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Old 12-22-2012, 09:18 AM   #1
Rourke
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Help With Direction

Hey folks,

Please forgive me if I come across as a total noob here. I've written erotica off and on for almost twenty years now, but only recently decided to try and earn a nickle off it. The spatula hand is getting a little weary, if you get my drift, and I can't let my thirties turn into my forties without at least trying something different.

I just finished my first edit of a self-contained 20k word M/F/M/F group scene, and am having a little trouble figuring out where to go with it. While it is--on some levels--an extensive sex story, each character is developed individually and exhaustively over the course of the narrative: who they are, how they happened into the experience, how they relate to it and each other, and what it means to them and their personal growth. In some ways I see it as more a character study than a sex scene, although the sex itself is constantly present and relevant to the discourse.

The trouble is, I have no idea if there's a market for such a thing. Ideally, I see it as the first episode in a serial. I have another hundred thousand words worth of shorts involving these same characters, written down in various states of disarray, and could easily pop them out in 20k(ish) installments. Is serialized erotica an option without self-publishing, or am I looking at this the wrong way? Would it be a better investment, over the long haul, to take all the other material and mold it out into a novel (or a collection of shorts)?

Thanks for any advice,

-Rourke
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:55 PM   #2
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This is a very general answer to a rather specific question so this advice may or may not apply to you. I don't know of many(any) publishers that are doing serials. I could be totally wrong and I don't know every publisher out there, but from what I've seen serials are the domain of self-publishing. As far as turning it into a novel, if you want to sell to a pub that may be your best decision. I write erotic romance instead of straight erotica so from my POV I believe that you better have a darn good story to loop all those sex scenes together or you'd be better off self-pubbing as a serial. One of the things that you have to ask yourself is do you want 100% of the responsibility for doing PR for your book. Are you ready to go out there and pimp it, advertise it, and get it in the hands of readers? Not to say all publishers do PR, but if you get with a reputable house you'll have a better chance of that publisher's fans picking up your book. For example, Ellora's Cave readers are very loyal to the company and will buy unknown author's just because they are published with EC. But, EC requires a story with their smut. Was that vague and unhelpful enough for you? There are a ton of books out there about how to self-publish pretty much everything so it might be worth your time to read a couple just to get a more in depth view of the process. Even if you don't end up following that path, knowledge of the industry you're trying to break into is always a good thing. Or, as one of my professors once said 'Knowledge is never wasted, even if it's information on bullshit, for one day you may find yourself up to your neck in bullshit and you'll be able to dig yourself out.'
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:28 PM   #3
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Storm Moon Press do serials if your characters are bisexual, they may be a good fit. Otherwise, they have a het imprint, Wild Moon Books.
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann_Mayburn View Post
Or, as one of my professors once said 'Knowledge is never wasted, even if it's information on bullshit, for one day you may find yourself up to your neck in bullshit and you'll be able to dig yourself out.'
Lol! Best quote eveeeer!

I think the only publisher I've seen that's doing serials right now is Less Than Three http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/se...n-submissions/ But they want something longer than 20,000, that can be broken up naturally into 5000 word chunks. You can try them on it, though--it never hurts. My guess is that this sounds like a self publishing venture, if you want to do a serial. Otherwise, Siren is well known for ménage-à-however many. They might be interested in it just from the pairing, though you'll want to be sure it's as clean and well-edited as possible before you send it.
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Old 12-22-2012, 06:27 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Oldbrasscat View Post
Lol! Best quote eveeeer!

I think the only publisher I've seen that's doing serials right now is Less Than Three http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/se...n-submissions/ But they want something longer than 20,000, that can be broken up naturally into 5000 word chunks. You can try them on it, though--it never hurts. My guess is that this sounds like a self publishing venture, if you want to do a serial. Otherwise, Siren is well known for ménage-à-however many. They might be interested in it just from the pairing, though you'll want to be sure it's as clean and well-edited as possible before you send it.
I think Less Than Three only take M/M and F/F but I could be wrong.
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:32 PM   #6
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Wow, thanks for all the replies!

I'm hesitant to explore self-publishing straight away, as this is my first venture into the field and I figure the rejection and editing process will do me some good. While the response to my stories has been predominately positive amongst my smut reading ex-girlfriends, that won't buy me a cup of coffee or help pay the gas bill; publishers know what sells, so learning to write within their parameters isn't going to hurt anything (even if I self-publish down the road).

Ann_Mayburn, you say you write erotic romance rather than erotica. Would I be right in saying the former is the classic, traditional format--the kind I remember thumbing through in the dark corner of the bookstore at a pervy thirteen, looking for "the dirty parts" amongst a much larger love story--and that the latter is more akin to the "Dear Penthouse" stuff I discovered a few years later? Not trying to offend anyone working in either genre, just lining up my ducks.

