Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cult Of Gracie Radio: The Marketing Whore Edition

Both Callie Simms & I will be back on Cult of Gracie Radio tonight, from 9-10 PM (Central), discussing mainstream & mature marketing from more of a 'how to' aspect. Tonight's agenda includes the following discussion:

* SEO: application tips (how) & definitions of purpose (why)

* The purpose behind & use of blogs (when to use, what they are for; when blogging doesn't make sense)

* Content: What is, and isn't, content with a purpose, and the issue of "giving it away for free". (somewhat related to both of the above)

* Ethics & 'feelings' about blogging & online user IDs. (When using a pen name feels icky, but is necessary; are there situations to 'out' yourself?)

(Of course, I'm sure we'll still have plenty of lively debate as we defend our reasoning!)

You can join the conversation by calling 646.200.3136

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Both Callie Simms & The Marketing Whore?

Yup, both Callie & I will be on Cult of Gracie Radio tonight, from 9-10 PM (Central), discussing mainstream & mature marketing ~ and whatever else pops into our heads & comes out of our mouths.

You can join the conversation, maybe even dictate the course of it by asking questions ~ call 646.200.3136

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Amanda Brooks On Marketing On XXBN

Amanda Brooks, a retired escort and author of The Internet Escort's Handbook series, will be on Cult of Gracie radio at 9 pm (central). Since Amanda's second book, Advertising and Marketing: Successfully Creating and Selling Your Image Online, is due out in June, this is an excellent time for you Marketing Whore readers to listen ~ and call in.

If it's anything like her first book (NWS), it will be brilliant ~ and useful for more than escorts and PSOs etc. So don't miss it.

For more on Amanda, see the show details.

As most (?) of you know by now, I work with Amanda Brooks at SWOP-East. But before you go thinking that's why Amanda's book got such a rave review, you should know it's quite the opposite: Amanda's brilliance convinced Gracie that she'd like to work with the brilliant Amanda Brooks and SWOP-East.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Adult Marketer, Can You Use Blog Talk Radio?

I was recently interviewed on XBN (NWS), a radio program run by SWOP East, which is powered by Blog Talk Radio. Not only was it fun, prompting me to schedule another interview (perhaps even host a show), but the experience resurrected talk of Sex-Kitten.Net radio.

For a few years we've been discussing starting a radio show, but along with the investment costs (equipment, time and additional marketing efforts), we were skeptical of the feasibility of such a project. While we know that discussion of sexuality is both needed and desired, we worried if the uphill battle of selling the program would result in a watered-down, wet-blanket version of the show & programming we envisioned. The other option, of course, was to run our own Internet radio station ~ which led back to the additional costs of equipment and bandwidth on top of all the other issues. The bottom line was if we had less tech and marketing efforts, it would be worth the old college try; but without that support, it was a bit too much to bite-off. So the the project was shelved, occasionally resurrected when something, like the XBN interview, reignited the spark of passion.

Back in the early days of discussion, our research included the newborn baby BlogTalkRadio.com. And we've investigated, as they've popped up, other options. But none seemed as simple as easy, with the most options, as Blog Talk Radio. All you need is a computer, an Internet connection, and a phone. And yes, kids, Blog Talk Radio is free.

It's free for listeners, and even free for callers if they use VoIP.

The past few years have shown not only Blog Talk Radio's stability in the reliable sense, but a real growth in terms of listener audience and increased options.

Along with the opportunity to increase your connection with readers via audio (listening to live shows, downloading podcasts, and offering additional real-time conversations with your blog &/or website readers), you have the opportunity to recruit new fans via regular users of BlogTalkRadio.

BlogTalkRadio isn't just a technology platform, allowing you to create shows and store them; it's a social network where members can find and hook-up with & befriend other members ~ which includes show hosts as well as other listeners. They also offer a number of widgets, which allows fans to literally help you broadcast your shows by posting your show on their blogs and in their profiles at other social networking sites.

In January of this year, Blog Talk Radio also started a RevShare Program. When you opt in, show hosts can receive 35% of ad sales/sponsors for their shows ~ and if you find a show sponsor who is not currently using Blog Talk Radio, you'll get a 50% share of the ads they place on your shows. (All paid show sponsorship & advertising must be run-through Blog Talk Radio.)

This also means that if you have an adult product, your ad money is welcome at Blog Talk Radio. Starting at $100, you can buy ad space at targeted radio shows where the listening audience is your market audience, willing and ready to buy. You can see more information and find the full rate info here.

There have been a lot of changes at BlogTalkRadio, and with renewed interest I began to investigate if now was the time...

I found the FAQs (both the public list and the additional FA available for registered users) a bit confusing, and being one of those polite marketers, I wanted to see just how welcome adult content would be. So I got in touch with John Sweet, Director of Customer Relations for BlogTalkRadio.com.

Are we adult folks welcome at Blog Talk Radio?

Yes. And you'll see when you fill out the information for hosting a show that there are several options ~ there's both a "Mature" and an "Adults Only".

What are the standards?

It's self-regulating; but basically "Mature" would be an "R" or "NC-17" and "Adults Only" would be for more risque talk ~ but again, we're still not talking X-rated or pornographic talk. The rule of thumb here is the entertainment aspect: discussion about sex is OK, but reading an erotic story is not. In other words, you can move the listeners to actions such as "buy this book", "attend this conference", or "show up at the rally"; but if you're trying to move them into ah, well, lifting their hand for some other self-entertainment purpose, then that's a no-no.

John was clear to also tell me what would happen if someone were to complain or contact BlogTalkRadio regarding a show's content. You won't get the boot instantly. He'll review the show and if there's a concern, he'll contact the show's host to discuss what can be done to make corrections to avoid potential problems in the future. So you have some breathing room; self-regulation is not a trick question, setting you up to fail.

One thing you must know about adult shows is that they will not be visible to the average visitor to BlogTalkRadio.com. This does not mean your show is buried. Registered users may opt to see & search for listings in the mature & adult only shows simply by correctly setting permissions in their profile. Just toggle "Disabled" in the safe search setting, located in the "My Options" section of your "Settings" page.



And, registered user or not, any links directly to your show's page will be seen and heard. So, like any good marketer would do, when you link to your show from your website &/or blog (or fans do), folks will properly arrive there; no fancy settings or permissions needed.

Other info you may want clarified:

Show Length:

Show length is listed as up to 60 minutes, but it is now up to 120 minutes ~ plus you can have up to one additional hour in which the show is being taped for the archives, but is not streaming live. So if your guest has created quite a crowd of questioners, you, the guest and callers may still continue the show. New listeners arriving at the page will not hear it, but anyone playing back the archived show will hear it all, up to 180 minutes.

Remember, you need not have a show or shows that long; you may select show length to be as little as 15 minutes. But once the stated length of the show ends, you have up to 60 additional minutes of recording time. Which brings up the matter of what happens post show, if/when you and your guest are doing wrap-up chatter. It is being recorded and you should let the guest know that it is still being taped &/or edit this out of the recording so it is not included in the show's archive.

Newbie Restrictions

When you are a new host of a show on Blog Talk Radio, you are limited to three shows per month, and you may not have a show during prime time hours (without special permission ~ more on that in a bit).

It doesn't sound like a lot to an eager new radio personality, but John assures me it's not such a problem. As your show increases in popularity (number of live listeners and number of downloaded archived shows), a magical algorithm calculates your worthiness of more shows. In other words, by the time you've got a few under your belt, you'll be ready for more. (And if not, well, then increase your marketing efforts.)

Radio, is a lot like blogging. It takes time to build your blog, your audience and pacing is a huge part of it. (How many times have we seen a new blogger post like crazy, with dozens of posts a day or a week, only to find they've abandoned the blog a few weeks later... Having a low start limit prevents enthusiastic burnout rates.)

Prime Time Slots

Prime time slots, as defined by Blog Talk Radio, are 7:00 PM EST to 12:00 AM EST, Monday through Friday.

The issue of limiting prime time show spots is obviously based on the desirability of such time slots. As these are the most popular hours for listening, BlogTalk Radio naturally wants to play fair with them, and overall limits them to one prime time slot per week. Newbies have to pay their dues, build an audience, to earn that time. Again, John says that it's not too difficult to get in. And in fact, we adult folks may have an inside track...

