Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Chatting about Erotic Romance with Lexi Post and GIVEAWAY

I'm so excited to have erotic romance author, Lexi Post here today, AAAAND, she's offering a GIVEAWAY at the bottom of this post! If you haven't read Lexi's books, you're missing out (my fav so far is Masque, her take on Edgar Allen Poe's The Masque of the Red Death and my review is here on Goodreads) so be sure to enter her Rafflecopter giveaway and get you some fantastic erotic romance!

Welcome, Lexi! I'm always curious to see how writers broke into the industry. Would you share your query letter here, and tell us why you think it got a response? What made it successful?

I wrote many a query letter in my quest for both an agent and a contract, but that wasn’t how I became a published author :-} I actually obtained both my agent and my first contract through pitches…sort of.
I did pitch my agent at the Emerald City Writers Conference. It was a group pitch and actually quite interesting and not the horror story I had heard. The horror was on my part as I gave the worst pitch of my career. Luckily, my agent did request a partial.
Check out Masque HERE
My first contract I obtained in a unique way. I bid on dinner with a publisher and editor on the Brenda Novak Auction and I won. So at RWA that summer I had dinner in New York City with Raelene Gorlinsky and Grace Bradley. I had my first erotic manuscript, Passion’s Poison, at two houses and was waiting to hear, so when I explained I write erotic romance inspired by the classics, I used that story for an example, but I was clear that the story was currently out. So as another example, I told them about my manuscript Masque so they could get the gist of what I was doing. I was only on page three at the time, so I wasn’t actually pitching, just giving examples. After the conference, I received emails from both and Grace Bradley, the editor, said she was interested in anything I might want to submit. I submitted Masque as soon as it was completed.

Ooh, I do love Masque! Your hero, Synn, is....well, sinful!! :)
Lexi, you are a hybrid author I admire, with books published with both traditional publishers as well as those you've Indie-published (very successfully, I might add!). What lessons have you learned from your hybrid experiences so far?

I could write pages on this. I had been unpublished for many years, six to be exact, and when I got my first contract I thought I knew exactly what to expect. I was wrong. It was like going from high school to college, a totally different experience with completely different demands. Then when my editor left Ellora’s Cave, I had this manuscript she had challenged me to write. I asked my agent what I should do with it, and since it was a short novel (55,000 words) she suggested I self-publish it. That sounded good to me, so I started that journey
with Cruise Into Eden. Yikes, that was no cruise! I was like going from college to graduate school because there was so much more I had to learn.
What I have learned is that both avenues have pros and cons and I plan to keep my feet planted firmly in both. Indie publishing provides the ability to act quickly, take advantage of opportunities and adjust strategies based on what is working. Plus, an author can see her sales on an hourly basis if she wants and can be paid on a monthly basis. On the other hand, the author has to do everything! This includes having a cover made which can simply be hiring an artist, or as I often do, choosing a model (I know it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it ;-). Then there is the back and forth with the cover artist (unless you can do that yourself). And of course, there is the content. I have a critique partner, beta reader, editor and two proofers to make sure my books are as clean as I can get them. This means scheduling these people and meeting my deadlines with them. Then there is the business side which includes the formatting, the ISBNs and assigning them, the copyrighting, the ordering of print books for signings, the 1099s to send out and receive, the royalty tracking, etc. And there is significant cost behind all of it. When indie publishing, the author takes the financial risk.
With a publisher, a lot of the process and all the financial requirements are taken care of. This is the big pro of being traditionally published. Plus, the book can be found through the publisher’s site, even if the publisher does nothing else regarding marketing. On the other hand, publishers tend to move slower and the contracts can be limiting as to what the author can produce and sell. This is one of the many reasons I’m glad I have an agent. Also, an author can’t see her sales until she gets her royalty check which with some houses is twice a year. And of course there is the lack of control on whether the publisher wants to publish the book in the first place.

What is THE most important thing writers can do for themselves to be successful in today's market?

The traditional advice is to write, but it’s more than that. Writers need to be constantly learning and taking time to self-analyze. The learning can be in the form of workshops, conferences, talking with other writers, reading articles on the market, studying what others are doing, even reading other writers’ books. The self-analyzing is another form of learning. It is important to determine what works and what doesn’t for each individual writer. Everything from a writer’s process to what he or she is good at or not so good at helps a writer improve.

I so agree! You're never done self-analyzing as a writer. So, if you could have done anything differently with your writing career, what would it be?

I started writing and then stopped. Years went by and I lost touch with the industry. When I started writing again, almost everything had changed. I wish I had stayed connected even if I wasn’t writing. I think if I had, I would have resumed writing sooner.

Who are your writing role models, and how have they influenced you?

My writing role model is Jennifer Ashley/Allyson James. She is actually the first role model I’ve ever had. There is so much about her that I like and want to emulate. She works hard and produces more than three times the number of books that I do in a year. She is humble and very approachable. In fact, she has advised me a number of times during my career. And her stories are awesome! Yes, I am a bit of a fan girl :-} What I like about reading her books is that I can enjoy the story thoroughly and then sit back afterward and learn something about the craft of writing based upon what she has done in her book. She’s both a great writer and a great person.

Do you have any upcoming releases? If so, tell us about it!

On November 1st I just released Pleasures of Christmas Past which is the first book in A Christmas Carol series. All my erotic romances are inspired by the classics, so this is a different take on Dickens’ classic story. I don’t re-write the classic, I’m inspired by it. So in my story, though Jessica Thomas is thrilled to land the job of novice Spirit Guide, she’s assigned a hot, arrogant Scottish mentor who confuses her heart. But what should concern her more, is will he protect her soul? I really enjoyed writing this paranormal book. Duncan is just so much fun and Jessica has the biggest heart and makes a great Spirit of Christmas Past.
My next release, coming out December 2nd is another Christmas story. It’s titled Christmas with Angel. This book is what I call a “bridge” book. It’s the sequel to Cowboy’s Match (Poker Flat Series #2) but the prequel to Trace’s Trouble (Last Chance Series #2). Basically, it is a link between two series. Cole and Lacey may not agree on where to spend Christmas day, but when Angel’s abusive former owner decides to take matters into his own hands, the couple pulls together to focus on what’s most important. I really enjoyed writing about Cole and Lacey’s happily ever after and setting up the Last Chance Series. This series is inspired by a number of short stories by Bret Harte who was a classic western writer back in the 1800s.

What's one fact about you that most people don't know. 

I’m a huge Marvel Comic fan. Yup. I used to have a rather large collection including a Daredevil #4! I tape all the Agents of Shield shows so I can do Marathon watching on holidays and love the movies. X-men, Thor, Wolverine, and the Avengers were my top favorite comic books. Followed by the Defenders, Elfquest, Hulk, the Fantastic Four and many others :-}

I know people will want to check you and your books out! Can you give us your website links and contact information?

Okay...GIVEAWAY TIME! Be sure to enter Lexi's Rafflecopter Giveaway here, and a HUGE thank you to Lexi Post for being my guest  here today! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway