Categories
Erotica General Swinging

Interracial Cuckolding and the Problem with Race

I find myself considering the topic of race as it relates to interracial cuckolding a lot. Every time I think about it, I can’t get past the issue of what role, exactly, race plays in the situations. Far too often, the sentiment behind the image at the top of this post is too relevant for my liking.

I’ll start by saying that I have absolutely no issues with interracial relationships, attraction to certain races over others, or anything like that. Everyone is entitled to be attracted to whatever feature it is that they prefer. Many people are more attracted to certain races, and (since it’s not 1960), I fully support that.

But… I do have to question the motivation behind interracial cuckolding.

Perhaps some will disagree with me about the depictions made in porn, but I don’t think there’s much of a question that the pornography industry plays heavily on racist tropes. Innocent-looking woman being taken by a “thug,” particularly groups of thuggish black men. Latina women playing the role of subservient maid. Racist language throughout. Differences in race being fetishized and highlighted throughout the scene. There’s more on that here: Interracial Cuckold Porn, as well as many other sources. And others have noted that – specifically in relation to the cuckold genre – cuckold scenes very frequently feature a black man as the bull and a white man being cucked, whereas the inverse is very rarely true.

Why is that?

All I keep coming back to is that it’s a continuation of racist depictions that naturally play into the cuckolding desires. Many men enjoy being cuckolded due to the humiliation factor involved in the practice. There’s also an aspect of role reversal that can be a turn on.

Even though there are quite a few reasons why men want to be cuckolded by their partner, humiliation is the one that most people focus on, particularly in the porn industry. They do so in a very shallow and cartoonish sort of way, but it’s a primary focus.

So, as a white couple, having a black man sleep with your wife is presumed to make the entire situation more embarrassing. The roles have really been reversed as well. Now, not only is the man subservient to his wife, but he’s also subservient to a black man as well. Twice the role reversal, twice the humiliation, I guess.

I think this is why the interracial depictions in the industry have always made me uncomfortable. Race has been inserted into the discussion as an additional factor that is supposed to be so obvious as to be presumed to be more degrading.

Not that it’s always that way, but I struggle to see it any other way in most circumstances. I know there are more innocent explanations for a lot couples that put this into practice – obviously, the humiliation factor may be enhanced for some white men who simply view men of other races as superior in some manner. And a woman may simply be more sexually attracted to men of a different race, even if her partner isn’t of that race. So I’m not going to draw any absolutes here.

But I’m still strongly suspect of the fetishization of races, particularly in the context of cuckolding.

Anyway, it’s just some food for thought. Please be sure to check out some of my works about hotwifing and cuckolding:

Categories
Erotica Writing

Strictly Business Discounted Through 2/15

Strictly Business: Tormenting Tom is on sale at a discounted price via Smashwords now through February 15, 2021. Rather than $2.99, you can pick up a copy for $1.79 using coupon code UQ25F (which is also on the checkout page).

While you’re there, feel free to check out the other featured deals currently running on the site to see if you find you’re next favorite read.

Categories
Uncategorized

Please Review a Free Copy of On His Orders: Faithfully Unfaithful

If you’re interested, please swing on over to: https://booksprout.co/arc/57256/on-his-orders-faithfully-unfaithful to get a copy of On His Orders: Faithfully Unfaithful. The copy is free, and all I ask is that you leave a review at your favorite retailer (or multiple).

I’m still learning the ropes for a lot of the self-publishing game. One of my challenges has been figuring out how to get reviews on the books I’ve written and published, with pretty minimal success so far. To that end, I came across BookSprout and am giving that a try.

The first 20 reviewers should be able to get a copy for free. Reviews can be left at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, Apple, and Goodreads. You can leave a review at one retailer or all of them.

A preview for On His Orders is here: https://aliciastillsauthor.design.blog/2020/07/14/preview-on-his-orders/

Categories
sex Swinging

Is the Leadup the Best Part of Swinging?

For me, the leadup to swinging can absolutely be the best part about the entire experience. That isn’t always the case, especially when it’s with a guy I’ve been with a bunch of times before and there hasn’t been a very long break between threesomes (or whatever we’re doing). But more often than not, the leadup is my favorite part.

