Showing posts with label publishing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label publishing. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Changes with M.E. Hydra books

I should have posted this earlier, but it's been a busy month yadda yadda.

A few weeks ago I received an email that eXcessica would be closing its doors and unpublishing all its books at the end of November.  First up, there's nothing controversial about this.  Excessica was started as a sort of writer's collective right before Amazon's Kindle blew the doors off self-publishing.  This was back when alternative book sites required "publishers" to have at least three authors in their stable and Selena Kitt wanted to both start her own career as an author and recognised there was a lot of untapped talent on Literotica that could be brought along for the ride.  I feel honoured and grateful to be one of those writers and have nothing but praise for Selena and her hardworking crew for having me along.

All good things must come to an end, and in an era where it's trivially easy for a writer to upload their work to Amazon and other places, there is no longer the need for writer's-collectives-cum-publishers.  It's time for us to make our own way, and I fully understand the decision.

What does it mean for M.E. Hydra books on Amazon and elsewhere?

As far as I know, the ones put out through eXcessica will be unpublished at the end of the month, so if you want to grab the old versions, you might want to do it pretty sharpish.  The books affected are Succubus Summoning 101 and 201, and the A Succubus for collections (6 of them).  The Sandwiched by novellas were fully self-published by me and won't be affected (I really should get back to finishing that series off!)

The books won't be gone for good.  As soon as I've sorted out the logistics of rights transfers and the rest, I'll be reuploading them under my own author account.  For Succubus Summoning 101 and 201, that will probably be right away as I'm happy with the current covers for those.  They'll just need some tweaks to the copyright page and the removal of the old logo and should be good to go.

As for the A Succubus for collections, I might use this as an opportunity to tweak these and rebrand the series as a whole.

As part of the rebranding I definitely want to redo the covers and number them as a series.

The other thing I might do is rejig the contents and running orders.  Sharp-eyed readers will have noticed links between characters and events, and realised these are all taking place in a shared universe.

This was not always the case.  Early on, I wrote them as standalone short stories, which means there are some that don't quite fit within that shared universe - the superhero parodies, that one science fiction story, some of the "Succubus vs." stories.

While I haven't put any books out for a while, I have continued to write stories.  Some have been Patreon-exclusives, others have been posted on Literotica.  I probably have enough for a new collection and some left over.  I'm thinking of replacing some of the older stories in the older collections, and then rebranding the collections as part of a much larger ongoing story in the same universe.

What do people think about that?

Go with the rebrand, or preserve the collections with their original line-ups?

Either way, expect the Succubus Summoning series to be reuploaded fairly quickly, and I'll likely follow with the new A Succubus for editions over the first half of 2022.  Maybe, if everything falls into place, a brand new 7th collection to follow the updated editions.

As for covers, I'm still checking on whether it's allowed, but the WOMBO dream app has thrown up a few pictures I wouldn't feel too bad about sticking on a book cover.

A Succubus for Halloween?

A Succubus for Freedom?

A Succubus for Remembrance?

What do you think?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Updates and a St Patrick's Day Sales Promotion on All Romance Ebooks

Yes, yes, there should be a Succubus Summoning 212, part 3 here, I know.  I knew that chapter was going to be a swine to write and likely slide around the weekly schedule until I got on top of it.  The next part has some interesting revelations and a bunch of exposition that was tricky to write.  My first draft didn't exactly nail it, which meant the typing up part was a little slower and more painful than normal.

There should be a new part out this week.  It's about 500 words and a decent edit away.  I was going to put it out tomorrow and shift the usual H-space slots back, but what I'll do instead is post the H-space MGB pieces in their usual slots (as they're already done) and bump SS212, pt3 to Saturday.  That'll give me a chance to triple-check I haven't borked the exposition passages.

In other news, it's St Patrick's Day tomorrow, so it would be rather remiss of me not to remind you of the appropriately themed collection of short stories I put out this time last year:

I liked the cover on this one, but for some reason the book didn't come out the gate with similar sales as the other collections.  One of those things, I guess.  Anyway, if you missed it the first time around, there are thirteen stories waiting for you to read, some of them brand new and appearing only within this book.

The other reason to mention St Patrick's Day is because my publisher, Excessica, has let me know they're part of a St Patrick's Day sale on All Romance Ebooks.  For that day Excessica's entire catalogue of books will be 25% off on All Romance Ebooks.  So, if you've found me recently through my stories/reputation and would like to see what my published work is like, tomorrow is a good time to pick up my previous books at a discount.

