A Perfect Blog Is Like A Perfect human Body

I have been on the Internet now for more than 18 years now. And, I have been blogging for the past 12 years. Starting from the Google Groups, Yahoo Groups, Blogger blogs, WordPress blogs, to Facebook Notes to the many aggregated blog platforms.
Eventually, for me, this long journey reached its first significant milestone with the launch of “The Naked Soul” blog in 2015. The next major milestone was the launch of “The Art of Travel” blog in 2016. The third big milestone for me was the launch of my eCommerce site,  The Art of Travel Store, in 2017.
This may seem like a long time, but I feel we are in the beginning stages of a really long journey. Eventually, all humans and many A.I machines will have their own blogs, eCommerce store, biodata, resumes, medical history, and other details, all online, for anyone to access at any time, based on access level.
 
But my today’s blog is not about A.I. or the future of the Internet. Today, I want to talk about the perfect blog.The anatomy of a perfect blog. What makes a blog perfect?

A Perfect Blog

A healthy and successful blog is like a perfect human body. It has strong bones, healthy blood, lots of muscles, some fat, beautiful face, is attractive, has great skin, and has healthy-functioning joints. It is flexible. It is adaptable. It is resilient. Above all, it is living and growing.
 
I’ll take the example of my own blog here, The Art of Travel blog.
 
The Art of Travel is a baby right now. It is growing fast. It is healthy and it is cute but it is far from perfect or matured. Let’s note, it’s only an 18 months old baby right now.
 
The FREE Destination Travel Guides on our blog is its Bones.
The hundreds of Blogs are its Blood.
All the Content on the blog is its Meat and juicy Fat.
The formatting and structure is its Skin.
The Home Page is its beautiful Face.
The hundreds of internal hyperlinks in our blog’s thousands of pages are its Joints.
 
For this baby to grow into a strong, matured, perfect human adult, we are working to make its BONES strong. The thousands of FREE Travel Destination Guides need to be expanded and showcase the best and most gorgeous photos from each destination.
Like a human skeleton, these bones (destination guides) connect to each other and form sections (Asia, Europe, Australia, etc.)
 
Our current focus on the Travel Blog is building muscles and adding some “Meat” and “Juicy Fat” to it. The several hundreds of blogs that we are planning to publish each year are just that. It’s like adding meat to the skeleton. More blogs, more juicy stories, more topics are like making this blog work out and build up.
 
The Internal Hyperlinking Project (similar to Wikipedia structure) is making sure all Joints are properly linked and functioning. The more joints a body has, the more flexible, bendable and adaptable it becomes.
 
The Skin (formatting) and Face (home page) are already healthy and glowing. We are just ensuring that this shine stays.
 
A healthy blog is never complete. It is always growing. And, we will keep it growing.
 
That’s it. This is “the Secret” of giving birth to a winning blog, a healthy and growing blog. This is how we are planning to raise this The Art of Travel baby. This is it. This is all. 
 
PS: I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on what you think is the best way to grow and build a perfect blog. Please comment below.

Top Quora Writer Meetup & Being Purposeful in Life

For whatever reasons (unknown to me or anyone), in January, the Quora community decided to vote me as a Top Quora Writer 2016. They have invited me to come to a Top Writers meetup in Mountain View, California at Quora HQ in June.

Earlier, I was excited about this meetup and my California visit but now I am passing on the free food and socializing opportunity.

Being Purposeful in Life

I have realized one secret about “purpose in life” from this experience. When we are young and we want to achieve something, we often get sidetracked by our early trophies. Often, the journey is long and hard, and we give in to temptations of feel-good, to feel important.

I am not saying one should not enjoy small victories. What I am saying is one should not “focus” on the celebration of the achievement of small goals. “Focus” should be always on your primary vision.

For example, traveling from Boston to California just to feel good to get inside the Quora HQ is self-puffing and not really in line with my end goal. If it was local, I would love to attend. But me thinking about making this long journey indicates that earlier I was taking myself way too seriously.

To me, I was important. But to the world at large, I am just a small piece. I have my place and I have my mission. Without contributing much I cannot (and should not) expect life to give back to me.

If life is generous to you, celebrate it. It’s good, have fun, go with the natural flow of life. (But, spending valuable resource such as time and money to feel good about yourself and to receive what life is giving you is not always a wise step. In fact, it would be self-centered rather than altruistic or honest.)

Top Quora Writer

The title of Top Writer 2016 is cool but it is practically useless to me and my fellow citizens of this world. What I need to focus on is solving problems that only I can solve. Each of us has unique talents and life-experiences that is best suited for tackling some unique problem (personal or larger). We should celebrate our small achievements but should not lose track of our original vision.

I am not coming to California. I would rather answer few more questions on Quora in the meanwhile. And maybe write a new blog here on The Naked Soul Blog.

If you are on Quora, you can follow me here. If you have not heard of Quora, it’s basically an online question and answer website with a beautiful, user-friendly interface. Quora aggregates questions and answers on various topics. It’s a fun place to learn something new and interesting and to ask your questions.

Let me know what you think when it comes to finding and following one’s purpose and mission in life? What is yours? Comment below.

How To Write A Book Every Year: The Secrets to Writing A Million Words

Power of Words

There are many writers who are renowned for the sheer volume of words that they have written in the course of their literary career.

Isaac Asimov, the science fiction writer, produced over 400 volumes of work and was commended for his work with prestigious awards. What did it take for him to write so much during his lifetime? Writer’s Digest magazine asked him for the secret to his prolific writing and he said, “I guess I’m prolific because I have a simple and straightforward style.”

One author, Sean Platt, author of an article, “How to Write an Article in Less than 20 Minutes” published eleven books in the course of nine months. That is basically writing, editing and publishing over one new book each month for almost a year.

How was he able to produce such a large body of work in less than a year? Platt states: “Get a timer and set it for five minutes. Think of a topic and write three prompts, these can be as short as a word or as long as a question. Start writing. Don’t stop until the timer goes off. Now read over what you wrote. Your writing is better than you thought it would be, right?

This won’t seem easy until it finally is but it will happen almost immediately. Again, don’t concern yourself with quality. You can always go back and edit though you won’t need to clean up nearly as much as you think.”  

 

Secrets to Writing A Million Words

To become such a productive writer, it is important that you take the time to learn skills that will improve your writing. You can read books and blogs about writing and attend writing classes. You will then be able to apply what you’ve learned to your writing.

A key component of good writing though is remembering to edit. Georges Simenon, the author of 500 books, described his approach to the craft of writing when he said, “I have always tried to write in a simple way using down-to-earth and not abstract words.”  

A strong and moving purpose: Paul writing his epistles.

The Purpose

You also have to understand your purpose for writing. Is it a love of storytelling that motivates you? Is it the way you wish to earn a living? Is your mission to establish a literary reputation and fame and fortune?

Alexandre Dumas, the author of 277 books, wrote: “Infatuated, half through conceit, half through love of my art, I achieve the impossible working as no one else ever works.”

A highly motivated writer will write every day. John Creasey, the author of 564 books, had a set word count for each day that he writes, and stated, “How many words a day do I write? Between six and seven thousand. And how many hours does that take? Three on a good day, as high as thirteen on a bad one.”

How To Write A Book Every Year

The Daily Word Count

It is indeed possible to become as prolific a writer as the aforementioned writers mentioned in this article. Setting a daily word count will help you to potentially produce a similar output as these authors.

For example, if your goal is to produce 100 books at 75,000 words per books over the span of 30 years, you would have to write 1,000 words a day for five days a week and for 50 weeks in a year. Seems doable, if you have the discipline.

Or, you can start humbly with smaller but a manageable goal. In other words, mathematically speaking:

Monday – Friday: Write 300 words each day

Saturday, Sunday: Write 750 words each day

Weekly total: 3000 words

Yearly total: 156,000 words = That’s roughly 1-2 books each year (after editing)

 

 

The Habit Of Reading

What makes a writer even more successful is setting aside time to read. On a personal note, I have been influenced by the books that I’ve read and my stories reflect those inspirations.

Henri Junttila, a freelance writer, had another example of this when he said, “For example, I help change makers build a thriving online business so when I’m reading sales copy and it moves me to buy, I backtrack. I go inside and look at what it was that moved me. Then I think about how I can use that in my writing and business.”

Another key to success is being confident in your ability to make an impact with your writing. Rachel Toor, an associate professor of creative writing at Eastern Washington University, stated, “Perhaps it’s confidence, perhaps it’s Quixote-like delusion, but to be a prolific writer you have to believe that what you’re doing matters. If you second guess at every step, you’ll soon be going backward.”

A writer I know likes to say that over the years he has “trained” his family not to expect him to show up for certain things because they know his work comes first. You have to be willing to risk seeming narcissistic and arrogant even if you don’t like to think of yourself that way. The work takes priority.

 

The Next Step Is Yours To Take

I hope that the advice contributed by the numerous authors cited within this article will perhaps allow you to produce plenty of creative strings-of-words in your lifetime. It may be challenging at times to find the right words but remember that every great writer struggles with “writer’s block.”

I know I certainly do and what helps is thinking about the subject of your piece as you go about your day and then coming up with the ideas that will shape the direction of your writing.

You have to believe in yourself as a writer and know that with practice you can develop the habits of authors who have published a large body of work. What I’ve learned through my studies of the practices of these prolific authors is that it may indeed be possible to write a billion words in a lifetime or even less time particularly if you truly love to write.

 

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If you would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment and I would love to read it. If you have a writing ritual, please tell me more about your practice. I am always on the lookout for awesome life-and-productivity hacks.

Amazon Bestselling Poetry Book – Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems

Hello, beautiful souls,

I wanted to take a moment to thank you and appreciate you for all the light that you shine in this world.

My first book “Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems” has become the bestselling book in the Love Poems category. It’s also available on Kindle. Please download your copy on any device (with Kindle app).

Here is the link: The Erotic Love Poems: Salil Jha: 9780692265291: Amazon.com: Books

If you were thinking of gifting the book to your friends and loved one, today is your day!

I love you!

 

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Sign up now and stay in touch!

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A Writer’s Daily Routine | A Day In the Life of a Writer





Writing a book can be a long, hard grind. On the other hand, writing can be fun.

Writers love to write. Writing is a true joy when it is done for the sake of writing alone. Writing is both art and meditation. For me, writing is akin to a spiritual practice. Writing gets me into the flow state. Writing keeps me in the flow. Writing is my Zen.

I write whenever I get chance. I wake up and I want to write about the dreams that I had.

When I am driving, I want to write about the flow of life. Of-course I don’t write while driving but my mind is often flooded with ideas, thoughts and new observations on human life.

When at work, I want to write about people and their lives. I want to write stories of hope and inspiration. I am writing in my mind all the time.

My mind chatters non-stop like a drunk poet until I let it loose and write something.

My heart which is like a sponge soaks in other people’s emotions, good or bad. I feel for them. Sometimes, I feel I can hear their thoughts. I want to become their unspoken voice.

I want to sing the songs of human journey. Songs of this earth, our home, this life, of love and of loss.

I write. This is why I write.

A Day In My Life

This is how I write.

6:00 am: Get up. Kiss my love. I boil water to make green tea, brush and get fresh.

6:30 am: I sit on my writing desk and begin writing.

7:30 am: Finish the morning writing session. Dress for work and prepare breakfast.

8:00 am: Leave home. Drop my love to work. Continue driving to my office.

8:30 am: I listen to podcasts while driving. I generally listen to The James Altucher Show, The Tim Ferriss Show, The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes , The Art & Business of Writing with Chris Jones and The Smart Passive Income with Pat Fylnn.

9:25 am: Make myself a coffee. Read my emails. Re-read my to-do list from last night.

9:45 am: Scan through the day’s meetings. Set up new calls or meetings based on emails from past 10-12 hours.

10:00 am: Work. No emails, no internet unless required.

12:00 noon: Take a break. Go for 10 min walk.

12: 10 pm: Eat lunch.

12:30 pm: Reply to all mentions on Twitter. Acknowledge and reply to blog comments and comments on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, etc.

12:55 pm: Reply to emails.

1:15 pm: Do a 15 minutes status call with my team*. Resolve road blocks, if any. Discuss and review results and growth.

*As a writer and authorpreneur, it is critical to have a team (atleast 1 personal assistant/researcher). My company provides Virtual Personal Assistants (VPAs) to artists and creative people: writers, musicians, anyone for $199 (part-time) and $399 (full time). If you would like to have a VPA, contact me.

1:30 pm: Go for second walk. Listen to some songs.

1:40 pm: Make myself second coffee. Write a new blog post or edit one from my saved drafts. If it is M, W or F, publish a new post.

3:00 pm: Finish rest of the work for the day. (I work as a senior business consultant for healthcare companies).

5:00 pm: Start for home. Listen to Audio books. Make phone calls to my friends and business associates.

6:00 pm: Get home, relax, get fresh.

6:10 pm: Cook and/or eat dinner. Run the dishwasher. Pack lunch for next day, if there are leftovers. We do try our best to cook extra so that we can eat our own food for lunch. Saves lunch money, time and calories.

7:00 pm: Leave for YMCA/gym. Car talk (me and my girlfriend)

7:20 pm: Run 1 mile. Do 20 minutes of elliptical. Lift weights or do body weight exercises. (Listen to music or half-finished podcasts from the day).

8:10 pm: Cool down. Do 10 minutes of Sauna and/or Steam.

8:25 pm: Head back to home. If groceries needs to be done, do that.

8:45 pm: Take shower.

9:00 pm: Make to-do list for the next day.

9:15 pm: Read for pleasure. Occasionally, watch a good movie or documentaries.

10:00 pm: Poetry writing and/or editing my manuscript.

10:30 pm: Bed time.

 

Writing Habits

Morning writing
I sit on my writing desk by 6:30 am. Then I write a few keywords from my dreams if they are still lingering in my mind. Sometimes, I will just draw an image. This is mainly for the purposes of building list for future writing materials.

Then, depending on my mood, schedule and timeline, I write new chapters of my book or edit the last one. If I have an interesting Quora question in my queue, I write answer to it.

Day writing
Depending on my day and work load, during the day I will usually write for the Naked Soul blog.

Night writing
At night, I will sit down and write poetry. I will post these pieces on my social media accounts and would tweet on Twitter.

Waiting in line
If I am waiting in line (irrespective of place or reason), I am writing on Quora.

I use my Quora answers as seed materials for my future blog posts. Vice versa, I use my blog posts as materials to answer questions on Quora.

Weekend writing
On weekends, I allocate few extra hours of writing. I would spend the time to mainly write new blog posts.

My goal is to write enough so that next time I can pick up my draft post during week days and edit it and be able to publish it during lunch hours when at work.

Solitude writing
When I am home alone for few days or a week at times, I use this sacred time to mainly write new poetry.
I also use the solitude time to do a lot of re-vision and re-writing.

Timed writing
I practice timed writing where my typical goal is to write 500 words or more in 25-30 minutes. Next time, during one of my editing sessions, when I pick up a piece from my timed writing session, I would take out a lot of fluff and leave just the cream.

Then, I would either turn it into a poetry or use it as a opening sentence for a paragraph or a new chapter or may be a new book idea altogether.

iPhone writing
The notes app on my iPhone has over 100 notes as of right now. And this is a new phone.

I am typing small notes, small pieces, small poems, small quotes, small observations all the time on my iPhone.

 

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What do you think? Do you want to be a writer or a poet? Or are you already in the grind of life and creative process? Tell me more and share with us your thoughts. The first 10 commenters are always my favorite and I like to personally communicate with them.

Stop Blogging and Start Writing | A Case Against Blogging

The first ever blog post I wrote took over three weeks to put together before I somehow found the courage to hit ‘publishâ€. Iâ€m not kidding, for several weeks, painstakingly Iâ€d write most nights (and during the day too if time permitted) optimistically hoping that, that particular day (or evening) would be the one when Iâ€d feel courageous and confident enough to cease editing or writing and finally unleash my ‘naked†self out into the blogosphere. This was back in 2007.

I have been blogging since my college days. I have blogged on Tumbler, WordrPess and Blogger.com. I have written blogs and have abandoned them completely. Not until recently, I finally took blogging a step further and bought a domain name and started to blog one more time, but this time with a professional touch to it.

The Lessons (2007 – 2014)

I learned three simple and valuable lessons at the end of of my blogging apprenticeship period.

1. Writing. The first being that writing is just the half of it. Even after youâ€ve written what you believe to be a half-decent blog post, patting yourself on the back is not an option just because youâ€ve finished writing it. The hard work is just beginning – with plenty of other stuff needing attention. Like working on how your blog looks for starters and (more importantly) promoting it – getting people to actually read your blog also requires serious perseverance and commitment.

In short, the art of completing just one blog (in my case anyway) actually takes twice as much time and effort as you think it will. I realized that if this was going to be a regular venture for me, it would need careful planning and an immense amount of on-going hard work and conviction.

2. Fresh Unique Content. Interesting blog topics and ideas would regularly have to be thought through and planned in advance, with time set aside for researching, and writing the (hopefully) engaging copy. For each blog, Iâ€d also need to source rights-free images, add all the clickable links and find someone to proof read my copy. Blogging needs much time and attention, seemingly for little or no financial return. It is mostly a labor of love.

3. The Economics. It cost me money to have a website (where I post my blogs). It has cost me money to build my website and pay for maintenance and domain name renewal. Itâ€s hard enough for writers to make a decent living from writing anyway, so instead of blogging, given the fact that itâ€s the love of writing that brought me to creating my first blog post in the first place, maybe my efforts nowadays would be better concentrated on trying to make money through just writing instead of blogging.

 

Main Point
In this post Iâ€ll be mulling over the arguments for and against my continued involvement in the blogging world. After all, people are quitting blogging all the time these days; usually informing their readers why theyâ€ve decided to call time on their blog, through one final post. Once daily blogger from The Dish, Andrew Sullivan, did just that, quitting earlier this year – deciding he wanted to return to the ‘real world†(after blogging for fifteen years). I totally empathize. You can read his final note to his readers.

