Upcoming reading at local, independant bookstore!

My fellow smut writer and friend Emily and I are doing a reading on September 13, 2013, at St. Johns Booksellers – a fantastic local bookstore!

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Stella and Emily

Emily and I will be reading from the Cleis anthologies we’re included in and perhaps from some other books as well.

She and I both have exciting news and publication announcements coming up, so be sure to keep an eye out here and follow Emily on her website.

We hope to see lots of friends and new faces at the reading – wine and sweet treats (including homemade cupcakes!) will be available.

Event details:
St. Johns Booksellsers
8622 N. Lombard St., Portland, OR 97203
September 13, 2013 at 7:30pm

Social Media 101 for freelancers (from writers to sex workers)

I wrote this in response to two professional Dominatrixes who asked me about using Twitter to promote their business, but as I was writing I realized it was relevant to most freelance work.

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My Twitter header image and bio.

In a former life I was a professional fundraiser in the non-profit sector. One of my specialties was social media and peer-to-peer fundraising. While I rarely do that kind of work these days, I’ve found the skills I have translate amazingly well to my current freelance work.

The thing about being a freelancer – any kind of freelancer – is that you become your brand. The pictures and personal anecdotes you share influence what people think about you, and this is a wonderful tool to use to your advantage.

In the internet age consumers expect more and more access to, well, everything and everyone. If something or someone doesn’t have a web presence it may as well not exist as far as a big slice of the population is concerned.

There is a self-centeredness to the modern consumer that can be both frustrating and useful. Some of the writers I know are baffled by how to handle dozens of their twitter followers expecting personal interactions and others are thrilled by the dialogues that spring up on their blog posts. It’s just a matter of using this interaction to your advantage and making sure you don’t let it eat up more of your time than it’s worth.

That last point is vital – let me restate; don’t let social media eat up too much of your time. As a freelancer your time is valuable. So budget your time the same way you’ll budget anything else. Decide that you’d dedicate thirty minutes twice a day to updating your social media and then stick to it. Time yourself if you have to.

There are ways to make this easier. If you have a blog, say through WordPress, you can set it to post to your Twitter and Facebook pages whenever you write a new post. You can also set your Twitter to post to your Facebook. Let the technology do as much of the work for you as possible. Decide what your main point of contact is – ideally a website – and link to your other social media in an obvious place. Many blogging platforms will allow you to import your latest tweets to your website sidebar. This is a great way to keep your content looking fresh even if you don’t post to your website every day, or even every week.

Another important point: don’t feel like you need to be on every social media platform. FetLife, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr… just to name a few. Keeping up on social media could be a full time job – in fact, for large organizations it is a full time job.

As a freelancer you need to figure out where your audience is and focus on that market. Another way to look at it is to evaluate which platform would best highlight your content. If you have a lot of photos, and you aren’t worried about them taking on a life of their own on the internet, Tumblr and Instagram could be good options. Tumblr is one of the only social media platforms that is friendly to sexually explicit content.

If you’re going to do just one social media platform in addition to your website I recommend Twitter. It has some of the most users in social media, and people of all professions use it. It’s a great way to reach a wide audience. Through Twitter actors, authors, and many other celebrities previously unreachable have started interacting with their fans.

Some Twitter tips: Consider your avatar image and bio carefully. That’s how you’re going to make your first impression. If people see one of your tweets and pop over to your profile to see what you’re all about you only have a few seconds to grab their interest and persuade them to follow you. And you need to do it in a 160 word bio. The trick here is to give enough relevant information about what you do and what field you’re in while also being fun and clever. Think about it for a while, write a few drafts, and solicit opinions from your friends.

Make your pictures work for you. Twitter now allows two – make that three if you add a custom background. You can even add content to your background if you like.
[See Tristan Taormino for background content and check out mine for what I hope is good use of related photos.]