I’ll use the first time my husband and I had me sleep with another guy as an example. We had been talking about it for a long time, but we just hadn’t gone through with it. That didn’t mean I had stopped thinking about it, though. I hadn’t. In fact, I had been fantasizing about sharing that experience with him from before we had even started talking about it.

But when we decided to go through with it, I took my time, searching for the right guy, flirting with prospective partners. It was fun to be on the dating scene again and to see men want me. I felt sexy and desirable and took that new energy back home with me.

I finally settled on one guy in particular that seemed promising. He was my age, attractive, and easy to get along with. We flirted via e-mail and text for a long time and there never really seemed to be a lull in the conversation. Eventually, I got drinks with him just to feel out the waters and rule him out if he just didn’t seem to live up to expectations.

But he did live up to expectations. I didn’t do anything with him that night and just left it as a good first date of sorts that had followed a lot of fun, flirty conversation. My husband (then boyfriend) and I talked a lot about what we each wanted me to do with this new guy, what I liked about him, and what I was most excited about. It was really freeing to be able to be sexually attracted to another man and to not only be able to tell my husband about it, but to be able to really discuss it with him. It was so much fun – he had even checked out guys with me before that to help me find someone that we thought would work.

Sometime after that first date, I was out with some friends on a girls’ night when this other guy texted me to see if I was interested in going over to his place. I was. I really was. I had been regretting not taking things farther at our first real date, but I was still making sure my husband was okay with everything.

So, I called my husband when I left the bar and told him that this other guy asked if I wanted to come over. I didn’t say he asked me to come over to his place for sex, but I didn’t need to. We all knew that was what he meant.

I was so nervous to make that call, but extremely excited. At the time, I wasn’t entirely sure how he would respond. He wanted me to have sex with this guy and come home to him afterwards, bringing sloppy seconds with me. See my earlier post about sloppy seconds. I had never had that request before and didn’t quite understand the appeal.

But he seemed as enthused as I did and quickly told me to go ahead and head over to this guy’s place. So I did.

His place was really nice. Downtown, loft, great building. I was so excited to be there that I could have skipped all foreplay. In a lot of ways, it felt like a one-night stand, but the buildup to the event made it so much bigger. And better.

I don’t really remember much of what happened at the beginning. He gave me a tour and we hung out in his place, just letting the sexual tension hang in the air. Eventually, we started kissing and the clothes came off.

All was great up to this point. Of course. Now that we had reached the climax, so to speak. I was dripping wet and couldn’t wait to fulfill one of my husband’s biggest desires, but my new friend was… not so up to the task.

I chalked it up to nerves and used my hands to try to get him hard. No go.

Okay, I thought. I wasn’t expecting this, particularly from a 23-year-old guy, but I figured it was nothing we couldn’t work through. I pushed him back so he was on the couch and got to my knees, taking his cock in my mouth. I pulled out my phone and snapped a quick picture (husband’s request) and kept sucking on him to get him hard.

It’s not like I had never sucked on my husband to get him hard before, but I don’t think it ever took more than thirty seconds or so. Three minutes in and I still have a limp noodle in my mouth. By five minutes or so, he finally gets (mostly) hard.

He puts my on the couch and gets on top of me, trying to enter me missionary style. Already, he had started to go soft and he struggled to even get inside of me. He finally does, but it doesn’t do all that much for me. He definitely lied when he said he was better hung than my husband, but was semi-hard when he entered and went fully-soft again while inside.

He suggested that we go to his bedroom and try a different position. I agree. I figure that it can’t really get any worse. I dropped to my knees and started giving him a blowjob again. Perhaps seeing me on my knees would help get him hard? Maybe he liked the more subservient-looking partner and just hadn’t told me?

Whether that was it or not, he did get hard pretty quickly and put a new condom on. He said he wanted me to ride him, cowgirl style, since that was his favorite position.

I obliged and slid him in without hesitating. I didn’t want to risk him going soft again and it looked like he was already on his way just from the time it took to put on the condom.