Other bloggers decide to quit for different but still understandable reasons. Writer, Sara Hepola blogged for five years before informing in her last blog: “Blogging wasn’t helping me write; it was keeping me from it”. Her post This Is My Last Entry explains a little more.

Both these authors quit for valid reasons but neither encouraged others to do the same. Below, writer L.L Barkat pitches a strong argument against experienced writers blogging, in this post that she guest-authored for Jane Friedmanâ€s blog a couple of years ago.

 

Other Arguments against Blogging
One fundamentally important argument against continued blogging is that the role of the blogger on the social media spectrum has changed hugely over the last decade.

Back in the day, sharing the latest installment of your life on a weekly or even a daily basis, to an ever increasing amount of subscribers (if you were lucky) would (hopefully) bring comments, shares, likes etc. Giving the blog author new-found confidence; perhaps kudos too, and, quite possibly, an inflated ego as well.

 

True Creativity? Honest Voice?

If your readers liked what you were writing, youâ€d put concerted effort into not letting them down, which meant working to please them, not yourself. At that time, blogging (although still hard work) became, arguably, more of a rewarding pastime than it is nowadays.

It gave published and unpublished writers with something to say an equal platform to get their voices heard. Some lucky posters even became well-known and popular in certain fields or amongst certain groups. Young or old; pro, or non-pro, company based, media or non-media outlets, anyone and everyone could (and often did) use their voice to spread their message across the blogosphere (actually even writing this word now does feel kind of dated).

Twitter

These days, itâ€s not that people arenâ€t still blogging – thatâ€s simply not the case. Blogging is still popular but not across as many different groups as it once was. Itâ€s become a lesser counterpart to the more widely used, instantaneous, sometimes quirky social media and micro-blogging tools available today.

However, writers will continue to blog because writers love to write, but with so many new (ish) kids appearing on the social media scene during the last decade: Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (to name a handful) itâ€s blogging by those under thirty that may have had its day now!

This ties in with another extremely important thing I havenâ€t mentioned but probably should have earlier, mobile technology.

 

Mobile Technology

Sharing your life with followers through your blog on a regular basis, using, letâ€s say a smart phone would be a more drawn out and a tiresome business these days; but status updates, picture uploads or sharing whatâ€s on your mind to your group of followers in less than 140 characters, well, thatâ€s easily done through the technology we carry in the palm of our hands today.

Smart phone use for accessing social media is on the increase and the newer methods of social media communication reflect that. Blogging doesnâ€t. Mobile technology advances have changed the blogging spectrum but this definitely doesnâ€t mean that blog writing is over.

avoid writer’s block

Blogging can be anti-Writing

One last point that I want to make is blogging can become a chronic habit to avoid real writing. Writing for book or publication requires decisiveness, discipline, and mental focus. You can be relaxed with your conversational style writing when you write a blog post but if you working on a book project, your words and sentence structure matters.

Our human body is optimized to avoid stress and work and therefore your mind will do anything to avoid the real work – writing. If you feel that you are spending 80% of your writing time on writing blogs and 20% on your book, probably you should take a break from blogging and practice writing in the journal until you can reverse the ratio. Remember, blogging is to supplement your crystallized thoughts that you put into a book or other print/digital publication, not to replace it. Don’t let your blog become a form of writer’s block.

 

Arguments for Blogging

When writer, Dan Blank also guest authored Jane Friedmanâ€s blog a couple of years ago, he delivered some compelling reasons to continue blogging, and gave his take in this post on when itâ€s the right time to kill off a blog and move on.

A lot of what Dan says makes sense, despite the growth of new social media mediums and mobile technology ensuring that blogging takes a back seat in terms of production, follower growth, shares, likes etc. there are still some great advantages to be had by creating and regularly updating yours (whether youâ€re over thirty or not!)

Blogging is adding to the credibility

Employment

Most potential employees that Iâ€ve come across love it when candidates provide a link to their own blog or website, especially if its subject matter is linked to their company in some way. An example, if you blog about health and well-being and youâ€re attending an interview at a sports club, it will probably serve you in good stead, so long as it is written well.

Actually even if what youâ€re blogging about has nothing to do with the position youâ€re applying for, itâ€s still a quick and easy way to showcase your writing talent. For example, if youâ€re applying for a job as an Online Content Producer but you blog about, letâ€s say, Bee Keeping as long as your blog is well-written, free from grammatical errors and interesting, it will show that youâ€re already familiar with producing online content, putting you one step ahead of candidates who donâ€t blog or have a website. You canâ€t really say that about having an Instagram or Twitter account.

A blog is out there on the web, itâ€s easily accessible and will be for a long time to come. Also, if you notice youâ€ve made any grammatical errors etc. once your blog has gone live, you can always go back, make corrections and re-publish, you donâ€t have that kind of investment with Twitter or Facebook publishing and feeds.

 

More reasons to continue blogging

Letâ€s say, youâ€ve always wanted to write a book, but the prospect of writing one has always been a bit daunting (the amount of time, focus, and research it requires has never felt achievable) depending on what youâ€ve been blogging about. You may well have the makings of a best-selling e-book hidden within all those blog entries youâ€ve been posting over the last few years.

For example, if, over the last ten years youâ€ve been blogging weekly about the latest happenings in the Hip-Hop world, collating what youâ€ve written could well be turned into an ebook entitled The Changing Face of Hip-Hop since 2005.

Similarly, if youâ€ve been writing about gluten free healthy eating, or your secret life as a dominatrix, why not go over your posts to see if you have enough material to create an ebook or impress a publisher.

Blogging is not dead

Blogging doesnâ€t always have to lead to followers, comments, etc. some writers care little about these things because theyâ€re truly writing for themselves. Letâ€s say, youâ€re going through a hard time health wise, and you need to learn more about certain conditions, if someone else has had the same experience or diagnosis as you and has shared what theyâ€re going through on a blog, that blogger has fulfilled their need to write and created something valuable to you and future readers, no doubt paying little regard to the amount of likes and shares etc.

 

Business Blogs

Blogging can be good for business, done properly it can direct business to your company website e.g. if a savvy DIY store owner posts several ‘how to†blogs, such as – how to unblock a drain, how to unblock a pipe, etc. Their blog may help users fix stuff themselves without the need of an expensive professional if you own a plumbing shop or DIY store, sharing one or two tips about common problems, could lead people to your site and increase sales and materials. Making it a win, win situation for both parties in an instance like this.

 

Conclusion

I can understand why people need to stop blogging if itâ€s not working for them anymore (as in the case of Andrew Sullivan and Sara Hepola) if stopping feels like the right thing to do, then itâ€s the right thing to do!

But for me, continuing blogging feels exactly like the right thing to do, contrary to some of the arguments Iâ€ve included, I plan on blogging more. Why? Because I blog for pure pleasure, I am also a book writer and when I donâ€t feel like working on my manuscript or writing something new, I still want to sit down and write something and blogging helps me in reaching my daily 1000-2000 word count. Itâ€s also an easy way to answer questions that I get on social media (from my readers) or to share with others, things that I learned the hard way. By blogging I am revising my own lessons and crystallizing it into specific topics.

When I write a blog it still feels like itâ€s about my needs rather than other peoples, and I know other bloggers out there who feel that too. People will always need to share their stories and experiences, not just for egotistical reasons either, whether theyâ€re professional writers or not.

Blogging works for me because Iâ€m a fairly new author, therefore my website is not ranked high in Google. So blogging good content is my way to earn that right to show up on Google’s first page of search results for certain keywords. Iâ€m also lucky that I have a team of friends who help me generate ideas for my blog posts and a Virtual Assistant who handles my social media and saves me some time.

In spite of all my arguments for my continuing to blog, I must also add that once I get busier with my book writing, the blogging will slow down. If it ever comes down to choosing between book writing vs blog writing, I will pick book writing over blog writing any day, hands down to be honest. Iâ€m not expecting that to happen any time soon and Iâ€m also not sure that I could ever bring myself to write that final ‘goodbye and thank you†blog and have the courage to press ‘publishâ€.

 

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Did you know about the free VIP pass offer to the Naked Soul Club? Subscribe your email address now and be part of this tight-knit community of lovers, readers, writers, adventures and other people just like yourself. I send great contents directly into your mailbox. Once a week. Sign up now and stay in the touch!

What do you think about blogging? If you think there are more compelling reasons for or against blogging that I have not mentioned here, please feel free to comment. The first 10 commenters are always my favorite and I like to personally communicate with them via email (sort of like buddies). So share your thoughts. Any other questions please feel free to share with the community.

The Pain of Perfectionism | Writer Anxieties, OCD and Coping Mechanism

This perfectionism is driving me crazy

It’s getting late, you’ve been working on your article for days now, thankfully, after several “final” drafts and edits, as well as the umpteenth reread, you’re now feeling confident enough to submit your work to your client or ready to hit the publish button.

Moments after you’ve hit “send”, you let out a heavy sigh; you are relieved, elated; and it feels good because the deadline has been met or the project is now complete.
Adrenalin is kicking in, you’re actually even feeling slightly emotional, but happy.

This should be where the chapter ends; the beginning of your mind focusing on something else, or at least, as it’s late, you should be turning in for the night. But when you do, you can’t sleep.

Instead of enjoying some satisfying well-earned slumber time, your mind is slowly succumbing to niggling self-doubt. You let out another sigh, this time it’s one of dread. What if the client hates what I have written? Oh, why did I press “publish” tonight when I could have revised it one more time? I should’ve waited until the morning before submitting.

The Pain of Perfectionism

And so it goes on and on until you finally manage to get to sleep, just as the birds are beginning their chorus. And when your alarm goes off a little while later, the article (or the blog post) is the first thing on your mind. At this point you want to scream out loud and groan, you do both, annoyed and angry at yourself for caring so much.
Sound familiar to you?

Have you ever felt: I am so unhappy with what I sent yesterday, so today I am going to spend time correcting all the things I’ve been feeling unhappy with. In whatever free time you have, you focus on editing until it’s time to take a break, but then the next time you pick up you have lost your flow.

So you re-read the entire thing again before once more, you painstakingly begin deleting words, adding sentences, removing paragraphs and adding other smaller details and arguments to polish your work, word by word, paragraph by paragraph. One page at a time.

Zen and The Art of Writing

Writing well is the formation of thoughts in coherent topics and subtopics. Think of your grand idea as a big house. And your subplots as various rooms in the house. You start with the boundary or the overall description of the house but then you move inside.

You talk about the lawn and the backyard and the fences. Inside each room, you describe what is present there. You do these things until your hands give up due to being tired.

Next time you pick up, you remember the grand plot and move on to the next room and talk about it. You then go on to the kitchen and to the bathroom. But once finished, usually depending on:

1) the completion of the main story,

2) word count goal,

3) time, you edit it

You read your edited work and again find several holes. You find tangential stories which are not really driving the main plot or main argument that you are making. You remove them.

Similarly, you find holes where you are missing information so you find phrases that act like glue, joining the two chains of thoughts or paragraphs into one story. As you find these holes, you re-write and complete your story. You edit it again. Sometimes re-inserting a lot of what you have previously deleted!

You keep working on it until you have no time, energy or emotional interest left in the project. This is when your work is complete. It is not perfect yet, and you realize it will never be.

Creative by nature is anti-perfection. “What is imperfect is complete,” says Zen wisdom. Finally, you re-send the piece, hoping that your client hasn’t been anywhere near the article you have sent previously.

Work-Related Anxieties

I am devoting this blog to this topic because while I am sure many of us feel it, I haven’t seen too much written about it. Anxiety-like this is perfectly natural. It is a working style of the creatives, I believe.

First, you have to let your idea come out. You watch it from a little distance, then the draft is written and corrected. We don’t polish when we create, nor do we know how to complete the full story. Only after 80 percent of it is laid out, do we go on to finish the remainder.

I am not as crazy as those “other” writers

 

My first book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems was written and published this way. I sent a manuscript with 150 poems and finally selected 95 for publishing. Then I later added 13 more poems (during various rounds of editing) and made changes to the Introduction and book’s back matter.

I sent the book for editing a third time (with my second editor). That’s how the book came out nicely. But ask me today, I can tell you, if the book still exists as a manuscript, I would replace certain words and leave out a certain poem and I would add another one and then rewrite some lines, and so on and so forth.

A book really never ends. There is always something more that you can do to make it perfect, a masterpiece.

 

“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.” – Erica Jong

Courage to Write

The “courage” in the above quote is highly important. I think us writers are actually too hard on ourselves at times, but the very nature of the beast dictates that we will be judged.

Writing invites judgment; judgment from others and judgment from ourselves, but we are probably our own harshest critics when we should really be kinder to ourselves.

I believe that writing takes commitment, skill, patience and most of all, courage. We need to remember this whenever any hint of self-loathing or the confidence-wrecking gremlin kicks in.

“A lot of writers believe that the trauma and the angst that you feel is an essential part of the craft.” – Amy Tan

If it leaves a writer in a negative state then I don’t know if I would agree with Amy Tan‘s “essential” part, but normal yes! Is it essential? I am not so sure. It depends (writer to writer).

However, in his book The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear, writer, Ralph Keyes documents many of the anxieties that writers feel and acknowledges that fear and anxiety are both normal. But he, like Amy Tan, also believes that anxiety is an important and essential part of the writing process.

His book includes anecdotes and strategies from other writers (naked writing anyone?) and offers useful suggestions for his readers such as scheduling your writing time into your most productive time of day.

I know that this isn’t always possible, but not writing during your least productive time of day (in my case, late at night), is, and in my opinion, should be avoided at all costs.

Fear is the Opposite of Courage

Other famous writers have spoken about their coping strategies too. In an interview writer Jonathan Franzen confesses that, in the past, he has feared fame and reproach continually. And the way he has taken refuge from himself and transcended his fear?

Well, through writing and trying to create good sentences, which he feels loyal enough to continue with. So, basically, he overcomes his writing anxieties, with, more writing! As he is a bestselling author, this strategy has obviously been working well for him.

It doesn’t seem to matter how little or well known a writer you are, similar demons seem to manifest in so many of us. Author, Cynthia Ozick has also confessed her fears in this quote from brainyquote.com:

“I am afraid that the act of writing is so scary and anxiety filled that I never laugh at all. In fact, when people tell me that such and such a scene or story is comical, I tend to gape. I did not intend comedy ever, as far as I know. It’s probably all a mistake. I am essentially a lugubrious writer.”

She explains how she overcomes her fears stating, “I have to talk myself into bravery”. Cynthia acknowledges that she does fear-setting before she writes, with every sentence and sometimes with every syllable.

In Dan Halpern’s publication: Who’s Writing This?: Fifty-five Writers on Humor, Courage, Self-Loathing, and the Creative Process, an outspoken critic, Susan Sontag, outlined her discomforts and admitted: “the writer is me: not my double” making me both Frankenstein and the monster.

I totally get that. For me, writing is my soul mate but can be my nemesis too, it’s love and hate, success and failure, but I’ve come to understand that the good parts always weigh heavier than the bad.

The more I read up on writer anxieties, the more I come to understand that all writers feel this way at times. Knowing that even extremely well-known writers have felt (and still may feel) the same feelings as we do, can bring some comfort to an anxious author.

Actually, it’s not even just authors I should be addressing here as what I am talking about isn’t only something that affects authors or other creative types (although we might be the ones to beat ourselves up a bit more about our work, etc.)

Even composing something as simple as an email or text message to a person we are trying to impress can encourage negative/self-deprecating feelings no doubt to a lesser degree, but maybe enough to bring on those gremlins.

Work without anxiety or be ready to be punished

What Can Writers Do

What can writers do about their writing anxieties? I’d be lying if I said a “one size fits all” cure was in existence to alleviate every writer’s anxieties. Using a combination of strategies can go a long way when it comes to steering us poor creatives into a better place.

Know Yourself as a Writer

Be aware of the warning signs and distress triggers before your anxieties build up and take you to an impossible place. e.g. If you know you get anxious near deadline time worrying about whether you’ll make the deadline at all, set yourself a deadline one day before the piece is actually due.

Moreover, get a friend to look at your work with fresh eyes one day before you submit it as well, to ensure that it’s grammatically correct, etc. when it’s finally time to hit the “submit” you’ll hopefully feel less stressed.

Tiredness is not your Friend

I mentioned earlier that writing during your least productive time should be avoided. Rise early to complete a piece if the morning is when you do your best work.

If you know that the last time you submitted your work to client during the evening, you lay awake worrying about it, submit during the day instead, that way if you feel low about it afterward, re-writing or re-reading in the day is more productive than feeling overwhelmed at night when the gremlins can take over.

Be Rational

If you don’t hear from a client, see your work on their website or in their publication when you were expecting it to go in, it does not necessarily mean they hate it.

The client may be busy dealing with office catastrophes or scheduling your work to fit into a different magazine issue etc. Or she/he could be at lunch or on vacation. All manner of things could be occurring, so hold fire on beating yourself up. I know, it’s a cliche, but sometimes, no news really is good news!

Step Away from your PC

We all know that things can get more than frustrating when you’ve been working on something for a long time. Fresh air is your friend, go get some then surprise yourself on your return the Frantzen way, by creating some kick-ass sentences to ignite your confidence and lessen the frustration.

Love and Laugh

Ok, forgive me for rounding this off by getting a little sentimental, but writing can be like love in some ways. The reason why we become consumed by love is because we have an overwhelming desire for someone. We let writing anxiety consume us because we care so much about doing a good job once we’ve had the guts to expose ourselves within the writing arena.

And like the love arena, you feel so bad about your work when you don’t know where you are with the client, the same way as being unsure of how things stand with a loved one exposes vulnerabilities. But being elated in either arena can make everything okay (which is why we love and which is why writers write; love is a worthy risk despite its torture.)

Being a writer is a worthy risk despite its torture too. It takes courage to love and courage to write, be proud of yourself for caring so much, despite the pain.

