our honeymoon. Took the kids to water parks, went alone to resorts, sent the kiddos to camp in the summer. This is a new-found freedom that still boggles my mind. I haven’t wrapped my head around the idea that I can actually travel, not only the states, but out of the country! Maybe next year…

7. Bought a car. And a truck. We have never bought new, and still haven’t. They were both used vehicles. But our previous ones were over 15 years old, both of them very run down (over 100,000 miles on each) and on their last legs. It was amazing to have a vehicle where all the doors opened with no rust spots on the sides!

8. Bought a house. This was a huge purchase, the biggest I’ve made yet. We live in the middle of nowhere and we love it!

9. Furnished the house. Which was almost as fun as picking the house out!

10. Paid it forward. I have found this is my favorite thing to do with money. I bought my elderly mother a car (hers was older and in worse shape than ours!) I gave money to relatives who needed it. I gave money to friends whose children needed organ transplants or medical care they couldn’t afford. I sent friends and neighbors and even online friends random gifts, just because they said they liked/wanted something. My daughter’s friend had a newborn baby and couldn’t afford his hospital pictures (they have a real photographer – the pictures were gorgeous) and so I bought them for her. For me, that’s been the closest I’ve come to money actually buying me some happy!

So…what would you buy or do if you had “Selena-Kitt kind of money?”

Selena Kitt

Erotic Fiction You Won’t Forget

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