Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Deduct Your Dildo - Sex Sells Tax Tips for Erotic Authors

Today's topic always gets me hot.  MONEY!
This month we'll all be getting 1099's from our publishers.  If you're a brand new author - Congratulations!  You now fall into the category of a small business for tax purposes.

If you're new to earning 1099 income, you're also going to get a nasty shock.  Every dime you earn isn't just subject to income tax. If you made over $400 as an author, you're also facing a bill for self-employment tax - 15.3% of your net income.

That means if you were successful enough to make it into the top 5% of all authors and earned $10,000 or more, you owe Uncle Sam at least $1,530 extra!

But if you've kept good records, every dime you spent on a deductible expense will lower that amount.  That means if you treated yourself to a new Kindle for about a hundred bucks in 2014, you can probably deduct it. It may not sound like much but the $15.30 you save pays for takeout pizza next time you're trying to meet a deadline and don't have time to cook.

Besides being a self-employed author, I've owned four other small businesses, from a real estate company to a food concession at Miami Arena.  Over the years, I've learned a lot about how to take advantage of every single deduction available.

Here's where I issue my disclaimer:  I am NOT an accountant or a tax attorney.  The following information is gleaned from years of personal experience.  If you have any questions about specific deductions, talk to an accountant.  If you don't have one, feel free to use my personal rule of thumb for picking a good accountant.  He or she has to save me MORE than I'm paying to have the return prepared!

Here's a list of basic deductions a small business can claim:

1.  Business Equipment
This includes computers, printers, copy machines and printers.  Here's a useful quote on what constitutes business equipment from Jeremy Slaughter at Demand Media:

"Businesses may also require specialized equipment such as tools, manufacturing equipment or heavy machinery. For tax purposes, you can deduct all of this equipment along with any other equipment used in the operation of a business. They key is determining how to deduct each type of equipment.
Small businesses can expense any equipment with a useful life of less than one year. Common examples include electronics not considered to last more than a year and hand tools such as shovels and rakes. Business owners typically deduct equipment like this as “small tools and equipment” on an income tax return."

Okay - specialized equipment, electronics not considered to last more than a year and HAND TOOLS? Sounds like vibrators and dildos to me!  ( Assuming you find a way to use said equipment in a scene in one of your books)

2.  Travel Expenses
Did you attend a writer's conference workshop, convention?  Did you visit a new location for one of your books? Airfare, gas, tolls, hotels, meals, cab fare - all of those can be deductible expenses.  Keep receipts from everything.

3.  Supplies
Here are a few examples - yellow pads, ink cartridges, printer paper, business cards

4.  Other deductions
Advertising, including giveaway prizes and ads in on-line trade publications
Internet access
And if you're doing really well, you can set up a self-employed retirement account and deduct every dime you're saving so you don't have to write porn when you get old!

Don't miss my other posts in this series:
     Why Write Erotica - Here Are 10,000 Reasons


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Who's That Dirty Girl? Oh, Sorry...It's ME!

Have any of you ever had this happen?  While chatting with Rayanna Jamison recently, she offered to host me on her blog.  I sent her a few snippets from a file of excerpts from my last book Bared By the Billionaire and promptly forgot all about it.

When I saw the headline for the post, Kallista Dane: Bared by The Billionaire, Anal Beads and Mammoth Hunters I thought she'd mixed me up with someone else.  Maybe one of those REALLY kinky people who write dinosaur/cave girl erotica.  I clicked on it, already rehearsing how gracious I'd be when she apologized.

There it was - a hot anal play scene with a hunky Dom/doctor making the heroine admit all her shameful secrets or face another spanking from the stern nurse next to him wielding a wooden paddle.

Oooh...spanked in public, ass play, AND a doctor?  In answering one of her questions, I also happened to mention cave women getting soundly fucked by mammoth hunters.  Apparently she was paying more attention to the conversation than I was!

Here's the problem.  I barely remembered writing that scene, much less the fact that I'd included it in the book.  Truth be told, it was probably one of those parts I write to turn myself on, where I become the heroine forced to admit all her naughtiest fantasies out loud while being soundly spanked for having them.   (Please don't mention that to my therapist.  I've paid her enough money already!)  Then I tell my husband all about the scene.  If I tell it really well, he's inspired to act it out with me, and the next morning I happily move on to the next.

