I’ve recently done a workshop on writing erotica at the Penzance Litfest. It couldn’t be further away from writing for pocket novels, especially People’s Friend but it raises some interesting points. How much do we write what we want to write and how much of it depends on the publishers? I’m not saying I want to write erotica all the time but one has to be so careful about how much sex one puts into Pocket Novels. At least the editors are catching up a little and I was allowed a pregnancy with an unmarried couple in a recent PN ... but it always had to stop "beside the bed" (one up on outside the bedroom door).
The whole erotic market is quite different, as many of us know. It is often said that it’s all sex and no story but anyone who has written for that market will know how much effort it takes to make it interesting. Yes, there is lots of sex and special clothing, bondage and things to hit with or be hit by and all sorts of other strange things but to me, it is quite hard work, especially compared to pocket novels. I know there are people who write lots of erotica, who do find it easy.
I took some cover pictures with me and guess what? The whole group said they rarely choose a book because of its cover. Someone said that authors have little or no choice in the covers and so it means nothing to them either. So all you Indie folks who spend ages and money choosing covers, that particular audience out there don’t care what is on the front of the book! One rather sexy young man on one book did turn on some of the females, I must say. Someone said they’d buy that book just to look at him!
I doubt whether anyone is about to challenge 50 Shades but it was certainly an interesting experience. I suspect I shall stick to writing gentler stuff from now on ... although ...