Take it easy, boy

On a final note, try not to take yourself too seriously, laugh lots and enjoy your craft. Whenever you or any of your writer friends need something to ignite a smile, read this edition of the Pessimist about writing:

It will most likely turn every single coping mechanism I’ve written about on its head, but if it’s humorous anxiety obliteration you’re after don’t hesitate and click on the link.

If you’d like to share any coping strategies that I haven’t mentioned here, be sure to get in touch.

 

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Do you suffer from trying to be perfect? If you have relatable thoughts or experiences of having or dealing with the pain of perfectionism, please share. The first 10 commenters are always my favorite and I like to personally communicate with them via email. So share your thoughts. Any other questions please feel free to share with the community.

How To Write Faster? Writing A Million Words In A Year

We all know about prolific writers such as James Patterson and Stephen King that are somehow able to produce anywhere between two to five books or more in a single year.

Are there tricks and techniques that they employ to produce books at such a high rate? This article will enable you to learn how to become like these authors and possibly even write a million words in a year.

Before we begin, let’s do some simple arithmetic:

If your goal is to write a million words each year, all you have to do is write 1000000/365= 2740 words each day.

Considering, you’ll only be able to write five days per week (on average), this brings you at 2740 words per day for (52 weeks x 5 days) = 260 days of writing. Now (260 days x 2740 words per day) =  712400 words.

Now, let’s say, 30% of what your write is omitted (not, re-written, but completely omitted during the revision and editing). This will bring your total word count to (70% of 712400 words) ~ 500,000 (half-million) words.

Writing Million Words

Now, consider for a moment, what can you produce with half million words each year? Let’s do the maths. Say, an average novel is 100,000 words and a book of 10 short stories (each short story approximately 10,000 words long) is 100,000 words. So just with 300,000 words you have published two novels and a collection of short stories. And you will still have 200,000 words left.

Wow, congratulations, at this pace, you will be able to write a dozen of novels and short stories collections and perhaps poetry collection and blog posts in just few years. Isn’t that amazing!

How To Write Faster

So what is my point here?  And more importantly, why not every writer not writing more? The reason is it is not simple to write 2740 words each day, five days per week for 52 weeks straight. You may ask, why so?

Because people cannot write fast enough. It’s not that writer’s run out of ideas but that their thoughts often time run much faster than what their hand can type or write.

So what can you do? Read on and comment at the end. If you are reading this, I challenge you to join me in 1 million words a year mission. If you can do it, it will benefit you more than me. Are you with me?

A blogger, Karen Woodward, summarized the techniques used by one author, Chuck Wendig, who was committed to writing 3000 words a day in a blog post. Read it here on her blog.

In summary, Chuck tips included:

1. Doing your writing in the morning. He wrote, “Writing in the morning has more potential than writing in the evening and hereâ€s why: writing at the end of the day means the candle is burning down. The timer is ticking. Youâ€re watching the horizon eat the sun and with it, the remaining hours before sweet, sweet slumber. Write at the end of the day, youâ€re racing the clock. Write at the fore of the day, you own the clock.”

2. Waking up an hour earlier. Woodward explained that waking up earlier results in greater productivity. You should also make sure to attain at a minimum seven hours of sleep a night.

3. Drinking coffee in moderation.

4. Using your time to write. Wendig stated, “If you’re going to write a lot, you’re going to need to feint and duck, stick and move, and reach in to grab fistfuls of time-flesh and use it for your own sinister purposes: in this case, writing. Got a lunch break? Write. Sitting at a long stop light? Take a few quick voice notes on your phone.”

5. Maintaining a schedule with the amount of work you’ll need to complete each day to meet your deadlines.

6. Outlining the content of your manuscript. Wendig wrote, “If you start the day with a mission statement already in play thanks to an outline, you can jump in, eschew any planning the day might require, and just start writing. The goal is to give as much of your time to actually telling the story as you can.”

7. Asking your loved ones for the time you need to write.

8. Finishing your first draft without editing as you go.

9. Do not doubt your ability to produce a great story.

Writing A Million Words

Write my friends, write
Tell your stories
Write, then write some more

The origin of the challenge to write a million words in a year is credited to Raymond Chandler (1888 – 1959) who had the idea that to make a living; pulp writers had to produce a million words a year. A key component of writing this quantity of words is keep track of your daily word count.

One blogger, Alasdair Stuart, wrote though that this method only made him more anxious and finally succumbed to the fact that he could not produce a million words in a year. He wisely stated:

“What’s important is the willingness to try something new that will push you and shape you and make you stronger coming out the other side.”

However, setting word counts did work for one writer, Anthony Trollope, whose goal was to write 250 words every fifteen minutes. His method of writing was detailed by the writer, William F. Buckley, in an interview with the Paris Review, when he stated,

“He had a note pad that had been indexed to indicate intervals of 250 words. He would force himself to write 250 words per 15 minutes. Now, if at the end of 15 minutes he hadn’t reached one of those little marks on his page, he would write faster.”

In an article published on Slate.com by Michael Agger, strategies for writing faster were explored.

He wrote, “Since writing is such a cognitively intense task, the key to becoming faster is to develop strategies to make writing literally less mind-blowing. It’s obviously a huge help to write about a subject you know well. In that case, the writer doesn’t have to keep all of the facts in her working memory freeing up more attention for planning and composing.”

Another strategy for increasing your volume of writing is to write in longhand. An author, Karen Dionne, wrote an article for Huffington Post, describing why this method is so successful.

She wrote:

When an author working on a computer makes a typo, as I just did by typing “Whwn” instead of “When” at the beginning of this sentence, they stop and fix it. Why shouldn’t they? The mistake will have to be corrected at some point, the author has noted the error in the here and now, and it only takes a second to correct it.

When I write in longhand, I don’t write “whwn” when I mean to write “when”. Occasionally, I cross out a word or a sentence, but there are no distracting typos, no time consuming regressions.

Writing Speed Tips

Five tips for improving writing speed were examined in a blog post on the website of Hootsuite, a social media management application, with these strategies:

1. Skip the Introduction – write your piece without the constraints of a planned introduction or lead.

2. Don’t Get Caught Up in the Wording – you have to maintain a rhythm while writing and keep the momentum going. Leave placeholders when you have difficulty figuring out what word to use in a particular context.

3. Keep Your Research in the Document – copy any quotes, information, or statistics at the bottom of your document before you start and put a line across the page to distinguish between your writing and the research you’ve compiled.

4. Write What You’ve Got – be concise and make your writing easy to digest for readers.

5. Talk It Out – ask a colleague for their perspective on your topic as they may offer a perspective that may alter the direction of your article.

 

It is now evident that writing faster is a topic that is has been discussed frequently by writers. The tips and tricks discussed in this article can certainly enable you to become a more productive writer.

An important thing to remember though is to never skimp on the quality of your work when you increase the speed at which you write.

 

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Was this post interesting? Are you taking on this challenge? Just for one year to test what can you achieve using this method and mindset?Please feel free to share your comments and thoughts with us.

Questions About Book Publishing: How to Self Publish a Book?

I am writing this blog post in response to several emails that I get each week. These emails usually start like: How do I get published? How to self-publish a book? How to publish my poetry book?

In this blog post, I am going to attempt to make book-publishing simple for all of you aspiring writers.

The Naked Soul Partners

How to Self Publish a Book

I hope most of you already know something about publishing. In case, if you are a beginner in the publishing game, by the end of this blog post, I hope you will graduate as a publishing champ.
On the other hand, even if you have self-published before, this blog post will add some new information to your existing knowledge base.
I am going to share my own self-publishing journey and experience. Like my other blogs, I am going to be as detailed here as much possible (without getting distracted from our topic here).

Many of you might have heard of “less is more” adage before. Therefore, for the sake of clarity, we are also going to leave many of the tangential topics. I will cover them separately in other blog posts based on your comments.

Let’s begin. If you are someone having a question similar to this one, “I have my manuscript ready, now how do I publish my book?”, you are going to be happy.
I have been asked these questions so many times. These are all great questions (and it should not be mistaken as generic or common sense).
Because what the questioner is really asking is “How did you do it? Where to publish? And why? Tell me more about it from an insider’s perspective? How much will it cost me? How does the publishing process work? What are the challenges that you had to face? How much does it really cost? Is book publishing really for me? What are the steps that you had to take?”
How to self-publish / The Naked Soul Partners

Questions About Book Publishing

I self-published my debut poetry book “Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems” under my own Publishing house “Naked Soul Press”. My Print-on-Demand service was CreateSpace (owned by Amazon and now simply Amazon KDP).
I had $2000 budget and a finished second-draft manuscript. This is what I did.

Get ISBN

1. I bought my own ISBN (through CreateSpace, $99). There are many benefits to owning your own ISBN but the primary one is it allows you the freedom to utilize this ISBN with another publisher should you choose to do so.

Create a Publishing House

2. I created a publishing name (I created Naked Soul Press, $0). I have not registered the name yet but will do in the future. Cost: $250 annually.

Hire Best Editors

3) I hired the best editor(s) to do copy & line edit (I teamed up with two good editors on elance, $175 + $130)
4) I did third full-length line editing, $210

Hire the Best Designers

5) I hired the best cover designer (I used CreateSpace service, $599)
6) I hired someone to format (interior) of the print book (I used CreateSpace service, $349)
7) I hired the best artist to create 30 original images for my book, $150
8) Insert images into the book (CreateSpace custom interior additional charges), $380

Rest of the things

8) LCCN Assignment, $25
10) Kindle Conversion, $79
Total production cost: $2196 ($196 over budget).
For my next book, I will be saving my cost on Cover design. I like my cover but I feel $599 is a lot for it.
The other place I can save money is by having fewer images. You can totally save this cost if your book does not contain any pictures or illustrations.
Note: People often confuse CreateSpace or Lulu as publishers but they are just print-on-demand (POD) services. Among the top three: CreateSpace (KDP), Lulu, and LighteningSource, KDP (CreateSpace) is the best.
Understand, KDP has its own issues and is not one size fits all, but relatively speaking, it is the best option available in the market.

Be Confident. You Can Do It.

If you are seeking external validation and confirmation of your ability to publish, I am here to tell you, yes, you can do it. If you are reading this blog, you have it in you. Eventually, you will make it.

Also, your feelings and fears are totally human. Even self-confident people have self-doubts. We all need some motivations at times and especially whenever we enter into unfamiliar, new territory.

How and Where to Publish

Now we are going to cover all the necessary steps and expense associated with each individual step in the book production process.

But, first thing first, you have to decide which route you want to go. You’ve finished your novel, a poetry book, or work of non-fiction now you need to find someone who will publish it. Or perhaps you want to publish it yourself.

You can go the traditional way and you’ll have three options in front of you. Or, you can self-publish. In total, you got four choices.

You Have A Choice

You have two routes and four choices in front of you.

Route 1. Traditional Route

There are three categories of the publisher under the traditional model:

Route 1, Option A: Non-Paid Large Publishers: The term non-paid large publishers refers to those publication houses which do not charge author at all to publish the book. They pay you an advance (usually, a little sum these days).

They are your big name New York publishers such as:

  • Hachette
  • Penguin
  • HarperCollins
  • Random House
  • Simon & Schuster
  • Macmillan

Word of caution: Many book publishing companies around the world maintain a strict “no unsolicited submissions” policy and will only accept submissions via a literary agent.

This shifts the burden of assessing and developing writers out of the publishing company and onto the literary agents. At these companies, unsolicited manuscripts are often thrown out or sometimes returned if the author has provided prepaid postage.

Underage Authors

Young authors, please also note that if you’re under 18, publishers tend not to bother with all the legal hassle. Since you are not of age to sign the contract and need parental consent, this brings further problems, and publishers tend to avoid young authors for that reason.

Established authors are often represented by a literary agent to market their work to publishers and negotiate contracts. Literary agents take a percentage of author earnings (varying between 10% to 15%) to pay for their services.

Once you have decided on a few publishers (the more the better), start researching about them. Some choose to publish for adults only selected genres, but all information should be available on their websites. Some have different guidelines and word limits, or whether it needs to be solicited or not.

Some also require a summary. However, almost all publishers require a hard copy (printed) version of your story. Usually, they don’t tend to return them so keep your original with you. Also, keep in mind their specifications.

 

Route 1, Option B: Non-Paid Tiny Publishers: The term non-paid tiny publishers refer to those hundreds of small publication houses which do not charge author at all to publish the book but they also do not pay you anything because they can’t.

They are too small and they are usually publishing books in a niche. Some examples of these publishers are: Lectio Publishing (a Christian publisher), Little Red Tree Publishing (poetry and fiction), etc.

 

Route 1, Option C: Paid Publishers or Vanity Publishing: The author has to meet with the total expense to get the book published and the author has full right to set up marketing policies. This is also known as vanity publishing. This is the worst of all in this route. You not only pay to publish your own books but you also share the rights of your work.

Plus, like option B above, they are usually tiny and they are business model to make money from authors and not the book buyers.

A Word of caution

Some big publishers such as Penguin also operates Vanity presses. The Penguin sponsored Vanity Press is no better than a true Vanity Press. Also, notice the use (or misuse) of the word “vanity”. Ironic, isn’t it?

 

Route 2. Self-Publishing (Modern day, DIY)

If you want to self-publish (which I think you should) then you’ll have many options to choose from.

The big ones are, CreateSpace (now KDP and owned by Amazon) and Lulu.

Many popular authors have self-published their books from Lulu. I self-published under Naked Soul Press using CreateSpace as my print-on-demand printer.

 

Route 2, Option D. Self-Publishing

Self-publishing is the publication of any book or other media by the author of the work, without the involvement of an established third-party publisher.

A self-published physical book is said to be privately printed. The author is responsible for and in control of the entire process, including, in the case of a book, the design of the cover and interior, formats, price, distribution, marketing, and public relations.

The authors can do it all themselves or outsource all or part of the process to companies that offer these services.

Some writers follow a non-standard route to publication. For example, this may include bloggers who have attracted large readerships producing a book based on their website’s content.

Self-publishing is not limited to physical books. You can self-publish your book only as an ebook. There are a variety of eBook formats and tools that can be used to create them. The most popular formats are epub, .mobi, PDF, HTML, and Amazon’s .azw format.

Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords all offer online tools for creating and converting files from other formats to formats that can be sold on their websites.

Because it is possible to create eBooks with no up-front or per-book costs, eBook publishing is an extremely popular option for self-publishers. Some recent bestsellers, such as Hugh Howey’s Wool series, began as digital-only books.

What will you write? / The Naked Soul Partners

Did you know?

Between the Acts (1941), Virginia Woolf’s final novel was self-published by her Hogarth Press. Ezra Pound self-published and sold A Lume Spento (With Tapers Quenched) (1908) for six pence each.

Eleven-year-old John Ruskin sold a book of poetry he self-published with his father. Other authors who self-published include Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Martin Luther, Marcel Proust, Derek Walcott, and Walt Whitman.

Many contemporary authors have also self-published. James Altucher’s Choose Yourself (2013) sold 44,294 copies in its first month, debuted at #1 on Amazon’s top non-fiction list, and is a Wall Street Journal bestseller.

J. K. Rowling sold the e-book versions of the Harry Potter series directly from her website, Pottermore.

James Redfield originally self-published The Celestine Prophecy, selling 100,000 copies out of the trunk of his Honda before Warner Books agreed to publish it.

As of May 2005, the book had sold over 20 million copies worldwide, with translations into 34 languages. Celestine Films LLC released a film adaptation titled The Celestine Prophecy (Film) in 2006.

E. L. James first self published her Fifty Shades of Grey novels as an eBook and print-on-demand. Later when the book got viral, the publishing rights were acquired by Vintage Books in March 2012.

Conclusion

Research different publishers. You may choose to self publish, but getting published by a big-time publisher is better for getting a larger audience. Most publishers only choose to publish or even read solicited material (that is, manuscripts have gone through an agent.)

Agents usually also choose to read only material that they are acquainted with or the authors they know. Prices range. However, there are quite a few publishers that do publish unsolicited material, such as Penguin or Allen & Unwin.

But, with the recent changes in the publishing landscape, it is easy to predict that the future of publishing is self-publishing. Most of the large bookstore chains are out of the business or operating on loss. A few remaining ones might not be around in the next 5 years.

Furthermore, note that eBook sales are almost 30% of the total book sales. There is enough evidence to support that people’s buying choices are not related to whether a book is self-published or published by New York publishers.

Lastly, at the end of the day, do what is in your control. If you want to pitch your book to an agent and your book is accepted, cool, if that’s what you want. If not, you can always self-publish.

The Path of Self-Publishing

Assuming, you are going to take the path of self-publishing. Let’s start with the types of self-publishing.

Unless a book is to be sold directly from the author to the public, an ISBN number is required to uniquely identify the title. ISBN is a global standard used for all titles worldwide. Most self-publishing companies either provide their own ISBN to a title or can provide direction.

As a self-published author, I recommend retaining ownership of ISBN ($99 to $125) and copyright instead of using a number owned by a vanity press or POD company such as Lulu or CreateSpace.

Print On Demand

Print-On-Demand (POD) publishing refers to the ability to print high-quality books as needed. For self-published books, this is often a more economical option than conducting a print run of hundreds or thousands of books.

Many companies, such as CreateSpace (owned by Amazon.com), Lulu and Lightning Source allow printing single books at per-book costs not much higher than those paid by publishing companies for large print runs.

Most POD companies also offer distribution through Amazon.com and other online and brick-and-mortar retailers, most often as “special order” or “web-only” as retail outlets are usually unwilling to stock physical books that cannot be returned if they do not sell.

As a general rule of thumb, if you self-publish with Lulu or CS, there is close to 0% chance that your book will be kept in a B&N store. (Do not worry, you will be on their online store)

KDP vs Lulu vs Lightning Source

These are bog three of Self-publishing. They are similar businesses. CreateSpace cream paper is yellowish. So white paper is the only option.

