This love letter to my readers was supposed to be written three months ago. My blogging is as timely as ever.

October 16, 2011 was a very special day for me. It marked five years since Book 1 came out. It’s never been a hot seller by mainstream publishing standards, but it has most certainly sold. It’s still selling at a steady rate and I do very little to publicize it (that’s changing as of this year). It inspired other people to write similar books or do similar things. I like to think it was a moment where people connected to the industry saw there was a need to take it seriously as a business and they could create business-related offerings without unnecessary justifications or the worry that there wasn’t a market.

Would I rewrite it? Oh yes. But I recently re-read it and it wasn’t quite as bad as I remembered it being. (This has nothing to do with what I think about its value to others, only what I — the author — thinks about my own writing from the perspective of self-criticism.)

A lot has happened to me in the last five years. A lot has happened to the economy in the last five years. Still, that book has helped male readers stand in an escort’s shoes and has helped many woman understand what escort work requires from them before they take their first client. That was the whole point of the book. I get feedback from readers almost every day. It’s always humbling, especially the positive ones (this doesn’t mean I’m a free-advice hotline, though I always want to help). You’re all very welcome.

Book 2 came out three years ago. Though some sections of it are already dated (that’s what happens when you discuss Internet technology and specific websites — sigh), it too has helped many escorts take the next step. I see this on their websites. I have seen some of my early Book 2 readers survive and thrive in this economy because they absorbed the lessons well — and then took off on their own. I helped them learn to fish and that was the whole point of Book 2.

This summer I knew a reprint was in its near future. That turned out to be November. Quite a moment for me. So thank you all. Such a huge “thank you.” I can’t even tell you. Even though it was a small print run, both first and second runs, it’s still gratifying and humbling beyond belief.

I have a problem many authors would kill their firstborns for…people constantly asking when Books 3 and 4 will be out. I have no set time line for them, but work on Book 3 starts this week. Yes, finally. I’m in that space and am ready to go.

And finally…I’ve entered the 21st century and both books are in ebook form. They were actually turned into ebooks nearly a year ago, I sat around and failed to bug-check them. Then I did that process and now they’re being sold on Kindle (soon to be in iBookstore, B&N, Kobo, Sony Reader Store, Copia and selling off the book’s site too). They aren’t re-written, they’re the same as is, only in digital form. This ebook-thing is exciting. The technology has finally caught up to where I needed it to be and I feel comfortable doing this. The next step is to write short books just for e-release and hopefully…start producing others’ work for e-release (and selected small print runs too). This turns my company into a small press — which has been my ultimate goal from Day 1. I have no set time line for accomplishing this but the goal is now much closer than it was when my company was just a rough draft of a book no one thought would sell, a bank account and an idea.

The whole reason I can even make these plans are because of my readers — the vast majority of whom are my fellow sex workers. That is the sole reason. There is no other cause. I am grateful. I enjoy escort work and meeting clients (though I have less and less tolerance for the non-serious wasting my shortened time) and will continue to enjoy being an escort on a limited basis. My heart is with my books. I’ve been a reader since a very young age (I won an award in first grade for reading the most books in a year) and a scribbler almost as long. My books are my babies and they’re finally growing up!! I created them but only my readers can provide their growth. They’re my babies but they live in the world of my readers.

For a kinda-sorta-writer, there is nothing so sublime as knowing you created something that is wanted. I’m not crowing about a cheap ego-boost. Quite the opposite. It’s often surreal to observe how I’ve influenced my own industry — and not just in the US. It’s the scariest thing in the world knowing that what I’m writing is affecting real people with real lives. It’s paralyzing; and part of the reason I haven’t sat down to work on Book 3 all last year. My humble, deep gratitude to my readers is tempered with fear. I have responsibility to ya’ll and it’s bigger than I thought it would be. Regardless of my churning thoughts around these books, I am writing Book 3 this year. I am at that place: mentally, emotionally, physically (I’m a writer who must have a nest). Question answered.

To my readers — each book sold has been sold to a distinct individual and that’s a lot of people. I sincerely thank you. Each one of you.

16 thoughts on “gratitude and growth

  1. Yeah.

    So glad you are happy and finding that peace. So well deserved. Wishing you nothing but hte greatest of success and looking forward to reading and learning more from book.

    All the best and heres to the greatest success for 2012.