Sex in that position lasted all of about 40 seconds before he blew his load. No apologies for being so short. No attempt to go down on me to get me off. Nothing of the sort and I leave, pretty unfulfilled.

To top it off, my husband is horny AF when I get home. I was nervous to tell him about everything, but I did. He was as disappointed as I was that the sex was so disappointing, but still incredibly turned on by hearing about me describe going through with everything and seeing the one picture I took. He laid me on my back and went down on me, telling me that he could smell the condom on me and that it looked like I had sex. We did missionary and then cowgirl, just to match the other guy.

However, he was so horny that he lasted all of about three minutes with me on top of him, pushing me off his dick and cumming all over my lower back. Which never happens with him. Never. He had better self-control when I didn’t let him cum for the entire month of November.

So, I had fucked two men in the course of about 30 minutes and made both of them cum, but hadn’t gotten close myself at all. To be fair to my husband, that hasn’t happened since, and – like a gentlemen – he flipped me over and used his tongue to give me a well-deserved orgasm.

I mean, I’m happy I did it and everything. The process of finding a guy and flirting, teasing (both the new guy and my husband) was a lot of fun, and I feel like it really brought my husband and I together in a lot of ways. But the actual hotwifing portion? Not so good. Not so good at all.

Even when I’ve had great sex with new guys, I still usually prefer the flirting and the foreplay and everything that comes before the sex over the actual sex.

I’d love to hear other’s thoughts and experiences.

And, as always, please be sure to check out some of my works about hotwifing and cuckolding:

Categories
Uncategorized

Why Do Women Enjoy Hotwifing and Cuckolding?

I wrote about the various reasons why men enjoy cuckolding earlier, which you can find here: Why Do Men Enjoy Cuckolding?

It occurred to me, though, that a second post on this topic was needed and that I just hadn’t written it yet. I guess I assumed that the benefits for women were just so obvious that they didn’t need to be explored? I don’t know why it’s taken this long. I think there are some obvious perks, even if the topic is still pretty complicated.

I think women are nearly as likely to wonder if there is something wrong with them for wanting to be a hotwife as men are for wanting a hotwife. And there are many reasons for that. Namely, I think most societies have stigmatized women being sexual, making MFMs or women having two or more simultaneous or consecutive partners as being too “whorish” and something to be ashamed of. See some of my thoughts on that here: Stigma of MFMs.

Regardless, I don’t think any woman is weird for wanting multiple men. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. There are many perfectly normal and healthy reasons for being turned on by and wanting to practice cuckolding or being a hotwife.

*A note before I go on: I’m going to use cuckolding and hotwifing together here, even though porn has bastardized the term cuckolding so that it invokes images of women mocking their husbands as pathetic, small-dicked and utterly incapable of pleasing them, and therefore, undeserving of affection. However, I’m using cuckolding in the traditional sense, which doesn’t necessarily include any level of degradation, contrived or otherwise. It’s just the practice of a woman sleeping with another man with the approval of her husband. But there are multiple ways to do it.

Below is a completely non-exhaustive list of reasons why some men want to be cuckolded. Although first, please be sure to check out some of my works about hotwifing and cuckolding:

Now, for the benefits:

SEXUAL FULFILLMENT AND SEXUAL VARIETY

I’ll start with what seems to be the most obvious: sexual fulfillment. Having sex with more than one guy can be very satisfying and is one of the biggest perks of single life. Hotwives don’t have to give up this perk and can still sleep with more than one guy.

Not only that, but they can sleep with guys who have better bodies than their normal partner and who are fantastic in bed. Nothing is universal, but it seems that most guys who share in this turn on want to see their wife/girlfriend have great sex with a hot guy – not mediocre or bad sex with a guy that can’t keep up with him.

To me, it’s tough to complain about this perk. It’s having your cake and eating it, too, only instead of having cake, it’s great sex with multiple guys while your husband cheers you on.

Plus, different guys have different moves. Even if you’re having great sex with your partner, someone else may provide some much-appreciate variety.