With Lightning Source (even though it’s more work) it has the best options. Lulu is the easiest or as easy to work with as much as CS but they charge a little more than CS for per unit cost per book.

Just so as you know, CreateSpace gets their book printed from the lightning source.

One example could be a book for $3.80 with Lulu can be $2.15 with Lightning Source. Whereas with CreateSpace your unit can be $2.91. For the most part, the quality is the same between the three.

Besides these three there are a ton of other POD companies out there which you can find out by google search.

Read a very detailed article on CS vs Lulu vs LSI here.

Publishing Stages

Publishing includes the stages of the development, acquisition, copy editing, graphic design, printing (and its electronic version), and marketing & distribution.

Pre-production Stage

As editing of manuscript progresses, front cover design and initial layout take place and marketing of the book begins. This is the time you get on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, et al. if you are not already there.

For me personally, this was the time I started an Indiegogo campaign, roughly 8 months before my came out. I also started a Facebook page and Instagram page. I leveraged my existing Twitter, Tumblr and Youtube account. I created this blog.

Editorial Stage

The author works with editors (one or several) and is often asked to improve the quality of the work through rewriting or smaller changes.

The editors often edit the work in two rounds. In round one, they correct the grammar and punctuations. In the second round, they look for the overall flow of the text and coherence. I highly recommend doing two rounds of editing with any editor.

From my experience, editors often choose or refine titles and headlines. The real benefit comes when you take their suggestion seriously and consider improving your manuscript. You do not have to accept all of their changes or suggestions but most of the time they are pointing to a hole in your work.

Editing also involves structural changes and requests for more information. Sometimes you may want to hire an editor to do fact checking for you, particularly for non-fiction work.

Design Stage

After the editing is done, you submit your final manuscript for design. You need to have the book’s interior designed and book cover designed.

Design phase consists of laying out how the page looks, how chapters begin and end, colors, typography, cover design and ancillary materials such as posters, catalog images, and other sales materials.

Since my book also had a lot of illustrations, the design phase was more expensive and longer.

Non-fiction illustrated titles are the most design intensive books, requiring extensive use of images and illustrations, captions, typography and a deep involvement and consideration of the reader experience.

For eBook conversion, the final files are saved as formats appropriate to the target operating systems of the hardware used for reading. These may include PDF files, mobi files, or similar file types. I had CreateSpace do this for me for $79.

Author’s Proof

The first step involves the production of a pre-press proof, which the printers send for final checking and sign-off by the publisher. In the case of self-publishing, this is you.

The author’s proof (or the final proof) shows the book precisely as it will appear once printed and represents the final opportunity for the publisher to find and correct any errors. Some printing companies use electronic proofs rather than printed proofs. Once you have approved the proofs, printing begins.

Book printing process (The Naked Soul Partners)

Printing and Binding Stage

After the end of editing and design work the printing phase begins. Binding follows upon the printing process. It involves folding the printed sheets, securing them together, affixing boards or sides thereto, and covering the whole with leather or soft or hardcover.

In the case of printing-on-demand, the book is not printed until you receive an order for the book from a customer. This procedure ensures low costs for storage and reduces the likelihood of printing more books than will be sold.

Whenever someone orders your book, your book is printed and shipped.

Sales and Marketing Stage

The sales and marketing stage actually starts from the pre-production stage itself. But you need your book cover to really create a buzz.

As front cover images are produced or chapters are edited, you may want to start talking about your book with your ideal readers to build early interest.

I personally tested my poems from Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems on Instagram and Facebook. My original manuscript had almost 150 poems and depending on the feedback from my readers, I would often discuss with my editors.

I removed a lot of poems and finally got down to 97 poems. During this process, I added 12 new poems which were not part of my early editing but were part of the final line editing. The final book came out with 1o9 poems in total.

It is crucial to capture this early interest and also it will help you if you measure your engagement. I also used my reader’s feedback to design my book cover.

The sales and marketing is totally on you. You have got Google ads, Social media, your Blog and Goodreads. You work is to create a buzz around your book and get some early reviews.

For step by step information on how to do this, read my blogs here:

Distribution Stage

The final stage in publication and during Sales and Marketing involves making the product available to the public. The goal is to make your book available to as many places as much possible.

Once a book is printed (or available as POD), you may use a variety of channels to distribute it. You may want to do the following here:

1. Have your book available on Amazon and Kindle store. If you are a first-time author, consider enrolling in Kindle Select.

2. Order some Author’s copy and send to anyone (mainly book bloggers) who would be interested in reviewing your book on Amazon and Goodreads.

3. Try to talk to foreign distributors if you have readers in Australia, New Zealand, and Asian countries. Amazon distributes to USA, Canada, UK and European markets.

4. Talk to local booksellers in your area and offer them the book a commission basis. Offer them 100% return guarantee if the books are not sold.

Resources for Authors

Before we jump into some more Q&A, let me suggest two great books that will really help you.
I enjoyed both of them and learned a lot. These both are a must-read for anyone interested in Self-publishing and future of eBooks.

Questions & Answers

Photo by The Naked Soul Partners

 1. Does CreateSpace (KDP), Lulu, LSI, etc publish poetry books? Children’s books? Non-fiction books? Comics? Fiction?
Technically, CreateSpace or Lulu doesn’t “publish” anything. You publish and they print and distribute your books when a customer orders a copy of your book.
CreateSpace/KDP and Lulu is a printing service. That said KDP or LSI will print just about anything as long as it meets their formatting guidelines.
Note: CreateSpace can print full color, perfect bound, soft cover books. They can do hardcover too, but as author copies only, not for distribution to Amazon or via EDC. If you’re wanting to do your book as a hardcover to sell online, I would suggest looking at Lulu.
2. Should I use the free ISBN? Or $10 ISBN or $99 ISBN?
If you use CS’s free ISBN, CS will be listed as the publisher of record. You may not say, “Published by CreateSpace,” but you may say, “Printed by CreateSpace/KDP.”
 
3. Is it possible to publish a book with a traditional publisher without ending my contract with CreateSpace or Lulu or LSI?”
This will depend on the exclusivity of the publishing contract being offered. If they want exclusive rights which most mainstream publishers will insist on, then you will have to retire the CS/KDP/Lulu/LSI copy of your book
4. Will a publishing company accept on a book that was previously self-published in KDP?
A book once published (even self-published) cannot be automatically re-published elsewhere. Any new version would have to have significant edits and be promoted as a ‘revised and updated’ version of the original.
But truth be told, unless you are a bestselling author, most publishing houses would not want to do this. In essence, a book once self-published is not going to be re-published by a publisher later.
Also, the interesting point is why did you self-publish at all if your only goal was to be later picked up by a traditional publisher. So, let me repeat — if you are only trying to be picked up a big publisher you better become a best seller first.
Alternatively, if your first self-published book is a big hit, your second book can be picked up by a publisher for a good advance.
For example, Amanda Hocking was being picked up by St. Martin’s Press, part of Macmillan (one of the big five, based on the performance of her previous self-published books.
As a self-published author, she has sold more than 1 million copies of her book before this deal came to her.
5. What are the chances of me getting published by a New York Publisher?
It solely depends on your books sales or your potential for getting book sales. publishing companies are businesses and will take advantage of any opportunity to make a profit. once you can establish yourself as marketable, they’re usually a lot more attentive and responsive to you as an author.

But most likely, it will be hard for new writers starting out to get the attention of a publisher — small, medium or large — but there are small presses around who will working with emerging writers, as well as literary agents who can spot the diamond in the slush pile and will represent them to larger publishers.

If you have a strong platform (eg. a frequently updated blog with a decent following and active on social networks) publishers will be more likely to take a chance because the author is already familiar with some of the work they will be required to do to promote their book.

 

6. After self-publishing with CreateSpace for my personal copies, can I edit my book and publishing and sell-through to another publisher or POD?

Yes, you can (with $99 ISBN). Many authors do the proof copy with CreateSpace and later print and distribute through LSI.

 

7. Can I just order the proof copies without publishing my books at all?

Yes, you can. You can decide not to publish for the public.

 

8. I am considering publishing someone else’s book under my imprint (with their permission). Is this allowed at Create Space, Lulu, LSI?

Yes. There are several such publishers using CreateSpace and LSI in this way. CreateSpace is set up to accommodate small to medium publishers as well as single authors. However, a few things to keep in mind.

If you have your own ISBN ($99) and registered imprint name (eg. Naked Soul Press), CreateSpace will not question your right to publish another person’s work, as there is an expectation you will have formal contracts in place.

But, if you are using the free or $10 ISBN, CreateSpace might ask you for proof that the author has granted you permission. You would want to get an email from the author explicitly granting me permission to publish.

 

9. Can a (self-published) writers make their living by just selling their books? Is it possible or it is just an extra source of income?

The short answer is “No” to both questions. No one can predict if the book will sell enough to supplement a side income. (Even if it is a great book).

To provide a decent income, a book must sell consistently. And this is very difficult. There are millions of books out there and ~ 3500 new books are published each day (in the English language alone). Your competition is fierce.

But what you can do is look at writing as a side-business. You should consider writing more books and the combined sales from all of your books can become your extra source of income if your books are really good and if you have a good fan base.

You may one day be able to earn your living from writing. But, in the beginning, keep the expectations low and work hard.

You’re running a business when you get published, your business is selling your own book to others. Depending on your book and the market, you can also create other merchandise.

Summary: As a whole, most serious writers don’t earn enough to make a living, but earn enough to add to their income. The mediocre writers won’t make much though.

 

10. In the Copyright pages, is it OK to put something like: “Published by XYZ Press?” and does the publishing company mentioned have to be incorporated?

Yes, it is okay to put that. You are the publisher of your book. You can put the name of your publishing company. It always looks more professional. However, you do not have to register a company.

As a single author, your income from your books is taxed. Also, if you do choose to register your publishing company then you can show your book production expenses and other expenses. If you are thinking long term, I would suggest, it is always a good idea to register your own publishing company and run your writing career as a business.

You do not have to establish and register the company (and the imprint name) before publishing the book. But in that case, anyone can claim that business name (by registering it) and can later legally ask you to not use their trade name or logo or whatsoever.

If you are not very serious about writing and may want to publish just one or two books, I guess, you can simply use the Free ISBN or $10 ISBN and mention, Printed by CreateSpace (KDP).

 

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Was this post helpful to you in deciding which route you may want to go? Do you have suggestions, tips or your story to share? Do you have questions on publishing or need more clarification on any specific aspect of publishing stage? If yes, please feel free to share your experience or question(s) with us? Please leave your thoughts and input in the comments below.

How I Am Growing My Author’s Platform? How To Find Your 1000 True Fans

How To Find Your 1000 True Fans

I believe in cultivating a tribe around my writing which resonates with my voice. I write both fiction and poetry.

At some point in time, I want to write a memoir too. I am not a single genre writer. I like to read all kind of things and likewise, I want to write on different subjects.

Growing one’s audience is like growing one’s tribe. My tribe is my “community”. These are my readers, fans, fellow writers, friends, and those who share my values.

Cultivating a tribe is more than creating a community. Cultivation requires constant refinement, intimate communication between me and my fans, encouraging reader engagement, and most of all audience-trimming. Before, we talk about “fan-trimming”, let’s find out what having a tribe does for us?

Your tribesmen are your brand ambassadors.
Your tribesmen are your cheerleaders.
Your tribesmen are your sales agent.
Your tribesmen are your trusted beta-readers, advisers and market feedback.
Your tribesmen are your allies and friends.
Your tribesmen are your supporters and they want to see you succeed.
 

As you can see from the above bullet points, trimming becomes essential to preserve the quality of your support network, your tribe. Your tribe members can be anywhere but they are not your fans or followers on Facebook and Twitter.

Most often they are your email list subscribers and the ones those who frequently comment on your blogs, Facebook and/or Instagram posts. They actively engage with you and your writing. You should cherish them as your real family.

In this blog post, I want to share my journey and the adventure I have had since I decided to publish my work.

I started Naked Soul blog back in October 2014. I published my debut poetry collection “Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems” on Jan 9, 2015, and the eBook came out on Jan 22, 2015.

I was already having some presence on various social media and promoted my book on Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. But if you are new, you can start now. Social media is cool and it helps a little. Note the word “little“.

I sent out emails and contacted bloggers to review my book. I created an email list using MailChimp and started sending out helpful tips and interesting stories from which we all can learn. I started traveling and meeting new people. I found new characters for my second book (coming out soon) based on the people whom I have met on my adventurous journey.

So what is our focus in this blog post? And, why am I doing this all? A 12-14 hours of daily writing, reading tons of books, developing new connections with people – why all this hard work?

If you are a writer or blogger yourself, you may very well be asking these same questions. So what are we trying to achieve here?

My good guess would be — we are trying to grow our audience size. We are seeking outreach to people whom we can touch and impact positively through our stories.

We are trying to tell our stories to those who would benefit from our writing. But, how do we do that? How do we meet our true fans? How do we connect with our readers? How do we grow our network and meet new readers?

I think I have an answer (tried and tested by me previously). Continue reading to take a first-time look at my detailed plan outlined here. As I mentioned, I started this blog in October last year and joined various social media around the same time (+/- a few months). Following my plan outlined here, I grew my Facebook page to 15K, Instagram account to 20K followers, Pinterest account to 3.2K followers, Twitter account to 15K followers, YouTube account to 1000+ followers (with 1 million+ views) and my mailing list to over 300 subscribers.

During this time, I was also able to get on SlideShare with three slides, got over 38K views on my Google+ page, and created my presence on Tumblr, and on top three online poetry portals (Hello Peotry, PoemHunter, Deep Underground Poetry).

I am going to outline my plan to grow my author’s platform further to a target goal that I have set up for myself for this year.

How to Grow Your Author Platform

1. Write More Books

I have these upcoming books in the next three years. God’s Original Psalm is the project that I am currently working on.

  • Naked Soul: The Journey Of Love (Genre: Poetry/Romance)
  • Naked Soul: The Sacred Intimacy (Genre: Poetry/Erotic)
  • Naked Soul: God’s Original Psalm (Genre: Spirituality)
  • Letters By A Young Christian Mystic (Genre: Spirituality)
  • Friendship (Genre: Non-fiction, Self-help/Relationship)
  • How To Travel The World Under $30,000 USD (Genre: Travel)

The best thing a writer can do is to “write more books”. Pretty obvious, right? But isn’t. Majority of the people spend time figuring out one secret technique that will make them an overnight success. I wish magic was real.

The best way to grow your author’s platform is to simply write more books. The more good books you write the luckier you’ll become. Almost like magic.


2. Improving My Organic Search Rank on Google for Greater 
Discoverability
– More quality content and Frequent blogging
– Guest blogging with other bloggers and writers
– Make blog posts shareability easy for your readers.

More quality content and Frequent blogging

I am taking blogging more seriously. I have been blogging since 2005 and have had numerous blog. After years of soul searching and discovering my authentic voice, my genuine voice, I have started this blog and this blog is going to my open diary taking note of my various adventurous journeys.

My second goal is to build a passionate community around the Naked Soul Blog by engaging the blog readers through “Comments”. Often times, what is not answered or covered by a particular blog post is answered by a reader’s comment. Comments help all the readers.

 

3. Building a Huge Email List of Interested Readers
– From blog email sign-up form
– From Facebook page giveaways, quizzes, etc
– From Instagram giveaways, etc
– From new one-on-one connections made online

 

4. Outreach & Connection With My Readers on Social Media

  • Instagram: by words as pictures and good, heartfelt captions
  • Facebook: by poems, blog post links, and videos
  • Pinterest: by pictures
  • Twitter: by tweeting short poems and quotes
  • YouTube: by videos
  • Goodreads: by posting blogs, answering fan’s questions, giveaways

 

5. Growth on Social Media Using Specific Tools

You might not need these but in case if you want more tools to explore. I would recommend sticking to the basic four.

I have used them all and they all are good and the reason you do not want more tools is simple: you won’t have any time left.

 

6. Build a Team of Core People

Your job will be to assign tasks to your team member. If you are starting out, chances are you have a day job and are busy. You may want to hire one, two or more Virtual Assistants (VAs) depending on your needs and present situation.

If you have book launch coming up, I highly recommend getting a VA. For the launch of Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems, I hired a VA from Zirtual, a US based company.

In the coming months, I will be working with two VAs from India (at the same cost of one VA from Zirtual). I have not hired anyone yet but hope to do so within a month or so. Once my team is set up, I will:

  • Decide what will my team do vs what I do? (task delegation)
  • Help my VA in outreach to bloggers and other writers
  • Train my VA on using all of the above-mentioned tools (but I’ll be managing the tools, overall strategy, and the setup)

 

7. Be Active in Facebook group for writers and on Goodreads

– Help other writers as much as I can.

– When requested and provided an Advance Reader Copy (ARC), write a book review.

– If requested write a book blurb, book’s back cover material, book’s Introduction and/or a Foreward if our genre overlaps.

– Help and promote similar (overlapping)  writers on my blog and social media

– Share and exchange our experiences and stories from our writing journey (quite an adventure so far)

The more help you provide, the better and effective you will get at using your own advice. Moreover, there is no such thing as “giving too much”. The more you give away for free — the better it is for your long term career.

Make friends, early on. Trust me, this is going to be a long ride. You’ll need a group of friends to keep you motivated in tough times.

 

8. Get Reviews From Reputable Bloggers, Book Reviewers, and Magazines

This is important. After writing your best book, the next most important thing is to get some great reviews and some media coverage. The “media” that I am talking about is not the old school “Press Release” but the presence of your book everywhere on the World Wide Web.

In other words, your book should be present everywhere a book is allowed. Internet mainly.

Getting 2 or 5 good reviews will help you get more reviews. Your initial book reviews will shape your later reviews. Also, remember, once you have collected about 25 reviews, it will be relatively easier for you to pitch your book to mid-size bloggers.

If you manage to cross 100 reviews, you may very well get coverage on The Huffington Post (books) and Amazon’s editorial newsletter and blog, Omnivoracious.