It only makes sense that adult programming would be more popular in the evening, as adults can't listen to such shows at work or while the kiddies are awake and about. So if you have an "Adults Only" or "Mature" show, contact John (johnsweet+at+blogtalkradio.com) and ask him to help give you the clearance to schedule during prime time.

Fine Print

Registering at BlogTalkRadio.com requires a user agreement. This user agreement indicates that you do not own the copyright to your show.

This means that you may not sell rights to your show, but Blog Talk Radio may.

It's a scary thing for a content creator to contemplate... I asked John about that, and it's pretty simple. They have the right to sell your shows or excerpts of your shows. You don't get paid, but you should get your name out there.

So, for a hypothetical example, if NPR wants seven minutes of an interview on your show, they need to negotiate that with Blog Talk Radio. You don't get a cut; but you will be mentioned. John agrees that not mentioning the specific show and host would be a disservice to both the host/creator and the listener. (Plus, John said Blog Talk Radio would want to talk that up themselves as well.) But if you want to retain rights and control of your radio show or podcast, then this isn't an option for you.

Other Blot Talk Radio Options

As I mentioned, Blog Talk Radio has grown quite a bit in the past few years. They are continually increasing options and features. One of the most intriguing to me was BlogTalkRadio stations.

Station are a means by which you can broadcast multiple shows & further brand yourself. Prior to stations, if you wanted multiple shows, you had to create multiple user ids. While that allows you the option of more than one show, it doesn't allow for them all to be under the same umbrella. The rates for stations are a tidy sum, starting at $5,000 a month. I'm not one of those marketers who says you can't put a price on branding (Because if you can't, well, what's the point? It's a business after all.), but I wouldn't readily dismiss such a fee.

Along with tech assistance, show producers (help with calls etc.), you have to consider the practical matter of Internet hosting. There's both the software to run the shows, streaming of live shows (including chat & callers), and the storing of archived shows. That's a lot of data, a lot of bandwidth. Also, to off-set the cost of a station, you are able to keep 100% of ad & sponsorship payments you gather. And, as a station owner, you do own the copyright to your shows.

John mentioned a few other new features that Blog Talk Radio will be launching soon ~ but I've agreed to be mum until he gives me permission to mention them. So keep an eye out here ~ or I'll poke your eye out there. :p

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Just The Marketing Whore Whoring Herself...

I'm going to be on XBN: Sex Worker Rights Broadcast Network, on Saturday, April 5th at 9 p.m. (central).

XBN is a SWOP East Media Project, and I'm really proud to be asked.

I'd love it if any of you called in...

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Sex 2.0

Cory Silverberg, About.com's Guide to Sexuality, posted Conference Explores the Intersection of Feminism, Social Media, and Sexuality:
There are so few safe public spaces for people to explore, challenge, and share their thinking about sexuality that whenever I hear about a new conference giving people a chance to come together and talk about sex my heart lightens a little bit. Sex 2.0 is a one day event in Atlanta in April, focusing on the “intersection of social media, feminism, and sexuality.” I virtually sat down with organizer Amber Rhea to find out more about Sex 2.0 and what attendees can expect.
There's still time to get to Sex 2.0, so if you can, do.

Amber's promised a post event wrap-up ~ which I am looking forward to nearly as much as if I could attend.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Tips From The DC Madam

I can't believe I forgot to post Radical Vixen's Interview With Deborah Jeane Palfrey, AKA The DC Madam!

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Minority Media & Marketing

Found in an unlikely spot (Silent Porn Star's post on risque Nipsey Russell recordings), I found this great bit on media and minorities:
The cover states it was the Negro National Network, but it was (should you care to continue searching) in reality the National Negro Network, started in 1953 by Leonard Evans. W. Leonard Evans, Jr. died in June of this year (2007); he left a wonderful legacy of African-American media. Here's a wonderful 1963 interview with Evans titled "Why Do We Need a Negro Sunday Supplement?" Should that site remove the recording, or you'd prefer to download it for listening to later (it is quite long), I've uploaded a copy here.
While hearing the word 'negro' sure is shocking, the 58 minute interview is worth downloading and listening to. Have we come a long way? How many of the questions and issues raised by Evans are worth asking today?

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Happy In The Trenches

Slip of a Girl has a (two part) interview with Nerys Hebdon of And God Created Woman. This is from part one:
Slip: ...But I find that many lingerie brands and other companies with products which are clearly associated with sex -- sell themselves based on sex even -- are reluctant to be associated directly with sex. For example, there are restrictions on ads, affiliate programs, and places where the products might be seen. And there are outrageous reactions to sexy women. Have you run into any similar troubles or reactions with your company?

Nerys: I've had a few sales calls which have ended abruptly with "we don't do anything like THAT!" and one lady even wiped her hands clean on her skirt after reading a flyer. But I'm happy to say those reactions have been far out-numbered with those of support and enthusiasm -- in fact I've had a lot of candid reactions "remember when we used to do that dear?!"

Slip: Someone actually said, "remember when we used to do that dear?!" I don't know whether to giggle or cry over that... Why should people have stopped?!

Nerys: I know what you mean... he still had a twinkle in his eye though!

It reminds me of the quote "When things don't work well in the bedroom, they don't work well in the living room either". I think there's a lot of truth in that.
In part two, Nerys says that while she didn't plan on entering the 'sex' product market, she's happy to be here:
I wasn't really put off by the sexy thing (in fact I love being able to work in that field) although I know it's perceived as 'bad' by some people. I think there are some great brands out there (Coco de Mer, Agent Provocateur, Myla) that have pioneered sexy on 'her' terms -- or in a less male-focused way and there's a clearly a market for it.
I like hearing from those happy in the trenches, don't you?

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Friday, May 18, 2007

The Spotlight

Since I'm not above admitting that I can be quite a Diva, even an Attention Whore, I'm happy to announce that this week The Whore's been featured at two excellent marketing blogs.

What makes this even more thrilling (more than just being acknowledged by some mainstream folks) is that I'm an avid reader of these blogs. So while I am going to boast of my bloggin' cred, I'm also going to point to examples of what makes these blogs so great.

First, I was this week's Pick of the Thicket over at Media Orchard (by Idea Grove, Scott Baradell & Wife, makers of Spin Thicket). I must say, I really dig their title for my link, Online communities are worthless unless you really drink the Kool-Aid, even if it makes Scott look more clever than I, damnit.

Must see posts there include For God's Sake, Do Not Try to Tell Us What a Blog Is and 10 Dumb Things That Smart Communicators Do, a guest blog post. (And, if you have make the time to listen to Scott at Dallas Marketing Zoo.)

Second ~ in order of date I was linked ~ was Geoff Livingston's Buzz Bin mention in Goodness Gracious, Great Blogs of Fire!. Note his polite and delicate handling of this blog's non-PG name. lol

I love Geoff's post, Get On Board: The Social Media Release, on that status of press releases. Geoff typically has good interviews, like this one with PR Squared's Todd Defren.

I must also admit that Geoff scooped me, hard. He has a great interview with Shel Israel of Naked Conversations. You know how much I wanted that. ...Maybe I can get Geoff to pimp for me?

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Blogger Research Is 'In'

Remember when I told you I spoke with UCSB student, Nicki Arnold, regarding Bloggers V. Journalists? Well Nicki's done with her research and emailed me to say so.

I asked her what she found out and here's what she had to say:
Well, it seems, to me, that "regular folk" are starting to accept blogs (at least certain ones) as fact and as credible sources of information. This is evident in the fact that they're starting to grow in popularity, mostly, and bloggers are becoming more of an authority figure. But, like you said, the big officials are still unwilling to accept bloggers as journalists and don't want to give them the same rights (I cited the Wolf incident in San Francisco and France's new law that bans non-professional journalists from filming violent acts).

Really, though, I feel like even those findings will be irrelevant in less than a year. The whole issue is changing monthly. It was hard for me to stop researching and turn in the paper when I had to because it felt unfinished that way :-)
Nicki's has published some of her notes at her blog, Bloggers vs. Reporters: Research, including notes from the interview with yours truly.

As always, I'm interested in your thoughts on the matter, so why not share them? *wink*

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Saturday, March 3, 2007

Q & A The Authority Way

Naughty Words has an excellent interview with Jerry D. Simmons regarding the erotica and sex books & the publishing industry. (Must reading for authors and book whores.)