THREESOMES, MORESOMES, AND TRAINS

This is closely related to the above, but being a hotwife brings with it new opportunities for sexual play. Threesomes or foursomes (all men, obviously) are a different experience from merely having sex with one man. With four hands, two mouths, and two… wangs, there’s more that can be done to a woman that one man just isn’t capable of.

And many women have the unfortunate experience of sex not lasting nearly long enough. Try as they might, some men just can’t hold off long enough to get the job done. At least not as thoroughly as their partner would prefer. But when you have a bull and a man waiting at home, it’s a very effective way to extend sex until you get everything you need.

EXHIBITIONISM

I don’t think it’s a shock to hear that exhibitionism is one of the most common fantasies for women. Being watched is sexy and it can be very sexy to have a significant other watch us in our most exposed. Even if the husband or boyfriend isn’t watching or participating, detailing what you did can be quite exciting, especially when you see him get excited to hear the details.

FEELINGS OF EMPOWERMENT AND DESIRABILITY

I’ve written about it elsewhere, but MFMs and hotwifing really isn’t about a power imbalance between husband and wife and the decision to enter into this type of play is mutual when it is done correctly.

But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t feel empowering for a woman to have two men want her so much that they’re willing to share her. It can be extremely erotic to have two men who think you’re so sexy that they don’t mind that you are with other guys.

I mean, if we’re being honest, it feels nice to be desired, even if we don’t have any interest in the guys desiring us. We still feel more confident, beautiful, and desired.

THE THRILL OF THE TABOO

There’s no reason to think that only men get turned on by doing something taboo. Societal norms and expectations demand that people act in a certain way. But for many people, it’s a lot of fun to break those norms. It feels “wrong” and “dirty,” even though your partner is right there, either cheering you on from home or from right next to you. Even though it’s much more common than most people realize, hotwifing is still seen as very taboo in most circles.

SATISFYING YOUR PARTNER

Having a hotwife is possibly the biggest male fantasy, aside from FMF threesomes (which you can hardly count since every man wants that, generally speaking). Satisfying your partner’s needs and wants can be a very enjoyable experience.

FULFILLS DOMINATION OR SADISM DESIRES

The “D” and the “S” in BDSM. Many women get off on dominating or humiliating their partner (consensually, of course). Hotwifing creates a new type of opportunity within this realm. Even though your partner wants you to sleep with other men, that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate role play into the activity and portray it as though you are truly dominating him and making him feel inadequate.

There’s something inherently powerful about being able to look at your partner while another man makes you orgasm.

INCREASES TRUST AND COMMUNICATION

Perhaps this isn’t something that is necessarily “caused” by hotwifing, but couples who hotwife tend to have a higher level of trust and better communication. One could make the argument that those who engage in the practice successfully already had a high level of trust and communication, but I think that there are at least as many that sat down and had a much more open and honest conversation about what they wanted. Once you start talking about the real possibility of a woman in an otherwise committed relationship having sex with other guys or having MFM threesomes, you really open the door to vibrant communication.

NEW LEVELS OF INTIMACY

Many couples report that they feel more connected to their partner than ever after hotwifing. It’s a vulnerable experience in many ways and is something that the two of you have shared. Many people report that hotwifing can create a new spark in a relationship and can bring back those exciting feelings we all had when the relationship was brand new.

It can also be very intimate to engage in the buildup process prior to a date. The hotwife preparation, choosing clothes, deciding how the date will (hopefully) play out – all provide changes for an intimate sort of bonding that can be difficult to recreate elsewhere.

Plus, many couples report that the reclamation sex afterwards is extremely bonding and provides reassurance that the relationship is far stronger than any orgasm with someone else.

CONCLUSION

Hotwifing, of course, is not for everyone. But it seems that if you have a willing male partner, I don’t know why most women wouldn’t at least give it a try. There are many benefits and can combine the best of single life with the best of being in a relationship. I think it’s amazing to be able to have the sexual variety that I had before I met my husband, while also knowing that he’s supporting me 100% and is still there for me.

Categories
Erotica Writing

Review of Smashwords

This is part 3 of 3 of my reviews of the self-publishing platforms I’ve used so far. Parts 1 & 2 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, respectively, are already up.