 

9. Find and Connect With the Mavens in My Field

– Keep building quality relationships on Goodreads community with Goodreads mavens

– Keep posting new works and building relationships with fellow mavens on poetry portals such as Deep Underground Poetry, Poem Hunter, Hello Poetry, etc

– Keep discovering and connecting with the mavens everywhere: Social media, Blogosphere, etc.

 

Recap

The above 9 bullet points describes my 80%-90% of activities. Using these methods (and only these 9 methods, eighty-to-ninety percent of the time) I am going to find, meet and build a one-on-one relationship with my 1000 true fans. This will take time, true, but they are all tested strategies proven to work.

 

9 Things That I Will NOT Be Doing

Below is the list of 9 another things that I will *NOT* be doing because I will probably run out of time doing the things mentioned above. (Remember 80/20 rule?) 80% of your results are produced by the 20% of your core work. So, what happens if you use 80% of your time on that 20% of core work that produces 80% of your results? Magic. After all, magic is not completely dead.

But if you have time, energy or capacity to DO these tasks as well, good for you! These are the other things (ideas) that I have tried to some degrees and find them to be useful.

But remember, prioritize your time. As an author you can *also* benefit from doing these. Here you go:

1. Attend writing/books related meetups and build new connections with readers and writers. The goal here is to not overkill it. Attend a few meetups each month. Build quality connections.

2. Join book clubs; or start a new book club in your area (or try one online). This is a low-investment approach to book marketing. The goal here is not promote your book, but be seen as the expert in your domain and/or genre.

3. Try LinkedIn publishing. If you are a full time writer go for it. But, if you are like me doing a day job and writing part-time, then you are better off not mixing up your LinkedIn (professional network) with your writing life.

4. Try podcast (in addition to blogging) to reach whole new group of audience. If I have to start one thing from this list of 10, this will be my first pick.

5. Participate in local, state, regional and/or national poetry contests. Usually, it is a high investment, low return strategy. But like a lottery (with a shower of good-luck), if you WIN, you can use the award as a book blurb in your marketing. This kind of things don’t sell books directly but brings curious readers to you. And some of them will eventually get your books.

6. Plan a book tour and do book readings. (It does not have to be grand. Start local.) A national or even a multi-state book tour would fall under my next section. But, if you are doing it locally (using your car and no overnight hotel stay), you can give it a shot. It is fun too. And it feels good as well.

7. Participate and do open mike poetry and/or poetry slams. Depending upon your city or town, this can be a good place to find your next fan.

8. YouTube – Record your readings (poetry or fiction) and share it on your YouTube channel, Facebook Page, Google+ and on Goodreads.

9. Organize Google hangouts and do live poetry readings. Engage with your fans and interested readers.

 

9 Things That I Do NOT Recommend (Time Wasters)

Below is the list of 9 things that I firmly believe to fall under time wasters. It is not that these activities will not help you but chances are they will not be worth your time, money or brain-power.

1. Try to approach bookstores to keep your book (even with the book-returns clause). First of all, sadly your endeavor is not going to be successful and even if you manage to get one or two bookstores keep and display your books, they won’t be able to give your copy a prime spot when there is already hot books out there competing for that tiny space.

2. Try to join forces with local merchants to store your books on display on commission basis. Not worth the time and effort.

3. Try to sell your books to your family members, close friends and anyone who meets you. Not a good strategy from a long term perspective. You do not want to alienate people. By pressurizing people into hard-sales, you’ll most definitely make them avoid you in future.

4. Promote your ebook for free. Only offer free books if you have other books available in the series. If you only have one book (assuming you have honestly put in a lot of time into it and it is > 175 pages), price it $2.99 or may be even $0.99.

The reason you do not want a free book is because, free-book readers are also harsh and critical. And it is simply a high risk to get in a spiral of bad reviews. One good review gets you another good reviews. One bad review gets you another bad review. You do not want your writing career to start with 3.5 star rating. Do you?

5. Paying for reviews or Buying reviews on Fiverr or anywhere. Damn it. It is both sad and pitiful that so many amateur writers are into buying reviews. It hurts you more than anything else. Readers are smart and moreover, you want your reviewers to read your book and like your writing.

It is better to send ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) to interested readers and request them to review (good or bad).

6. Send Direct Messages to random people (read: strangers) on Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads or anywhere. Do not do this. This will not get you more than grand total of 0-5 sale and ton of hate and annoyance. Again, think long term. You do not want to piss of your readers even before they got a chance to become your reader.

7. This one does not require a bullet point in itself but it is important. Do not spend a lot of time marketing your book on social media. Again, read point #6. If you are just starting out, more often than not, your shouting about your own book would only come off as self-promotion and annoyance.

Social media’s primary purpose for most reader is entertainment and connection. Discovering a new book from a no-name author would be the last priority any Facebook user can think of.

8. Big budget advertisement. If you do not have atleast three or more books out, you are better of not having a big advertisement campaign. When you promote big, your message will be seen by many potential readers (and book buyers).

Some of them might not like your advertised title but may find your other book interesting. If you have only one book, the ROI is usually a big waste of money. Save this money for later. You’ll need it.

9. Use my personal Google+ and Facebook page to reach out to more like-minded people. There is nothing wrong in doing this. But from my personal experience (and of countless other writers and artists) — this eventually sums up to only one thing — A Waste Of Time.

 

Last But Not The Least

A quick note on social media. Social media is important. There is no denying that but focus on using a few rather than all.

I feel the most important ones for a writer are (in order of importance): 1. Facebook, 2. Instagram, 3. Pinterest, 4. YouTube, 5. Twitter, 6. Google+. And you can stop right here.

This is more than you can swallow.

 

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Did you know about the free VIP pass offer to the Naked Soul Club? Subscribe your email address now and be part of this tight-knit community of lovers, readers, writers, adventures and other people just like yourself. I send great contents directly into your mailbox. Once a week. Sign up now and stay in touch!

What are your thoughts about growing your tribe? Have you tried any of these methods or tools yet? If yes, please feel free to share your experience with us? Please leave your thoughts and input in the comments below.

Compilation of Erotic Poetry Books Published in Last Century | 221 Books On Erotic Love (1920-2019)

A compilation of 221 erotic poetry books published between 1946-2015. It took a lot of effort to put this list up. If you find a book or title is missing, please comment. If you liked this compilation and found it helpful, please leave me your thoughts in the comments below. Above all, enjoy.

Title Author Year of Publication
Erotic Love Poems: Poems of Diverse Amatory Moods Citadel Press 1946
Sodom Or the Quintessence of Debauchery John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester 1957
Erotic Poetry: The Lyrics, Ballads, Idyls, and Epics of Love: Classical to Contemporary William Cole 1963
The Anthology of Restoration Erotic Poetry Ed Cray 1965
A Gold Orchid: Love Poems of Tzu Yeh Tzu Yeh 1972
Erotica Donna Ippolito 1975
Little Birds: Erotica Anais Nin 1979, 2004
The Poetica Erotica of R. P. Dickey R.P Dickey 1979
Erotica Teresa Carmen Freda 1980
Amorotica: New Erotic Poetry Elliott Fried 1981
Touching Fire: Lesbian Erotica Feminist Writers†Guild 1981
Scotch Passion: Anthology of Scottish Erotic Poetry Alexander Scott 1982
The Erotic Poems Publio Ovidio Nason 1982
The Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse Stephen Coote 1983
Passionate Journey: Poems and Drawings in the Erotic Mood Steve Kowit 1984
Jousts of Aphrodite: Erotic Verse Translated from the Original Greek Michael Kelly 1986
Dreams of the Women who Loved Sex Tee A. Corinne 1987
The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Ono No Komachi Jane Hershfield (translator) 1988
Lifting Belly Gertrude Stein 1989
The Long Embrace: Twentieth Century Irish Love Poems Frank Ormsby 1989
The Fragrant Flower: Classic Chinese Erotica in Art and Poetry Hua Ying Jin Zhen 1990
Women-Men: The Erotic Poetry of Paul Verlaine William Packard 1991
Games of Venus: An Anthology of Greek and Roman Erotic Verse from Sappho to Ovid Peter Bing 1991
Erotique Noire Miriam Decosta-Willis 1992
Quicksand: African American Lesbian Erotic Poetry Folisade 1992
Eros Englishâ€d: Classical Erotic Poetry in Translation Charles Tomlinson 1992
Collected Poems Constantine Cavafy 1992
Cold Moon: The Erotic Haiku of Gabriel Rosenstock Gabriel Rosenstock 1993
Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair Pablo Neruda 1993
Black Sugar: Gay, Lesbian, and Heterosexual Love Poems Jeremy Reed 1993
The Body of Love Tee Corinne 1994
Japanese Art of Love Reed 1994
Throb: Selected Erotic Poetry and Prose Stephen Peters 1994
Erotic Poems Peter Washington (editor) 1994
Evohe: Erotic Poems Cristina Peri Rossi 1994
Erotic Poetry and Prose Kendrell Thomas 1994
Amorous Rites: Elizabethan Erotic Verse Sandra Clark (editor) 1995
Tangled Sheets: Stories and Poems of Lesbian Lust Dionne A. Falconer 1995
Badboy Book of Erotic Poetry David Laurents 1995
The Erotic Spirit: An Anthology of Poems of Sensuality, Love, and Longing Sam Hamill 1995
Erotic Verse Christopher Hurford 1995
Eros in Boytown: Contemporary Gay Poems about Sex Michael Lassell 1996
My Lover Is a Woman: Contemporary Lesbian Love Poems Leslea Newman 1996
Between the Cracks: The Daedalus Anthology of Kinky Verse Gavin Dillard 1997
Sacramental Acts: The Love Poems of Kenneth Rexroth Kenneth Rexroth 1997
Diesel Fuel: Passionate Poetry Pat Califia 1997
Seven Hundred Kisses: A Yellow Silk Book of Erotic Writing Lily Pond 1997
The Ecstatic Moment: The Best of Libido Marianna Beck 1997
Full Frontal Poetry Individual Artists of Oklahoma 1997
Sor Juanaâ€s Love Poems Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz 1997
The Essential Rumi Rumi 1997
Bottom Lines: Poems of Warmth and Impact Andrew Swinburne 1998
Enjoy: Erotic Poetry Shantele Tait 1998
Dark Eros: Black Erotic Writings Reginald Martin 1999
Medieval Welsh Erotic Poetry Dafydd Johnston 1999
The Priapus Poems: Erotic Epigrams from Ancient Rome Richard W. Hooper 1999
Love Poems Anne Sexton 1999
Wet Flowers: Poems Colin Leslie Dean 1999
Blood, Love, and Boomerangs Catherine Jenkins 1999
An Uninhibited Treasury of Erotic Poetry Louis Untermeyer 2000
Seduction in the First Degree: A Collection of Erotic Poetry Lisa Marie Canfield 2000
The Cane Groves of Narmada River: Erotic Poems from Old India Andrew Schelling 2001
The Things Your Man Wonâ€t Say and Do (But Should): Poems of Love and Eroticism Derek A. Brown, Sr. 2001
Grow Long, Blessed Night: Love Poems from Classical India Martha Ann Selby 2001
Eros Pinoy: An Anthology of Contemporary Erotica in Philippine Art and Poetry Virgilio Aviado 2001
The Loverâ€s Companion: Art and Poetry of Desire Charles Sullivan 2002
Sensual Love Poems Kathleen Blease 2002
Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West Daniel Ladinsky 2002
Gay Erotic Poetry Vincent James Spoto 2002
If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho Sappho 2003
Pleased to See Me: 69 Very Sexy Poems Neil Astley 2003
Delightful Erotic Poetry John Solomon 2003
Punany the Hip Hop Psalms III The Onliners 2003
Love Poems from the Japanese Kenneth Rexroth, Sam Hamill 2003
A Bite out of the Rainbow Bob Birch 2003
PerSOULnalities: Poems for Every Kind of Man Heather Covington 2003
Provocative Poetry and Prose: Portraits of Black Love Sardonyx Jade 2003
Erotic Love Poems from India Amaru 2004
Sweet Erotic Poetry John Solomon 2004
Songs of Love, Poems of Sadness: The Erotic Verse of the Dalai Lama Paul D. Williams 2004
Mental Sex: Raw Poetry Jonathan Belvin 2004
The Art of Love Ovid 2004
Erotic Love Poems of Greece and Rome Stephen Bertman 2005
Sugar: Love Poems Canto 2005
Velvet Heat: Erotic Poetry for the Carnal Mind Scott McMorrow 2005
Erotic Poetry from My Lips Anne Tyson 2005
Exposed Kelly Raine 2005
The Right Words Gwen Masters 2005
Foreplay Jesse Sharpe 2005
The Gods of Rapture: Poems in the Erotic Mood Steve Kowit 2006
Velvet Avalanche:  A Collection of Erotic Poetry Donna Michelle Hill 2006
Decadent Poetry from Wilde to Naidu Lisa Rodensky 2006
The Good Parts: Erotic Poetry for Women Valentine King 2006
Sweet Son of Pan Trebor Healey 2006
Mother Goddess: Poem Colin Leslie Dean 2007
100 Love Sonnets Pablo Neruda 2007
Chocolate Kisses Miriam Jacobs 2007
Chinese Erotic Poems Tony Barnstone, Ping Chou 2007
Innercourse: Christian Erotic Poetry Jonathan Varsell Smith 2007
The Body as Temple: Erotica from Telugu Sistla Srinivas 2007
Dirty Thoughts: Erotic Poetry Crystal Williams 2007
Confessions of the Soul Raxon Phoenix 2007
The Darker Side of Pleasure Eden Bradley 2007
Erotiku: Erotic Haiku for the Sensual Soul Lisa Marie Darlington 2008
The Love Poems Ovid 2008
The Best American Erotic Poems from 1800 to the Present David Lehman 2008
Sexual Freedom: Urban Erotic Poetry Alphonso Taylor 2008
Taste My Soul Monica Marie Jones 2008
Sex Inspires My Best Poetry: The Urban Erotic Poetry of Lady K. Lady K. 2008
The 100 Best Love Poems of All Time Leslie Pockell 2008
Passionate Hearts: The Poetry of Sexual Love Wendy Maltz 2009
Intimate Kisses Wendy Maltz 2009
Stung with Love: Poems and Fragments of Sappho Sappho and Carol Ann Duffy 2009
Bending the Bow: An Anthology of African Love Poetry Frank M. Chipasula 2009
Amorous Whispers Rosie Fielding 2009
Rumi: The Book of Love Coleman Barks 2009
Carnal Diaries of Sex, Love, and Hate: Erotic Poetry and Adult Chronicles Tamika Taylor 2009
Syn: The Complete Erotic Poetry Collection Mr. Hollister 2009
Candy: A Collection to Satisfy your Sweetest Cravings Dale Winslow 2009
Sexy Thoughts of Lust, Love, and Admiration Hollywood James, Darla Dark 2009
The Sinful Path to Heaven: Autobiographical Erotic Poetry Jessica Vaughn 2010
Erotic Poems EE Cummings 2010
The Songs of Bilitis Pierre Louys 2010
Erotic Poetry Collection Robert Herrick 2010
100 Erotic Sonnets from the Hiligaynon Peter Solis Nery 2010
Scorpio Rising: A Poetic Taste of Erotica and Lesbian Sex Nikki Lee 2010
Sensuous Dragon Deep Rivers 2010
Intimate Conversations: Erotica Tracy Williams 2010
Erotic Poetry Elaine Shuel 2010
To Woman, from Man: Love Poems Jarrell Hayes 2011
Ten Dirty Poems C.J. Rackham 2011
Hopeless Romantic Fever: Erotic Poetry Keisha D. Helm 2011
Damn Jason O†Neal Williams 2011
Sex God Soul: Love and Erotic Poetry Petra M. Jansen 2011
Eroticism: A Collection of Poetry Javon Baker 2011
A Book of Slightly Erotic Poetry:  A Collection of Poems Don Peery 2011
Erotic Embrace II Karen Stepherson 2011
Headâ€s Up Terika Mcquinn 2012
Sugar Dish: Mouth Watering Erotic Poetry Lotus Falcon 2012
Poetica Erotica Poetica Erotica 2012
Hypnopoetics: Modern Love Poems and Hypnotic Inductions Phil Bilitz 2012
First Breath Robin G. White 2012
Circling Round Eros +2 Arlene Corwin 2012
The Gamahucher Press Anthology of Oriental Erotic Poetry Colin Leslie Dean 2012
Part of Me, You Are! And Other Love Poems Jhena Plourde 2012
Kakunyag: 100 Erotic Poems in the Hiligaynon Peter Solis Nery 2012
Put simply just love: Verses of all aspects of love Astrid Brown 2012
Romantic Poetry: 150 Poems for Love and Romance Emily Browning 2012
Soulâ€s Voice: Inspirational, love, sensual, and erotic poetry Astrid Brown 2012
Pain of Love: Erotic Poems I.G. Frederick 2012
Mental Orgasm Ramon Terry 2012
The Book of Real and Imaginary Girlfriends Moctezuma Johnson 2012
Erotic Fantasies: A Steamy Collection of Sensual Poetry Felicia Easley 2012
The Seductive Poetic Thoughts of Miss Bella Buttafly Miss Bella Buttafly 2012
Bed of Crimson Joy: Poems Joan Lauri Poole 2012
Erotic Poetry: Explicit Thoughts from Jersey Cityâ€s Finest Teasa Williams 2012
Dancing Between Lies Leslie Huron 2012
The Red Lipstick Diaries Janet Dawson 2012
The Eleventh Hour Jasmyn Rose 2013
The G-Spot Chronicles Mona Bode 2013
Her Black Body I Treasure Quinton Veal 2013
Something Sensual L. Ward 2013
Red Shoes and Sex: An Erotic Journey Blaqrayn Publishing Family 2013
Sexy Thoughts and Delicious Nibbles The Naked Nurse 2013
Sister Ignition 4 Erotic Poetry 2013
Gay Erotic Poems: Hot Rhyming Sex L.M. Dawson 2013
Lusty Romantic Nights: A Collection of Erotic Poetry Goddess Faye 2013
Hot Summer Nights 2013: A Collection of Erotic Poetry The Writers 2013
Persian Songs Colin Leslie Dean 2013
Classical Love Poetry Jonathan Williams 2013
Arabic and Hebrew Love Poems in Al-Andalus Shari Lowin 2013
28 Verses from the Amarusataka of Amaru Colin Leslie Dean 2013
The Poetic Art of Seduction: The Erotic Poetry Collection Volume 1-3 Clarissa O. Clemens 2013
Erotica: The Poetry of Love Arthur C. Kennedy 2013
Sausalito Sunrise: Poems for Lesbians and Other Lovers Mary Ann Shank 2013
Bedroom Bliss: Erotic Poetry Terika McQuinn 2013
On Entering the Sea: The Erotic and Other Poetry of Nizar Qabbani Lena Jayyusi 2013
Love Is a Lionâ€s Tooth and Other Poems of Desire Jane Gilgun 2013
15 Shady Poems and a Love Sonnet Robert Hoffman 2013
Tantalising Touch: Erotic Modern Poems Jean Pierre Albertson 2013
Latin Erotic Elegy: An Anthology and Reader Paul Allen Miller 2013
Love and Fuck Poems Koraly Dimitriadis 2013
Love in the Vernacular: Erotic Love Poetry Terry Dammery 2013
The Erotic Spirit: An Anthology of Poems of Sensuality, Love, and Longing Sam Hamill 2013
Hunger-Desire Richard L. Calleros 2013
The Velvet Rope: Book 1 Katie Kamara 2013
Naked Reflections: Shamelessly Sensual Poetry Stacey Joy 2013
Collisions M.L Kayser 2013
Bring Me the Sexy!: Erotic Poetry and Prose Fred Robel 2013
Absence: Erotic Poetry—Extruded through Lust P.J. Bayliss 2014
Sexual Tendencies: An Erotic Anthology Jennifer Sage 2014
Bombshells and Boiâ€s: Queer Poetry and Pin Up Miss Kitty 2014
Poetry: Poems of Pleasure Ella Wheeler Wilcox 2014
Meld: Erotic Poetry on Matters Every Lady Desires Jamel Burrell-Karriem 2014
Love Pillar 3: Pillar 3, Volume 3, the Poetry Trilogy Aaron La Lux 2014
Tales of Pure Carnality Mattie Kingori 2014
The Fetish of Toys: Erotic Poetry Amelia Hickman 2014
Sometime Poet: The Erotic Edge Poetry Ethan Radcliff 2014
Gilded Cage: Words of Pleasure, Pain, Madness, and Lust Alisa Anderson 2014
Strip: Erotic Poetry Amelia Hickman 2014
Write on Me: A compilation of erotic poetry and love letters Shumon Carlisle and Nina Clark 2014
Slippery Friction: Poems of Love, Lust, and Passion Charles Ward 2014
Lust, Love, Dreams, and Heartache:  A book of romantic and erotic poetry A.J. Walters 2014
Erotic and Romantic Poetry 2 Lyrical Poet and Carl Dunford 2014
Red Smoke: Love Poems from a Dysfunctional Heart Mark Anthony Cotterman 2014
Ovidâ€s Banquet of Sense George Chapman 2014
A Book of Sensual and Erotic Poetry D.D 2014
Love Beyond Boundries: A Collection of Erotic Poetry Cara Downey 2014
25 Sexy Poems Santosh Kalwar 2014
Inside My Dirty Mind: A Short Collection of Sexy and Erotic Poetry Jackie McMahon 2014
Make Love to Me: A Selection of Seductive Poetry Natasha Celeste 2014
Love and the Turning Seasons: Indiaâ€s Poetry of Spiritual and Erotic Longing Andrew Schelling 2014
My Love Expressions: To My Lover Lynn Christopher 2014
What Lips My Lips Have Kissed Edna St. Vincent Millay 2014
Aural Sex: Naughty Notes for Lovers Jennifer Lieberman 2014
The Birds, the Bees, and the Boudoir Rheadrea Monet 2014
Poetry from the Bedroom Mirror: A Collection of Reflections         Chris Linville and Lisa Masters 2015
What Do You Like?: Nine Erotic Poems Paul Whybrow 2015
Yearnings: Poems of Love and Desire Abha Iyengar 2015
Love Haiku: Japanese Poems of Yearning, Passion, and Romance Patricia Donegan and Yoshie Ishibashi 2015
Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems Salil Jha 2015

