Monday, June 13, 2011

Half of 2011 is OVER... What Have You Accomplished?

I was interested when I read the topic for this week. My first thought was "Crap, we're half-way through the year already?" Which was followed quickly by "What did I say were my goals?" I went back and read my resolution post and felt pleasantly surprised.

Number one on my personal list was to get healthy. Now, I'm by no means done with treatment and possibly have six months or more ahead of me, but I'm feeling the best I have in years. I sleep better, I have energy, I'm able to concentrate on work and I'm exercising. My body no longer hurts from just existing and when I do something active I don't ache for weeks afterward. I take all the pills the doctors suggest, try my best on the eight liquids, and have resolved to do better with the powders.

I do want to get better and even though I hate all this shit, I'm doing it.

I really don't like to exercise. I know it's good for me, but it's boring as hell and I often feel like my time could be better spent. It will probably remain something I have to force myself to do for a while, but I accept it. Those people who love it always make me feel like I'm inferior for complaining about it. Endorphin rush? Umm... yeah, okay... I'm no dummy. Sex feels better and I'd rather do my sweating with my partner when I'm naked.

TMI? Okay, moving on ;-)

Work goals -- I was pretty conservative in my musings. I wanted to finish book two in my series (check!) and start & finish book three for a November release date (uh... no check mark).

I haven't started book three yet because I did a whole bunch of other stuff instead. I published two erotica novellas, tried various marketing routes involving pricing experimentation, new covers, new blurbs, expanded distribution... and lots of other boring business stuff I won't put you to sleep with. My small publishing company has expanded to take on more writers. We have fifteen in the line up and three are not involved with the Everything Erotic team.

Why is this a significant detail? Because I'm turning all my profits back into the company to help more writers. I pay for their editing and covers out of my earnings. Their royalties don't get cut until their incurred expenses are paid. In essence, my small company truly fills the stop gap between self-publishing and traditional publishing.

Banner for the publishing blog, which hasn't launched yet.

There is no outlay from the author, and there is a signed contract allowing them to keep the rights to their work. RHP only has the rights to sell it as an ebook and print book for as long as the author decides. There is no advance, but there is also no one taking a percentage of your profit. You read that right. The author keeps it all. The company is set up with a zero profit standard, meaning everything is either an expense or paid to the authors.

I liken it to how my broker set up her real estate agency -- it's based on a flat fee set up. The seller can pick what 'services' they need from a variety of offers. The cost is not based on a percentage of the sales price, but a flat fee for services rendered. I wanted my company run the same way.

"Why?" you may ask.

Because it's the right thing to do. I didn't write the book so why should I profit on it? The editor worked for a few weeks on something a writer could have taken years to produce, why does that require a percentage and not a flat fee? The writer is working their ass off to format their book, sell it with blog tours, interviews, speaking engagements, social networking, and uploads their files through all our distribution channels, so why should I get money for their work? A retailer should get paid a set amount, and I doubt anyone would agree to them taking the lion's share just for having the privilege of carrying your book.

Publishing is no longer a game of getting a great big advance check from the publisher and the author then does nothing. Hell, it hasn't been that way for years. Most authors seeking representation have no idea they are expected to turn most of that advance into marketing and advertising to make their book sell. "What, you mean they don't pay for the marketing?"

Well, they do if you're a big name, but they don't if you're 99% of the rest of the published authors on the market today. I've learned most writers dream of their manuscript being picked up by a publisher, but have no concept of what comes after. The smart ones who've done their research have found out -- you must sell your own work and treat this like a business.

Be the master of your own destiny. Learn as much as you can, do everything you've researched, and don't cut corners. Skimping on editing, book covers, advertising and all the rest will only put you with the rest of the people in the industry trying to make it on their own -- way down at the bottom.

My best advice? Save your money and do it right the first time. Set a budget and stick to it. Make every damn dollar count. Get a group of writers together like I did and start your own house. It's not that hard, it just takes time, energy, and knowledge.

Okay, what started as a resolution post has quickly turned into a soap box, so I'll shut up now. Anyone who wants to know about what I've done with Red Hot Publishing, feel free to ask. Anyone want to share their resolutions and if they have done any of them, please do!


I'm running a unique pre-launch promo contest. I plan to give away ten signed and numbered copies of The Hunt (numbers 3-12, 'cause I'm giving my brother the first two). They will be mailed to winners once available, which is slotted right now for early July.

Here is how you enter:  You comment on any blog I do for the next three weeks. I will notify readers when I post on my Facebook business page, and I will Tweet about it. Each comment counts as one entry (only one entry per post, but you can comment more if you'd like). The comments must be made within the first 48 hours of the post going live, and I will post a "closing" comment when the entries for that day are closed.

All entries will be tossed into a drawing, and the participants with more entries have a higher chance of winning. BONUS!! Every entrant who comments on at least six blog posts and does not win a signed print copy will receive a free ecopy when the book goes up for sale.


  1. Great job making progress with your goals!

  2. Well you are doing much better then myself on your healthy goal. But i should be stress free for the next few months, so maybe i should jump start again

  3. Thanks Sarah and Beccy! Appreciate you both stopping by to comment.

    Good luck over the next few months, Beccy. It's never too late to jump start!

  4. From resolution to soap box, only you could manage that, C.J. It is good to: 1) see you up and getting around so much better (no more sitting in lounge chairs by campers taking pics of...surfers)and 2) have company like Red Hot Publishing around.

    Hopefully, by this time next year, you'll be dictating your blogs from a huge private office and the rest of us will say "Yes, I do know C.J." (and it won't be an answer to a detective's questions).

  5. Way to go, CJ. I got my main resolution done this year - to get published! You are absolutely right though, living the dream is scary when it gets a reality check. My step-dad keeps asking me how much my advance is going to be and when I tell him I don't get an advance he goes "Oh well, then might make it into a movie" and my mom and sister both think I'm celebrity now. Pssh. I love my family, but does a celebrity eat Romen noodles for lunch and work part-time to pay the bills that her writing is so NOT paying for? LOL.

  6. Dear CJ, I love your publishing concept. I have been thinking of setting up a company myself because of all the usual disadvantages to authors described in your post. Your business model sounds much fairer.
    I'm thinking instead of setting up as a freelance proofreader and editor.

  7. Ahh... Greg, love you, man. Considering all the RHP monies go tot the authors I only see that scenario happening if my individual titles take off. Which I hope with all my heart they will!

    J.D. - funny when the rose colored glasses come off, right? I was shocked when I found out what authors truly get paid percentage wise from the big NY houses... all I could think of was "why?"

    Thanks Cherie! Editing and proofreading sucks the life right out of me. I can edit better than copyedit, but the time it takes detracts from writing and other business related things.

    Good luck with whichever venture you decide on, I wish you much success!

    *This comment closes the entries registered on this post for the contest. Thanks for participating!