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Friday, January 19, 2007

Interview with Tawny Taylor, author of erotic romance

There are many authors who struggle to get published in-print or in ebook. Tawny is an author that has success in both fields. While she's had a passion for writing for a long time, it's only been since 2001 that she's written with the goal of publication. She has more than a dozen titles at Ellora's Cave, a popular ebook publisher of romance novels and Sex and the Single Ghost may be at your local bookstore!

I recently had the opportunity to ask Tawny a little bit about her experiences.

Can you tell us about the type of stories you write?
I write contemporary, paranormal and futuristic erotic romances, some more similar to traditional romances and others much more erotic--containing light bondage and ménage a trois. My later work is darker and more erotic (in a general sense) than my earlier work.

You've recently had some great publishing news, so far, what will we see from Tawny in 2007?
Thanks! I’ve been concentrating on writing (rather than playing online), and luckily my muse has been cooperating. I don’t have release dates for any ebooks yet, but I expect the following titles to release sometime this year:

Twilight’s Possession 1: Burning Hunger (Vampire ménage erotica) Ellora’s Cave
Dirty Little Lies (Sensual Romantic Suspense) Samhain Publishing
Passion Unbound 1: Wild Nights (Shapeshifter ménage erotica) Changeling Press
Carpe Nocturne 1: Dressed to Kill (Vampire ménage erotica) Changeling Press
Carpe Nocturne 2: Kiss Me, Kill Me (Vampire ménage erotica) Changeling Press
Carpe Nocturne 3: If Looks Could Kill (Vampire ménage erotica) Changeling Press

In addition, Kensington will be re-releasing Sex and the Single Ghost in mass market paperback. Plus, I have two paperback releases this year: Master of Secret Desires in June (Pocket) and Real Vampires Don’t Drink O-Neg (Kensington) in September. Once I’ve finished up the contracted books above that aren’t written yet, I’d like to write another Animal Urges book for Ellora’s Cave, and perhaps the second Twilight’s Possession, but I don’t expect those to release until 2008.

How many publishers have you worked with?
Directly, four epublishers and one print (NY) press. Pocket purchased print subsidiary rights from Ellora’s Cave and therefore the deal went through Ellora’s Cave, not my agent.

There are some interesting debates on ebook publishing versus print publishing. As a writer who has both, what are your thoughts on the benefits of ebook publishing and the differences between the two?
I could go on and on about this topic, but in summary, both offer advantages and disadvantages. So many authors think they haven’t made it until they’ve seen their New York book deal, but frankly if you’re writing sexy romance (can’t speak for other genres), an author can make a tidy sum writing for epublishers. And they can do so without the aid of an agent. Epublishers release books quicker, can respond to changes in the market faster, and are more open to new and unproven authors and story concepts. Of course, the drawback is an author might never see her book in Walmarts, and she won’t get a $10k advance.

You are doing well with ebook publishing; what advice do you have for writers pursuing the ebook market?

A. Don’t expect to get published right away. Epublishers are becoming increasingly popular among romance authors, and their mountainous slush piles are growing larger as a result. It now takes anywhere from 2-6 months (or longer) to hear back on a submission. The more established and popular a publisher is, the longer the wait (in general).

B. Don’t expect epublishers to be less picky or demand less than a NY publisher in terms of quality. Many epublishers reject as much as 90-95% of the submissions they receive.

C. Make sure to purchase and read several books by a publisher before submitting. Look at the quality of the book, the editing, and the subject matter to determine whether a publisher is right for you. Also, consider how easy/difficult the purchasing system was for you to navigate, how professional the site appears, and how you were treated as a customer as you make your choice.

D. Be prepared to market, market, market. Epublishers release dozens of ebooks every month, a practice that is creating something of a glut in a limited market. To stand a chance of selling a reasonable quantity of books, you must be willing to pull up your sleeves and market your books online.

In general, what writing advice would you share with aspiring writers?
No matter what, keep reading fiction. Don’t stop, even if your newly-acquired inner-editor screams nonstop about every little nitpicky error it finds. Reading helps you develop your voice. And reading outside your genre can help you develop fresh story plots and concepts.

Your new vampire menage, Carpe Nocturne, sounds exciting. Can you tell us what we can expect from this series?
Actually, Carpe Nocturne isn’t so much a series as it is a serialized storyline about two vampires and their mate. The title is the name of the heroine’s bar, which happens to be frequented by patrons of the immortal kind--werewolves, vamps, etc. There is a killer who is running around slaughtering people, and Burke, one of her mates has been tried and convicted of one of the murders. He has escaped custody and is trying to catch the real killer to clear his name. The heroine’s other master is a detective with the immortal police force. Ironically, he’s trying to catch Burke. There’s lots of steamy sex, and lots of suspense. I’ve found I enjoy writing suspense stories.

You've got a great collection on Ellora's Cave - do you have a favorite title that you would recommend to a first time reader of your novels?
Thank you! If they’re a first time reader of erotic romance, and tend to read category, I’ll recommend Tempting Fate. It’s a little tamer and sort of eases a new reader into erotic romance. If they are fans of paranormal stories, and are comfortable reading erotic romance, I’d either recommend Light My Fire (dragons) or Mark of the Beast (bear shapeshifter).

What's the average time it takes you to write story?
That depends upon the subject matter, whether there’s a lot of research involved...and my muse. I’ve written a 60k word book in thirty days--20 pages a day. I’ve also taken almost two months to write a 50-page proposal-- 1 page a day (a Viking time travel currently under consideration at a NY house). Worlds that are entirely fictional are much easier to write about than worlds that are based on real life or history.

Is there a character you've created that just lingers with you more than others? If yes, which character and why?
Oh gosh, I fall in love with every hero I write about as I’m writing the stories. I couldn’t possibly pick one. Heroines--I adore Jane in my non-erotic book, About Monday. That one’s released under my other pseudonym, Sydney Laine Allan.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
That’s an easy one: Sandra Hill, MaryJanice Davidson, Gena Showalter, Katie MacAlister, Dan Brown and James Rollins.

Has blogging helped promote you as an author?
I like to think it has, but honestly, I couldn’t say. It’s pretty much impossible to measure the effect any sort of promotion has on sales. I learned to look at every marketing effort as an attempt to build name recognition. I pretty much take a shotgun approach--try a little bit of everything.

Check out Tawny's blog to get to know her more and if you're interested, pick up one of her novels. And, thank you Tawny for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us.

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11 Comments:

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and thanks for sharing your interview with us -- I'll check out her blog!

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