The Thoughts Of Selina I: The Future Of Erotica & The Need For A Purge

In my continuing quest to make this blog a wonderful place to be I thought I would occasionally throw in the odd opinion about some topic.

For my opening attempt I want to look at the current state of Erotica.

Those writing in this genre are having a bit of a hard time recently with the forums for their work seemingly burying it as deep as they possibly can.

If this continues then it will be so difficult to find an erotica writer’s writing. This would be for the simple reason it has a bit of sex in it.

Erotica has enjoyed a bit of a golden period mainly in part to a combination of the phenomenon of Fifty Shades and Amazon KDP.

Fifty Shades was a huge success and no one can take that away from the author – well done to her. But let’s be honest, it’s a bit rubbish. A repetitive diatribe of grammatically incorrect erotic cliche. In short, she’s done alright but in the long term has done the genre more harm than good.

I have no doubt that people sitting at home thought ‘I can do that’ because certainly Fifty Shades is hardly an unobtainable literary masterpiece. Yet that has proven to be a problem.

Scores of wannabe writers with not much respect for the genre looking to make a quick buck with some crudely written smut

With Amazon KDP it provided those people the opportunity to do that. But the unforeseen consequence of tapping into this phenomenon is there is a lot of noise. That makes it difficult for any indie author with a great story to get heard.

It’s hard for a self published author. They have to do everything – writing, cover art and their own marketing often with the most limited of budget.

So I offer this thought what if Amazon etc just did away with the Erotica category. Even further that erotica or smut were not terms to be used to describe a book.

It would be terrible, right? How would you find your target audience?

In my opinion I think it would be the best thing that could happen.

Firstly it would do away with the dabblers. Those cluttering up the bandwidth with poorly written erotica short stories that really are nothing more than crudely created sex scenes.

A purge would leave those who actually want to do this, who care about writing, who are good at it still standing.

The massive problem with Amazon KDP is nothing goes out of print. There’s too much choice and consumers don’t like that and so opt for the safety of the mainstream.

If it were up to me I would have all ebooks published have a shelf life which when expired would have to be renewed by the author.

Thousands and thousands of stories keep entering the system and never go away.

Imagine walking into a book shop where every book ever written was published – a delight for some but a horror for the vast majority. They simply would not know where to start.

Secondly, should there even be an erotica category? What actually is it?

Well, erotica has many definitions but loosely it is a work of art designed to be sexually arousing.

So those one sex scene short stories I was talking about , yeh they are probably erotica but does that term apply to anything that may have an explicit sex scene in it?

That can’t be right. If you’re a guy and get a boner to a James Patterson sexy thriller is he now erotica?

I am proudly part of a community on Twitter of some of the most talented indie author who largely write under the erotica category.

I certainly do not speak for them but I would guess that a large number of them publish under erotica for fear of falling foul of the strict guidelines on content.

But are they writing erotica? No. They write romance, thrillers, horrors, sci-fi. Yet their stories include explicit sex scenes and so banished to the dark corner of Amazon they must go.

My current story A Song Of Tyler & Bryce begun life as a satire that those authors are labelled as inappropriate and hid away yet George RR Martin is lauded for stories that include incest, under age sex and plentiful non consensual sex.

If an indie author wrote those themes in a modern day setting they would be punished. Yet set it in fake olden times it’s perfectly acceptable.

I would also add that not once following the non-consensual sex does Martin ever explore how the woman may be feeling. Yet the big bad band of erotica writers dare to tell you what is on her mind before, during and after sex and they find themselves banished to the corner.

Whilst we could get angry about the injustice of this ludicrous hypocrisy I believe we should take note.

I refuse to accept that this world is made up of nothing but prudes. Mainstream literature, TV and film is littered with sex scenes. Overall society doesn’t seem to have a problem with sex.

You watch any HBO drama and the main characters are banging away whenever they can. Yet that wins Emmy’s

I believe it’s time to recategorise our work. If it is set in fake olden times it’s Fantasy. Modern Day it’s romance. A dark twist it’s a thriller or horror. They’re fucking in space it’s Sci-Fi.

Yes put the warnings that it contains explicit scenes (that would make you a better person than George RR Martin), change your cover to make it more, shall we say, user friendly.

If indeed there is a battle looming then prepare now. Play them at their own game.

If you are reading this and thinking but all I have to sell my book is a hot sex scene, then you may struggle if this trend continues (and I would suggest it’s only going to get worse).

But review your work, revise it. That’s the beauty of Amazon KDP etc your story can evolve.

Ask yourself can I add some scenes leading up to the explicit sex. In other words make it more mainstream.

Because Amazon etc cannot censor you for having an explicit sex scene. It’s a slippery slope that would have to include mainstream authors (including one Mr Martin) so it’s never going to happen.

My advice is to welcome a purge. Let’s encourage a reduction of noise and get your stories out there where they should be. Not buried because of some archaic categorisation but available to read.

Rightly or wrongly there is still a stigma about erotica – that it is cheap, nasty, dirty.

That is not how I view the stories I have read. They are well plotted, thought provoking with strong characters who are often female.

Yes they have explicit sex in it. But so fucking what. So does Game of Thrones.

3 Comments

  1. First of all, this is a very well written article! Kudos!
    I was nodding my head to most of the points you brought up, though I’m not sure a complete and total purge of the erotica category is precisely what is needed.
    Even though Amazon (and Smashwords) are over inundated with erotica, you have to give the consumer a bit of credit: let them read trash by an author once, and likely they won’t make the same mistake twice.
    The way things stand now, it basically boils down to the survival of the fittest.
    And me? I love writing. With a passion. And I’m a scraper, so I’m not sure I would want it any other way. 😊

    Like

    • Thanks sweetie. The point of the purge is not so much from a consumer point of view but more Amazon et al just being lazy with slapping the erotica label on and shoving it in the corner.
      The removal of the low quality stuff would make that more difficult because I have always argued that erotica is a legitimate genre.

      Oh and for the record you’re an awesome writer

      Liked by 1 person

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