Smashwords may be lesser known, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the site. It may not have the name recognition of Amazon and B&N, but it seems to hold its own fairly well.

You can find my works on Smashwords here.

PROS

1. More Retailers

Unlike Amazon and B&N, Smashwords has a service where they will distribute your e-book to other retailers. I think this option is great, and it eliminates the need to upload your book to each retailer individually and to make changes on each retailer’s site when updates are warranted. It’s a big time-saver in that sense. Plus, you achieve a wider distribution beyond just Smashwords.

2. Top Royalties

Smashwords pays 80% royalty. This isn’t completely straightforward, but sales directly on Smashwords pay an 80% royalty rate, regardless of the price of your book (minimum of 99 cents). You can set an optional affiliate payment, which is automatically set at first to 11% unless you opt out or change it. But essentially, anyone that refers a reader to Smashwords using an affiliate code can get 11% of the proceeds of a sale of your book (or different amount, depending on what you set it at).

In my experience, most sales don’t come via an affiliate. I don’t like losing out on 11% when it happens, but I also appreciate that without the affiliate, I wouldn’t have made the sale, So there’s that.

Additionally, if your book is priced at under $2.99, you still get this higher royalty rate, which differs from Amazon (but no longer B&N, as of 2/1/2021). And there is no reduction based on location of purchaser.

If your book is in the premium catalog – meaning it is getting distributed to other retailers like Kobo, Apple, Scribd, etc. – the other retailer takes 30% and Smashwords takes 10%. So you still end up with a 60% royalty if it isn’t an affiliate sale. This is great on its own due to the ease of getting your book out to more places, but there’s an additional benefit if your book is under $2.99. If you publish via B&N and have a book priced at 99 cents, you would get a 40% royalty rate. If you go through Smashwords, you still get this 60% rate. (**Update** B&N now has a 70% royalty, regardless of e-book price; however, the above analysis still applies for other retailers).

3. Strong Sales

Of course it could just be my experience up to this point, but I’ve found that the sales through Smashwords have been strong. Nearly as strong as using just Amazon, actually.

4. Affiliate System

I like the affiliate system, both in that affiliates have some motivation to link to my books, but also in that I can be an affiliate and potentially add revenue by directing others to Smashwords or particular books/authors.

5. Quick publication

At least to Smashwords, itself. My books are available on Smashwords in a matter of minutes. It takes a day or two to get to other retailers, but for Smashwords itself, it’s nearly immediate.

6. Coupons

You can add coupons and they are available immediately. Smashwords also has a section for books that are currently on sale at a discounted price or books that are listed for free.

But, unlike B&N, if you are looking at a book that has a coupon, they actually tell you the book is discounted and what the coupon code is.

CONS

1. Worse Ease-of-Use

I’ve found that the formatting needed to be acceptable on Smashwords for their premium catalog status to be far more difficult than Amazon and B&N. It’s no issue if you only want to publish on Smashwords, but if you want to go to other retailers, you have to format it in a very particular way using an older version of Word. I understand that part of this is due to needing to convert to multiple formats due to differences amongst retailers, but it also feels like it could be better-automated in 2021.

2. No Ability to Use Coupons at Retailers

While I love that I can put my books on sale at Smashwords (like Hooky On His Orders: Faithfully Unfaithful, and On His Orders: Entertaining Three currently are), this doesn’t carry over to retailers. It would be nice to be able to have a consistent price/promotion across all retailers. But, since I don’t have an account with other retailers and, because even if I did, I wouldn’t be able to add a coupon published through someone else, I can’t add a comparable coupon.

3. Smashwords is Relatively Unknown

I think this one speaks for itself. Most people haven’t heard of Smashwords and don’t go to it first. Again, my sales there have been fine, but I think it’s still lacking in some name recognition for a lot of consumers.

Bottom Line

The bottom line for me is that I think Smashwords is fantastic. It has great royalties and it distributes to other retailers. It makes wider distribution easier with no need to make multiple stops when changes are needed.

My workaround to the hassle to format correctly has been to have all of my formatting preset in a document that I can then past my books into, applying the relevant formatting to each section. I think it took me about 20 minutes to format Strictly Business: Tormenting Tom this way.