My books can be found on All Romance Ebooks here.

Also, here are the other books Excessica offers.  Give them a look and see if any take your fancy.

ETA:  Hmm.  Okay those links don't quite go to where I was hoping.  They're still easy to find.  Author -> M. E. Hydra in the top right search box on the page will take you to my books and Publisher -> Excessica Publishing will do the same for my publisher.

Further Update: The links now go to the correct places.  Thanks for the fix suggestion in the comments, Anon.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I've had better Januarys...

It's been an odd month.

Ideally I'd have been promoting Succubus Summoning 101 coming out as a book (my first actual novel!) about now. Unfortunately, what I assumed to be the simple process of converting a finished word doc into the many different ebook formats turned out to be anything but. The awesome Selena Kitt of eXcessica publishing had given all us eXcessica peeps a straightforward step-by-step guide on what needed to be done, which was great until I found out one of the pieces of software behaved very oddly on my M$ Vista laptop (I know, I know, the computer came with it and I was too lazy to change it). What went in as a lovely, nicely-formatted novel ended up looking like bloody gibbets run through an industrial saw when it was spat out the other end.

I'm really not helping myself with character names like Cέrμləa and Mamǝḵā Bēyˁṯān.

Or an insistence on using this as a chapter heading:

But hey, a first novel is like your first wedding--you want everything to be shiny and perfect. So I bashed my head against the monitor in an attempt to get it right, working with software seemingly designed for alien thought processes.

Then I came down with gastric flu and got knocked on my back for a few days, because why not, it's January 2012. Ugh.

Not the best month, as I said.

At least the worst is over. I'm not sure when exactly Succubus Summoning 101 is coming out. It's pencilled in for Feb 3rd. Watch this space.

Now, hopefully, I can get back to doing some damn writing.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Numbers from a Newbie Writer's First Year

Here's the latest post I put up on the Self-Publishing Revolution blog detailing how my first year as a self-published(ish) writer has gone. Thanks to everyone who supported me through buying my books and I hope you enjoyed them! More to come next year!

I had a nice early Christmas present when my third quarter royalties came through. I was expecting this to be fairly light, but it also included some October sales, which was when my third collection of short stories, A Succubus for Halloween, came out. The amount this quarter was $600, a nice little sum right before Christmas.

That takes my total profits, after taking out initial setup costs, author copies and seller’s/publisher’s cuts, to $1,300 for my first (kind of) year as a writer. Obviously this is nowhere near the same ballpark as self-publishing titans Amanda Hocking and Joe Konrath, but this is all money in the black, with the only outlay being my free time spent in an activity I enjoy doing anyway.

I put out three collections of short stories, with A Succubus for Christmas coming out October 2010, A Succubus for Valentine’s Day coming out February 2011 and A Succubus for Halloween arriving October 2011. Christmas and Valentine’s Day were originally priced at $5.99 and this was dropped to $3.99 about halfway in the year after eXcessica head honcho Selena Kitt did some experimenting on pricing. Christmas and Valentine’s Day sold just under 200 copies and Halloween just over 100, making 500 books (print + ebook) in total for the whole year. It’s a modest amount, but not bad considering collections of short stories rarely sell well and my subject matter is about as far from the mainstream as you can get! :)

More promising is the growth. Christmas and Valentine’s Day sold nearly 200 each over the whole year. Halloween came out at the end of the third week in October and my royalties run up until the end of October, which meant it managed those hundred-and-so sales in the first week. Baby steps, I know, but they’re going in the right direction.

Unsurprisingly, the lion’s share of these sales was through Amazon, but they are not the only game in town. I can understand why some might think Amazon’s current dominance is a cause for concern, but I suspect if Amazon really started to abuse that dominance to the detriment of writers and readers, they’d quickly find themselves outstripped by one of their competitors in the way Nintendo was usurped by Sony in the console wars of the ‘90’s. For the moment they’re fantastic and a budding writer would be foolish not to take advantage of what they have to offer.

Writers shouldn’t restrict themselves to only Amazon. Having their own webpage for direct sales can be very useful once they’ve built up a following. By promoting eXcessica’s coming soon link for A Succubus for Halloween heavily on my personal blog in the month leading up to its release I was able to generate 40 sales, nearly half of the total for that book, directly through eXcessica’s own store (which also took Halloween to the top of their bestsellers list, yay! Now if only I can match Selena’s sales out in the rest of the big bad world. :)).