I love how she asks the questions complete newbie (or even idiots) would ask. She's willing to ask the questions others fear to ask for looking stupid. You know the old saying, the only dumb question is the unasked one, well Naughty believes that's true.

While she doesn't pose as an expert with all the answers, she maintains her authority. This is how:

* She collects all the questions emailed to her
* She reviews them, looking for the cumulative information being sought
* She finds experts in those areas to interview
* She poses the questions to her interview subjects with some context (both personalizes the interview and illustrates what the question is really about)
* She publishes the interview

This way her readers get the information they seek but need not expose themselves. Authors know that Naughty will get them the information in a way which does not embarrass them. The experts interviewed understand what is being asked. Naughty maintains her status as a trusted authority. Everybody wins!

For other great author and publishing insider interviews, click her "Interviews with Pros" label or tag.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Where Can You Sell? Where Can You Buy?

Like Gracie, I've had my share of bad dealings with eBay.

As a buyer, I hate that I can't find what I am looking for because I need to hunt for the secret passageway to the back alley which is the 'mature audiences' area and that my secret knock has a time limit which puts be back outside the back alley again and again. I'm looking for vintage men's magazines, pinups, antique erotic works, sex books (both new and historical titles) etc. -- it really shouldn't be like buying moonshine in during prohibition.

As a seller, I detest a greedy eBay which is all too happy take my money in the form of seller fees which are equal to those items which are not hidden in a back alley. (I pay the same fees yet have less exposure?! Sheesh.) And I have been driven to drink with the yanking of listings which are "against policy" even if not so stated. (I was the lister of the books Gracie wrote about here.)

In response to the above, we sell our items in our own stores. But as a collector of old sex history, it was awfully darn nice to have one large source for so many goodies. While many sites have tried to be the 'new adult marketplace', most folded due to the usual problem of not enough traffic (missing buyers and sellers both). So when I heard about Rummage Monkey, a new entry in the race for online marketplace supremacy with both 'wine & spirits' and 'adult novelties' categories clearly visible, I was interested.

Interested enough to interview Jeff Scanlon and Gary Legastee of Rummage Monkey.

One thing I couldn't really discuss over at Collectors' Quest was the dirty subject of naughty collectibles and the general sexual repression that is eBay...

Thankfully, I knew Gracie would let me air the dirty laundry out here. *wink*

After ranting about the various troubles with eBay's marketplace platform and polices for 'adult items' I asked both men what their plans were regarding all sorts of adult items. Gary and Jeff both explained that in order to be a member at Rummage Monkey you need to be 18; once you login as a member you'll be able to see the adult listings (and wine etc.) if you so wish. Both men assured me that they were committed to allowing for the sale of mature items. They understood that people want these items, and like alcohol, they aren't going to prohibit such items but keep Rummage Monkey open to legal buyers of these legal items.

"We don't think anyone not wanting these items is going to find them -- they'll have to search for them or browse a category as they would any other item. While adult items likely won't be featured on the home page, anyone who wants to find them will be able to do so."

"Are you going to bury the items in a maze of hidden alleyways and secret knocks? Lock us out when we are still logged in? You won't hide the link to the adult section?" I asked.

"Rummage Monkey makes money when items are sold, so making these items hard to find and therefore hard to sell, isn't in our best interests, is it?" Jeff grinned.

"Listen, Jeff," I said, "Did you know that vintage Playboy magazines can be sold in the non-protected areas of eBay, but other vintage men's magazines, even those with less skin shown, are not? Ah, the myriad of rules, is confusing and confounding. I completely understand and respect the business model -- I get that it's eBay's site, so they can do what they want; you can do what you want with your site. But I need to know how seriously you are committed to a marketplace which supports these items."

"I bet there are plenty of newer magazines & media which eBay offers which show much more than vintage Playboys," Jeff chuckled.

"I smell a money rat: Playboy's a known giant, a rich vein to mine. So eBay grants the money giant prominent placement and denies the others. There must be some rationale behind it... Will there be splits like that, weird little censoring rules based on who knows what? Is it Big Boys win; to hell with the rest?"

"The only thing we're really worried about are the images -- No explicit images, no matter who made it or who is selling it. As for the big boys, no. We're Foreign Exchange Sales Brokers working with many middle and small business owners so we see Rummage Monkey as an affordable marketplace for our clients and others like them."

"What about the issue of bdsm materials? Many of the banned or problematic items at eBay (and payment processor PayPal) are not 'adult' in the legal sense -- for example, they pulled a BDSM book which requires no brown wrap, isn't kept behind the counter -- anyone can purchase it from their local book store or online at Amazon. Would you allow this book to be sold at Rummage Monkey?"

"Sure," Jeff said.

"Where would it be listed? In 'Books' or in the 'Adult' category only?"

"'Books', I'd imagine... Isn't that where you'd look for it?" he replied.

Cheeky monkey.

"So, the bottom line: How committed are you to those of us who buy & sell these sort of items?"

"I can't promise you that if we have a seller blowing out thousands of flatscreen TVs and they come to us saying they're pulling from our site because of a bdsm book in the book's category that I won't pay attention... From a business point of view, that wouldn't make sense either. Depending upon the situation, we'll have to listen to the marketplace."

"So what would happen?"

"I'd probably move those items to the 'adult' category."

"So, bdsm items wouldn't be pulled?"

"No. Not unless it had inappropriate, explicit, images."

"I know you're a new site, and that much of this is new to you... And, again, I understand the business model. I understand that things may change... And I don't want to beat a dead horse here, but to be absolutely clear... Say that this seller of flatscreens says moving bdsm to 'adult' isn't good enough. Say he says that he wants no bdsm merchandise on the site... What's your response then?"

"Oh, no, we wouldn't pull it completely. Those legally selling and buying bdsm items should have a place to sell too. We'd be open to moving the items to 'adult' but not banishing them."

They convinced me that they're rather serious about offering a marketplace which is open to mature interests.

***

If you're an author peddling your erotica and don't want to bother with setting up your own shopping cart, a seller of sex toys looking for additional venues, or some other sort of adult etailer, I'd give Rummage Monkey a look-see yourself and see if it's an option for you. (If you've got vintage risque and adult collectibles, be sure to give me a shout out! lol)

Another note for you marketing folks out there: Rummage Monkey also will manage your Google Adwords accounts for you. If your mind boggles at how to analyze and therefore improve your current campaigns; if keywords, writing, formatting and the like are alien territory and you're unsure just what you're doing; Rummage Monkey has people and software they'll put to good use for you. According to Gary, for the accounts they manage they've increased hits by 3-5%. And if you have Rummage Monkey managing your Adwords account, you get a free store -- no monthly store fees, no final value fees. Contact Gary and Jeff regarding this service.

As noted in the other interview, Rummage Monkey has clear and easy contact information listed, so don't be shy & ask your questions. They also have a Rummage Monkey Blog.

by Deanna Dahlsad

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Friday, February 23, 2007

New Marketing Project To Help Independent Authors Sell More Books

Jerry D. Simmons is currently gathering names of those interested in testing the program which hopefully will begin no later than April 1, 2007.

For those who don't know who Jerry is, he's a retired Vice President and Director of Sales for the former Time Warner Book Group. He's spent more than 25 years working in the traditional publishing industry in New York. And he wants to help indie authors.

Yes, sex writers and erotica authors are welcome. (Hey, he let me in.)

Since Jerry cannot provide many details on the project (due to a non-disclosure agreement for funding), here are the basics you likely want to know:

* Self-published authors & those with small presses are welcome.

* The group is international.

* All of your titles are welcome, no limit (except illegal books, child porn, etc.)

* In this program, indie books will not be competing with traditionally published books.

* There is absolutely no cost or obligation of any kind for you to participate, nor will there be a cost once the project is off and running.

* You may opt out at any time.

* The goal is to sell books to readers, not to sell a program to authors.

(That last bit is what sold me.)

I asked Jerry a few quick questions in anticipation of author questions...

Jerry, I joined and I hope others will consider this as well ~ the greater our numbers, the greater our success. I thank you for taking the time to answer some quick questions so that others may have more information and make informed decisions about the independent author project.

Thank you very much Gracie, much appreciated.

