Okay, so I’ve rolled my eyes at the ever increasing amount of erotica in my non-erotica reading. This isn’t a simple matter of “you got chocolate in my peanut butter, yum!” When you get erotica in my romance, it might be sort of kind of excusable, at least when the erotica is relevant to the plot — it rarely is — well written — it VERY rarely is — and interesting — it never is, not in romances — but when you get erotica in my mystery, I start to go all frowny face.
Look, bub, unless she’s hiding a blade in her vagina and is going to slice the detective’s throat any minute now, I don’t want to hear, see, or be told about what went into her vagina and how many times. No, Mr. Bond, I don’t want to know what you did with Gold Finger. Or … never mind.
And when it comes to getting erotica into my historical non-fiction… Well! Yeah, some people really were history’s greatest sluts, but when you go out of your way to mention that the common people were doing it on the streets, and then to introduce the chapter with a hot-and-heavy blow by blow (sorry, it had to be said) of people doing it on the streets — and the heartrug, and in the garden, and behind the carriage! — I get truly upset. I read these things for research. Research, dang it, and unless you are disclosing some new anatomical arrangement or some novel position that existed only in this time and place, I don’t want to hear it. (“Do the Robespierre. It will make you lose your head!”)
I’ve classified this as a disease of traditional publishing. In a panic, unable to realize that it’s political correctness that has killed reading-for-fun, they stampede ahead towards more political correctness, more by-the-numbers inclusiveness (Now more inclusive!), see the numbers fall, can’t figure out why (people with excellent liberal arts education aren’t made of stupid, but they’ve been trained to appear to be) and then discover that — wow — sex sells. Even vapid, improbable implied sex with sparkly vampires or explicit even more improbable S & M with cardboard cutouts.
And then they scream like cartoon characters (people with excellent liberal arts educations aren’t cartoon characters, but they often act like them) “More. More Twilight. More fifty shades.” All without realizing that when it comes to badly written romance or erotica a little constitutes a surfeit and like the jokes in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress that are “funny only once” these are “salable only once” or a very few times.
Instead, they take from this that “Sex sells” and then I get erotica in my peanut butt– wait, no. In my mystery and while mystery in my erotica (what is this? A Hemipene?) might be acceptable, the opposite is not. Or not in massive doses. (“No, Mrs. Higgins, your removal of your clothes doesn’t distract me from my acquiring of clues to…. Oooh. Is that a grappling hook? What an unusual location for it!”)
But this at least is traditional publishing doing what traditional publishing does. “More, more sparkling vampires. Bring out the glitter!”
However, this weekend I found a new one and it’s indie.
No, seriously kids. SERIOUSLY. These are at most 5k words, are selling for 2.99 — okay, so I sell my shorts for 2.99. Uh, my short STORIES. But they’re not improbable copulation with the ancestors of birds!
What’s more interesting these women are MAKING A LIVING from this.
I take back everything I said about traditional publishing. Perhaps their problem is that they haven’t gone far enough. Perhaps…
Well, no, let’s recap. What you can take from this is that NO, that story you have in the drawer is not too stupid to live. Yeah, I mean that one where the knight gets it on with the ostrich. Bring it out. Put it up on Amazon. Okay, your mom might die of shame, but hey, you’ll be able to pay for a real snazzy funeral.
Am I raging against this? Well, no. Seriously, I don’t often get surprised these days, but the fact these area selling just about made my jaw drop on the floor. On the other hand, it is proof of my belief that no matter how strange your fixation, if you write it and publish it, and keep trying, eventually you’ll connect with people
just as crazy as interested in it as you are.
All that agonizing you do over “is this the right thing to write?” “Will anyone buy it?” That’s old thinking. Put it out. Put it all out.
Why not? T-Rex does!