 

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On a similar note, Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems” hit #1 on Amazon.com in New Release for both Love Poems and Theme and Subject category. If you have not checked the free samples yet, please do so on either Goodreads or Amazon. There is also a free giveaway going-on on Goodreads. Please check it out if you are on Goodreads.

If you have read some of these books, please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

The Erotic Poetry of Kamasutra: A Treatise on Pleasure

There is perhaps no literary work as tantalizingly erotic as the Kamasutra. When you visualize this book, you may only think of the sexual imagery contained inside.

The truth is that this book while sexual in nature also has a rich history and contains beautiful poetic language.

Kamasutra: A Treatise on Pleasure

Erotic Poetry of Kamasutra

Let us begin by exploring the history of this book before adventuring into its poetic nature.

The book was compiled in the third century by an Indian sage, Vatsyavana. He believed that this text that contained past sexual knowledge helped him to meditate and contemplate the divine.

The book was written in Sanskrit and its translated title means “a treatise on pleasure.”

Senses and pleasures 

The book explores pleasure both sexually and intellectually by discussing various topics including Society and Social Concepts; On Sexual Union; About the Acquisition of a Wife; About a Wife; About the Wives of Other Men; About Courtesans; and On the Means of Attracting others to Yourself.

It essentially serves as a crucial primer on the physical and psychological aspects of romance including how men can win over women; what women can do to win over men; the states of a woman’s mind; the role of an intermediary; and why women might reject men.

The book contains charts that organize male and female physical types into categories and show how physically compatible they are with their partner.

Kama Sutra

The Kama Sutra is considered the first study of sexuality but due to the complexity of the Sanskrit it was written in it was considered obscure.

It was translated into English in the late 19th century by Sir Richard Burton, a well-known linguist, and Arabic translator.

Burton had originally been working on translating a 15th-century revision of the work, the Ananga-Ranga, but wanted to learn more about Vatsyayana who was cited numerous times in the Ananga-Ranga.

First translation

He orchestrated the effort to refer back to the Kama Sutra and translate it into English. He fulfilled his desire to publish a Western translation and stimulated widespread interest in India and other countries.

Since then it has been translated numerous times and been published in multiple versions.

The book at first begins analytically as a series of instructions on how a man should live a life dedicated to religious observance and learn to live according to the principles of what is referred to as dharma, artha, and kama.

Dharma is obeying the principles of Hinduism, Artha is based on acquiring material items and friendships, and kama is enjoying pleasure according to the lessons of the Kama Sutra. But then there were those who objected to pleasure and wished to keep the ideal human pursuits limited to dharma, stating:

“Pleasures should not be sought for, because they are obstacles to the practice of Dharma and Artha, which are both superior to them, and are also disliked by meritorious persons. Pleasures also bring a man into distress, and into contact with low persons; they cause him to commit unrighteous deeds, and produce impurity in him; they make him regardless of the future and encourage carelessness and levity. And lastly, they cause him to be disbelieved by all, received by none, and despised by everybody, including himself.”

Indian Caste System

The book does explore the caste system in India by describing the three classes of men including the Pithamarda, the Vita, and the Vidushaka.

  • The Pithamarda was described as a poor man who has few personal possessions but comes from a good country and is skilled artistically.
  • The Vita is a man who is a wealthy married homeowner who is honored by citizens.
  • The Vidushaka is only skilled in some of the arts but is trusted by all of the citizens.

Vatsyavana believed that men should really only get to know men of their own caste.

The Kama was practiced by following Hindu principles and marrying virgins who belonged to their own caste.

The Naked Soul Partners

 

The Treatise on Pleasure

The more sensual aspects of the book begin in the second part when men were categorized according to the degree of passion they had and it was stated in the book:

“A man is called a man of small passion whose desire at the time of sexual union is not great, whose semen is scanty, and who cannot bear the warm embraces of the female. Those who differ from the temperament are called men of middling passion while those of intense passion are full of desire.”

Females were said to have a different kind of passion then men as the book explained that females wish to enjoy sexual relations with men for a longer period of time then men need to have sexual intercourse. One writer in the book was quoted as saying,

Females do not emit as males do. The males simply remove their desire, while the females, from their consciousness of desire, feel a certain kind of pleasure, which gives them satisfaction, but it is impossible for them to tell you what kind of pleasure they feel. The fact from which this becomes evident is that males when engaged in coition cease of themselves after emission and are satisfied but it is not so with females.”

The various types of love were explored and were categorized as love gained from continual habit and performance, imaginary love, love derived from belief, and love derived from perceiving external objects.

Couples engage in different kinds of embraces to express the kind of love that they feel for their partner.

This is a passionate expression of love as a union of this kind is a special one that cannot be broken by others. The book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems expresses this in the poem Bound For Me when it says:

She comes and looks deep into my eyes

Her beautiful majestic eyes, mesmerizing me

There she stands on the doorpost

Waiting for my move

I take her hand into my hand

Pressing softly

She takes off her clothes gently

To the last piece

There she stands in all skin

In all her glory

She offers me a rope and stretches her arm

She is bound for me

There she waits for me

Warm

Exhilarating

Lifting each other

Blindfolded warriors in a field

Fingers

Tongue

Soft lips

Our weapons of love

And our bodies

Our shields

She satisfies me in ways

My words fail

I love her

 

Kamasutra portrayed on the walls of the temple of Khajuraho

Vatsyavana wrote about the power of embraces when he wrote:

“The whole subject of embracing is of such a nature that men who ask questions about it, or who hear about it, or who talk about it, acquire thereby a desire for enjoyment. Even those embraces that are not mentioned in the Kama Shastra should be practiced at the time of sexual enjoyment if they are in any way conducive to the increase of love or passion. The rules of the Shastra apply so long as the passion of man is middling, but when the wheel of love is once again set in motion, there is then no Shastra and no order.”

Embracing transitions into kissing which is an even more sensual type of love.

There are many different ways to kiss your lover including a straight kiss which is contact between both sets of lips; a bent kiss when the lovers are bent towards one another; a turned kiss which is when one turns up the face of the other by holding the head and chin; and a pressed kiss which is when the lower lip is pressed forcefully.

Kisses can express love in a much deeper and personal way than merely embracing.

The book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems expresses this while exploring the nature of kissing when it says:

Go kiss her from her forehead to her feet
Let this poor heart
In you
Become courageous
Now you are ready, my friend
Now you know
You bring love with love
You make love with love
Love knows no desperation
Love knows no boundaries
No limitation
You have charted the earth well
On the surface of her skin
With your beloved by your side
Hand in hand
Lips to lips
To the glorious birth
Of a new love

The Sexual Freedom

Women were said to enjoy other kinds of physical contact including biting, pressing nails against one another, and striking one another.

Vatsyayana wrote about this kind of contact when he said:

“Those which increase passion should be done first and those which are only for amusement or variety should be done afterward.”

In addition to more physical expressions of love, there were also different ways to form sexual unions with one another. This was explained by stating:

“An ingenious person should multiply the kinds of congress after the fashion of the different kinds of beasts and of birds. For these different kinds of congress, performed according to the usage of each country, and the liking of each individual, generate love, friendship, and respect in the hearts of women.”

Sexual intercourse was analogized to a dispute with your partner. It is a way to truly express opinions about each other and is very physical and romantic.

The book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems expresses this the following poem, stating:

Love
Like youngsters
Running around, restless
So naive at heart
And hands
Without blame
Don't come and try to stop us
That we celebrate
Our sacred dance
In our preserved innocence
Tonight

Women were said to express their pleasure in the process of making love by relaxing their bodies and showing great willingness to be united with their partners. Men should interpret pleasure by the mood of their partners during the process.

Vatsyayana wrote of this when he said:

“Though a woman is reserved and keeps her feelings concealed, yet when she gets on top of a man, she then shows all her love and desire. A man should gather from the actions of the woman of what disposition she is and from what way she likes to be enjoyed. A woman during her monthly courses, a woman who has been lately confined, and a fat woman should not be made to act the part of a man.”

Men helped women get in the mood for sexual intercourse by conversing with them and embracing them with affection.

This would help a woman to be filled with love and desire for her partner. There were said to be different kinds of sexual partnerships including the loving congress; congress of subsequent love; congress of artificial love; congress of transferred love; congress like that of eunuchs; deceitful congress; and congress of spontaneous love. Vatsyayana said that men who were skilled in the arts of love were admired and respected.

From sexual unions, the relationship transitioned into something much deeper and into a permanent marriage. Vatsyayana said:

“A man should fix his affections upon a girl who is of good family, whose parents are alive, and who is three years or more younger than himself. She should be born of a highly respectable family, possessed of wealth, well connected, and with many relations and friends.”

The book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems expresses the sentiments about the bond of marriage when it utters:

When my friends ask
About you
I tell them
That I met you today
My friends marvel at this
But to me
You are a new
Beginning
Every day
There is no end in such love
Nothing is old here
We age
But our spirit remains the same
And we become
The part of eternal sky

Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems (a modern day Kamasutra)

Once the couple has been married, a man then had to make an effort to instill a sense of trust in their partner. Earning her trust involved embracing her, kissing, and engaging her in conversation. The husband would then ask his wife if she liked him. 

Vatsyayana wrote about what she should say to such a question:

“She should remain silent for a long time, and when at last importuned to reply, should give him a favorable answer by a nod of the head.”

Once the wife became more comfortable with her husband, he would then touch her whole body and teach her about the arts of love.

The book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems expresses about the arts of love in verses from the following poem:

What will you give to your lover?
Do you possess a moonstone or stardust?
Have you planted a thousand roses?
Have you mapped the earth?
To take your lover
On a journey full of mirth?
No—
I don't have a moonstone
Nor do I have stardust.
I am poor but have roses and flowers
In all colors
I will be kind to her limbs
I can fill her life with passion
Her organs will thank mine
Her eyes will peck at mine
Her hairs I will brush
Igniting the passion in her soul
Her vale merging with my knoll,
A hummock,
Just for her pleasures
Ever waiting, ever desiring

It is now evident that a romance is something that requires great effort on the parts of both partners in a relationship.

The Kamasutra describes the stages of romance extensively and how the couple should act towards one another. While the book is an ancient text, some of its advice still holds true today and can be adhered to by all couples.

Erotic Poetry And Literature: Do People Prefer It Over Other Art Forms?

There is something particularly delightful and passionately engaging about reading erotic poetry. We all can agree to that. But, do people prefer it to watching erotic films or admiring the eros in other arts such as sculptures or paintings?

Let’s look a little dipper into this question in this blog post.

Erotic Poetry and Literature

Erotic poetry and literature is an extremely special, but also delicate genre. You probably wonder why. The answer is fairly simple.

One the one hand, erotic literature is constituted along two distinct and related coordinates: it introduces the reader into a world of myriad feelings by means of which sexual relationships are woven into being and at the same time it seeks to arise in the readers sensations of pleasure and thus awake their own eroticism.

On the other hand, erotic literature is a borderline genre situated in-between high culture and more interested enjoyment, so to speak. Obviously reading erotic poetry is different from reading drama (tragedy, for instance).

Erotic literature goes beyond purely aesthetic pleasure. We don’t necessarily read erotic literature to immerse in a coherent fictional universe that can teach us things and change our perspective on life.

We don’t read erotic poetry in order to engage in a cool-headed analysis of the way a poet constructs setting, mood, rhyme, and rhythm, etc. — unless we actually specialize in literary theory or literature as such. However such cases are extremely rare.

The appeal of erotic poetry

What makes up the immense appeal of erotic poetry for the majority of readers?

First and foremost, erotic poetry acts almost as a release for our brains, since we are so used to repression and societal models which sometimes turn sexuality into taboo and may even claim it could be “dirty”.

Erotic poetry is an excellent proof that sexuality is actually something beautiful that can be transfigured into art. This transformation can be a form of sublimation, to use a concept that was promoted by Freud. [1]

By means of art, people experience a form of purging (or catharsis) instead of repressing their desires. Erotic poetry is simply a fantastic source of pleasure which acknowledges the beauty and the high priority of sexuality while allowing for a half-abstract experience. Why is it not concrete?

Well, reading erotic poetry requires a degree of abstraction implied by any form of art: the readers move through an array of feelings and experiences that are not their own. For this reason, erotic poetry is not only about sublimation in the purely psychoanalytical sense, since it doesn’t only equal a transformation of one’s own impulses except in a very general way.

Of course through reading erotic literature one gets to indulge in phenomena and sensations that one usually finds pleasurable without committing any transgression from the point of view of one’s own morality.

Instead of betraying one’s spouse with other people, erotic literature permits the readers to escape the boundaries of their own concrete couple in order to find pleasure somewhere else.

However erotic poetry does much more than, say, allowing for the sublimation of the need for erotic diversity: it raises the erotic at the level of the aesthetic and thus it opens the gates towards a different kind of sublimation, literally speaking.

Erotic poetry allows us to experience the sublime itself in the philosophical sense (as a highly impressive and moving quality of greatness) that was so well theorized by Kant. [2]

Why erotic poetry?

What makes us enjoy reading or writing it so much? Is it the same thing that we experience when watching an erotic film or examining a painting/sculpture which shows us a nude figure or builds on direct representation of sexuality?

We all know about famous works of art that know no restraint in presenting the body as it is for both the aesthetic and the erotic. Of course, we have heard of Michelangelo’s David and we have probably seen it not only once.

How about Goya’s Maja Desnuda? Apart from such widely known examples, there are myriad erotic artworks that may even have been created by contemporary artists you might not have heard of yet. As you can picture, our century is extremely prolific and permissive regarding the erotic and this trend is not limited to literature.