I know you don't want to prematurely dish details of the project, but what is the philosophy behind it?

To create a community of Independent Writers and Authors which will become a destination for readers around the world looking for voices never heard and stories never told.

Why is this needed?

The biggest problem with selling independent books is that you cannot imitate what the bigger publishers do successfully and you should not be wasting lots of time or money trying to gain any noticeable entry into the market they control. The best opportunity to sell more Independently Published books is to create your own market. Take from the bigger publishers strengths, exploit their weaknesses, and establish your own destination for selling books.

What sort of authors are you looking for?

Any and all writers are welcome. Poets, screenwriters, columnists, if you write and you are interested in your work being read then please join our community.

Give us one important fact about you that you believe is important for authors to know.

I am passionate about wanting to help Independent Writers and Authors create a marketplace where they can sell their work.

Where can they find out more about you, your experience and your philosophy?

My website is WritersReaders.com, and here is my blog.

Any posts or articles which you think best illustrate you and the spirit of the project?

Here's my 5-part series on the community: Part 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

If interested in joining Jerry's project, all you need to do is send an email saying "Jerry, I'd like to be included in the indie author test project." His email is: Jerry -at- WritersReaders.com.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bloggers V. Journalists

UCSB student Nicki is conducting research regarding blogs and bloggers, with a focus on credibility issues. She's interested in determining if bloggers are deemed as credible as other news media outlets, if bloggers receive or should receive the same rights as journalists do, and other issues of authority.

You are invited to participate via her anonymous online survey.

If you are like The Whore and find you have more to say on the matter, let Nicki interview you. (I think I talked her ear off, poor thing lol) If you'd like to share your opinions and experiences with Nicki, email me and I'll connect you with her.

Out of respect for her research, I won't discuss all my thoughts here ~ but when her paper's completed in March, you know I'll explode with my comments here. Nicki's promised to share some of her results with us too, which ought to be very interesting.

So go take the survey and email me if you'd like to participate in an interview with Nicki. A little good karma goes a long way.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Social Networking on MySpace, Part Two

Continuing from Part One...

How consistent are you with managing your MySpace account? I myself intended to make weekly blog updates, but I sometimes feel lucky if I get in for messages etc. Do you think being consistent if not very active is important in social networking?

Carrie: I have to admit to not being that consistent with updating the blog on MySpace, probably because it's not my main writing blog. That is here. I also have a few other writing blogs dotted around the place that also get very few postings published to. I no longer have a personal blog to write on due to too many nasty comments and reactions. I log in at least once a day to pick up blog subscription messages, friend requests and messages. I think it's extremely important to do that because I want to keep the account updated and fresh for promotional purposes.

Jolie: My MySpace page is updated once a week. It's very important to update at MySpace on a consistent basis.

Autumn: I login at least once a day. I blog - well, I try to blog twice a week but I'm happy if I've added something interesting once a week.

Is it important? Definitely. People won't come back to your blog or your space if you don't have anything interesting to read/view/listen to. And if people write you messages and you don't get back to them for a week at a time they think you don't care. Once again, it all goes back to people feeling that they have a relationship with you. And actually developing relationships with people - not just putting in an appearance once in awhile.

What do you use MySpace for? (Here are some ideas, feel free to add your own ~ and if more than one purpose, please guesstimate percentages.)

Marketing/selling to clients/customers.

Networking with other professionals in your field.

To establish connections with press, writers, publications you hope will help promote you.

The free blog service.

Ability to start a group/community devoted to yourself or your works.

Socializing/staying connected with friends & family.

Really, it's just for the free link(s) to your sites &/or projects; you put little thought into its larger purpose.

Autumn: As I've already mentioned, developing relationships with potential readers/clients is important so that's the biggest thing for me. Not just potential buyers, but the ones who like to read for free as well. They are just as important as the buyers. (I'd say 50% is for this purpose!)

Meeting other people in the industry is important as well. There is so much to learn for someone who is so relatively new, like myself. IBA is almost a year old but I started out knowing virtually nothing. A lot that I've learned has come from people I've met ... (About 20% for this purpose.)

The bulletins are a great way to make people aware of new things you have to offer. For instance, my Members Area just opened in January, so bulletins are good for making people aware. I put on a pre-sale special in a bulletin (as well as the blog) so that people here would have a chance to purchase memberships at a drastically reduced price. (10% for bulletins)

Carrie: I use MySpace for Networking with other professionals in my field. I've received a few review requests via MySpace and establishing connections with press, writers and publications. I don't expect anybody to promote me though I've had one or two posts written about me and about my work. I would say it was about 50/50 on the percentages. I don't use MySpace for forming close friendships offline or for keeping in touch with family.

Jolie: I use MySpace for promotion.

Do you have specific goals with MySpace? (Say, hitting a number of friends, targeting specific audiences, recruiting etc.) Or do you just participate and see what comes of it all?

Carrie: I tend to just participate and see what comes out of it all. I'm quite lazy in that respect but really, it's more to do with the lack of time more than anything else. If I'd used it that way when I first started out on the Internet it would have worked out better but I didn't know about it right at the start so I missed out on that opportunity.

Autumn: Sara had some very definite goals. One was to hit 1000 friends by Christmas and I was very impressed that she did that. Another was to visit and comment on every friends page, which she also did. I, myself, not so much. My main goal is to update a couple times a week at least.

Jolie: I'd like to hit a goal of 1,000 friends, but it's not planned. I don't send out friend request. They come to me!

When it comes down to it, MySpace is just another way of networking ~ only instead of a professional organization, it's a much bigger pool with more 'public' to reach. This is good in the sense that you can reach more people, but also each profile or member is a single piece of straw in an immense pile... How do you stand out? What do you do to be found?

Jolie: I have over 800 friends, but I try to keep in contact with about 100 of them. A lot of people have me on their top 24 because of the contact.

Carrie: To increase my exposure I link to my profile from my main writing website, post comments on other friend's profiles on MySpace and I make sure my profile is attractive to look at. Most of the friend's requests I've received are from authors who I've worked with and reviewed their books/websites who have then gone looking for me on MySpace.

If you have a website or blog independent of MySpace, is there any difference between marketing/promoting it as opposed to your MySpace page?

Jolie: I update my website but it doesn't have the people interaction like MySpace does.

Autumn: Blogging, bulletins, and comments. And of course, responding to messages!

Carrie: I do have a website and blog independent of MySpace and I consider these more important for promotional purposes. My main website has been around for 6 years at various domains and I've worked hard to get it where it is today. It still requires more work, though, from me to get it higher up in the search engines. My daily traffic is really low compared to my partner's website! I consider my main website as more important than MySpace as it looks and reads more professional. It holds so much more information than my MySpace profile. I don't like to overload my profile at MySpace because it can then look cluttered and amateurish. There are no ads or pop-ups on my site.

Do you feel you reach more professionals in your area (for ex. authors meeting other authors or publishers) or more consumers (continuing the example, authors meeting book buyers or book reviewers)?

Autumn: So far I would say more professionals.

Carrie: I feel I've reached more professionals via MySpace. Mind you, I can't tell if any of the hits to my book on Lulu.com has come from MySpace or elsewhere! Few people go from MySpace to Hentracks or Sexography, though.

Jolie: Actually, both!

I find that I've had more interaction with and concrete results with professionals at MySpace ~ for example, this whole interview or conversation happened there ;) But when it comes to readers or consumers, not so much. To be fair, it's not always possible to 'see' transactions that occur at other sites. (Hits to my sites, but sales not so much.) Can you definitively state that you have made sales because of MySpace, and if so, pls. describe. If not a direct sale, what other deals or connections have made MySpace worth the time?

Autumn: Definite sales, no. Page views, yes.

Jolie: I don't have a way to tell about the print anthologies, but I have sold ebooks through my MySpace contacts. I've also received book reviews from MySpace friends.

Carrie: I can't say for definite I've received any sales or downloads from MySpace. I've got no way of tracking the hits or download stats of my freebies so I just keep them up there any way! I have had many contacts with authors though which enable me to reach them when I have review offers taking place. This is a good way of networking and it's given me an idea of changing the way I request review submissions. Hopefully, I can increase the amount of requests even further by adding the ability to accept them on MySpace.

I have made linking partners though, which is another important part of increasing your presence on the web.

