Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Friday, October 24, 2014

What's the Point?

by Kathleen Bradean

Being a creative type, as you probably know, means having a particularly active brain. Which is all find and dandy when you find yourself stuck in traffic or in a doctor's waiting room and you have to self-amuse (in a publicly acceptable manner) for a while. That's the time to unleash the imagination and set it free. When it isn't such a great thing is when its two in the morning and you still can't fall asleep because your brain decides to run endless iterations of  a bad scene you're dreading rather than shut off.

By three a.m, you realize why Morpheus was a god.

Family drama may be keeping me awake, but in those wee hours of the morning I do my usual 'thinking too much about things.'  And what I mused too much about recently-- other than family drama-- is a question.

What's the point of erotica?

Saying "Well, to arouse readers, of course," seems too simplistic and possibly wrong. Possibly. Horror seems like a genre intended to scare people, but it often, especially in movies, is used to reflect upon and comment on our culture. What's the purpose of the mystery genre? Probably to reassure readers that there is order in life and there's such a thing as closure. That's a huge lie, of course, but-- to quote The Sun Also Rises-- "Isn't it pretty to think so?" Maybe the point of a mystery is to entertain  the type of reader who likes a puzzle.

So maybe the point of erotica is to arouse, but I think it's more complex than that in the hands of some writers and some readers. Could it be that the genre uses sex and sexuality to explore the human condition, and that titillation is just a byproduct? Is it erotica if it only shows sex but it isn't arousing? (or is that simply literary fiction?) And does the author's intent matter? what if it was supposed to turn you on but didn't? Or what if it wasn't ever supposed to arouse but one reader got a tingle and some fevered dreams out of a scene?

You can see why such thoughts turn into little hamsters on unbalanced exercise wheels in need of lubrication. The squeaking alone is enough to stop a brain from turning off. Eventually it does, but not before a subtler thief sneaks at the edges of my thoughts. And here's the point where it turns slightly awkward, because the quote that came to me was from a children's movie. In Willie Wonka (the Johnny Depp version, not the Gene Wilder one), Charlie Bucket sagely comments that "Candy doesn't have to have a point."  Maybe erotica doesn't need to have one either. But let me know what you think.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

What Is Thunderclap and Why Use It?

by Lucy Felthouse

This post was originally featured on the Writer Marketing Services blog.

I’m sure some of you have seen messages and notes about Thunderclap floating around the web and wondered what it is. I know I’ve had several clients ask me about it, which is why I’m writing this post.

Basically, it is a free promotional tool (though there are paid options you can explore) to help you get the word out about something. For the purposes of this post, I’ll use books as an example, as it’s what I deal with.

You sign up for a free account at Thunderclap.it, and follow the simple instructions to set up your campaign. Use graphics from your book if you can, as that way you’re increasing visibility of your book to those that click through to support your campaign. Spend some time crafting your message, adding some relevant hashtags if you’ve got room – bear in mind that this message will go out once and hopefully to an awful lot of people, so you want it to have punch, something to really make people want to click on the link you’ve provided. I’d also recommend only opting for 100 supporters the first time around – it sounds like a small number, especially if you have lots of social media savvy friends, but it’s tougher than you think to get people to click that link.

Once you’re happy with what you’ve done, submit your campaign and wait for Thunderclap to approve it (you can speed this process up by paying, but I’ve never done this). Then, when approval arrives, the really hard work begins. You have to get supporters.

Supporters are the whole point of Thunderclap – they’re the ones that are signing up to send out your message on the date and time you’ve selected. I think, since Thunderclap is fairly new, that people may be shying away from supporting Thunderclaps as they don’t fully understand what it means. So, in a nutshell, here goes: supporters are pledging to help you, by donating a Tweet, a Facebook status or a Tumblr post (or indeed, any combination of those three). That’s all. They’ll see the message they’re pledging to send out, hit those support buttons, and, providing you get enough supporters to “tip” the campaign, their social media account/s will automatically send out the message on the date and time you’ve selected.