  2. Dear Amanda:
    When you first started to write your books, what were the most common questions that you and other adult companionship providers have regarding the business as well as conducting your day to day business? Also if you had a chance in the seminal stages of your career what kinds of questions would you have asked experienced madams and call girls like Xaviera Hollander and Ms. Barrows and how would you have used their experiences to help sharpen your skills in the business? Also I was wondering at some point would you have a mentoring program or consulting on some basis for those women who are currently in the companionship field and who would like to have some mentoring in various phases of the business in addition to your book? Finally what are some of the aspects that you are going to cover in this book and at some point would you also have an accompanying DVD that would be applicable to certain situations? Perhaps you can become a training consultant to some of the major agencies in the area when they would hire new companionship professionals?

  3. Lionel — My entire book series is basically answering those questions. I’m writing what I wanted to read when I started out and apparently I’m not the only one who wants to know these things. That’s the rock-bottom answer. Listing all the questions would take a book (actually — 4!).

    I’ve read the books of various madams and some of other call-girls (though most not published recently as I do not wish their experiences/writing to influence my work). They rarely answer all the questions I want to know but they also often give plenty of info I never thought to ask. However, no one I’ve read (aside from Dolores French) were writing a business manual.

    While consulting seems like the obvious gig for me — due to laws in the US, it’s called “pandering” or “promoting prostitution” and is a felony. This is true whether I charge for my advice or not. Creating an entire side-business out of being an escort-consultant is not something I wish to do in this legal climate. I haven’t come up with a good solution that would give my audience what they want (pick my brain sessions) and give me what I want (safety from prosecution and payment). Don’t you just love the effects of the cat-and-mouse game of criminalization?

    I will not “train” escorts for agencies. Hell no.

    Books 3 and 4 are outlined on their site if you want to know what they’ll be covering.

    No need for a DVD. Sex workers who are interested in learning tend to be readers and that seems to satisfy them just fine. (Sex workers who can afford it often have extensive libraries. For whatever reason we tend to be readers.) The only requests I’ve had are for ebooks, which I have now fulfilled!

  4. Dear Amanda:
    Would the seminars that the desiree Alliance would have be appropriate venues for discussion or would organization’s such as the one’s in DC be a good place for you to give seminars within a closed environment for those who are of the demimond? Just a thought

  5. Lionel — I’ve spoken at 3 DA conferences, multiple times.

    These venues aren’t “Amanda seminars.” They’re for all sex workers and usually the focus of the business-based topics are rather general (they have to be). The focus of these conferences are activist-based BECAUSE…if they were “teaching how-to” classes, then everyone there could be arrested under felony charges (read my answer above).

    There was a Las Vegas conference just for Internet escorts this past fall. I did not investigate it but hopefully it was useful for the attendees.

    Generally, ANYTHING that is a “how-to” class/conference that is public knowledge puts everyone at risk.

  6. Amanda,
    Congratulations on the 5th year anniversary of book #1. Writeing a book and getting it published is a major achivement. You should be proud of yourself. You are a talented writer and a woman of many talents. Good luck with your future projects.

  7. Amanda, I’m actually grateful, that you did write the books (and the blog) and help us, who aren’t escorts, get some insight and at least some understanding of your business.

  8. I really enjoy your writing, and can obviously tell that others do too. You have been my muse lately, helping me to see who I really am. I also appreciate your responses. Nice personal touch. I would like to give back to you by buying your books from your website, but do not want the hard copies showing up on my doorstep. Any suggestions?

  9. Michael — Thank you and you’re welcome.

    As for book-buying you can: buy the ebooks OR buy the print copies and have them sent to your favorite provider instead. 😉 Thank you for asking!

  10. Thanks for the advice. My only provider is actually going to retire, so was not interested in your books. So I bought the ebooks. Talk about eye opening. Now I see more depth in your blog about work. Really, you are multiple occupations rolled into one, therapist, fitness guru & businesswoman. The amount of necessary compassion was touching. Glad I actually started reading your first book. I also like the jewels you drop about what clients are like, and their motivations. I am still working out what my own motivations are for seeing a provider. So it helps me to see myself in your comments. I am envious of your clients, and hope they do appreciate who you are, and what you provide. The part about recharging really hit it on the head fore too. Thanks again, good luck with book 3, and stay true to yourself.

  11. Michael — Sorry about her retirement! Hope she can recommend someone new for you.

    Yup, the work is not just laying around having sex — contrary to what most people think.

    Some clients appreciate me, some do not. That’s the way it goes for anyone. But thank you for the kind words! Wishing you well on your own journey.

    No worries about staying true to myself, I’m stuck that way.

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