Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

August is for innovation, or escaping the scary freelance financial life cycle

August has been flying by, faster than I'd like, especially because on Friday I'll be heading off for 9 days and am not quite ready. This is my month for two big new projects that are both exciting and a little panic-inducing: prepping my first self-published anthology (a reprint/expansion of 2007's Sex and Candy, whites now out of print), and preparing the launch of my first new set of online classes. I was going to say "self-hosted" online classes, but that's not strictly true; I'll be doing them through Teachable, which is a whole learning curve unto itself. I want to start with three classes, so that's a whole lot of writing and video content to create.

Both are a lot of work for zero money upfront; in fact, the anthology will cost me at least $2,000, and that's just for author and copyeditor payments, not the actual costs involved of getting it online. The Teachable classes has required me to buy a microphone and likely will require dozens of hours of my time, but doesn't cost anything to upload; they take a small percentage of course fees. I'm doing these things not just so I can "feel like a businesswoman," but so I can slowly wean myself from the gross, needy, helpless feeling that being a freelancer produces in me. Everything I do requires someone's approval in order for me to get paid: with my books, it's my publisher's approval and then, of course, readers' approval; if nobody buys my books, I make nothing (I get a small advance on each anthology but almost all, and sometimes more than that advance, gets paid to authors and copyeditors and also my assistant, who helps me with promotion). With freelance writing, whether my pitches are accepted or not is at editors' whims, then whether I get paid in a timely manner or not remains to be seen. Those are stress-inducing situations, where from one month to the next I don't really know how much cash I'll have on hand. Sure, right now I have a weekly copywriting job, but as a freelancer, that could end at any second.

So I chose August as my month to set these new projects into motion. My goal is to release the self-published book in September and hopefully launch the first of my classes then too, and add some more in the new year. Meanwhile, I'm also reading everything I can about marketing and trying to learn how to get my books and audiobooks into the hands of new readers and listeners. I'm trying to think like a beginner because there's really no point in pumping out anthologies if the sales are stagnant, if I'm not reaching new readers, if I'm not innovating. I don't want my forties to go by and just feel like I repeated my thirties ad nauseam professionally, and even more, I don't want my forties, as I inch ever closer to retirement, to go by and not have stacked up a good amount of savings. Obviously, both these projects are gambles, albeit small stakes ones. I could invest my money and time in them and they could bomb, hard. But I don't think they will. Rose Caraway is going to be recording the audiobook of the Sex and Candy reprint, and her audiobooks earn me more in royalties than my print and ebook titles. I trust that her podcast listeners will enjoy these sweet and luscious stories. And I've asked some of the alumni of my classes if they'd be interested in the first few topics I'm planning, and they are.

I even have a cool new fishnet stockings logo I'll be sharing here soon (if you want to see it first, subscribe to my newsletter). I'm excited, but being your own boss takes a great dose of vision and belief in yourself, and I don't possess that every day. Yesterday I got really down on myself, wondering what the hell I'm doing, whether I'm in over my head technically, whether it's worth it or if I should just stay with what I know. I keep returning the realization, though, that I want to try something new, even if it fails, because either way I'll learn. Both of these new systems will mean I'll see sales data in real time, which will enable me to change things like book covers and prices as needed. That's the part I'm most excited about: feeling in charge, rather than passively waiting around, fingers crossed (or more like, nails being bitten to shreds). I'll be sharing more about these projects as they get closer to completion, but for right now, this month I'm in the thick of learning and exploring and trying to take a little bit of control in such an unpredictable career path.

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Friday, August 04, 2017

Hot erotica by women at Refinery29

I'm still catching up on life after last weekend's whirlwind 48 hours in New Orleans for a bachelorette party. This is my first day back at my home office, where I'm working on my first self-published anthology and my new set of online classes, so I wanted to share some sexy story links you may not have seen (or maybe you have; I've published many of these authors in my anthologies or will be publishing them soon). I've included the book or story title and author name; you can click through to see original artwork and read a hot excerpt. Last year, Refinery29 asked me to gather hot erotica by women and they've been rolling those sexy stories out over time. Here are the links to all of them, and if they intrigue you, I encourage you to check out the books they're from and more of each author's works (there are links to the specific titles and the author websites there). I'm seeing one broken link which I will update as soon as it's resolved. Happy reading!

Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen

Hold Me Down by Sara Taylor Woods

A Gentleman in the Street by Alisha Rai

"Scissoring" by Annabeth Leong in Inked: Sexy Tales of Tattoo Erotica edited by Anna Sky

Untouchable by Elizabeth SaFleur

"Arielle" by Lana Fox from Cathedral of Furs: Ardent Erotica Inspired by Anaïs Nin

Bollywood and the Beast by Suleikha Snyder

"Tell Me a Secret" by Leandra Vane from A Bloom in Cursive

The Siren and the Sword (Magic University Book 1) by Cecilia Tan

The Boss by Abigail Barnette

S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared by L. Marie Adeline

The Virgin by Tiffany Reisz

To Italy with Love by Fiona Zedde

The Unicorn by Delphine Dryden

"Appetizer" by Sommer Marsden from The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica edited by Rose Caraway

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Tuesday, August 01, 2017

My Cleis Press erotica anthology deadlines are coming up soon (October 1 and November 1)

Here's another reminder that the deadlines to submit short stories to my two Cleis Press erotica anthologies, Erotic Teasers and Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 4, are coming up fast, on October 1 and November 1, 2017, respectively. I encourage you to take your time, as entries that are sexy, diverse and grammatically perfect stand the best chances, though all that arrive by the deadline and meet the guidelines will be considered. This month I'm preparing to self-publish my first book and to launch some classes, and I want those to be all done by October 1 so I can start editing the teaser book. Good luck!

3 months to submit BWE4

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