The point of all this? Well, since we’re talking books – it’s to drive sales. If you have an upcoming book, you can set something up in advance to go out on your release date – then you’ve got a while to promote the Thunderclap, get your supporters and then you’ll get a big boost on social media on the day, which will hopefully get people clicking those buy buttons and pushing you up the respective retailer charts. Cool, huh?

There is more to it than just getting the supporters, though. Sorry to complicate matters :) Ideally you need supporters that Tweet/share/Tumble about books in your genre – so in turn their followers/friends/etc are more likely to be interested in your book. Also, it goes without saying that the more followers/friends/readers your supporters have, the more people are likely to see your message once it goes out. So if you can attract people with a large reach on social media, all the better.

But to keep things simple, maybe start out small, and once you’ve dipped your toe in the Thunderclap water and seen how it all works – you can be more adventurous next time.

Bottom line: make sure you’ve crafted a powerful message to go out, that will catch people’s eyes and make them want to click. Then sit back and (hopefully) watch your sales increase.

Want to see how it works from a supporter’s angle? Here are three Thunderclaps you can sign up for (and I’d be grateful of your help):

Timeless Desire – M/F erotic romance story
Little Boxes – contemporary romance novel
To Rome with Lust – erotic romance novel

I hope this has helped you. Feel free to share far and wide on the web, to help people gain an understanding of how it works. If I get lots of questions and queries, I may do another article at a later date with more specifics.

Happy Promoting!

Lucy

*****

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100 publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women's Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house. She owns Erotica For All, is book editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The First Time

By Lisabet Sarai


Revealed wisdom – or perhaps unsupported mythology – states that it takes time to become an accomplished author. I wish I had a dollar for every blog I’ve read where the writer claims his or her first efforts were pure unadulterated crap. Not having been privileged to read these early tales, I can’t judge whether this is the truth or merely misplaced humility. However, I’ve been noticing recently that in erotica, at least, an author’s first novel often possesses a special quality that’s hard to recreate in subsequent work.

From a craft perspective, that first book might be flawed. Somehow that doesn’t matter. First erotic novels have a life, an intensity, that’s unique. They offer a riotous explosion of lascivious fantasy, unchecked and uncensored. The scope of imagination compensates for less than perfect execution. Passion carries these books, overwhelming other considerations.

I realized this anew when I read K.D. Grace’s post last month here at the ERWA blog. She was celebrating the four year anniversary of her first novel, The Initiation of Ms Holly. I’m a huge admirer of K.D.’s writing – check out her steamy contribution to the current ERWA Gallery to see why - but I found Ms. Holly particularly arousing. It’s full of offbeat characters involved in creative and kinky carnal activities. A delicious sense of sexual license pervades the novel. Reading it, I knew the author had not held back, that she’d poured all her personal desires and fantasies into her lovely fable.

In some ways, it’s hard to believe this was K.D.’s first novel. Certainly, I didn’t realize this when I read it. At the same time, the heady mix of prurience and innocence in the book is typical of first timers.

The book that inspired me to publish erotica has some of the same characteristics. Portia da Costa’s Gemini Heat aroused and delighted me with its diversity and sexual creativity. I became an instant fan, and I’ve read many of her other books, all good, some brilliant. Still, none of them, except perhaps Entertaining Mr. Stone, can compare with Gemini Heat, in terms of its effect on me.

Despite having a happy ending for everyone involved, the book totally shatters romance conventions. (Of course, it wasn’t written as romance, though it’s marketed that way now.) Everyone has sex with everyone else. Both gender identification and power exchange are fluid. The hero is half-Asian, slightly androgynous, a total sybarite who’s nevertheless ferociously intelligent – almost the opposite of a typical alpha male.

Just recently, Portia mentioned to me that Gemini Heat was her first attempt at erotica. If I’d known that when I first read the book, back in 1999, I would have been astonished. Now I think I recognize the hallmarks of one’s first time, the erotic charge released when an author bares her sexual soul and dares to write what pushes her own buttons.

