When I began writing my erotic romance book, I started it for no reason other than I had this story in my head that wouldn’t go away. I viewed it simply as an exercise in writing with no intention of writing a whole book, let alone a series, and certainly wasn’t considering publishing. Well here we are several months later, the first book is out, the second is half way done and the series will be a trilogy – this damn story just will not go away.
What I have learnt since embarking on the next phase after the first draft was completed – you know the phase no-one tells you about, the networking, the marketing, et cetera – is that erotica is generally looked down upon by the literary elite. I tell my authorly friends that I’m publishing an erotic romance and watch their noses screw up in disgust. I know why. There are lot of badly written books in the world, especially when it comes to erotic works. It is very easy to write a bad erotic book with one dimensional characters (and that’s being generous) and a non-existent plot. Add to the fact that erotic books – in spite of having a humongous audience – are still seen as a guilty pleasure, a naughty taboo, something people just don’t admit to reading. Most writers who do publish erotica do so under a pseudonym. So for me to stand up and proudly announce that I’ve written one and stuck my name on it in big letters, people look at me like I’m mad.
But guess what folks? I’m not. I approached this book as with any other. I began first and foremost with the characters. I’ve said before that the thing readers connect with in a book is the characters. Not the plot, not the worldbuilding, not the situations – the characters. I didn’t even start to think about sex (even though there is a sex scene right at the beginning of the story), until I knew a lot about who my starring people were. Then followed the plot, which is born from the characters and their needs and desires, then the worldbuilding and so on. The sexy parts of the story are entirely relevant to the plot. This – I hope – is what takes my work, and any other good erotic story, and sets it apart from the plethora of ‘bad’ erotica out there.
Additionally, my approach to the actual naughty bits was considered. I avoided the overly graphic descriptions, any that you might spot are sparsely scattered and carefully placed. You can write erotica without being vulgar. Neither do I sugar coat it, I call a spade a spade, nobody gets ‘deflowered’ the sexy parts are sexy.
Am I still glad to have stuck my name on it? Absolutely. I stand by the work. I’m not ashamed of it in any way shape or form and if you think I should be then you are the one with the problem, not me.
Here’s to good erotic literature. It is looked down upon, sneered at and thought of as the underdog genre. Pushed to the darkest corner of bookshops (if at all) and condemned as poor writing for horny housewives by literary snobs who secretly like a good hard hump just as much as anyone else. Don’t discount erotic work without first reading one of high-calibre, and if you don’t know where to start, I can make a good recommendation ;)
Check out the look inside feature and see if you get hooked…