I’ve been reading a fair number of nonfiction books lately explaining the ins and outs of writing erotica. I don’t tend to pay a lot of attention to what other people say about writing, preferring to just write what I’d like to read, mostly. I wondered if I might be missing out on some specific skill though, and in the interest of putting out better material for my readers, I’ve started to do a little bit of research.
The books cover the usual information about having decent covers, researching your niche and what’s hot to write about etc.
They’ve been quite helpful, however, one thing I’ve noticed that has popped up in each of the volumes I’ve read is the assertion that publishing erotica doesn’t require quality writing. In fact, most of the books put writing ability far down the chapter list since they don’t rate it as a factor in selling books.
Now, I’m reading books by successful erotic authors, so who am I to argue with what they know to be true, right? I considered that before I started writing this post, believe me.
The thing is, I totally disagree with the premise that you can write rubbish as long as you follow a certain plan and include lots of sex! Don’t get me wrong, writing erotica is fairly easy. When I’m focused I can write an 18,000 word set of short stories (either two or three) in a day! Yes, I’m a fast writer, but I can’t achieve that same kind of word count when I’m writing fiction novels. 10,000 words is about my limit for normal fiction, since there’s a lot to think about with character development and those damn plot holes!
I don’t think erotica readers should be taken for granted, however. I don’t think they should have to read books that haven’t been professionally edited. I don’t think they need one page of setting and fourteen pages of sex acts. I don’t think a book counts if it is only ten pages thrown up on Amazon, which is barely 3000 words.
I think erotica readers are a lot more discerning than that!
I’d like to see a happy medium that combines good writing, great stories and plenty of sexual tension, that takes you right away from the daily grind. When I read erotica, no matter the genre, I want to read a quality book. I also want something that takes me longer than two minutes to read. Nowhere in the real world is a two-minute read classed as a book. That’s a bloody pamphlet!
I can cope if a writer collects up all their two-minute stories and puts twenty of them in a boxed set – no problem with that – because it’s now a book of short stories. Please don’t kid yourself, though, authors. That 2500 word story, with no front matter and simple links to all your other stories in the back, is not a book. It isn’t
Erotica readers know it isn’t.
Readers don’t like to pay $2.99 for those short efforts. They don’t like reading something that’s over before it has begun. Just because some readers have paid that doesn’t mean they aren’t grumpy about it. I know, I’ve talked to plenty of readers to find out!
99 cents should be the most you’re charging for shorts like these – otherwise your readers might as well just surf the internet to find free erotic stories. If you’re going to take a reader’s money on Amazon you should, as a matter of principle, be offering a quality product, of a decent length.
My first erotic fiction book is showing as 70 pages. My fiction novels run around 220 pages each (I’m referring to the page count for each ebook on Amazon, not paperback pages.) I don’t release shorts on their own. If I write short stories I still bundle them together to make sure my readers have a decent amount of reading time all wrapped up in their decent story. If I release a book on Amazon and it shows on my Kindle as having less than 30 minutes to be able to finish the whole book, I go back and add another story to it so it is longer.
I pay an editor to make every single story better. I do it for you, my readers.
I hope you appreciate the extra effort 🙂
You can find my book catalogue here on Amazon…