My own debut novel has some of the same characteristics. Like many new erotic authors, I didn’t really have a clue about the publishing business, about writing for a market, about genre conventions. I’d read some erotica, mostly classics, but nothing (other than Portia’s book) that could really serve as a model. Mostly, I was burning up with self-generated arousal. I wanted to share my fantasies, to vicariously explore what would happen if I extrapolated on my (not insignificant) real life sexual experiments. In the previous decade, I’d had life-changing experiences with dominance and submission. I wrote the book to capture that intensity, and amplify it with what-ifs.

The creative process was intuitive and close to effortless (especially compared to writing now). I’d sit down at the computer and the words would flow unobstructed from my dirty mind onto the page. I penned 72,000 words in my spare time, over the course of about six months. I wrote an additional 10,000 words in a single weekend, after the publisher complained that I hadn’t honored my contract, which called for a minimum of 80K. (Newbie that I was, I thought that clause was just advisory!)

The result, Raw Silk, has been released by three different publishers and is still in print. I can’t say it’s a best seller, but it’s the only one of my books that ever earned out its advance. And apparently, people are still reading it. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting erotic romance legend Desiree Holt. The first thing she told me was that she had loved Raw Silk. (Needless to say, that was one of the high points of my so-called career as an author!)

Depending on how you count, I’ve written seven or eight novels since Raw Silk. From a craft perspective, all greatly improve on my first effort, which suffers from wooden dialogue, an overabundance of adverbs, excessively long sentences and word repetition that makes me cringe. Still, I have the uncomfortable feeling none of my later novels can compete, in terms of genuine passion.

The more I write, it seems, the harder it becomes to tap that well-spring of pure sexual excitement that fueled my first attempt. At this point, I’ve read and written so much erotica that I’ve become jaded, I know. I’m sure the ebb in hormones as I’ve grown older has an impact, too.

As I continue to write, I hope that other factors compensate: original premises, surprising plots, engaging characters, polished and evocative language. Still, I look back wistfully on that first novel – so fully of naive sexual energy.

I wonder how many other erotica authors feel the same.



Monday, October 20, 2014

Call for Submissions

SeX Files, the new erotica imprint of Comet Press, is seeking manuscripts in all genres and cross genres from 7,500-80,000 words. We are looking for stories that push the boundaries of erotica and we don't have any content restrictions (except for kiddie porn, of course).

Titles over 50,000 words will be published in trade paperback and ebook. 7,500 to 50,000 length works will primarily be published in ebook format. However, we will consider future print editions for longer works (around 30,000-50,000 words) with outstanding sales.

Our contracts are for four years and we offer 40% net royalties. Read all our guidelines at:
http://sexfiles.cometpress.us/guidelines

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Call for Submissions

Stacked
Editor: Brian Whitney
Publisher: BearManor Bare
Deadline: December 1, 2014
Payment & rights: 5% royalties. We ask for digital rights for 5 years.

Stacked is the first of 10 ebooks in a series. We are looking for short stories of roughly 2.500 words. For Stacked we ask for stories that have breasts as a main element. It can be fetish, softcore, or hardcore. All authors will be credited.

We do not accept stories that involve children or beastiality.

Please submit with the subject line "Stacked submission - title of your story" and attach it to your email as a word document.

Please send to: Brianwhitneywriting@gmail.com

Sexy Snippets for October




It's that time of the month once again... Time for you to share your Sexy Snippets!


The ERWA blog is not primarily intended for author promotion. However, we've decided we should give our author/members an occasional opportunity to expose themselves (so to speak) to the reading public. Hence, we have declared the 19th of every month at the Erotica Readers and Writers Association blog Sexy Snippet Day.

On Sexy Snippet day, any author can post a tiny excerpt (200 words or less) in a comment on the day's post. Include the title from with the snippet was extracted, your name or pseudonym, and one buy link, if you'd like.

Feel free to share this with erotic author friends. It's an open invitation!


Please follow the rules. Last month we had one author who posted a much longer excerpt. She is now banned from posting - but I don't like being the one who dishes out the punishment...

Still, if your excerpt is more than 200 words or includes more than one link, I'll remove your comment and prohibit you from participating in further Sexy Snippet days. So play nice!

After you've posted your snippet, feel free to share the post as a whole to Facebook, Twitter, or wherever else you think your readers hang out.

Have fun!

~ Lisabet