So, there's a lot of effort which goes into social networking. Overall, do you consider MySpace a worthwhile endeavor?

Autumn: Absolutely. The more effort you put into it, the more you reap the rewards!

Jolie: YES!

Carrie: I would say that it is, definitely. I have had more chance of getting to know people in the same field and genre as me and it has connected me to some excellent erotic magazines thereby increasing my chances of publication. If you don't mind the ads I would recommend it to anyone for networking and promotion.

The Participants:

Autumn Seave: Webmistress of Inky Blue Allusions which features erotic serials (with personal bi-weekly email option or membership option), short stories, and audioerotica. Autumn & company have officially been on MySpace for about a year ~ "But we only really got serious about it around 4 months ago."

Jolie du Pre: Author of lesbian erotica and erotic romance. She also runs GLBT Promo and Ebooks by Jolie at MySpace. Her website is www.joliedupre.com. Jolie's been on MySpace since 2004, but says, "I didn't become active until May of 2006."

Carrie White: An Erotic Writer & Book/Website Reviewer. She also writes sex toy buy guides for a well known sex toy shop on the Internet. Her websites are Hentracks and Sexography. Carrie's been on MySpace for about 3 or 4 years, if not longer.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Social Networking on MySpace, Part One

You've likely all heard the hype about MySpace and other social networking sites. Praised as a huge boon for marketing, sites like MySpace sure do have potential and there's no shortage of articles on using social networking sites. Even Rachel Kramer Bussel's chimed in on the subject.

Once upon a time, any professional who didn't have their own URL was considered less than credible. Now enter MySpace and other social sites and suddenly you're told you're missing out if you don't register and begin blogging, posting bulletins and be-friending as fast as you can. If your own domain name and official website were necessary to branding, it now seems that you must be a part of another site in order to be cool ~ or at least accessible to the cool.

A presence at MySpace, FaceBook, Oomph or the like is not only a 'must do' to reach customers, but the number of contacts or friends has even been used like magazine circulation numbers to add to sales dollars. If public comments become testimonials about you & your products become the pull, the number of friends you have becomes business leverage.

Purported to be an easy tool for the marketer who believes in buzz Vs. ad dollars, is social networking the real thing?

I decided to have a few of my MySpace friends chime in with me on the subject. Meet the participants:

Autumn Seave: Webmistress of Inky Blue Allusions which features erotic serials (with personal bi-weekly email option or membership option), short stories, and audioerotica. Autumn & company have officially been on MySpace for about a year ~ "But we only really got serious about it around 4 months ago."

Jolie du Pre: Author of lesbian erotica and erotic romance. She also runs GLBT Promo and Ebooks by Jolie at MySpace. Her website is www.joliedupre.com. Jolie's been on MySpace since 2004, but says, "I didn't become active until May of 2006."

Carrie White: An Erotic Writer & Book/Website Reviewer. She also writes sex toy buy guides for a well known sex toy shop on the Internet. Her websites are Hentracks and Sexography. Carrie's been on MySpace for about 3 or 4 years, if not longer.

I began using MySpace, and any and all social networking sites that I belong to, for the same reasons: I got tired of all my associates and friends telling me to join ~ and that things would be so much easier if I would message them there. I eventually gave in. What brought you to MySpace? Was it a friend, or other social reason, or was it for business reasons?

Autumn: One of my writers suggested it as a means of reaching potential readers. But now that I'm here it is for business but also very social. I love talking to people and getting to know what makes them tick!

I know that part of building a business is having a presence on the Internet and MySpace is one of the biggest places to build a presence.

Jolie: Business reasons - promotion. I started to take MySpace seriously because other authors took it seriously.

Carrie: I don't think I was ever referred to MySpace. I probably came across another author's profile and thought, "Seems like a good idea."

I initially joined for fun I think but then, saw how it could be used for promotion so I started to really push it out. I found places that provided free MySpace layouts and codes and customized my profile to make it look more attractive.

What had you heard about MySpace? Any success stories?

Carrie: Since I joined, I've read numerous articles about the promotional opportunities on the site, and have decided to stick with my account. I've met a number of good writers on here and have been put in touch with many more. So, all in all, I think it’s a good way of networking and finding friends who write in the same genre as you. Another friend of mine, P.G Forte also mentioned how much better her sales of a particular book was after posting details about it upon her profile. So, I've added details of my books to my profile and am just waiting to see how well my sales do!

Autumn: I'd heard good things from others who are musicians and in other forms of the arts and when I realized that the adult industry has it's own presence here I knew I couldn't ignore it.

Is this your first try with a site like MySpace, or have you previously tried other sites like Friendster, Tribe, Ryze etc?

Jolie: This is my first try with a site like MySpace.

Autumn: This is the first time I've been serious. I dabbled in msnspaces (under a different name and for more personal type stuff) and hi5 (I can't even remember my name there!) but only playing around. And I guess I just didn't stay around long enough to really get to know anyone. Oh, and I did spend some time at CherryTap, which is fun, but I prefer MySpace.

Carrie: MySpace was the first site of this kind for me but since then I've joined Xpeeps.com which is an adult version and other community style blogs and groups, though MySpace is the one I'm most active on. I get some pervy contacts from Xpeeps but you kind of expect that to some degree. If you visit, I have to warn you, it's a bit more raunchy on there which includes my profile picture ;)

I think it's really important to get your name out there within your chosen field so I now have profiles all over the place even if I don't update them all the time.

Between blogging, sending/replying to messages, befriending others etc, how many hours do you put into managing your MySpace account?

Autumn: For myself, I'd say a couple hours a week. But my Queen of Marketing and Promotions, Sara Winters (i.e. BlueSW) spent the most time building the profile, editing blogs, promoting, building a friends list, and doing bulletins. At the beginning I bet she spent at least 10 hours a week. She rocks!

Carrie: I put in maybe a couple of hours a week which gives me plenty of time to answer messages, approve or deny friend requests, post on the blog and read comments etc. It's enough time for me to do what I need and keep the profile updated.

Jolie: 1/2 hour a day for all three sites.

As women, how much of your time is spent not only with 'spam' messages, but the unwanted pervy approaches? (Hey, I gotta ask!)

Autumn: I get 3 or 4 spam messages a week and 1 or 2 pervs every week. That is what inspired my latest blog entry "We're People Too!" I mostly ignore them but if they are particularly nasty I send them a message to let them know it is not appropriate. They are usually apologetic and stop.

Carrie: I've been pretty lucky so far and have very few if any spam or pervy comments. My only complaint is despite setting my account not to accept friend requests from bands, some still do trickle through. I've also been notified of a suspect profile on MySpace via my Xpeeps account and have successfully managed to get it closed down. I'm trusting too much some would say and up until now I allowed free rein on my comments. That's all been changed now and my password and email login as been changed too, due to unsuccessful login attempts on my account.

Jolie: Very little of my time. I'm careful about who I approve on my friend spaces.

As you can see, working social network sites requires some dedication and devotion of time. In the next parts we'll get into using the site features & discuss what rewards there may be.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Interview With Matt of Darker Pleasures (Part Two)

Just as it takes a masterful hand to deliver torture that teases & pain that pleases, it takes a master to deliver devilish digital delights. Matt, who runs Darker Pleasures, does just that.

Not only is his site first class, but so is Matt. Not many adult webmasters are so willing to share their advice & experience with another ~ let alone the webmasters with successful sites. Most ignore you, many provide rude refusals, and the others have bad advice (whether done on purpose to send you in the wrong direction, or just plain ignorance to how business is done, I can't say for certain...)

But anyway, Matt is a gem, and this interview (which started here) is full of lots of the same.

Do you run the site alone? (Any partners?)
I'm basically it. Christine Dannemont was instrumental in being our only model for the first year. I have a silent partner that owns the business and takes care of the bills, but I'm your Jack-of-all-trades.

Did you 'make' the site yourself, or hire a web designer etc?
Just little ole me. In fact, I've designed and created web sites for others I've worked with as well. Rico Tymann's now defunct "Strict Times" (defunct having nothing to do with my work, by the way) and Raven Twisted's "Terrorgasm" are examples. I've also done a couple of normal-people sites, but they'd probably rather not be mentioned here.