Categories
Erotica Writing

Review of Barnes & Noble Press

**Update** As of 2/1/2021, Barnes & Noble has changed its royalty rates so that it is a flat 70% for e-books with no delivery fees and without maintaining a tiered system based on book price. Which is fantastic. Naturally, I attribute the change to my post below.

This is part 2 of 3 of my reviews of the self-publishing platforms I’ve used so far. The first one dealt with Amazon and can be found here: Review of Amazon.

You can find my works currently with Barnes & Noble here.

PROS

1. Large Network

Like Amazon, Barnes & Noble has a very large platform of dedicated customers. Unlike Amazon, it’s still largely dedicated to books. This gets your book in front of potentially millions of new customers that prefer to shop for books through B&N.

2. Ease of Use

Again, B&N is easy to use, although I would have to give the edge to Amazon on this one. I think it’s still pretty straightforward and not too much work for someone with a little bit of computer literacy to figure out, though. In particular, B&N makes it much easier to add your books to the appropriate categories, whereas Amazon keeps that formula much more of a puzzle, at least for getting your books added to certain subcategories.

3. Straightforward Royalties

**Update** As referenced above, the royalty system changed as of 2/1/2021. I’m keeping the below just for historical purposes. But this royalty system is even better now – 70% for all e-books, regardless of price.

The royalty system on B&N doesn’t appear to have any tricks or gimmicks about it. You get 65% for any e-book priced at $2.99 or higher and 40% for any e-book priced between 99 cents and $2.98. They don’t charge you a delivery fee and they don’t reduce your higher royalty rate for something less on the basis of location of the purchaser.

There’s so much to figure out when trying to self-publish for the first time that I think this benefit is bigger than some would initially think. It’s nice to have this aspect laid out in a simplistic, unchanging way.

4. Better Royalties

In comparison to Amazon, that is. At least that’s been my experience. Amazon likes to tout that it has a 70% royalty rate, but, as discussed in my review of Amazon, that’s actually pretty misleading. When they charge a delivery fee and reduce your royalty for sales in many countries, I’m sure I get less than the 65% that B&N provides. Plus, of course, 40% on lower priced publications is 14% higher than what Amazon provides.

5. Sales & Coupons

B&N gives authors the ability to add coupons to your books without having to enroll them in a program that demands exclusivity to B&N. In face, On His Orders: Entertaining Three is currently on sale at Barnes & Noble (coupon code BNPORDERS50).

CONS

1. Coupons Not Automatically Provided

From what I can tell, even though B&N lets authors add coupons whenever they want, it doesn’t list them as being “on sale” or “discounted,” and it doesn’t automatically apply the coupon. They don’t even appear to tell customers what the code is, meaning you would have to get the code elsewhere. So, you know. If you don’t have a big network, the coupon doesn’t do much good.

2. Sales Lag Behind Others

Perhaps this has just been my experience, but the sales on B&N don’t match what I see elsewhere. B&N has a huge network, but if it doesn’t translate into sales, the network size didn’t provide a benefit.

3. Slow Publication Times

I know B&N’s systems had a hiccup a while ago that slowed publication, but I’ve found that they take much longer than most retailers to add a publication to their available inventory. I asked customer service about it once, and I received a response. Two weeks later and right after my book was finally made available for sale.

4. No Unlimited Reading Program

While Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program has some real drawbacks, it is a nice service that I would gladly use if it didn’t require exclusivity. It would be great if B&N offered something similar. I think it’s helpful for authors – particularly new authors – to get their books in front of more people.

Bottom Line

The bottom line for me is that if I were going to get rid of using one of the three retailers I currently use, it would be B&N. Their royalties are good, their ease-of-use is pretty good, and they have a large network. But, it hasn’t translated to sales, and they negate one of their biggest perks (the ability to add coupons whenever you want) for authors without a sizeable following with their deficiencies in the coupons feature.

But if you aren’t locked into exclusivity with another retailer, it’s easy enough to get published on B&N, so there’s really nothing to lose. It just seems like this would be a better option for an author that already has an established following.

