Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Doing My Damn Best

In this era of #cockygate, #bookstuffing, and #tiffanygate, it can be tough to be an erotic author that’s ethical.

If I was in this for the quick buck, I think I could do it. I’ve read up on what all the unethical and scammy authors are doing. I could cash in and ride the money wave for as long as I could before Amazon catches on to my illicit behaviour and casts me out. I’d take my money, laugh, and move on to the next get-rich-quick scheme.

But — haha — I’m not in this for the money. I’m in this for the stories. I’m in this for the publishing. (I love the act of publishing as much as the act of writing.) I’m in this for the long haul.

It can be exhausting trying to keep up with the scams and all the dirty tricks that the get-rich-quick crowd is up to. It seems like there’s a new thing almost every week. Not only is it exhausting, it diminishes our reputation. It casts dirt on the whole self-publishing industry.

There are many outside the self-publishing world that don’t know about all these scams and they fall victim to them. Years ago, back when Kindle Unlimited paid per-book rather than per-page, my mom (who was not a KU customer) started reading this serialized erotic romance book … which was broken into seventeen parts. She said that each part was very short and broken up in odd places and she couldn’t figure it out. It became too expensive for what it was, so she stopped reading after the first few parts. I explained to her about how the per-book payment on KU works and that this author is scamming the system. (There are legitimate ways and reasons to serialize a novel — this author was not doing any of those, but rather breaking things up to get 17 times the profit.)

With book stuffing — the act of “stuffing” an ebook with “extra content”, whether it be dozens of extra novels or even thousands of pages of gibberish, a practice intended to milk the per-page payment for all its worth, damn the professionalism — readers who are not up to speed on what’s going on in self-publishing are finding that these self-published books are woefully unprofessional. And if the few self-published books they’ve read are really bad or really strangely put together, then they must all be like that, right? So it must be better to stick with traditionally published books.

And, of course, if an author is in it only to squeeze every last cent out of the system and that final profit is the one and only thing that matters, then basic things like editing and proofreading are not important. If an author puts out garbage, it doesn’t matter, as long as readers click through to the end and the author gets the full payment.

And here I am, doing my damn best to put out top-notch books. I put care and thought into my storylines, I hire editors and cover artists, and I don’t engage in scammy behaviour.

I might not make the quick buck that these other authors make and I might not reach the heights that they do, but I can stand proud knowing I’ve brought my all to this and I’ve worked on my professionalism. Those money-hungry authors might think I’m foolish, but, honestly, fuck them. At the end of the day, I’m proud of what I do and that’s all that matters.

Cameron D. James is a writer of gay erotica and M/M erotic romance; his latest release is Silent Hearts. He is publisher at and co-founder of Deep Desires Press, member of the Indie Erotica Collective, and hosts two podcasts, Deep Desires Podcast and Sex For Money. He lives in Canada, is always crushing on Starbucks baristas, and has two rescue cats. To learn more about Cameron, visit http://www.camerondjames.com.


  1. It's such a shame that some readers judge everyone by the few bad apples. Yes, some self-pubbed books are crap. But some books put out by big New York pubs are crap also! (cough*FSOG*cough). But then they read something that purports to be erotic, or romance, and since it's full of unedited, unreadable crappy writing, they figure all books in that genre, or all eBooks, or all self-pubbed books, are just as bad. Sigh.

    With so many deciding that reading is not for them, authors have to struggle to find those who still like to read. Readers who get burned will not be so eager to try new authors. It seemed for a while that e-publishing was a great thing, and it still allows for more voices to be heard. But some of them are not really worth reading.

    I wish I knew a solution. Laboring in obscurity is a lonely way to work. I'm just glad that there are blogs like this one, where at least I'm among like-minded friends!

  2. Despite the scamming, I do think that the overall quality of self-published books has improved dramatically. Readers DO care about stories, about editing and about covers. And eventually, I think KU is going to choke itself to death.

  3. I've seen discussions of the pros and cons of KU where writers have had mixed opinions, but some readers have joined in to say that they could never afford to read as much as they do without it. We have a quandary here with the population of traditional book buyers shrinking while really voracious readers stick, naturally, with what they can afford. I've tried to get a sense of what the book buyers want to read, but as far as I can tell they don't want to read erotica these days, while those that do want to read erotica don't want to buy it, or at least not for much.


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