Do you create all the site content, stories & photos, yourself? Do you purchase any?
We did the first year and a good part of the second. Once we got some financial stability we started farming out the photographs to other photographers and models. We use Strict Times, Fantasy Modeling, Exxep Studios, and Shadowplay Imaging quite a bit, as well as others. I still did most of the writing with the help of the talented Elizabeth Faraday until mid-2002ish, at which time we started commissioning freelance writers as well. I tend to think we have some of the most talented writers in the field now, several of whom have been published in mainstream.

Oh, and I still write when time permits. I love blue moons.

How do the women models feel about the site?
Depends on the model. Some of them pretty much disavow our existence as being beneath them. That's unfortunate, but a lot of models start out in this biz and work there way into things they'd share with their families. Others are ambivalent - its work. A few really get into the scene and love it. I mentioned Raven Twisted earlier. We've also had a few others, and are looking at two more as I speak... um... type.

What is the worst aspect of your work?
That would either be the hours - I put in a whole lot of time at this, or the current political climate - our government administration doesn't care too much for what we do, and has pretty much made no bones about the fact that they're hunting. Looking over your shoulder, even when you know that you're well within legal bounds, is no fun.

What part of your work do you enjoy the most?
Writing. I love writing. If I could just write, I'd be happy as a clam. My serial novel, Families, is so much fun. I'd give an eye tooth (I'll keep my other body parts, thank you) to have time to go back and edit and expand some of my earlier stuff.

What traits do you think you have that have made the site so successful?
I like to think that the site's personality keeps people around. I inject a lot of me into the site, and I think folks like that. It doesn't hurt that we make sure both our pictures and stories are of the highest quality. I also think that we have a unique set-up that caters solely to one niche. We'll never beat out Playboy, Hustler, or Cyberpornmondowebsites of America, but we don't want to.

And which things do you find you need to improve upon or seek outside help (outsourcing etc) for?
Um... I'd love to get video clips back, but until Acacia Research is defeated and burning in Hades, that's not gonna happen. Otherwise, to be honest, I'd like to spiff up the place a little more, but I really think what we do works well. All the pros seem to think that our white backdrop is quaint (as opposed to "Porn Black") and the site simplicity lets members enjoy the stuff. Sounds good to me.

In percentages, how is your time divided on site work? For example, what percent of time is spent on marketing, subscriber help, content creation, site work like coding & design, etc?
My eyes are crossing here.

Coding and design - 30%
Marketing - 20%
Content creation - 20%
Editing - 20%
Customer service - 10%

But those numbers change as time goes on. After a while, there's only so much marketing you can do. I mainly tweak these days (marketing, not what you thought - get your mind outta the gutter). Sometimes, customer service goes way up, like when some idiot hacker manages to get hold of a list of old usernames and passwords. Hackers need to burn in Hades right next to Acacia, but that's a whole 'nother story into itself.

When you analyze the site in a business sense, what are the most critical areas? Marketing? Content creation?
Both, but without really good marketing, you'll never get anyone to come see your pretty content. Marketing gets 'em there and content keeps 'em there. These days, getting them there requires an act of Congress. Also, porn sites are a dime a dozen. The last time I read, there were something like seventy-three gazillion porn sites on the 'Net. You have to do something special. Pick a niche that hasn't been overdone and then make your site into a one-of-a-kind experience. You won't keep everyone, but the ones you keep will be there because no one else does what you do the same way you do it.

There's one more part to come!

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Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Interview With Matt of Darker Pleasures (Part One)

If you are a follower of Gracie, God bless your lusty little heart, you know that there is the occasional talk of issues that fall into the BDSM area. On more than one opportunity the name of DarkerPleasures.com has popped up as well.

Darker Pleasures is an adult website worthy of Gracie's repeated recommendations, both in it’s singular status as The breast bondage & torture erotica site, & it's spectacular display of class. (Yes, kiddos, you can be a classy porn site, and even a classy torture site.)

Matt was one of the first adult webmasters to befriend lil' ol' Gracie, which is a nice way of saying that Matt is patient with a newbie ~ and generous with his time. Matt is a reminder that real, decent humans with integrity can be found in the world of adult entertainment. My heartfelt thanks to him for all his respect, kindness, and generosity.

Gracie figures a few of you have questions about "what kind of person runs a website like that?" and "who would deliberately seek such entertainment?" So, let's ask Matt, who runs the site...

How do you best define your site?

Surfer dudes: We're the Mecca of breast bondage and tit torture. It doesn't get any more original or comprehensive than this if breast punishment is your thing.

Business types: Darker Pleasures specializes in nothing but original and comprehensive breast bondage and torture erotica. We're the only site of its kind on the Internet, unless there's one lurking in a dark corner we haven't found.

What was the driving force behind your creation of the site?

Ah... That would be money. I know that's not as glamorous as "We wished to make the world safer for breast torture for future generations," but honesty's the best policy. Oh, and I was enamored with Christine Dannemont's breasts and was more than happy to have a chance to spend more time with them on an intimate basis...

How long has the site been around? How long has it been a pay membership site?

We began researching and prepping DP in mid-1999. We went live on April 28, 2000. We've been a members site since dayimus oneimus (that's Latin for "Day One"), and haven't raised our price a red cent since.

How many subscribers?

At the moment we have around 600ish members, give or take a couple, and with the exception of the occasional "Google has mucked up their search engine algorithm" period, have been steadily growing since conception (that's an adult web site pun, by the way.) We've been through several thousand. Such is the way of adult sites.

Mostly male subscribers?

Um... I'd say about 3/4 of them. We have quite a few ladies, and the number's growing the more that knowledge of our story quality gets out. They're definitely our most loyal fans. Go figure.

Let's talk about fantasy for a minute... Obviously much of your content is fantasy. Most of your visitors are interested in the subject, but how many do you think are 'living it?'

Now this is completely subjective here, but I'd say no more than 10% actually live it. There are a lot of dabblers, and a whole lot more that'd give an eye tooth (or left nut, depending on your level of crudity) to be able to do it. If response to my Breast Punishment Primer is any indication, it's a growing pastime.

I know that you have taken some 'hits' as far as content on your site. Some people think this type of content is 'too much' etc. How do you respond?

Snuff is too much. Non-consensual brutal rape is too much. What we do is fantasy. You'd be amazed at the number of people on both sides of the gender barrier that either do, or fantasize about what we do, all the time. It goes without saying that 99.99934672 percent of men (as determined by an unofficial poll just taken in the last thirteen seconds with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent) would love their significant other to play this way, or at least in some way similar. How many women have fantasies about being bound and "had?"

Heck, we don't even show the pink bits. Seriously... umm... just a sec, what I was about to say is covered in the next question.

Do you feel it has violent consequences for women in the 'real world,' or promotes hating women? (I know it doesn't but sheesh, I gotta ask it!)

OK, now... Seriously, I don't believe that what we do endangers women. We have far too many women that love what we do, and the way we do it, for that to be the case. We are adamantly opposed to non-consensual stuff, and we have articles ~ Ramblings (that's my monthly editorial - an unabashed plug) and disclaimers all over the place that make that perfectly clear.

That is not to say that I think all porn is safe for human consumption. There comes a time when saying it's just fantasy is a poor excuse. I've mentioned snuff and brutal rape scenarios already. Child porn and bestiality are also sick. Some things harken back to primal nature, such as bondage and rough play, and can be safe, sane, and fun. Others should transcend human nature and are simply criminal. It takes an enlightened mind to understand the difference. Unfortunately, there are many out there who are incapable of being enlightened.

Wow, that was a soap box, huh?

Stay tuned ~ there's more from Matt to come!

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Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Turning Your Passions Into Profits

Gracie interviews Kimberly of GlamourGurlz.com, a young woman who turned her love of vintage lingerie (Adult Link) into a business ~ and not just with eBay sales. She has an ecommerce site, DVD sales, & a membership site too!

When did you start the business?

Upon the birth of my son in 1999, I decided to quit my banking career and be a stay at home mom. After about a year of not working, I started to get restless because I had always worked and been involved in lots of things. While surfing the web one night for vintage pretties, I came upon a website called Ruby Lane. This site specializes in sales of vintage and antique collectables. After some research, I decided to open a webstore on Ruby Lane with some of the collectable girly items that i had previously collected.