For people looking to self-publish as a route to fame and riches, these numbers aren’t very exciting. If I was trying to make a living as a full-time professional writer, 500 sales and a return of $1,300 for the year would be horrifying. Thankfully I’m not, so I can feel chuffed about the numbers instead of worrying about what I’m going to live on next year.

Next year I plan to put out my first novel and a fourth collection of short stories. I don’t know where the path is going to take me, but it’s going to be fun to find out!

All the best for 2012!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

2011 2nd Quarter Royalties

My second quarter royalties for 2011 came in from eXcessica today. At $180 I think it's safe to say I won't be handing in my notice at work tomorrow. :)

$180 is still $180. Can't sneeze at that. Both Succubus for Christmas and Succubus for Valentine's Day have sold nearly 150 copies each now. With Succubus for Halloween coming out next month (more on that later!) I'm hoping it'll create enough of a bump to take the overall year up to somewhere between one or two grand. I know my stories are far too extreme to ever trouble the mainstream, but it's nice to have a little sideline and maybe sow the seeds for a little longterm notoriety.

Thanks to everyone who bought the books and I hope you enjoyed them. Plenty more on the way if all goes to plan ;).

Now the question is, how much of that $180 to plough into a nice book cover for Succubus Summoning 101 after I finally acknowledge I'm too rubbish to do it properly myself...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Harry Potter and the Future of Publishing

There have been rumblings about JK Rowling’s new online venture, Pottermore. This week those questions were answered. While Harry Potter fans will understandably be delighted by the new collaborative web site thingymajiggum, it’s the eBook side of things that’s of interest to those of us with a toe (nail) in publishing.

The Harry Potter series is one of the most lucrative franchises in the history of publishing. And JK Rowling holds the electronic rights…

Can you say million dollar diamond mine.

The publishing world has been thrown into a lot of turmoil with the rise of eBooks. Age-old ways of doing things are being ripped up. Authors are going it alone and grabbing a bigger slice of their own pie. The interesting question was always going to be how one of the most successful authors ever would bring their much-loved series to the digital market.

Well the answer is out and I suspect various high-level Amazon and B & N execs were choking on their coffee this morning. The Harry Potter books will come out online, but exclusively from the Pottermore site.


That’s really taking control of your work. Rowling didn’t cut out her publishers entirely, they’re still playing a role, but it sounds like she thinks she’s big enough to manage just fine without the services of the biggest bookseller in the world.

Interesting times indeed…

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Crowd Funded Publishing

This is an interesting idea I read about recently. are looking to apply the Crowd Funding model to book publishing. It’s a simple enough concept. An author pitches an idea for a book. If enough people pledge enough money then the book becomes reality. Supporters can also get additional benefits depending on how much they pledge.

It’s interesting because it takes away some of the guesswork in judging whether a book will be successful or not. The creative industries tend to be a little conservative and risk averse, preferring to go for a slightly tepid ‘sure’ thing rather than gambling on something unusual.

This model mitigates a lot of the risk. Have a niche idea? Not sure there’s a big enough audience? Well, you can see right away. The project either generates enough interest and funding to get off the ground or it doesn’t.

I don’t think Unbound have it quite right just yet. The initial writers they have on board are already famous (Terry Jones, Amy Jenkins). While it’s good for them to see whether an idea is viable or not, it would be nice to see it used to uncover some unknowns.

I think the minimum £10 pledge is too high as well. There are the other benefits, but £10 for an ebook is a little steep, even with the extras. I wonder if they’re missing out by not having a £1 or similar mini-pledge option. £1 is closer to an impulse amount and might generate a lot of money from people that otherwise wouldn’t be interested in pledging the full tenner.

I think this model might be more interesting if applied to manuscripts from unknown writers. Here’s the first three chapters and a synopsis. If we get X thousand pledges, the book will become reality.

It’s got to be better than the sodding slush pile . . .

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Short, Sharp Dose of Reality

Last week I got my first real quarterly royalties cheque. At the princely sum of $84 I think the appropriate comment is “ouch!”

Oh well, we can’t all be Joe Konrath or Amanda Hocking.

If I take the perspective of wanting to be a full-time writer, it's fairly terrible. There's no way I'd ever be able to live off that.