Categories
Erotica Writing

Books on Sale!

Three of my books on Smashwords are currently on sale through the end of the month. When you go to purchase, you’ll be provided with a coupon code to enter for your discount. I give the code below, but Smashwords will provide it as well. at checkout. On His Orders: Entertaining Three is discounted on Barnes & Noble as well.

Please check them out and leave me a review if you enjoyed reading them! I love to hear feedback from readers.

Hooky is priced at 99 cents. Coupon code is EU56C.
On His Orders: Faithfully Unfaithful is priced at $1.25. Coupon code is TE45L.
On His Orders: Entertaining Three is priced at $1.25. Coupon code is CX35Y.
It is also on sale on Barnes & Noble at the same price. The coupon code at B&N is BNPORDERS50. B&N sale price doesn’t take effect until January 16 due to their policies.
Categories
Erotica Writing

Review of Amazon/KDP for Self-Publishing

One of the most common questions I see from others trying to become self-published authors is perhaps the most obvious one: where can I self-publish my works? There are a few options for publication and I’ll start with the biggest: KDP through Amazon. I’ll address Barnes & Noble and Smashwords in later posts.

My Amazon author page is here, by the way: http://www.amazon.com/author/aliciastills.

I’m not going to pretend like I’m a huge expert on the matter or anything, but I’m also not going to blow smoke and tell Internet strangers that I make $10,000 a month publishing erotica. Seriously, why do so many people trying to scam others into paying for their publication assistance pick $10,000 a month when they’re making up income? It’s a nice, round number, but also completely fabricated.

But anyway, the point of this post isn’t to try to sell anyone on anything or to toot my own proverbial horn. I think that getting into this can be confusing and I just want to break down my impressions and experiences to help anyone else who’s thinking of giving this a go.

PROS

1. Large Network

Amazon has a huge distribution network and they seem to reach the largest audience. For anyone who’s trying to get their book in front of the most people, Amazon provides a pretty good platform for that.

2. Ease of Use

I’ve found that using Amazon’s services to get your e-book (and paperbacks, for that matter) ready for publication has been the most user-friendly. I used Amazon/KDP first, so really, it was a bit of a shock to use a different service after that to see just how far they lagged behind Amazon in terms of ease of use.

3. Highest Number of Sales

Again, it’s been my experience that Amazon has been able to get my books in front of the most people, resulting in higher sales on this platform than I’ve seen on others.

4. Kindle Unlimited Program

Okay, so this one appears on both the pros and cons list and it seems to invoke strong feelings from many self-published authors. I can see the valid benefits and drawbacks to the program, so I think it’s only fair that it appears on both the pros and cons.

For those that don’t know, Kindle Unlimited (“KU”) is an optional program when you self-publish on Amazon’s KDP platform. KU members pay a fixed price for the ability to read as much as they want of any book enrolled in the KU program. In exchange, authors receive royalties based on the total number of unique page reads they receive on the KU program each month. It gets your book in front of more people, it increases your chances of reviews (hopefully positive), and it gets you a share of the money in the KU fund.

Additionally, when you’re enrolled in KU, you have the ability to create “countdown deals,” which is when you temporarily lower the price of your book. It can either remain at one fixed lower rate for the entire length of your promotion, which is up to one week, or it can increase in steps, depending on how you want to structure it. Alternatively, you can also choose to do a free e-book giveaway instead. Your free days do not have to be consecutive. It’s easy to set up and use.

Finally, enrolling a book in KU opens authors up to a 70% royalty rate in five additional countries, rather than the 35% they would get if not enrolled in KU.

5. Fast Publication

Amazon processes submissions pretty quickly and I usually see my books available for purchase in less than a day. They aren’t the fastest, but given their sheer size, it’s a pretty quick turnaround.

CONS

1. Your Book Can Get Lost

It’s the other side of the coin to having a large network. Sure, there are a lot of potential customers, but there are also an enormous number of books, increasing the chances that your book gets lost in the shuffle.