I opened the webstore selling vintage beaded purses, collectable signed and un-signed vintage jewelry, vintage dresses and vintage slips, and pretty much anything that I found to be a glamour accessory item.

After selling a few weeks, one of my best girlfriends 'Jeannie' (also a glamour gurlz model) suggested that she model a few of my vintage dresses and slips so that we could show how nicely they fitted and looked on a 'real' person. Since I was already a trained photographer from college and various professional photography jobs in my early 20s, I had the photographic experience and equipment and we set up a studio in my home. We also did a lot of shooting outside when weather permitted.

Our popularity drastically increased with our new format of using a live model, as did the attention of some of the other sellers on Ruby Lane. The administrators for the site then demanded we not to use 'live' models in our webstore any longer, as it was causing a 'fuss' with some of the members and customers. *rolls eyes* lol

A good friend and fellow slip collector suggested I try Ebay. We started selling on ebay in August of 2002. At this point, I had a few more girlfriends who I managed to talk into modeling for Glamour Gurlz. *LOL* After the initial stage fright, and the realization that I wasn't running a 'porn' site, all of my girlfriends agreed it was a fun way to get Glamour Photographs and add a little 'spice' to our otherwise normal married with children lifestyles.

All of us gals at Glamour Gurlz are between 25-42 yrs old, non-professional models, some stay at home moms, some with full-time jobs, all with one thing in common...we love to be girly and feminine! Most of us have been friends since our early teens as well.

The gurlz and I love being 'Glamour Gurlz' and we hope to continue to promote slip wearing with the younger generation. One thing that you will never find on the 'Glamour Gurlz' website or auctions is nudity and/or adult related content. Our belief is that women can be very sexy and appealing without showing too much skin. Glamour Gurlz is dedicated to sharing ideas and promoting the sensuality and glamour from an era when women were proud of their femininity by wearing beautiful vintage slips, lingerie, stockings & garters.

The Glamour Gurlz believe in the 'art of the tease'. Our motto is 'Let us help you experience an era when women were proud of their femininity'.

Is this a hobby business? Or is the income more than supplemental?

As our popularity increased, I was determined to go forward. For the first time in my 30+ years of life, I was doing a job i truly loved...and selling my greatest passion, vintage collectable lingerie and glamour dress up items.

My grandfather once said to me before his death in '96, 'Kimberly--if you find something you love to do and can make a living doing it... your one step ahead of the game...

A girlfriend and fellow slip site owner (thanks, Jen!) encouraged and helped me learn html and other computer 'stuff'... I also had a friend and former customer on Ebay who donated his time to designing the original website when we opened our website in June 2003. After our webstore was online and we became known, our sales increased and I had to hire a professional webmaster to do the maintenance of the website. Between shooting for the site and ebay, doing the shopping, shipping, invoicing and picture editing, writing descriptions, etc...I just didn't have enough time in the day to get everything done.

I found a spectacular web-mistress at www.sunsetgraphics.com. Sarah (the owner of Sunset Graphics) and I had a lot in common both being stay at home working moms. She re-designed the site to the beautiful layout you see online now.

Between running weekly Ebay auctions and maintaining the inventory in the website, my passion and former hobby has turned into a full-time business.

When did the membership site start?

Once the DVD was released and getting great feedback, along with many requests for more pictures, again, my good friend Jen encouraged me to open the pay portion of the gallery. I opened it in June of 2003.

How many hours do you work in a typical week?

I usually work anywhere from 12-16 hours a day on the Glamour Gurlz business. So I suppose that's between 84-112 hours a week.

What percent of your time is spent doing the following:

- finding items 10% (I now have an extensive inventory and do not need to shop as much)
- listing/webwork The biggest most demanding part of my job...50%
- shipping -- My husband does all my shipping now as I am far to busy
- taking photos 35%
- marketing 5%

Do you do all of this yourself, or do you outsource/hire others for things?

I do everything myself with exception to the maintenance of the website-- I edit and write all descriptions, however, my webmaster does all the design and gets everything aired for us.

What are the 3 things about yourself that you believe make you successful?

Passion & Dedication for what I do
Commitment to Excellence in Customer Service

What is the best part of your work?

Being able to make my own schedule, working around my small son and making a living doing something I totally love!

I also love that my business is helping to promote sensuality from an era when women were proud to be girly and feminine.

What is the worst part?

Definitely the hours...I have to sometimes work until 4am getting updates and listings done.

OK folks, Kimberly is doing it ~ what's your excuse? Maybe 2007 is the year you strike out & turn your passion into profits!

This year is what you make it!

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Help For Writers

Naughty Words blog is dedicated to authors of erotica and sexual non-fiction.

There you'll find calls for submissions, as well as writing tips, surveys, interviews, and promotional opportunities.

Here are a few of my favorite posts:

* Talking with Anthology Editors, Part Five

* AuthorIsland.com and AuthorScene.com

* Selenia's Cavern Quality Writing Services

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An Interview with Lawrence G. Walters, Esq.

Larry Walters is a First Amendment attorney, and one of the elite handful of lawyers who defend those in the adult entertainment business. His law firm clients include: adult webmasters, those with free & pay sites; performers & escorts with websites or who use the internet for promotional reasons; those who run gambling sites; & those who create &/or control content & are concerned about everything from copyright protection to obscenity concerns.

In short ~ if you're in the adult business world, on the internet & in the USA, pay attention!

Larry Walters has developed the Birth Date Verifier as a way for adult webmasters to protect themselves in the current political climate. Recently I discussed with him the significance of the Birth Date Verifier....

Please explain the difference between the Birth Date Verifier & an AVS.

An AVS typically offers a payment system, whereby users are age verified by providing a credit card or other payment information, and then given access to a group of sites served by the AVS. The BDV is a combination of a software device and a legal age disclaimer, which when used together, generate a sworn statement of age which is verified by the system to determine whether the user is over the age of 18 on the current date. If so, the user is allowed access to the site. If not, the user is blocked from entering the site or any of its age protected material. The BDV requires no payment, and asks for no personal information other than a name (or even initials) and a birth date.

Why is the Birth Date Verifier is "superior " to the "I'm over 18" click method? Does your method offer greater legal protection?

The 18+ disclaimers are perceived as a national joke by parents, prosecutors and the courts, and easily bypassed with no consequences. No age information is provided when accessing through such pages, and no 'verification' takes place.

The BDV uses a combination of the federal Declarations Act and the E-SIGN legislation to generate the equivalent of an online affidavit that is submitted by the user, verified by the system, and used to determine access rights. If a user were to lie, and include a false birth date, he/she may be granted access, but it would only be by committing a federal offense. People can get away with all kinds of things if they're willing to commit crimes.

When weighing who is at fault, we believe that the courts would side with the webmaster who has taken appropriate steps to verify age given current technology, as opposed to a user who is willing to commit the federal felony of perjury to gain access to the site. This is similar to the clerk who sells tobacco to a minor with a fake ID.

No age check system is perfect, by any means, and neither is the BDV. However, the federal law relating on online age verification, COPA, includes a specific affirmative defense which allows webmasters to use "any other reasonable measures that are feasible under available technology" to verify age. Until devices such as finger print pads or retina scans become commonplace, the BDV should qualify as such a 'reasonable measure'.

What sites, in your opinion, are most in need of such a device?

Free sites, to be sure, will benefit the most by this device. Since most pay sites use credit cards to verify age, free sites are left with little or no option besides the BDV, since they do not charge for their services.

Moreover, the Credit Card companies do not want their cards being used for age verification, and Visa specifically prohibits it. Therefore, even if credit cards are partially relied upon for age verification, the BDV is an excellent secondary check for users.

It should also be noted that various other forms of payment are routinely accepted by pay sites, such as online checks or 900 numbers. The BDV can be successfully incorporated into the payment process when using these alternate payment methods, to ensure that some form of age verification has occurred.

If the adult site is a free site, not a paid memberships site with protected content areas, will this method work well? Given traffic from Google etc..

Our clients have found ways to successfully incorporate the BDV into free sites, or free areas, without sacrificing much search engine optimization. For example, free tours can remain outside the BDV block, so long as they are age appropriate. This will allow the search engines to pick up the free pages, and index them accordingly. However, it should be noted that implementation of the BDV (or any other effective age verification tool) may negatively impact traffic or other marketing.

