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You and your husband get totally wild.

..

"Congratulations!"

The greatest day of your writing life has arrived. You're about to get your first novel published.

After you've had the champagne, had wild congratulatory rock star sex with your lover, had the serious discussion about what you will be doing with all the millions of dollars, called your family and had the friends over for a triumphant drink to promise them that all this success won't change you a bit, you realise you can officially call yourself a published writer.

A few weeks after that, it arrives in the mail; your first contract!

At last, you think to yourself. It's all happened. Someone out there knows that my book and my words are worth it.

And that is the truth. When a publisher -- even an e publisher - has decided to take on your novel, they're really putting their money where their mouth is.

They're going to pay staff to keep you informed and schedule the process to publication for you. They're going to pay an editor to work on your novel, not once, not twice but perhaps even three times to get it as close to perfect as you can.

After that they're going to pay another editor to copy edit the manuscript, and then they're going to pay a chief editor to give the final approval.

All these people will be reading and re reading your precious manuscript.

The publisher is also going to pay someone to come up with a wonderful cover for your novel, and someone else to monitor your sales and send you those big fat delicious royalty cheques each month.

The publisher is paying for their website that will have your book in pride of place for several days (and they probably get anywhere from thirty to one hundred thousand hits a day) and for all the publicity surrounding that website.

The publisher may even send complimentary copies of your erotic novel out to specialty Zines where it will be reviewed and you will inevitably receive the highest rating a book has ever garnered with each and every reviewer personally grabbing the phone and demanding the New York Times write a three page spread on you immediately because a genius has been found.

But there is one little amazing thing missing from this scenario.

You.

No matter what book you are selling, no matter if you're Barbra Novac, the girl next door or Hilary Mantel, your book will not sell unless the reader can buy a little piece of you with it.

That is a simple fact.

You see, to request a person read your novel, is to ask them to become your partner. It is to invite them into a joint venture where you rely on their understanding, their rigor, their creative imagination and their interest to get to the common objective, which is the reading of your novel.

A written novel is actually only half completed. It can't come alive without the passionate, adoring reading of a lively disciplined reader.

This is true if you are one of the writers on Literotica or Jane Austen. To write is to appeal to the freedoms of another person. To write is to demand each of you lift yourself to a place beyond the everyday, and devote to this novel. Just for a while.

You can't ask this of anyone, without giving away a piece of yourself. You have invested a great deal of yourself in the writing, which is true.

However, it is not the novel your reader is in partnership with. It is you. The reader is your partner in bringing the novel to life. And to invest at this level, the reader is going to want to connect with you a little.

That means many things.

It means having your own website. It means writing blog posts, keeping up with your Literotica submissions, joining chat rooms, and being available on social networking sites.

But there is another reason for doing all of the on line promotion.

I know it is hard to believe, but we must consider the possibility that after your novel has been removed from the front page of the publisher's website, no one will be buying it. (deep shock)

This is when it is up to you, to generate sales.

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