If you are interested in more powerful and even more exotic works of art that could even challenge your own frame concerning what art can do about sexuality, you can take a look at all 15 examples that have made history in this respect.

For many people, the erotic is reduced to pornography and they unwillingly choose to experience it by means of cinema, photography, or magazines that specialize in eroticized displays of the body meant to arouse the readers. Why “unwillingly”?

Because these channels are actually the easiest to access and people often receive information through these media without questioning its purpose or its broader identity.

Why look for something just as delightful when you can watch erotic films anytime on numerous TV channels or you can buy as many DVDs you want?

Some people may have less commercial preferences and are quite familiar with a different kind of erotic movies that relies much less on cliche and objectification, namely erotic art film such as Ai no corrida.

People who are versed in both art and eros surely know this film already. They must also have an excellent understanding about the extent to which drawing on the erotic in art has amazing and high-quality results. Surely other people still have prejudice regarding erotic art or literature in particular.

An Aphrodisiac

Some may still consider this genre to verge on superficiality or to function only as an aphrodisiac. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The charm and the mystery of erotic literature lie precisely in its ability to be both arousing and aesthetically valuable. Hardly anyone reads erotic poetry only to get turned on. Most readers want an artistic experience together with the more simple delight of the senses that could easily be achieved by other means.

However what makes erotic literature worth so much for such a large public? One of the deeper reasons is related to the fact that literature has been for a good while a great channel for erotic expression when society encouraged repression.

Not only did literature allow for what social norms tried to forbid, but also it created a very propitious space for the expression of sexual deviations. By this term, we don’t mean anomaly since sexuality shouldn’t be treated normatively.

The bottom line is that literature was the perfect terrain for seeding ideas that would have usually been considered to be less mainstream even by sexually open-minded people.

Why is Venus in Furs by Sacher-Masoch so appreciated? Why is an author like Marquise de Sade not only renowned, but also valuable in his own way? Why has a poet and critic like Swinburne also made history through his treatment of the erotic?

Not only thanks to his abundant talent. It was also partly because of his homoerotic tendencies, partly due to his having approached more “exotic” topics (and fetishes) such as flagellation.

50 Shades of Grey

Why is a book like 50 Shades of Grey so successful nowadays? Strangely enough, we live in an era that treasures openness and liberalism, so how come BDSM is still impressive?

The explanation comes down to novelty rather than deviation. Not many erotic works have ventured that far and this is still unexplored territory.

BDSM may be rather commonplacefor some people nowadays “we can no longer regard such practices as deviant,” since many people express interest in experimenting at least and some do it quite openly, adopting it as a real lifestyle.

Moreover, there’s plenty of information about BDSM in the media and anybody who desires to discover why it is worth trying only has to look up things on the web.

Erotic Films

Erotic films are also extremely open to such practices since they are part of what plays. However, in literature as well as in other arts such phenomena are still fresh and in very high demand.

What makes erotic poetry so special against all this background? Why does the public appreciate it so much when there are plenty of other ways of enhancing the erotic experience or of experiencing the erotic through art?

Why erotic poetry? What distinguishes it from other genres?

First of all, no genre makes use of imagination the way poetry does. Lyricism and subjectivity are exploited to the maximum, metaphor is the tissue of poetry, and the artist has immeasurable freedom of transfiguring actual sensation and turning it into an almost otherworldly experience.

When reading erotic fiction everything looks almost as in a porn film and the readers are quite familiar with many aspects of sexuality and of the acts described.

There’s scarcely anything surprising except for things like the sex positions that are going to be employed, the moment when people climax, the denouement, etc.

Poetry offers much more: the erotic is often represented figuratively while still phenomenally impactful. Yes, most readers are aroused when reading erotic poetry.

However, at the same time, they are in awe at the fine expression, at the sophistication of feeling, at the synesthetic combination of impressions stirred by the senses and so on.

Poetry doesn’t only describe a sexual act more often than not. Erotic poetry is both about sensitivity and sexuality. The readers are kept in suspense that is not necessarily one that has to do with erotic climax or the development of the relationship between two people.

Poetry cultivates another kind of unexpected: it is the emotion that takes the readers by surprise and also makes them vicariously live through the figure (or the voice) in the poem.

This highly enjoyable feeling of living vicariously through characters is particularly exciting in erotic literature, as you may picture and you may well know.

It’s not necessarily a matter of empathizing with characters or getting inside their brain to understand their point of view and perceptions.

When reading erotic literature we live vicariously through others in an equally erotic way: we are aroused almost as the characters are, we experience similar sensations.

However erotic poetry is even more valuable than that, because it allows us to live vicariously not only through our bodily reflexes. Erotic poetry offers us rich and complex emotional content, intellectual pleasure, and erotically stimulating experience.

Naturally not any erotic poem is going to have the same impact on us on a physical level it highly depends on how overt and striking it is.

However, we almost always enjoy reading erotic poetry from a mental standpoint at least. Often we can really identify with an emotional shade described in the poem. Maybe our own understanding of the erotic was awakened through the right words; maybe a feeling we have for someone was struck through a well-placed and evocative image. It is much more than a representation of the sexual act we search for when reading erotic poetry.

How about the metric part? How does form contribute to the beauty of the erotic? Doesn’t rhyme imply a certain rigor? How can poetic rhythm grasp the actual flow of the erotic?

Although some could expect these demands that may go hand in hand with the lyrical genre (though white verse is quite fashionable) to be a hindrance rather than an advantage, the truth is much more nuanced.

Meter has its own charm because it contains an element of the game: it is a challenge to put sexuality into verse! Have you ever thought of comparing rhyme and rhythm in erotic poetry to actual the actual form and pace of the erotic? This is also a metaphor, of course, but all in all, there’s truth to it since meter can play the role a sex position plays.

How come? It’s simple: it gives shape and structure to the erotic, an experience that in itself is the epitome of wilderness. For this reason, poetry as a genre can actually enhance the value of the erotic. It’s not a mere description of a succession of steps that lead to climax.

Erotic poetry has a flow of its own because of metric elements. Each feeling and fascicle of sensations can be put into different verses depicted in so many ways! It’s almost the equivalent of experimenting with sexuality directly, don’t you think so?

Of course, free verse is also an option and a rather successful one. But let’s not forget more conventional forms of poetry. There’s a special charm to them because they organize experience and hold it in restraint. Everybody knows too much freedom may actually undermine pleasure in a way.

It’s already a truism that forbidden fruit tastes better. Aren’t we attracted more to what is not easily accessible — at least not at once? Poetry offers us a sense of structure and refraining.

We don’t have the same kind of delightful experience when reading erotic fiction. We can only imagine the characters involved and build a picture of what everything must look and feel like. But there’s hardly any form of teasing, is there? Metric demands can act as a challenge for people who love erotic poetry — both writers and readers.

For the writer, it’s both a game and a way of sublimating erotic experience through yet another filter and form. Maybe it’s not as appealing and complex to simply describe things as they are.

Imagination and musicality are extremely potent. For readers meter and rhythm enhance the experience. They create music apart from describing the erotic. Sonority adds layers to the feelings or sensation described, just as a color can sometimes express a mood or a specific atmosphere better than a whole stanza.

If you are not yet familiar with all the joys of erotic poetry, now it is time to expand your horizons. Don’t miss out on such an interesting and promising genre only because you are accustomed with other arts or media. Obviously, poetry will not give you the unambiguous concreteness you can find in a film, but it lets your imagination do some work as well.

This is a terrific gift that enhances the potential of the erotic. Your mind is stimulated to reproduce the eroticism it discovers in verse. One could say poetry is a double act of creation: it is not only the poet who creates a world by means of imagery and meter; it is also the reader who transfigures the text into a picture of their own that only builds on what the eyes read.

Every reading is thus also an act of creation, as interpretations enriches the text. Unlike other genres, erotic poetry allows for much more space for what Umberto Eco called opera aperta (the open text).

The poet and the reader work in unison in order to grasp the uniqueness of erotic feeling. Just think about how much reading a novel or short stories offers you out of this multilayered experience. Only then will you understand why erotic poetry has unequaled force and is still widely appreciated and enjoyed.

People love it when their experiences rise above the mundane and this is something erotic poetry promises and delivers without fail. You will simply not find as much pleasure when you read an utterly realistic novel that does nothing more than describing sexual acts in order to turn the readers on. Erotic poetry reflects a specific purity of intent even when it is rather explicit. In erotic poetry aesthetic delight never comes second to anything else.

 

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Top 10 Most Celebrated Erotic Poets: From Sappho to Pablo Neruda

It is a rather difficult task to assort a list of most celebrated poets of erotic literature. I believe many such lists exist today. No such list will appeal to everyone. I am sure, everyone will have a few differences in the choice of selected poets.

With that said (and out of our way), what I present here is my take on this popular subject based on my own research and reading of more than 300 erotic poetry collections.

Most Celebrated Erotic Poets

 

The three criteria’s that I used were: poet’s popularity (determined by their “popularity coefficient”), influence of the poet’s writings on society (then and now), and the quality of work (this factor was more subjective and therefore I preferred to look for the “passion” element in their writing).

This is going to be a long post with plenty of lovely and enjoyable poems. I, therefore, request you to sit tight and enjoy this lovely journey. Here we go with our top 10 most celebrated erotic poets in chronological order.

I: Sappho

Sappho was one of the few female poets of ancient times and wrote lyric poems that could be performed with the accompaniment of a lyre. She was one of the first poets to write in the first person and was known to have romantic feelings mainly for women. Sadly, only fragments of her work are left today and only one of her poems remains in its entirety.

 

Fragment One:

I have not had one word from her
Frankly I wish I were dead
When she left, she wept
great deal; she said to me, This parting must be endured, Sappho,
I go unwillingly.
I said, Go and be happy but remember (you know well)
whom you leave shackled by love
If you forget me, think of our gifts to Aphrodite and
all the loveliness that we shared.

 

Fragment Two: To Atthis

Though in Sardis now,
She thinks of us constantly
And of the life we shared.
She saw you as a goddess
And above all your dancing gave her deep joy.
Now she shines among Lydian women like
The rose-fingered moon
Rising after sundown, erasing all
Stars around her, and pouring light equally
Across the salt sea.

 

These fragments convey a tone of sensuality and a deep desire for the women that Sappho felt affection for. They are beautiful examples of early erotic poetry and serve as an example for subsequent poets.

Sappho remains an inspiration to many contemporary poets and continues to be studied by literary scholars.

For more information visit here.

II: Ovid

Ovid was a Roman poet who was acclaimed in his time for his poetry. He wrote a number of love poems that were collected in works such as The Art of Love.

He was exiled by the emperor Augustus to the barren seaport of Tomi and remained there for the last nine years of his life until his death.

Elegy 5

In summer’s heat and, and mid-time of the day,
To rest my limbs upon a bed I lay;
One window shut, the other open stood,
Which gave such light as twinkles in a wood,
Like twilight glimpse at setting of the sun,
Or night being past, and yet not day begun.
Such light to shamefaced maidens must be shown,
Where they may sport, and seem to be unknown,
Then came Corinna in a long loose gown,
Her white neck hid with tresses hanging down,
Resembling fair Semiramis going to bed
Or Lais of a thousand wooers sped.
I snatched her gown: being thin, the harm was small,
Yet strived she to be covered there withal.
And striving thus, as one that would be cast,
Betraying herself, and yielded at the last.

 

Either she was fool

Either she was fool, or her attire was bad,
Or she was not the wench I wished to have had.
Idly I lay with her, as if I loved not,
And like a burden grieved the bed that moved not.
Though both of us performed our true intent,
Yet could I not cast anchor where I meant.
She on my neck her ivory arms did throw,
Her arms far whiter than the Scythian snow.
And eagerly she kissed me with her tongue,
And under mine her wanton thigh she flung,
Yes, and she soothed me up, and called me Sir,
And used all speech that might provoke or stir.
Yet like as if cold hemlock I had drunk,
It mocked me, hung down the head and sunk.

 

As is evident by these poems Ovid was able to convey the more psychological aspects of love while still using physical imagery.

His poetry is beautiful and a milder form of erotic poetry. Ovid remained a significant literary figure long after his death and was very influential to writers in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

For more information visit here.

III: Petrarch

Petrarch was an Italian poet who wrote prolifically about a woman, Laura, that he encountered on Good Friday in Avignon, France.

He wrote 366 poems based on his love for Laura. He is best known for this sequence which was collected in a song-book entitled Rime Sparse or Scattered Rhymes in English. He was the earliest poet to write using the sonnet.

 

I’d sing of love in such a novel fashion

I’d sing of love in such a novel fashion
That from her cruel side I would draw by force
A thousand sighs a day, kindling again
In her cold mind a thousand high desires;
 
I’d see her lovely face transform quite often
Her eyes grow wet and more compassionate,
Like one who feels regret, when it’s too late
For causing someone’s sorrow by mistake;

 

Alas, so all things now do hold their peace

Alas, so all things now do hold their peace,
Heaven and earth disturbed in no thing;
The beasts, the air, the birds their song do cease;
The nightes car the stars about doth bring.
Calm is the sea, the waves work less and less.
So am not I, whom love, alas, doth wring,
 
Bringing before my face the great increase
Of my desires, whereat I weep and sing
In joy and woe, as in a doubtful ease.
For my sweet thoughts sometimes do pleasure bring.
But by and by the cause of my disease
Gives me a pang that inwardly doth sting,
When that I think what grief it is again
To live and lack the thing should rid my pain.

 

Petrarch’s sonnets are ones of unrequited love and desire. He was never able to be with the woman of his heart’s desires which is reflected in his many sonnets.

His poetry remained influential after his death in 1374 and was translated by Geoffrey Chaucer who incorporated the translations into his own work.

For more information please visit here.

IV: William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was an influential poet and playwright who wrote erotic poems such as Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. He was recognized in his time for his plays and sonnets that were published in a collection entitled The Sonnets of Shakespeare.

 

Venus and Adonis (But, lo! From worth a copse)

But, lo! from forth a copse that neighbours by,
A breeding jennet, lusty, young, and proud,
Adonis’ trampling courser doth espy,
And forth she rushes, snorts and neighs aloud;
The strong-neck’d steed, being tied unto a tree,
Breaketh his rein, and to her straight goes he.
Imperiously he leaps, he neighs, he bounds,
And now his woven girths he breaks asunder;
The bearing earth with his hard hoof he wounds,
Whose hollow womb resounds like heaven’s thunder;
The iron bit he crushes ‘tween his teeth
Controlling what he was controlled with.

 

Sonnet 98: From you I have been absent in the spring

From you I have been absent in the spring
When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him,
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odor and in hue,
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew.
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seemed it winter still, and you away.
As with your shadow I with these did play.

 

These poems are filled with beautiful physical and natural imagery. Shakespeare’s poems are ones filled with desire and flirtation. His poetry although not very erotic in nature remains great testaments to love to this day.

For more information please visit here.

V: Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift was best known in his time for publishing Gulliver’s Travels. He had many romantic relationships in his life but wrote primarily about two of his partners in his love poems.

 

A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed

Corinna, pride of Drury-Lane,
For whom no shepherd sighs in vain;
Never did Covent-Garden boast
So bright a batter’d strolling toast!
No drunken rake to pick her up,
No cellar where on tick to sup;
Returning at the midnight hour,
Four stories climbing to her bower;
Then, seated on a three-legg’d chair,
Takes off her artificial hair;
Now picking out a crystal eye,
She wipes it clean, and lays it by.

To Love

In all I wish, how happy should I be,
Thou grand Deluder, were it not for thee!
So weak thou art, that fools thy power despise;
And yet so strong, thou triumph’st o’er the wise.
Thy traps are laid with such peculiar art,
They catch the cautious, let the rash depart.
Most nets are fill’d by want of thought and care
But too much thinking brings us to thy snare;
Where, held by thee, in slavery we stay,
And throw the pleasing part of life away.
But, what does most my indignation move,
Discretion! thou wert ne’er a friend to Love:
Thy chief delight is to defeat those arts,
By which he kindles mutual flames in hearts;
While the blind loitering God is at his play,
Thou steal’st his golden pointed darts away:
Those darts which never fail; and in their stead
Convey’st malignant arrows tipt with lead

 

These poems reveal Jonathan Swift’s conflicting views on love. The first is very sensual in nature with descriptions of a woman undressing while the second is his perspective on love. Both poems reveal a darker side to romance.

The poems referenced can be found by visiting this link and this one.

VI: Robert Burns

Robert Burns was a Scottish poet who wrote prolifically about love and had multiple romantic partners. Some of his most famous poems about love include My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose, and My Girl, She’s Airy.

A Red, Red Rose

O my luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly played in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till the seas gang dry.

 

Anna, Thy Charms

Anna, thy charms my bosom fire,
And waste my soul with care;
But ah! how bootless to admire, 
When fated to despair!
Yet in thy presence, lovely Fair,
To hope may be forgiven;
For sure ‘twere impious to despair
So much in sight of heaven.

 

Robert Burns’s love poems show that he was a romantic who loved deeply and thought of his partners with great affection. His poetry is still very popular to this day.

The poems referenced can be found by visiting here at poets.org.

VII: Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman was one of the first major American poets. He wrote a number of poems on the subject of love and helped to make sex an acceptable topic in mainstream literature.

To You

Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands,
Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners,
troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,
Your true soul and body appear before me,
They stand forth out of affairs, out of commerce, shops,
work, farms, clothes, the house, buying, selling, eating,
drinking, suffering, dying.
Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem,
I whisper with my lips close to your ear,
I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you.
 

A Woman Waits For Me

A woman waits for me, she contains all, nothing is lacking,
Yet all were lacking if sex were lacking, or if the moisture of
the right man were lacking.
Sex contains all, bodies, souls,
Meanings, proofs, purities, delicacies, results, promulgations,
Songs, commands, health, pride, the maternal mystery, the
seminal milk,
All hopes, benefactions, bestowals, all the passions, loves,
beauties, delights of the earth,
All the governments, judges, gods, follow’d persons of the
earth,
These are contain’d in sex as parts of itself and justifications of itself.
Without shame the man I like knows and avows the
deliciousness of his sex,
Without shame the woman I like knows and avows hers.