Since I wrote that, I've had another book published and I'm halfway through a third. When I sit at the computer, my characters often start doing and saying things that weren't on the outline I scribbled in the parking lot of the mall after that long, solitary drive spent planning my book.

So I've decided to use the old "imaginary friend" excuse I dragged out to try and stay out of trouble when I was a kid.  It wasn't me.  It was that slut Kallista Dane.  And Rayanna I'm shocked, SHOCKED I say, at the things she comes up with.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Renee Rose's New Sugar Daddy Likes to Watch

Today I'm thrilled to be talking with one of my favorite authors, Renee Rose about her hot new release Mob Mistress.  It's a sequel to her wildly popular book The Bossman.  

Renee, I have to tell you - one of the first erotic spanking books I ever read was written by you and I love your stories now as much as I did when I first discovered them.  Can you tell us a little about your latest book?

Inline image 1     Hi Kallista.  Thank you so much for having me here today!  My new book, Mob Mistress was just released.  It’s about a hairstylist in financial crisis who makes a deal with mobster Bobby Manghini to be his sugar baby.
Here’s what happens when her friend Gina, first introduces them:

      “I told her you’d make a good sugar daddy,” Gina said with a smirk.
     She felt her cheeks grow warm.  Good God, now he would think she was a money-grubbing, desperate floozy.
     The statement only seemed to interest Bobby, though. He turned his attention to her. “Is that so?”
     She opened her lips to deny it, but found herself caught in his heated gaze, the appreciative assessment obvious. Forcing herself to exhale, she said, “No, she was only kidding.”
     Bobby reached over and grasped the seat of her chair, pulling it forward until her knees came between his.
     She gasped at the sudden movement and gave a nervous giggle. “What are you —?”
     He made a show of looking her up and down. “Yes, I would definitely say you are sugar baby material.”
     Dean and Gina laughed, egging him on.
     She looked skyward again. “I feel like a horse at auction. Look, I never said —”
     Bobby grinned and took hold of her jaw. “Right! Let’s see those teeth, little pony,” he said, pulling her face toward him. Instead of looking in her mouth, he lowered his face, sweeping his lips lightly across hers. Softer than she expected, they tasted faintly of whiskey. Though she ought to be turned off by being so manhandled, the moment he pulled away, she missed his touch, wanting more.Her heart rate quickened. Was this actually happening?
     Bobby grinned and sat back, releasing her from his scrutiny.
     Recovered from her fluster, she gave herself a quick pep talk. What did she have to lose, really? A sugar daddy would solve all her problems, if this was for real. She gave him a seductive look. “Are you in the market for a sugar baby?”
     He threw his head back and laughed, a deep, rich rumbling sound that for no known reason made her tingle.
     “As a matter of fact, I am. But when I take a goomah, I expect her to be at my beck and call, available any time I please.”
     She swallowed, her panties dampening at the idea of being his sexual servant. “And what exactly would you offer in return?”
     Bobby placed both his hands on her thighs and made little circles around her knees. “Living expenses and spending cash. How does that sound?”
     Gina and Dean made enthusiastic murmurings as their eyes locked. Heat pooled in her center core, traveling up until her face grew warm. Her breath rose and fell in a rapid rhythm.
     He leaned closer and spoke in a low, rumbling voice, “But you should know, I would use you however I wanted, whenever I wanted. And I would demand fidelity. No other men.”
     “What about women?” she asked.
     “Only if I get to watch.”

When hair stylist Lexi Tyler finds herself evicted from her apartment, her best friend setsher up with the mobster Bobby Manghini, knowing he likes to play sugar daddy. He offers her a luxury apartment overlooking the city and spending cash every time he seesher, but one thing is clear: he is the bossman. Lexi soon discovers Bobby backs up his rules with firm, over the knee discipline, but he also takes responsibility for all her problems, giving her more support than she ever dreamed of having from a manMobster Bobby Manghini likes to be the man in control, particularly with women, which is why he prefers a mistress for sex, even though he’s no longer married. When he strikes a deal with Lexi to be at his beck and call, he finds in her the full package -- a hot, intelligent woman who is turned on by his dominance and willing to submit to his punishment. But when she finds out he doesn’t have a wife, she is hurt by the deceptionand severs all ties.Can he prove to her their relationship meant more than a business arrangement?  Or will he lose the one woman willing to give him everything he ever desired?

