Thursday, August 21, 2014

Vote for Meeeee.......Really? (#SexSceneChampionships #MFRWAuthor @MFRW_ORG #BDSM)

Every once in a while I come across one of those competitions between authors--you know, when an enterprising blogger or reviewer or even a sales page wants to rev up interest in their site, and so pits one author against another in some sort of competition. Thus far, I've participated in only one, and I thought it was fairly judged by readers--I was matched against a very well known author competing for the "Smooch" Award, which was given by the cataromance website. I won, which surprised me--like I said, my competitor was very well known, and at that time, I was a relative newbie. I had assumed that it was more like a
popularity contest than an actual contest judged on the merits.

But these so-called competitions have become more popular, and it's next to impossible to read yahoogroup 
postings for any length of time without coming across a plea like the one in my blog title: Vote for Meeeeee........!!!!!

Those pleas are awful. They're unattractive in a way I can't define. Perhaps it's the immodesty--my British mother raised me to be a lady as they were defined about a century ago. Or more. And begging has never been my strong suit. In Winter's Bone, Jennifer Lawrence's character tells her little brother, "Don't ever ask for what ought to be offered." I agree with that--especially as it applies to the opposite sex--but it feels right to me in this situation, as well. 

I signed on for the Sex Scene Championship because, well, I'm proud of my work, and also I figured it would be good promo. As many of you know if you've read my blogs and FB posts for a while, marketing is not exactly my forte.  Okay, I suck at it. So I'm experimenting by trying different venues to spread the word.

For me, this is the year of Twitter and Triberr, and so far I've been happy with the increased sales. I've also been reaching out to other writers, blogging with them and inviting them to share guest posts on my blog site. The symbiosis created by blog+Triberr+Twitter is very powerful--I have a reach of about two million. I don't delude myself that most of those two million read my books or will in the future--but it's a big improvement compared to my prior marketing efforts.

And soooo...the sex scene championships. I reached out to my competitor hoping we could evolve some kind of joint promo, but she never responded. I did the same with a couple other authors who were participating, but no one could come up with anything new, cute or inventive. And given my crippling lack of imagination when it comes to author marketing, I certainly haven't come up with anything brilliant.

So this is it. Blog+Triberr+Twitter.

Wish me luck.

The excerpt can be found at the Sex Scene Championship page:

It's that really sexy BDSM scene from Rakes in Tartan in which Andrew practically rapes Dagmar. But as readers of this book know, Dagmar never does anything she doesn't want, and her desires are, umm... shall we say...arcane.

So: VOTE FOR MEEEEEE on August 22. Or for the other author, should you prefer her writing.

And if you enjoy the scene from Rakes, get it here:

And if you would, please post a comment about these contests and/or about the campaigning for votes. I'm really interested in people's I out of step?  Or have I identified something that's maybe a little destructive?

Since I entered the romance community I've noticed a strong tendency away from competition and toward cooperation. Maybe it's because this genre is dominated by women, and we tend to work together toward common goals rather than competitively. The thought is that "a rising tide floats all boats." As the popularity of romance and erotica rises, we all benefit. Sure, there's competition for the scarce reader dollar, but in the main, we know that romance fans are voracious readers. Turning on a reader to romance and erotica generally benefits many if not all of us--our beloved readers don't buy one book from one authors, but tend to buy many books from many authors.

So why the competitions? Are they useful or divisive?


  1. Hi Suz! I definitely agree with you on the "Vote for meeeeee!" aspect of competitions. I participate in a writing challenge called The Iron Writer, and while half of the voting is done by judges from the group, the other half comes from the "popularity contest" side of things. So I do think many people end up winning based on that popular vote, because they can wrangle lots of people over to the page. I tend to prefer more merit-based challenges, but I know part of their deal is trying to engage readers, so voting provides that.

    As an erotica writer, I'm curious about this Sex Scene Championship. So I'm going to go check that out!

  2. Yes, more cooperation and less competition. It gets hard to figure out these competitions, especially when you know the do you choose? Some competitions may be unique and catch readers' attention, but for the most part, they tend to be the same.

  3. Congrats and best of luck. I do think that many of the contests are all about popularity. Even contests that have stated that you can only vote once, I found out that by erasing the cookies on your computer you could vote again... it was a bloodbath!

    1. Jeez Louise, Melissa...the lengths people will go to...Yikes. I feel like a lamb among wolves.

  4. Hi, Suz. Looking forward to seeing your excerpt tomorrow.

    I'm also terrible at marketing and self-promo - to the point that I almost never use my FB page, I quit Triberr because of the spam aspect, and I cringe at the 'vote for me' aspect of contest promos. I signed up for the Sex Scene Championship because I thought it would be fun, and I'd learn a lot from the other authors. And I have.

    As someone writing M/M erotic romance space operas (heavy on the SF), I'm already in several ghettos as far as genre. Science fiction readers shy from explicit sex, and for a long time, romance readers wanted nothing to do with over-the-top science-fictiony plots. I'm happy to see that's changing. (Mostly so I can read other people's great books.)

    I'm not that flustered by the competition part of the championship, just as I tend to shrug at negative reviews. I had worse experiences by far in 20+ years of commercial art critiques with clients and designers. I know that writing contests can be 'gamed' in various ways, but since there's nothing I can do about that (except not regress to high school by joining in on the popularity games), I'm just hoping for a little more exposure.