My own writing is explicitly pornographic and detailed, rarely vanilla (and almost exclusively M/M/F or M/F/F), and generally written from multiple first-person PoVs with an emphasis on a female lead. Most of my stories involve issues of control, manifested in tropes ranging from loss of virginity to TPE BDSM. Though I spend a good deal of time building to and away from the sex, the stories are really "about" the sex and how these characters experience kink differently. This would, I assume, be closer to erotica than anything else?

Thanks again for the replies. I've spent most of the night looking through different publisher's websites and calls for submissions. And all this time I thought the writing was the hard part!

Last edited by Rourke; 12-22-2012 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 12-23-2012, 08:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rourke View Post
...each character is developed individually and exhaustively over the course of the narrative: who they are, how they happened into the experience, how they relate to it and each other, and what it means to them and their personal growth. In some ways I see it as more a character study than a sex scene, although the sex itself is constantly present and relevant to the discourse.
The best erotica is a character study.

20,000 words is an awkward length for ink on paper publication. But many e-publishers are putting out stories that are 20K words and up, and calling them novels.

Considering that you have several stories involving the same characters, why not make a collection? Bring it up to 60K words and shop it around? If a thin thread of a plot strings them together, so much the better, but a novel-length publication involving several stories with the same characters can be as intriguing as a single plotline.
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Old 12-24-2012, 02:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldbrasscat View Post
Otherwise, Siren is well known for ménage-à-however many. They might be interested in it just from the pairing, though you'll want to be sure it's as clean and well-edited as possible before you send it.
Siren requires a Happy Ever After or at least a Happy For Now with all of their imprints, even their menage and sextreme lines, and the romance must be the driving element of the story. If the MCs don't end up together in a HEA or HFN, Siren won't be a good fit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rourke View Post
Ann_Mayburn, you say you write erotic romance rather than erotica. Would I be right in saying the former is the classic, traditional format--the kind I remember thumbing through in the dark corner of the bookstore at a pervy thirteen, looking for "the dirty parts" amongst a much larger love story--and that the latter is more akin to the "Dear Penthouse" stuff I discovered a few years later? Not trying to offend anyone working in either genre, just lining up my ducks.

My own writing is explicitly pornographic and detailed, rarely vanilla (and almost exclusively M/M/F or M/F/F), and generally written from multiple first-person PoVs with an emphasis on a female lead. Most of my stories involve issues of control, manifested in tropes ranging from loss of virginity to TPE BDSM. Though I spend a good deal of time building to and away from the sex, the stories are really "about" the sex and how these characters experience kink differently. This would, I assume, be closer to erotica than anything else?

Thanks again for the replies. I've spent most of the night looking through different publisher's websites and calls for submissions. And all this time I thought the writing was the hard part!
You are correct regarding erotic romance - the story must be developed to the point where, if you took the sex scenes out, there would still be a good love story.

I can also tell you that Siren will not take first person POV submissions, except from an author already established with them and, even then, only with the editor's prior approval.
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:14 AM   #9
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Despite my urgency to start publishing--haha--I decided to take dangerousbill's suggestion, finish up two of the related shorts, and then package all three as a collection. Of all my wordporn, these three fit together thematically the most and have some semblance of a believable, interlinked plot.

Thanks again for all the help, folks. I'm amazed at how much information I've found digging around this forum, and the openness with which everyone shares their experiences in a traditionally "taboo" medium. My bookmarks have almost doubled over the last few days.

Cheers, and happy New Year!

-Rourke
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rourke View Post
Ann_Mayburn, you say you write erotic romance rather than erotica. Would I be right in saying the former is the classic, traditional format--the kind I remember thumbing through in the dark corner of the bookstore at a pervy thirteen, looking for "the dirty parts" amongst a much larger love story--and that the latter is more akin to the "Dear Penthouse" stuff I discovered a few years later? Not trying to offend anyone working in either genre, just lining up my ducks.
Erotic romance means it's a romance and must conform to the reader expectations for a romance. (A couple gets together with a happily ever after or happy for now ending.)

Erotica is just any story that involves erotic content.

You could also write erotic mystery, erotic horror, erotic sci-fi, etc.
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Old 12-27-2012, 04:38 PM   #11
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Erotic romance means it's a romance and must conform to the reader expectations for a romance. (A couple gets together with a happily ever after or happy for now ending.)

Erotica is just any story that involves erotic content.

You could also write erotic mystery, erotic horror, erotic sci-fi, etc.
What she said. My books follow the traditional 'characters meet, romance, happily ever after/for now' format. But, sometimes that means two dudes and a chick meet, or a Master and submissive, or three gay werepumas, etc. The sex is there, it is often hot, plentiful, kinky, and descriptive, but it always contributes to the storyline rather than being the storyline.
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