                        Amazon     Amazon UK    ARe     Barnes and Noble

Renee Rose is a naughty author and kinkster who loves writing about hot alpha males, Dominance/submission and power exchanges. Named Eroticon USA's Next Top Erotic Author in 2013, her books are all centered around kink, namely: spanking.  She also writes BDSM under the name Darling Adams.

Renee is a busy girl!  She can be found at all of these places:

                    Blog     Twitter      Facebook    Goodreads    Amazon    Pinterest

Renee Rose will be joining me for my series Sex Sells on January 28 to tell us whether a brand new erotic author can REALLY make money writing this stuff!  Be sure to join us...  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sex Sells - Five Tips For Writing Erotica - And One Big No-No

Sex sells.  And it seems like hundreds of new writers of erotica are popping up every day, especially now that self-publishing has taken off.  Ebook readers are faced with thousands of choices in erotic fiction.  Unfortunately, many of them in my opinion are pure crap.
People may buy your 10,000 word book for just under a buck based solely on the title or the cover.  But if there's nothing inside but a mish-mash of poorly written sex scenes, they probably won't buy a second book from you.  There are too many genuinely good writers out there competing for that same dollar.
Recently I skimmed through a "how to write sex" book by a male author.  The guy started out bragging about how he just got started, he knows nothing about writing, never read much himself - but he's already making enough writing erotic books to buy all the booze he can drink.  He refused to divulge the pen name he uses so it was impossible to check out his story.  But judging from the quality of his self-published Ebook, I believe the part where he says he knows nothing about writing.
Here are five tips for writing erotica that I've picked up along the way from some very good writers - and one no-no I learned from the booze-swilling braggart:
1.  Come up with a good story.  Most readers of erotic romance are women.  And most women want the romance part as much as they want the erotic part.  
2.  Remember show and tell.  Bring all the senses into your writing.  Let them hear the harsh smack of the Dom's paddle echoing off the stone walls of the dungeon, shiver at the chill of the whipped cream that the hunky pastry chef smears on her nipples, catch the scent of the leather blindfold.
3.  Use real words, not tacky cliches.   Unless you're writing a story set in Victorian times, try to refrain from having the hero's throbbing manhood brazenly invade the heroine's nether regions.
4. Create characters we can like.  I want to imagine myself as the heroine, not hate her for being a whiny, spoiled brat or a slut with no redeeming social value.  Same goes for the hero.  No one wants to be romanced by a man with all the depth of a stick figure.
5. Go ahead and break the rules - AFTER you learn them   Good writers of erotic fiction know the basics.  They grab the reader's attention right off the bat and tell a compelling tale.  The sex is woven into the fabric of the story.  We all know famous authors who break rules, switching POV ( that's point of view), popping in and out of their characters' heads from one paragraph to the next.  But they can get away with it because they've learned how to make it work.  If you start out ignoring basic rules, don't be surprised if your readers become confused or annoyed.
And the One No-No I learned from the booze-swilling braggart:
Don't Treat Your Readers Like They're Stupid.  You may think people will buy anything if it has enough raunchy sex in it, but trust me - things like grammar, spelling, punctuation and the ability to put words together and form a cohesive thought really are important.  If you've never been an avid reader, you probably don't have any business trying to be a writer.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Erotic Romance,Time Travel, Science Fiction, Medical Play And Plenty of Spanking - Captured and Examined Is Like Your Favorite Dessert

It's here!  My newest story Captured and Examined is like your favorite dessert - chock full of all the sinful, naughty things you love to indulge in.  There's a feisty redheaded time-traveling lass, a sexy Alpha male who knows how to deliver a firm spanking, and a backdrop that ranges from the rugged coast of Ireland to Paris to an almost-unknown but very real tropical island off the coast of Madagascar.

Captured and Examined by Kallista DaneWhen her father tries to force her to marry fat, old, drunken Owen Leary to preserve the family lands, Tess O’Rourke runs away from home. She gets lost on the heath in the midst of a ferocious storm and loses consciousness, only to awaken in a cave, naked and shivering, staring into the eyes of a handsome stranger. To her dismay, the man questions her in an unfamiliar language and then spanks her bare bottom when she tries to run away.

After computers all over Europe are hit with a crippling attack, Connall Quinn, an ex-Navy SEAL now working for NATO’s cyber-terrorism squad, is dispatched to the Irish coastline in search of the problem’s source. It is there that he discovers a naked Irish lass hiding in a cave near an ancient stone outcropping.  After she attacks him and attempts to flee, he brings the defiant girl back to his headquarters with a well-spanked bottom. 