2. Royalty Rates Are Confusing and Don’t Make Sense

**Update** This is even a more salient drawback in light of changes implemented by Barnes & Noble on 2/1/2021. B&N now provides a flat royalty rate of 70% for all e-books, which makes Amazon’s even more ridiculous and not as good.

Personally, I think they could easily have provided clearer explanations of their royalty rates. You have to price your book at $2.99 or higher in order to qualify for the 70% royalty rate. However, just because you meet all qualifications to receive the 70% royalty rate, you still might only get 35%. I found out that your royalty rate also depends on what country the buyer is located.

As far as I have been able to tell, this is something that is unique to Amazon, as none of the other publishers I’ve used find it necessary or appropriate to reduce royalty rates based on the buyer’s country. It doesn’t make sense to me why a buyer’s location should impact royalty rates, particularly when this is only applied by Amazon.

They also will take a delivery fee if you are enrolled in the 70% royalty rate.

3. Royalty Rates Are Worse Than Others

At 35%, KDP is the lowest royalty rate I’ve seen for e-books priced under $2.99. Barnes & Noble is 40% (**Update B&N is now 70%) and Smashwords can vary, but would still be at least 49% . The breakdown of that is that Smashwords’ partners take 30%, Smashwords takes 10%. There might be an affiliate fee, which is initially set for authors at 11%, but you can opt to give a higher rate or nothing at all.

And again, even if you are enrolled in the 70% royalty rate program, you still might get bumped down to 35% depending on the country of the buyer. I’ve found that somewhere around 15% of my sales are coming from people in countries with a 35% royalty rate, regardless of my election. Additionally, they also have a slightly higher delivery fee in the 70% election (which is waived for 35%). So, at the end of the day the 70% is cut down by quite a bit, especially depending on where your sales are coming from. Even though Barnes & Noble has its higher rate set at 65%, the royalty rate overall ends being better there. And that was before B&N improved its rates even more.

4. Kindle Unlimited Program

As promised, KU appears on the cons list as well. For all of its benefits, I still don’t have my books enrolled in KU. I did have all except for the last one, Strictly Business: Tormenting Tom, enrolled initially, but declined to renew. You make some additional money, but not much. Borrows from the KU program really drops off, too, so there is limited usefulness.

But what really bothers me about KU is that you are required to give KDP exclusivity rights while a book is enrolled in KU. Not only can you not use other publishers, but you can’t even make more than 10% of your book available on your own site.

More than that, you can’t put your book on sale or do a free giveaway if you are not enrolled in KU. There is no reason, aside from trying to force authors into enrolling in KU, despite Amazon taking a very large portion of the sales proceeds, anyway.

Also, yes, you are open to the 70% royalty rate in five new countries if enrolled in KU, but I don’t think I’ve even sold any copies in any of those countries. Maybe I have with this last round and I’m sure I will evenaturally, but that benefit is pretty limited.

Don’t get me wrong – they have a great platform and what they provide is great. But they definitely leverage their enormity to boost their bottom line at all turns.

Bottom Line

The bottom line for me is that Amazon is great for self-publishing. I wish that KU was a better deal for authors and that 70% royalty applied to sales in all countries, but it’s easy to use and has shown the best sales so far. It’s my first stop for publishing and will probably remain so going forward.

Categories
Erotica Uncategorized

Strictly Business: Tormenting Tom now available

Strictly Business: Tormenting Tom is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Smashwords distributors (Apple, Kobo/Walmart, others). It took longer than I hoped it would to get this out – it always seems to – but if you have a preferred e-reader, chances are, Strictly Business is there. A preview is available here.

This book pulled me a little farther away from my normal style and brought me into BDSM and female domination. The timing just seemed right to get into this genre. 2020 was a doozy of a year for my family, particularly, and writing about femdom was a nice outlet. It also aligns with my husband and I exploring domination, humiliation, and BDSM. I’m finding that femdom can be quite enjoyable for us, even if we never quite get as extreme as the characters in Strictly Business.

Regardless, I enjoyed writing it. It made me feel dirty in a new kind of way and I kept picturing that scene in Black Swan.

I hope you enjoy, and please remember to leave a review at your favorite retailer!