Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Penzance Litfest

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 ...


  1. Erotica isn't something we have tried to write, but we agree it's not always satisfactory to stay within the boundaries dictated by the pocket novel editors.
    Your talk sounds interesting and also the fact that the group wasn't impressed by a cover picture (apart from a hot man!).
    It's good to be able to vary one's writing to prevent it from becoming stale.
    Wish we'd been in your audience, Chrissie!

    1. It would have been good to see you there!
      I did try to put up the cover picture but the gremlins got in there before I could do it.
      Staying within boundaries exists everywhere actually, even in erotica.

  2. Hi Chrissie - I think that writing erotica is all about the story and the characters, just like any other form of fiction dealing with relationships. I reckon a lot of people think a liberal sprinkling of sex is all that's needed but he principles of the reader needing to care about the protagonists and what happens to them is broadly the same. I too find it pretty hard going to write! Glad to hear you have yet another new book out, today, at the following link, - the cover of 'Relative Strangers' looks super!

  3. Thank you Cara. I'm rather pleased with it too. My first with Endeavour Press so let's hope it's the first of many!
    You're absolutely right in your summation of erotica. It really is so much more than a liberal sprinkling of sex!

  4. Good post, Chrissie and congrats on being such a diverse author! Good erotica must indeed be about the story and characters or it gets tedious. A good cover does lure me to a book though and I'm not just talking about erotica but maybe more so in a paperback rather than ebook. Wish I could've been in Penzance to cheer you on1

    1. It would have been nice to see some friendly faces among my audience!