Once there, his medical team conducts a thorough examination, leaving his captive deeply humiliated and even more determined to escape.  Quinn has no intention of letting her go until he gets the truth, but Tess speaks only Gaelic and seems to know nothing of modern day life.  Hard as it is for him to believe, over time Quinn becomes convinced that she has somehow been transported from the past.

With each passing day his feelings for the feisty redhead grow stronger, and when he discovers that his superiors plan to lock her up indefinitely and study her like a lab rat, Quinn risks everything to rescue her. But can he keep her safe long enough to unravel the mystery that brought her into his life?

Publisher’s Note: Captured and Examined is an adventure and erotic romance novel that includes spanking, sexual scenes, medical play, anal play, and more. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book

And now for a sneak peek you won't find anywhere else:

Tess’s screams and shouts echoed through the entire house.  He barely made out the voice of the nurse trying to calm her over the racket.  Then he heard the unmistakable sound of a slap.  Throwing open the door, Quinn found the nurse holding her cheek, which bore the bright red imprint of a hand. 
“This one is a vixen, she is,” the nurse huffed.  “I cain’t handle her meself.  Ye’ll need to get one of yer men in here.  I donna get combat pay.”
Nurse O’Brien stalked out.  Quinn saw the glint of satisfaction in Tess’s eyes as the door slammed behind her.
“Look, you need to cooperate,” he said.  “No one is going to harm you.  We just want the doctor to check you over, make sure you’re not hurt.”
The two men who accompanied the medical team on the helicopter rushed in.  “The nurse says she’s dangerous.  Step away.  We’re going to have to tase her,” one of them announced.
Quinn put his body between Tess and the two men.  “You’ll have to go through me to do it,” he replied, his voice hard.  “She’s just trying to protect herself,” he went on.  “She’s been lost, possibly injured, and now she’s surrounded by strangers who don’t speak her language.  The woman is terrified.  I can get her to settle down.  Just give me a few minutes alone with her.”
“Yeah, well according to your men downstairs, she may also be a terrorist - and a damned good actress,” one of them replied.  “You’ve got five minutes.  If she won’t settle down, tell her we’ll tase her and then put her in restraints until we decide what to do with her.”  The interrogation team headed back downstairs.
Quinn grabbed Tess by the shoulders.  “You’re running out of chances.  You have to cooperate.  I can’t make these guys play nice much longer.”
She shook her head stubbornly, refusing to look at him. 
“I know one way to get through to you,” he muttered.  He dragged her to the examination table and bent her over it, face down.  Tess fought like a wildcat, but she was no match for his strength.  He held her down across the table and yanked on the jeans she was wearing.  They were already unzipped.  One swift tug was all it took.  The button popped open and they slid down to her knees.
Her bottom was soft and white, all traces of his earlier punishment faded away.  Realizing what he was about to do, Tess shrieked at the top of her lungs.  His first harsh whack stunned her into silence.
“You will…SMACK…get undressed and get up on that table.”  Quinn’s hand whacked her again.  “The doctor is going to examine you…and you’re going to let him.”  
Quinn went on, punctuating his words with the flat of his palm against her quivering bottom.  This time he didn’t hold back, covering her entire backside with stinging slaps.  He spanked her in earnest, desperate to make her understand how serious the situation was.  Apparently she realized there was no escaping his punishment, because she went limp and started wailing.
“Be quiet now and do as you’re told.  If you think this was bad, you’d really hate being tased,” he growled.  “Now I’m going to stand here by the table while the doctor examines you - and you’re not going to give him any trouble, or I swear next time I’ll take my belt to you.”

A door on the side wall opened and the doctor came in.  He took in the scene, Quinn looking frustrated and angry, the young woman lying tearfully across his lap, face down with her pants around her knees, her naked bottom glowing bright red.  He spoke as casually as if it was a situation he saw every day.

     Buy on Amazon            Barnes and Noble         All Romance EBooks


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sex Sells - Why Write Erotica ? Here Are 10,000 Reasons

Want to make $10,000 a month as a writer?  The Huffington Post  ran an article about a woman who is doing just that self-publishing her erotic novels.

Romance/erotica is the best-selling genre in the book business.  Sales totaled a whopping $1.4 billion in 2013, nearly double that of #2 on the list, the crime/mystery books.  The numbers for 2014 aren't out yet, but there's no reason to believe that trend is going to change any time in the near future.

