Writing Erotica from the Riviera Maya: Cutting My Self-Publishing Burn Rate

I expect no sympathy for this, but I confess it’s a challenge to get back to work now that I’m exploring the Riviera Maya.

My first day in a small beach town where I arrived to stay at a house I rented sight-unseen, I got lost and walked for many blocks in blast-furnace heat. I’d skipped breakfast to take the bus, so I was ravenous. I set out to find the grocery store. My impression of living in a sauna peaked as I walked block after block with heat radiating from the pavement and white walls. I may have come close to heatstroke.

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My preferred form of heat: a charismatic dominant man.

At noon, the sidewalks on that street have no shade. I’m fair-haired and blue-eyed, and most of my ancestors came from northern countries. Locals gave me directions, but I don’t pronounce the name of the local grocery chain correctly. To me, it sounds like there’s a diphthong with a rolled R. My ears and mouth aren’t getting it. I repeat it every time I hear someone say it, but I flub it. I’ve been getting compliments on my Spanish, but this one crucial word is beyond me, so far. I trekked for blocks out of my way. I suspect I got the wrong directions due to this communication failure.

Intent on sparing myself from heat and overexertion for a few days, I spent close to 1,000 pesos on groceries. I’ve never used pesos before this trip, so the numbers still alarm me. That’s about $50 U.S. Thanks to my preference for whole, unprocessed foods, my food bucks go pretty far. In future, I’ll splurge on imported coffee until I can get someone to help me. I’m keen on trying local products and supporting the economy, but I’m picky about coffee. The stuff labeled “espresso” is barely a medium roast. Everything else is good, including the prepared mole sauce that I’m putting on almost everything.

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I’m staying at the house for at least a week and a half. It’s even cheaper than the Cancun Centro hotels where I started my adventure. I have the entire house to myself including a walled garden with tropical plants and birds. Most important of all, it has the essentials of life here: wifi, AC and a coffee maker. I delight in the fridge with a freezer, too, and the blender, microwave and hotplate.

There’s not much I wouldn’t have done for a coffee maker by that point, so a bus ride to an unknown town to meet a stranger was nothing.

So far, I haven’t found hotels in my price range that have a coffee maker. Not a complaint, considering that I scored decent rooms in the $25 to $29 a night range on and near Avenue Tulum in the best area for wifi cafes, good restaurants and buses to the Museo Maya and Mayan sites. That’s with the local 17% taxes on hotel rooms included. The rooms each had a safe, which was great for stowing my laptop for excursions, and both of the hotels accommodated my request for a quiet room. Still, having to leave every day in search of coffee, ouch. I often spent the mornings uncaffeinated because I’m not keen on interacting with people until after I get some work done. I regret not getting a heating coil.

The house comes with bicycles, helmets, huge bottles of water, bagged ice, a map of the town and fresh bananas. It has a king bed, nearly new stainless steel fridge, big kitchen table, kick-ass remote controlled AC, music system, tile floors, kitchen & bathroom skylight, ceiling fans and wonderful local carvings on the walls.  The host drove me here from the bus station and wouldn’t accept payment. A house with everything I need, utilities included and no deposit, all for 15 bucks a night. I’m kind of in shock. To put this in perspective, this is a deal compared to other vacation rentals on the coast, which is why I’m in a little town away from Cancun. One glance at the listing and I grabbed it.

Writing & Publishing in the Yucatan

Yesterday, I hit my stride and worked from when I got up until past 1 am. So much to do, I had to keep focusing on the task at hand to keep from becoming overwhelmed. I got rid of almost everything when I left California, and it was a distracting and wrenching process. For the first time since I started publishing, I took several days off. I rarely take one day off. Now I’m playing catch-up.

I published a Kira Max megabundle, Scary Hot: 18 Dom Tales. It’s a bargain box set of all the stories in the first two Kira Max bundles, Off Limits and Not So Innocent. I finally created and published a new edition of Bound Capture, The Billionaires Club 4 & 5. It includes a preview of Hunted, The Billionaires Club #6. Hunted is the first episode from Gabe’s perspective. This edition of Bound Capture also has a bonus excerpt of Innocent Captive, the first episode of my new nasty Mayan Apocalypse serial. That serial is my excuse for coming down here to visit Mayan ruins. I’m sad the book isn’t performing well, but perhaps it’ll pick up when I publish the rest of it. These 5-star reviews encourage me. 🙂

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“*****Fabulous

By LM Kindle Reader on August 2, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

[…] The sex is raw and thrilling, It makes me want more!!!!”
“*****Five Stars

By lular hamilton on August 20, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Awesome!”
BTW, in keeping with fair use, I use only a line or two from longer reviews, as much as I’d enjoy presenting every review in entirety. You can find the complete reviews on the book page.

I made book covers and spent hours setting up promos yesterday. I updated my September publishing plan. I have to do more releases this month to make up for last month’s shortfall.

I love my readers

The sweetest thing about catching up was finding wonderful reviews from readers. I hadn’t looked in days, so it was like opening presents. There were a couple on Amazon UK, which hasn’t happened often, so those were a total surprise. Here’s a delightful 5-star on the new Scary Hot megabundle on the U.S. site:

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“*****Super hot
By Robin Lawless on September 10, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was so good that I need to read more from this author”

I appreciate that so much. It’s terrific to get reviews at any time, yet getting them right after the book goes live is a huge boost! Those early reviews can help inspire other readers to try the book, and that means a lot to me. It means I get to continue to eat and write fiction, to be real about it.

Lest anyone gets the idea that I’m in a luxury bracket, a big motivation for this trip was that I discovered I could live in other countries for less money than it takes to barely survive in a constant state of financial stress in California.

That conclusion is based on the cost of airfare and all expenses. I even splurged on a direct flight. Blogs by digital nomads were a major source of inspiration. Once I ran across the concept of reducing my burn rate, the speed with which I go through money, I realized that’s my key priority for this stage of my life and business. By functioning at a lower cost of living, I can continue increasing my advertising budget and growing my company. In California, I was always one tiny setback away from another disaster. South of the border, if I have a low cash flow month, I’ve got lots of options for reducing expenses, without enduring the still unmentionable hardships I survived in my home state.

I want to thank all of you for reading, and thank my friends, promoters,  and all of you who leave reviews on my books. This has been a far more strange,  difficult, and yet wonderful journey than I could have imagined. Your words of appreciation move and inspire me more than I know how to express. And you helped me get back to work when there’s a white sand beach with turquoise waters a bicycle ride away. That’s how fabulous you are!

PS: No offense, but I’m not going to give out specific information on where I stay or other sensitive information. I enjoy people in general, but some people are insane. I’m sure anyone reasonable will respect my decision to maintain my privacy and that of my contacts on my travels. Also, I don’t enable comments because moderating them would cut into my writing time! Feel free to say hi on Twitter: @HughesEmpire.

Love, Q

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