Don’t fall into the trap of only selling things on social media. Sure it’s tempting, and I do make a post whenever I have a new book or story available, but make sure that’s not all you post. Show who you are as a person. For kinksters and sex workers, show pictures of yourself in a new outfit or with a new toy you’re excited about using. Post about adventures you’re having in your real life. Any little snapshot that makes you seem like a real person will help.

Some caveats: Don’t post about illegal activities! (This should go without saying, but people do it anyway.) If you’re worried about your safety, don’t post specifics about where you’ll be or when. Consider posting about an event AFTER it’s over.

Do engage your audience: solicit feedback, run contests, answer questions and interact. Social media is a two way street, you need to interact.

Hopefully this will get you started, let me know if you have questions and keep in mind that I’m available for consultations or ongoing consulting work.

Legal Briefs release and blog tour post

Another short post today to let you know about the release of Legal Briefs – a charity anthology to benefit LAMBDA Legal. LegalBriefs_500

This is a really fantastic project and I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy – all proceeds go to LAMBDA Legal.

The Novel Approach was kind enough to host me today – pop on over there to read my musings about law school, equality, and my contribution to Legal Briefs.

xo,
Stella

The big ‘O’

Just a quick announcement today – the cover for Rachel Kramer Bussel’s Big Book of Orgasms is out!

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This collection contains my story, The Jeffrey Factor. The book comes out in October, but you can pre-order it now!

I’m super excited about this collection because I love Rachel’s writing and I’ve wanted to work with her since I started writing in this genre.

I’m working on various things behind the scenes and hope to update more soon. In the meantime, do you have a copy of Well Played yet?

And, for more frequent updates, be sure you’re following me on Facebook and Twitter!

xoxo,
Stella

Fantastic review of Eye of the Beholder!

What a wonderful notification to see upon waking up – one of my contrubitions to Alison Tyler’s Sudden Sex, Eye of the Beholder, was given a wonderful review by Jeremy Edwards.

You can read the whole review here, but here’s a tease; “What [the character] sees, described so concisely yet vividly by the author, will likely make you melt with exquisite pleasure…

Well, consider this author blushing!

Get your copy of Sudden Sex now!

xoxo,
Stella

At long last – the Strummed Cover reveal!

I’ve been working on this project for a long time and I’m so excited that it’s just a couple weeks away from being in print.

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I’ve gotten word that my story, Well Played, will be the first story in the collection. I’m absolutely tickled that the publisher has so much confidence in my story.

Well Played is one of the longest stories I’ve published, and it’s easily one of my favorites. I had a lot of flexibility about what to write – as long as I stayed within a musical theme – and so I got to really stretch my storytelling muscles.

The ebook should be available at the end of the month, with print copies following a week after. I’ll update you as soon as I have firm dates and buy links. I might even do some kind contest or giveaway for this book – please leave me a comment if you have an idea for an interesting contest!

News about another publication is coming soon – stay tuned!

xoxo,
Stella

Review: Balancing the Books by Lucy Felthouse

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You’ve heard me talk a lot about the Big Book of Bondage – and that’s because I’m very excited about this collection and absolutely thrilled to be a part of it. Every story is a gem and I’m honored to be keeping such good company.

To give you a tease, here’s my review of Lucy Felthouse’s delicious story; Balancing the Books.

From the first line of the story, we’re immersed in the world – and the predicament – that Philip, the main character, finds himself in. That world is a delightful bookshop and if you – like me – have a thing for books, this story will be a double treat.

Lucy does an amazing job of getting into the mind of the character; of explaining what it’s like to live in the head of a submissive who is painfully eager to please. And that’s just the beginning of the realism that Lucy brings to her characters. They are objects in a fantasy while still ringing true as people.

In addition to all the story’s other charms, it’s refreshing to see a female dominant / male submissive story – especially one that’s done so well.

Lucy explores the mental and emotional aspects of bondage – she shows that the command to hold still can be even more binding than the tightest rope.

Lucy’s writing balances hot and sexy with light and fun – making her story an absolute pleasure to read.

Get your copy of the Big Book of Bondage now!