Thankfully, I don't have to take to take that perspective. I'm fortunate enough to already have a full-time job, one I enjoy and is relatively well paid. I can take the other perspective. I'm doing something I like (writing stories) and receiving money for it.

$84 is still $84. That's the second half of the kindle I already bought with money from a Literotica contest plus some books to load it up with. It's more than I ever picked up trying to slog through the old fashioned route of submitting to horror/sci fi magazines and certainly $84 more than the manuscript would have got languishing forgotten on a slush pile somewhere.

It's not all. My first book is still out there, still picking up the same trickle of sales. That means in another three months I'm going to get another $84 or so. Actually, there's two months of the second book's sales on top of that, so it's probably going to be more than eighty bucks. And then later in the year I have a third book coming out. It's easy to see how it can start to mount up. I can't live off it, but on top of my regular salary it's a nice extra to put towards a vacation, or a new TV.

One of the points I've seen raised is the current explosion of self publishing and 'race to the bottom' in terms of pricing will kill writing as a viable profession for all but the already wealthy. I don't really see this. A lot of authors had to start off juggling other jobs with their writing until they made enough to leave the day job behind. An advance can help with this sure, but it can backfire horribly if the first book tanks and they aren't picked up for a second. This is even assuming they make it through the gatekeepers. The vast majority don't and won't ever see a single dime for the manuscript they spent a year or two lovingly putting together.

With self publishing a writer can start to see a return as soon as the book is finished and use this to tailor their life accordingly. I go into work every morning and I write on my spare time. I won't need to think about changing this unless my income from book sales starts to outweigh my regular salary, or my spare time suddenly becomes a lot less spare. And of course, even being comparatively unsuccessful in the meantime still generates a bit of extra cash for a few luxuries.

I enjoy writing and it makes me a bit of extra money. Can't really complain about that.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

On the delights of being published... and the frustrations of not being able to tell a soul

Last week a special box arrived for me in the post.

The contents of this box are very special to me. Ever since I was a small child, one of my lifetime ambitions has been to get a book published. In this box is proof I’ve achieved that goal. It’s something I want to yell from the rooftops. Look! I did it! Look at all these lovely pages; the words written on them are mine.

But I can’t.

It’s like this. In this box is a print copy of a book I wrote, but now this box needs to be dropped down a very deep shaft and kept in darkness lest its evil contaminates the world. No, you can’t read it. The contents will flay your mind and rip your brain out of your ears in wriggling chunks.

Actually, it’s not really that bad, although I imagine it would raise a few eyebrows amongst people who know me.

On telling friends and family I’ve got a book coming out, the conversation usually goes like this:

“Can I read it?”

“ don’t think it’s really the kind of thing you’d like to read.”

“Oh, is it really gory?”

Grabs lifeline.

“Yes yes, really gory and unpleasant.”

It’s funny that, hiding behind a screen of blood and gore rather than owning up to writing a little bit of kinky erotica. The problem is, if you write a bit of kinky erotica, people automatically seem to think, “Oh, I never knew you were into that”, as if all erotica is written with firsthand experience. Whereas, with horror, nobody seriously thinks Stephen King is a mass-murdering psychopath.

My concerns are of course exaggerated. No one in my family, if they read one of my stories and realised it was me, is going to string me up from the family oak and curse the day I was born. The real reason is me. When I first started writing these stories I knew I wanted to combine horror and erotica in such a way that the outcome would be both arousing and disturbing in equal measure. And to do that effectively I knew I needed to smash the levers of self-censorship, to rip the whole machinery out of my mind. Thus, Mr Hydra entered the world.

Pseudonyms are great. Now I can write what the hell I like and not worry about what people might think of the real me in the real world. ‘Too far’ no longer exists. I can be as kinky, filthy and weird as I like. I can describe the golden arc of a stream of piss as it loops and flows within the transparent body of an alluring water spirit, a scene both revolting and weirdly beautiful. I can describe a sexy demon with the lower half of a spider as she straddles and fucks her helpless silk-bound prey, a scene both terrifying and weirdly arousing. The freedom to be as bizarre as I like is fantastic.

Except when the book comes out and I really want to tell everyone I know, but can’t.

Oh, well. I guess it’ll have to hide away in a quiet little corner on my bookshelf.

I know. That’s all that matters.

M. E. Hydra’s “A Succubus for Christmas and other tales of Devilish Delights” will be out later this year.