Like many other writers making big bucks in this genre, the woman quoted in the article above uses a few simple tricks to generate that kind of money, one of which I'll examine below.  (The rest of her secrets, along with those of other best-selling erotic romance writers will be detailed in later posts.)  She declined to give her pen name in the interview, which always makes me question just how real her numbers are.  But statistics show that most published authors make less than that in a full year.  So even if she exaggerated and doubled or quadrupled her actual income, she's still doing better than 90% of us.

One trick she uses is to keep her books around 10,000 words.  Personally, I'd find it hard to call something smaller than the instruction flyer that comes with a piece of Ikea furniture a book, but apparently the formula works for her.

Another author who says she's pulling down around the same amount is Kathryn LeVeque.  Her books fall into the historical and medieval sub-genre of romance, rather than erotica.  In an interview a few days ago by the New York Times, she says she's recently put her books on Kindle Unlimited, dropped her prices to .99 on many of them, and is selling more than ever.  In the article, she admits that not everyone can go that route.  Like a big-box discount store, she's making up for the low prices with big numbers of sales. But she's able to do that because she has years and years of finished work behind her.

“I am able to drop prices and, by sheer volume of sales, increase my income,” she said. “Most authors can’t do that because most of them don’t have 50 novels for sale."

Le Veque's romances are sweeping sagas, running to hundreds and hundreds of pages.  She confesses that she feels pressured to keep up the output, sometimes writing 12,000 words a day.  Just thinking about that has me reaching for the nearest piece of chocolate!

But don't panic.  You don't have to choose between cutting out minor details like plot or character development and being chained to your computer.  According to the latest statistics from Amazon, there is a sweet spot most of us can use as a guideline. That's 20,000-40,000 words.  Books of that length appeal to our need for instant gratification. They can be read (and written) relatively quickly and priced to sell for around the cost of a Starbucks latte.

Join me Jan.14 for Five Tips on Writing Erotica And One NO NO

Read My Top Ten Reasons To Write Erotica


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Sex Sells - A Sneak Peek At The Last Taboo

We’ve written about hot Doms in their dungeons, double penetration by well-endowed aliens, menages with twin cowboys, rectal exams by stern doctors, dressing up as little girls and getting our bare bottoms spanked - in short, doing kinky sexual things to every conceivable bodily part with a variety of partners and playthings. But there's one topic that up till now has been off-limits in most blogs about erotic romance.

                              Money.  There.  I've said it and I feel so much better.

This year I'm kicking off a new weekly series about the business we're all in - the business of writing erotic romance novels.  If you don't consider the hours you spend hunched over a keyboard as running your own business, it's time to rethink what you're doing.

You may say you write for fun, or for self-gratification, or because you just "have to put all those stories in your head on paper."  Okay.  Then send me your royalties and advance checks and I'll believe you.  Otherwise admit that the money you make is important.  Even if it's only a pittance, it's YOUR pittance. That first check for a new book is a cause for celebration, whether it buys you a Porche or a pizza.

But as someone who has owned and operated five small businesses before I began writing full time, I'm going to tell you one simple secret  - it's not just how much you make, it's how much you keep.

Of course, if you don't make much right now, that may not sound like a shocking revelation.  We're all financial virgins when we start out.  But I got very good at figuring out how to keep as much as possible of what I earned when I married a successful salesman and we started our first business together.  We had an accountant who took care of us.  At least that's what I thought.  When he presented me with a tax bill bigger than my total income the year before I got married, well...that's when Uncle Sam popped my fiscal cherry!

Every Wednesday we'll explore a new topic.  Together with guest bloggers I'll share ideas that will drive your sales higher, hot new trends in the market, which social media platforms REALLY work - and how to keep more of those Benjamins in your pocket.  He may not look very hot in that picture, but he sure can bring you a lot of satisfaction!  

Here are some upcoming posts:

Longer Isn’t Always Better  - Get your mind out of the gutter!  It's about book length 

Have You Hit the Dirty Thirty Yet? - Is there a "secret formula" for success? 

It’s All About That Base - How to build a team of super fans
Self-Gratification – Is it time to consider indie publishing?

Never Kill A Puppy - Writing rules and when to break them
How Much Money Do Romance Writers REALLY Make -Oooh, this one gets me hot!

I hope you'll join me January 7th for the kickoff.