By Liz Everly
I love smart women who write what they want to write. With the way the publishing industry is set up, often that means taking on several different names—which is more complicated than it sounds with all of the social media venues these days and so on. It’s hard to keep up with all the names and personaes. But it also gives us a chance to play.
Enter Geneva DeCroix, a writer who has reinvented herself more than a few times. And has done very well. She started out as a erotica writer, was very successful (under another name), then wrote a more traditional kind of series. Now she’s back to erotica. I don’t think she’d mind my telling you that she is one of the few writers I personally know who actually makes a damned fine living. So listen up, friends. It’s my pleasure to introduce Geneva DeCroix.
Q: I’ve known you for a long time and been through several of your pen names with you. I met you when you were writing erotica and erotic romance and doing quite well with it. Then you were inspired to go in another direction and used another name. How important is it that erotica writers use pen names while they are writing in another genre? What are some of the reasons for it and doesn’t it make it more difficult to find your platform?
A: For me, I wanted a clear line drawn between my erotica and my mainstream work. My mainstream work doesn’t even have sex scenes in it! So a pen name only makes sense, because there probably wouldn’t be any crossover in fan bases.
I would do the same if I wrote two very different genres like epic fantasy and westerns.
As far as finding my platform, well, I’ve really just started working to build my erotica platform. Before, I focused my marketing efforts on my mainstream work, whereas erotica was something I wrote for fun when I was feeling inspired in that direction.
Building an erotica platform (aka social media connections) can be a bit more difficult. So many people are reluctant to review erotica stories. For a lot of people, erotica is something they enjoy privately but maybe don’t want to post where their mom can see it on Facebook! I totally understand that. So I have my brand new Facebook page for those who want to contact me, but I am not worried about it if people don’t feel comfortable with it.
Q: You’ve been very successful in writing in the newer genre. Why are you going back to erotica?
I’ve wanted to for some time, but always felt like I had more projects on the go than I had hours in the day and the erotica fell by the wayside. But recently, I’ve been working with someone who has taken on both the editing and formatting of all my work. That helps immensely!
Also, the rise of Kindle Unlimited inspired me to take a second look. It occurred to me that subscription services are perfect for erotica readers. There’s so much out there on Amazon, but how can you know if a particular story is going to fill the bill?
There’s a lot of free stuff out there, but let’s face it, some of the stories we’ve all seen going are, well, terrible. There’s others that might be well written, but they just don’t scratch my particular itch, if you know what I mean. Using a subscription service means I can try anything I want, download as much as I like, and there’s no risk! If I don’t like something, I just delete it and find something else.
I’ve recently been having all my collections broken up into single stories and adding some new bite-sized nibbles as well. Last week, I added six stories to Kindle Unlimited (with about twenty more to come over the month as I continue the process.) Since I did that, all of my downloads have been through Kindle Unlimited! I expected them to do well, but I didn’t expect that! Seeing that success has been exciting and inspirational!
Q: Could you just write in one genre your whole life? I know I couldn’t. I’d get bored writing one kind of story. What about you?
A: I totally agree. I don’t like to read only one genre either. Sometimes I’m in the mood for a good murder, other times I want something sexy, still others I want fantasy, magic, adventure. Sure, bits of each can creep in and cross over.
For example, my story The Dealership is a futuristic story about a woman who goes into a sex toy dealership to purchase a new model. Despite being shown “The William”, “The Sven” and “The Dante”, she sets her heart on “The Alex,” a most unusual prototype. (Click on the book covers to go directly to Amazon.)
Even in my sexy stories, I explore different types. Some is F/M, like A Reminder For Him, some explores spanking and anal sex, like The Gangster, and my latest story, The Bodyguard (just published this weekend) has no explicit sex at all, despite being (if I do say so myself) one of the hottest stories I’ve written (it’s got explicit language, nudity, and touching, but no sex happens on the page)
Q: You are an Indie publishing proponent, yet I know you started to be traditionally published. Would you care to share your reasons for Indie publishing?
A: My first ever paid publication was an erotic short story. Then I signed a contract for a paranormal romance (which I published under another name). I was delighted to be accepted into this profession I’d aspired to for so long, but I found quickly that my publisher wasn’t my friend. I was naive, I suppose, but what new writer isn’t? I got assigned book covers that I hated, was forced to make edits I didn’t agree with, and on top of that, my books were priced so high that sales weren’t great.
After a time, I asked for my rights back, and because sales weren’t fantastic, my publisher agreed. (They weren’t happy, necessarily, but they we did come to an agreement, which is a relief. I know not all authors under contract are so lucky.) I put my own covers on the books (I have a background in graphic design) and gave the books what I felt were reasonable prices, uploaded them to Amazon and sales took off.
I love being in control of my own career. It’s scary sometimes, because I’m the one to blame if things don’t go well, but at the same time, unlike a large publisher, I have the flexibility to make changes on the fly if something isn’t working. I can respond quickly to reader demand, which is what it’s all about.
Q: It seems to me that you are one of those rare writers who has a balance between left and right brain. You are very tech savvy and have used it to your advantage. Can you peer into your crystal ball and make any publishing predictions based on what you’ve seen and what you know?
I think subscription based models are here to stay. Just look at the entertainment industry as a whole and how Netflix and Spotify have changed the way people seek out what they want to watch or listen to. But I don’t think that means buying individual books is dead. In fact, Russ Grandinetti, Amazon’s VP in charge of Kindle, told a Book Seller’s Conference recently that “if you look at a customer’s buying patterns 60 days before KU and 60 days after, these customers are spending more money on books after enrolling—25% more on average.”
So book-library subscribers actually buy more books after subscribing than they did before! That’s good news for authors who fear that the subscription model will mean the end of people being willing to pay for books a la carte.
Publishing is changing rapidly. It has been since the ebook revolution began several years ago. It will continue to change, and authors have to be prepared to adapt. Remember that when we say it’s “market forces” driving the changes, it sounds like there’s some unknowable monster out there making our lives difficult, throwing up obstacles just when we got comfortable with something that worked. That metaphor couldn’t be further from the truth. All “changing market forces” means is that readers have new choices, and they’re loving it. We authors need to adapt to give them what they want.
Q: What some of the most important lessons you’ve learned in your publishing and writing career?
- Living a dream takes hard work, but it’s worth every moment
- Readers are the only critical part of the publishing chain
- The only thing constant is change.
Thank you so much for hosting me today! It’s been a real pleasure.
Thank YOU, Geneva!
Question for readers from Geneva: Have you ever tried a subscription service for reading? Do you plan to in the future?”