Every webmaster must make a decision whether the additional legal protection is worth some potential impact on profits. Our clients generally prefer to play it safe, even if it means less revenue. However, when implemented correctly, the BDV will not significantly impact the site's profitability or recognition.

What is the cost for the Birth Date Verifier? How does a webmaster qualify for the device?

We provide the device free of charge to our clients. If an interested webmaster wants to obtain the device without becoming a client for some reason, we have made the device available on a monthly subscription basis.

This decision is made on a case by case basis, and we must approve the sites on which the device will be used, particularly by non-clients. AVS companies are not allowed to use the device. The cost of the subscription will vary depending on the needs of the client, but starts at less than $1500 per year.

How difficult is this to install upon a website?

It is extremely simple. The device is provided in ASP, PHP, CGI and Cold Fusion versions. We've never had any reports of problems installing the device, but we offer technical assistance to those who need it, at no additional cost.

Please explain what real dangers you see to adult webmasters in the USA given the current political climate. Are you concerned? Or is all the 'talk' alarmist behavior?

For years, I have preached the benefits of age verification, whether legally required or not. Having handled obscenity cases for over a decade, I've found the common theme the government tries to incorporate is access by minors. The prosecution always tries to work in to the case, some evidence of kids getting access to the materials, even if not required to prove their case.

In the very first obscenity case I handled in 1989, I defended a video store who sold a tape to a 17 year old undercover agent, who had a beard and looked 25. This made the case tougher to defend, although we obtained a mistrial. I also defended an online obscenity case where the government argued that teenagers in the neighborhood were given passwords to the site that was allegedly obscene. None of this was relevant to the obscenity issue, but they like to smear the defendant, and argue 'even your kids can get access to this stuff' to the jury. Ironically, the BDV would have been useful in that case, even if the teenagers had obtained passwords, since they would have had to perjure themselves in order to get access to the site with the stolen passwords.

I see the current threatened crackdown as a serious threat. The Senate is trying to generate evidence that porn is an addictive drug, for which there is no cure. The Attorney General has publicly committed to prosecute obscenity. There have been House Resolutions encouraging obscenity prosecutions, and the religious right is clamoring for payback, after Bush's re-election.

The game, now, is for each webmaster to make them self the least attractive target, while still competing for business. Implementing something like the BDV will assist in reducing a webmaster's exposure, while at the same time, help in keeping inappropriate material away from kids.

For more information on the BDV, visit www.BirthDateVerifier.com.

For more intormation on Lawrence G. Walters & his law firm, visit www.FirstAmendment.com.

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Got Female Traffic? Want More?

Meet Entrepreneur and PR Specialist, Chloe Jo Berman.

Chloe's a PR princess slash event planner slash Indie record label creative director. She's thrown parties in NY's hottest rooms since she was 15, rocked out as a musician, and been on the cover of magazines proclaimed an "IT" girl. As bad as her tattoos may suggest she is, she's a former Orthodox Jewish Yeshiva girl who will tell you exactly where to get the best deal on a Chanel bag and who gives the best facial.

And why should you care about Chloe?

Because Chloe took her small fashion event business and turned it into a newsletter promotion service with as much loyalty as any branded corporate giant. With 13,000+ devoted and active subscribers, The Girlie Girl Newsletter is a marketer's wet dream.

Originally The Girlie Girl Newsletter was started to promote Chloe's fashion events. (At the end of each fashion season, she buys out large distributors, boutiques, and stores and resells to the public at up to 90% off retail.) From there, Chloe began doing freelance events for other designers, then segued into producing LGBT events, and in the process started up her LGBT list of loyal followers.

While all of this is cool and inspirational in and of itself, Chloe now offers her newsletter as a vehicle to support other cool women-owned businesses and causes that are important to her.

I discovered Chloe's list this Spring (and frequently shop off her list of cool tidbits), but I had no idea that Chloe was accepting outsider use of her cool newsletter. I discovered this in my interview with her over at Sex-Kitten (Adult Link). Once I discovered this, I just had to ask her all about the opportunity...

Who are the subscribers of The Girlie Girl Newsletter?

Our lists are the creme de la creme of hipster city women. Our demographic is upwardly mobile, socially conscience hipsters from 18-55. In addition to spreading the word about your business, you also get a chance to be seen by the numerous magazine editors, writers, celebrities, and taste makers on our lists. This newsletter is excellent for any event, but consumer product sales seem to flourish after a blast from our girlie camps. Of course, once we get the word out for you - there are tie-in opportunities galore!

How often do you send issues?

The newsletter goes out weekly or at least tri-Monthly - depending on how many events we have going on each month.

What are the numbers on each city list?

Our Atlanta list is 5,000, our NYC list is 10,000, and our Los Angeles list is 1,000. The general LGBT national list is over 13,000.

I know I shop off your recommendations, and network off your list, but do you really have that much power?

Our list has been garnered on a grass roots level for the past ten years, which is why we rarely have removals and have such a loyal reading audience! But here are some testimonials:

"I have subscriptions to like 8 newsletters, and GirlieGirl is the only one I read entirely as soon as I get it because there is almost always something useful in there for myself or one of my girls...Chloe has her hand in a little of everything--truly a networking superwoman with NY style!" Chrissie (ny reader)

But let's be frank, do the businesses get results?

Web-based businesses are wise to let ALL our fab girls know about their biz. Our reasonable rates will have the hipsters dashing to your business - you lucky thing! Our girls really do love to shop online and support Indie businesses! More testimonials ;)

"Chloe is not only a fabulously generous human being, she's a publicity goddess! She bumped my website views massively, definitely caused my book to sell thousands of copies, and gave the book a huge hit of love Chloe-style - thereby increasing my hipness a thousandfold. I recommend Chloe unreservedly. She's wonderful!"
- Maria Dahvana Headley (Author of THE YEAR OF YES: A Memoir - Hyperion Books), Seattle, WA

"Chloe Jo is THE supreme PR queen!!! With her help and services we have had fantastic results that translated to an increase in direct sales, successful turnouts at events we have produced, and networking with other performers, producers, and businesses. Chloe Jo ROCKS!!"
- Jackie Strano, owner of SIR Productions/ Indie musician, Santa Cruz, CA.
(Adult Link) www.sirvideo.com

OK Chloe, what are the options?

For our smallest campaign, we ask a weekly fee (per email listing alongside all other listings) of $40 per city - that is if we feel your product or service is applicable to our demographics.

A $40 blurb has NO image, JPEG, or attachment. If you would like to have one of those items, you need to go for the EXCLUSIVE blurb.

If you would like to run your promotional program exclusively (a stand alone email that can be as long as you like, with attachments or images), this costs $250-$500 (depending on time of the year and content of email). These emails see an exponentially larger rate of success than the smaller blurbs.

It is sometimes possible to do product exchange or (depending on the size of your list and location of the bulk of your list) email blast to your clientele about our events in lieu of paying the fee.

Any other promo opportunities?

Yes, we have postcards and swag opportunities. Promotional postcards, magazines, or merchandise can be added to our shoppers bags for a flat fee of $100 per event. You are physically reaching a huge number of women, and are able to track how many people came from our sale if you place a code on your postcards.

We are also available for press and pr consultancy for your business. And we can set up and organize street teams for companies and bands or they can use ours. Contact me to learn more.

Anything else we should know?

Charitable events are exempt from this policy, and we will consider trade (product or email blast) instead of cashola. And if you would like a sample of the newsletter that goes out, please email us for a copy. Just email chloe (at) chloejo.com to get linked into our little universe!

So, how do we seal the dealio?

First, contact me to see if your product or service is right for Girlie Girl. The listing fees are payable via www.paypal.com (to Chloe(at) ChloeJo.com and only by using a check/bank card - if using a Credit Card - charge is $5 extra since we get charged extra for cc's), or check/ money order to us. Details will be provided on the completion of an arrangement.

For those who want to know more, you may visit Chloe's website, www.chloejo.com, &/or contact her at chloe@chloejo.com.

And I highly recommend subscribing to at least one of the newsletters to get an idea of what events, products and companies Girlie Girl covers. To do so, just send an email to chloe@chloejo.com with "LGBT National" in the subject line of your email. Or, if you prefer events in your city only, use "Sample Sales" (and the city of your choice, NYC, LA, or Atlanta) as your email subject line.

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