 

These poems are filled with passion and great sentiment for the ones that Whitman loved. The first poem describes the beauty of a woman he was in a relationship with while the second describes the wonders of sex.

The poems referenced can be found by visiting here.

VIII: Lord Byron

Lord Byron was perhaps the most famous of the Romantic poets. During his lifetime he had two main lovers, his half-sister and his cousin, who inspired many of his poems.

 

When We Two Parted

When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted,
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sank chill on my brow –
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame:
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

 

Epistle to Augusta

My sister! my sweet sister! if a name
Dearer and purer were, it should be thine;
Mountains and seas divide us, but I claim
No tears, but tenderness to answer mine:
Go where I will, to me thou art the same –
A loved regret which I would not resign.
There yet are two things in my destiny, –
A world to roam through, and a home with thee.
The first were nothing -had I still the last,
It were the haven of my happiness;
But other claims and other ties thou hast,
And mine is not the wish to make them less.
A strange doom is thy father’s sons’s, and past
Recalling, as it lies beyond redress;
Reversed for him our grandsire’s fate of yore,
He had no rest at sea, nor I on shore.

 

These poems reflect some of the turmoil and despair of love. They are filled with beautiful imagery and enable the reader to empathize with him. The poems referenced can be found by visiting here.

IX: Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an English poet whose poetry was intensely sexual. He was a passionate lover who was responsible for the suicide of his wife. Irony?

Love’s Nocturn

Master of the murmuring courts
Where the shapes of sleep convene!
Lo! my spirit here exhorts
All the powers of thy demesne
For their aid to woo my queen.
What reports
Yield thy jealous courts unseen?
 
Vaporous, unaccountable,
Dreamland lies forlorn of light,
Hollow like a breathing shell.
Ah! that from all dreams I might
Choose one dream and guide its flight!
I know well
What her sleep should tell to-night.
 

The Stream’s Secret

What thing unto mine ear
Wouldst thou convey, what secret thing,
O wandering water ever whispering?
Surely thy speech shall be of her.
Thou water, O thou whispering wanderer,
What message dost thou bring?
 
Say, hath not Love leaned low
This hour beside thy far well-head,
And there through jealous hollowed fingers said
The thing that most I long to know
Murmuring with curls all dabbled in thy flow
And washed lips rosy red?

 

These poems reflect some of the heartache and despair of love. In these poems, Rossetti was able to convey the emotional turmoil of love and use beautiful natural imagery to describe how he felt about love.

The poems referenced can be found by visiting here.

X: Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda was one of the first major Hispanic poets.

He wrote heavily about love in collections such as Veinte poemas de amor y una cancion desperada (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair) and Cien sonetas de amor (One Hundred Love Sonnets).

 

One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII

I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.
 
I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself, 
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
from the earth lives dimly in my body.
 
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where, 
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine, 
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.

 

The Song of Despair

The memory of you emerges from the night around me.
The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea.
Deserted like the wharves at dawn.
It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one!
 
You swallowed everything, like distance.
Like the sea, like time. In you everything sank!
It was the happy hour of assault and the kiss.
The hour of the spell that blazed like a lighthouse.
 
In the childhood of mist my soul, winged and wounded.
Lost discoverer, in you everything sank!
You girdled sorrow, you clung to desire,
sadness stunned you, in you everything sank!
 
I made the wall of shadow draw back,
beyond desire and act, I walked on.
Oh flesh, my own flesh, woman whom I loved and lost,
I summon you in the moist hour, I raise my song to you.

 

These poems are filled with desire for the women of Neruda’s affections and show how passionate Neruda was about love. These poems convey a sense of unconditional love and are great sentiments to the power of love.

Both poems referenced can be found by visiting here and here.

 

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What do you think about these poets and erotic poems? Do you agree or do you have alternative suggestions or poets I should look into? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

A Brief History of Erotic Poetry | The Evolution of Eros in Literature

I: Ancient Times

Erotic poetry has been written since as far back as ancient times with ancient Greece, in particular, producing such poets as Erato who was mythologized as the muse of erotic poetry and mimic imitation and represented holding a lyre according to classical Greek writers (Atsma, n. pag.)

Brief History of Erotic Poetry

Another famous Greek poet was Sappho who was known for writing poetry from the island she resided on, the isle of Lesbos. Sappho wrote poems that were primarily focused on the topics of love, desire, and reflection.

She was a prolific poet and lyricist who had women sent to her island to be educated in the arts. Unfortunately, only one poem of hers in its entirety exists today. She was one of the first known female poets (North, n. pag.)

Roman civilization produced the well-known poet, Ovid, who is recognized for Amores (The Loves); Medicamina Faciei (Cosmetics, the Art of Beauty); Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love); and Remedia Amoris (Remedies for Love).

He was a celebrated poet in his time who was exiled by the Roman emperor, Augustine, to Tomis, a Black Sea port on a remote portion of the Roman Empire (Kenney 1).

Another Roman poet was Gaius Valerius Catullus who was known for translating works by Sappho and writing poetry dedicated to his two lovers, Juventius, his boyfriend, and Clodia, a married woman accused of killing her husband during her affair with Catullus.

Clodia’s name in verse was Lesbia and the poems depict his feelings for her, but also how he criticized her immorality and infidelity (Bocquey 1).

Sextus Propertius was a Roman poet whose only surviving work consists of four books of couplets that are love poems dedicated to his mistress of lower social status, Cynthia. He is recognized for allowing his predominantly male audience to have a good glimpse into his romantic relationship with Cynthia (Cook 1).

II: Medieval Period

As time progressed, more poets emerged in Italy including Guido Cavalcanti and Petrarch. Guido Cavalcanti was best known for publishing Canzone (A lady asks me).

Cavalcanti was friends with a significant literary figure, Dante Aligheri, and Dante was said to have thought of him as the father of modern love poetry (Ruud n. pag.)

Petrarch was known for writing love poems dedicated to a woman he allegedly encountered in a church in Avignon on Good Friday of 1327. From 1327 on he began writing poetry dedicated to this woman and his Canzoniere (Scattered Rhyme) represented his great love for the woman in a collection of 366 lyric poems.

What is significant about this work is his use of the sonnet which became more popular after this work was published. His poems focused on the sexual frustration he experienced from never being able to be alone with the woman, Laura, and the emotions he expressed stemming from this great love (Ruud n. pag).

However, Italy did not produce all of the great poets of this period. Geoffrey Chaucer, a British poet best known for publishing The Canterbury Tales, was also known for depicting the love between Troilus and Criseyde in Troilus and Criseyde which was based on Boccaccio’s Teseida.

Chaucer is considered to be the father of English literature and for making English a more accepted language in literature (Ruud n. pag).

During this same period, a Welsh poet, Dafydd ap Gwilym, was making great contributions to the Welsh literary tradition. Dafydd has been credited with writing over a hundred love poems about the pursuit of love, its successes and failures, and the moods of being in love.

Throughout his poems, Dafydd praised women on their body parts and hardly ever on their dress, jewelry, or superficial appearance.

III: Sixteenth Century

The first major Italian poet of this period was Ludovico Ariosto who wrote sonnets dedicated to his wife, Alessandra, who he married in 1526.

He was most famous though for his three-volume epic poem, Orlando Innamorato (Orlando in Love), which depicted Orlando’s passion for Angelica and the love affair between Ruggiero and Rinaldo’s sister Bradamante.

In the mid-1500s, a French poet, Maurice Sceve, emerged into fame while only a student when he allegedly discovered the tomb of Petrarchâ€s Laura in Avignon.

In the beginning of his literary career, he wrote short descriptive poems known as blasons on anatomy including poems on the eyebrow, a tear, a neck, a forehead, and a sigh.

During this period he met 16-year-old Pernette du Guillet and developed a close friendship with her. Her marriage to another man led Sceve to write his longest work, Delie, Obiect de plus haulte vertu (Delie, a subject of the highest virtue).

Another writer in the mid-1500s, the French poet, Pierre de Ronsard, tried to mask the intense sexual experiences in his early love poems by infusing classical mythology into his poems about his lover, Cassandre Salviati.

He had numerous affairs throughout his life and addressed his poems to multiple partners. He particularly wrote poems about these women including such names as Cassandre, Genevre, Jeanne, Marguerite, Marie, and Helene.

The poems he wrote about Helene were collected in Sonets pour Helene (1578) and were some of his best works as he wrote from the viewpoint of a jaded lover who began to see love as a physical desire according to the “Encyclopedia of Renaissance Literature.

In the late 1500s, Sir Philip Sidney produced The Countess of Pembrokeâ€s Arcadia, a romance in five books dedicated to his muse, his sister, Mary. Arcadia was filled with damsels in distress, knights, subverted gender roles, and sexual freedom.

Sidney was also known for his sequence of sonnets, Astrophel and Stella, which depicted the relationship between Astrophel and Stella.

During this same period, Edmund Spenser, a British poet celebrated for his The Faerie Queene, married Elizabeth Boyle and described his love for her in Amoretti, a series of sonnets.

His writing of love poems continued with the publication of Four Hymns of love and beauty and Prothalamion, a song describing the betrothal of two daughters of the Earl of Spencer.

IV: Seventeenth Century

William Shakespeare was the most renowned poet at the end of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the 17th century.

Shakespeare’s first published work was the narrative poem, Venus and Adonis, which at the time was his most popular work due to the erotic content within the poem. He was, of course, best known for his large body of dramatic works but his poetry is still alluded to in contemporary literature.

In the late 1600s, John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, achieved fame for his poetry that specialized in the libertine tradition which according to The Facts on File Companion to British Poetry, 17th, and 18th Centuries is a tradition that reflects the values of the skeptic who questions traditional moral ideas.

He along with other poets was known to use sexual references to express disgust. Libertines were extremely interested in women preferring them over men. Wilmot’s legacy remains in his profane poetry that gave power to women at a time when women were very much considered subordinate to men.

A former British spy, Aphra Benn, was one of the first popular female English poets in the late 17th century. She served as a spy in Holland for England but had to plead the English court for payment. She ended up in debtors prison but a man she had met in Holland, Tom Killigrew, may have paid her way out of prison.

She became fascinated with sex and power from her time engaged in espionage and had many lovers one of which inspired her most widely circulated poems including The Disappointment; The Dream; Love Armed; On Her Loving Two Equally; On the Death of Waller; To the Fair Clarinda; and The Willing Mistress.

Behn was best known in her time for the sexual imagery she incorporated into her writing according to The Facts on File Companion to British Poetry, 17th, and 18th Centuries.

V: Eighteenth Century

When the 18th century began, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was the first significant German writer and poet and was known for writing great lyrical poetry. He was also a researcher who conducted scientific research in evolutionary biology, anatomy, and the theory of color and critically analyzed non-Western literature (Burt n. pag).

His work was widely admired in his time and he contributed several significant works to the literary canon including Faust, Erotic Poems, and The Sorrows of Young Werther.

An Irish poet, Jonathan Swift, widely recognized for the publication of Gulliver’s Travels, wrote about his romantic relationship with the daughter of the steward of a statesman and diplomat, Esther Johnson.

He characterized her as Stella in his poems and she was a significant part of his life until her death. However, she was not the only woman who dominated his life. The second woman, Esther Vanhomrigh, was known as Vanessa in his poems such as Cadenus and Vanessa.

He was known in his time as a man who was involved in many romantic relationships but these two were the most important in his life (Brackett n. pag).

A significant Scottish poet, Robert Burns, wrote heavily about sensuality and love in poems such as A Red, Red Rose; A Fond Kiss and Then We Sever; My Girl, Sheâ€s Airy; and The Fornicator.

These poems described his relationships with women and the physical aspects of love. He was married to one woman but was known to flirt with a number of other women (Hager n. pag.)

VI: Nineteenth Century

Walt Whitman was a major American poet throughout the 19th century whose poetry contained autoerotic and homoerotic imagery.

He described his love for his comrades in works such as the classic Leaves of Grass including poems such as From Pent-Up Aching Rivers and As I Lay with My Head in Your Lap. Whitman is recognized for helping to make sex an acceptable subject in mainstream literature (Huff n. pag.)

Charles Baudelaire, a French poet, wrote a number of erotic poems inspired by a serious of romantic affairs. One woman in particular, Jeanne Duval, who he met in 1842, inspired his La chevelure (The Head of Hair).

He also wrote poetry about two other women, Marie Daubrun, an actress, and Apollonie Sabatier, who led a salon for artists and writers. The first collection of his erotic poetry, Les fleurs du Mal was published in 1857 and contained erotic, satanic, and lesbian themes. It was not well received publicly and six poems were banned from public reading (Diamond n. pag.)

George Gordon, Lord Byron, a British poet, first became involved in passionate relationships with other men while being educated at Harrow. He then fell in love with his cousin, Mary Chaworth, who inspired poems such as Hills of Annesley, The Adieu, Stanzas to a Lady on Leaving England, and The Dream.

During this relationship, he began writing to his half-sister, Augusta, who became his lover and wife. He wrote about this relationship in works such as The Bride of Abydos and Parisina, Manfred, and Cain (Bloom n. pag).

Friedrich Holderin was a German poet who wrote several famous poems about a love affair he was engaged in. The woman was often referred to as Diotima in his poems. His poems about Diotima were classical in nature and considered among the greatest German lyrical poems (Diamond n. pag.)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti emerged in the mid-1800s as a British poet whose work was intensely sexual. In poems such as “Nuptial Sleep and The Stream’s Secret he reflected on sex and passion.

Rossetti was a passionate and romantic lover who was responsible for the suicide of his wife. He was a member of the pre-Raphaelite school of poetry that often included poets who were also painters (Flesch, n. pag.)

VII: Twentieth Century to the Present

As the twentieth century began erotic poetry began to evolve. In the early twentieth century, an Egyptian poet, Constantine Cavafy wrote poems that influenced Greek poets. His poetry was mainly known for its open expression of homosexuality and its themes of love and desire (Diamond, n. pag).

A Japanese poet, Yosano Akiko at the dawn of the twentieth century was one of the first women to have complete work published in Japan.

The collection, Tangled Hair, contained poems about sexual desire and the experience of falling in love. Akiko wrote these poems based on her relationship with the man who would become her husband (Arana, n. pag.)

One of the first major Hispanic poets, Pablo Neruda, published a series of poems about love entitled Veinte poemas de amor y una cancion desperada (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair) that expressed how he felt about love.

In poems such as “I like for you to be still and Tonight I Can Write, Neruda was able to enthrall romantic partners and depicted his own series of love affairs.

Later in his life he published a collection of love sonnets entitled Cien sonetos de amor (One Hundred Love Sonnets depicting his relationship with Matilde Urrutia who became his third wife (Beasley, n. pag.)

Another Hispanic poet from Nicaragua, Giocanda Belli, wrote a poem that according to literary critics was vaginal poetry and shameless pornography.

In poems such as And God Made Me Woman Belli wrote verses that depicted her love for her body. Her poems about love and sex were collected in works such as Sobre la grama (On the Grass; Amor insurrecto (Insurrectional love); and El ojo de la mujer (Woman’s Eye) (Roof, n. pag).

An Argentinian poet, Alfonsina Storni, was known for her poems about passionate love which were contained in works such as La inquietud de rosal (Anxiety of the Rosebush); El dulce dano (Sweet Pain); Irremediablemente (Irremediably); and Languidez (Languor).

She was controversial in her time for having an illegitimate child with a man she had a romantic relationship with (Roof, n. pag.)

The Indian-born British poet, Lawrence Durrell, wrote several volumes of poetry based on the classical Greek tradition that was considered sensual in nature. He described the imagery of love and the senses that lovers felt while together (Stade and Karbiener n. pag.)

A significant Palestinian poet, Mahmud Darwish, wrote poems that alluded to works from ancient Greece, Mesopotamia, pre-Islamic Arabia, Persia, and India. One poem that he wrote, Lesson from the Kama Sutra, depicted erotic love in a sensual manner that was poetic and filled with a sense of desire and yearning (Ghazoul, n. pag.)

The first major Haitian poet, Rene Depestre, depicted women in an erotic manner in poems such as Alleluia pour une femme-jardin (Hallelujah for a Garden-Woman) and Eros dans un train chinois (Eros in a Chinese train).

These poems helped develop the style of poetry referred to as erotic-magical realism (Diamond, n. pag).

As is evident by these poets and their works, erotic poetry has evolved over time from the classical tradition of Ancient Greece to more contemporary works that embrace controversial themes such as homosexuality. These poems are filled with passion and display admiration for the beauty of love.

Early erotic poets may have been considered scandalous in their time but it is clear that they are more widely accepted today especially with the publication of novels like Fifty Shades of Grey.

 

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Naked Soul Blog Goes Live | Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!Hello friends!

The Naked Soul blog is finally online. We have just launched it. There might be few minor glitches (and that is what I need you to find out). My goal this month is to collect feedback for the website.

Tell me all about it. Do you like the colors? Do you like the font size and style? Do you think the sentences are too long? Are the paragraphs too long? Is the content interesting? Are they boring? What is your favorite page? Which page is Um..meh?

What else would you like to see on this blog? Tell me anything & everything. For next four weeks, I am all ears and I’ll make those changes at the end of November when we will finally release the blog for the rest of the world.

The purpose of the blog is threefold:

1. To do book reviews on books being written and produced by young and new writers.

2. Feature interesting, new and upcoming authors who have a following of 1000 or more.

3. To publish high quality, well researched “how-to” articles on writing, publishing, audience building, life in general, love & romance, travel & culture, and random fun topics.

If there is any topic that is particularly interesting to you, please contact me and I’ll give them higher priority!!

And, yes, Happy Halloween!!

Boooo!