View Full Version : Writing to the Target Audience

02-16-2005, 06:10 PM
Erotica writers have to aim for the right reader audience more than any other genre, except maybe religion writers, it seems to me.

And it's hard! Those of us who write romantic erotica can make certain assumptions about who your reader is likely to be, but for the rest of us, it's tough because who our reader is can be murky.

Do I write using 'hard' language and little characterization beyond the lady's physical traits (which includes a bosom of ridiculous proportion and improbable perkiness)? Do I have a lot of backstory and literary language so the sex, while explicit, is lovely--and yet could be removed and leave a fine story?

Do you other erotica writers have a specific audience in mind as you write, or do you write, then decide where you might market your work?

Maryn, feeling nosy

Kate StAmour
02-16-2005, 09:44 PM
You will find that many sensual romances run the gamut from slightly hotter than HQ to flaming- hot and hardcore. Be as frank and as descriptive as you want. Many e-pubs and in-print pubs have "levels" of heat.
I strongly recommend you check out Deanna Lee, who is in my opinion one of the most sensational and talented sensual romance writers out; Sherrilyn Kenyon (The BAD series: follow the links from http://www.Dark-hunter.com), and of course, Angela Knight.
Write what you love, believe in yourself, edit like a mad woman, and the readers will love your work.

02-17-2005, 04:10 AM
My target audience is the milder end (relatively speaking) of the BDSM market. Whips, chains and the occasional dwarf.

02-17-2005, 04:13 AM
My target audience is the milder end (relatively speaking) of the BDSM market. Whips, chains and the occasional dwarf.

Apart from the dwarf, sounds like I'm your ideal reader. But I do not actually read that kind of book. Hmmmm perhaps I should start?

Brady H.

02-17-2005, 07:29 AM
um . . .

is it possible that erotic dwarves might become a new subgenre?

02-17-2005, 08:36 AM
I'll find a call for submissions and write to that, but I don't think of what my audience is so much as I think of the kind of erotica reader I am. I prefer writers like Anais Nin and D.H. Lawrence, rather than hardcore, straight-up sex scenes without plot. I try to write an entire story arc, which contains graphic sex, and create dynanic characters within that plotline. Also, I think it's more about being familiar with your market than trying to write something that doesn't feel natural to you, like Ms. St Amour suggested.

02-17-2005, 01:35 PM
I have always had a very clear audience -- girls who like boys who like boys. Within that box I have written romance with no sex up to stories that were about 25% sex. Onlt recently did I start writing for more ambiguous markets (pan-sexual etc). And I was rather surprosed to sell a few.

My main experience with heterosexual stuff is still no response or 'no thanks' so I guess I don't 'get' that market yet -- anyone wwant to compare notes ;)

Kate StAmour
02-17-2005, 04:56 PM
My main experience with heterosexual stuff is still no response or 'no thanks' so I guess I don't 'get' that market yet -- anyone wwant to compare notes ;)

I'll swap notes with you. Even though I haven't had *real* sales, as a reviewer I may be able to help you out.

02-17-2005, 08:24 PM
is it possible that erotic dwarves might become a new subgenre?You must not be getting the same spam I do. There are entire websites devoted to (male) dwarves having sex with females of normal proportion and size.

I always wonder what site I visited that made them think I might be interested. At least when the bestiality spam started coming, I'd been looking at equestrian sites.

Maryn, grinning

Lena Matthews
02-18-2005, 06:42 PM
I normally use myself as my own target audience, and write what i like to read. Still not too sure how that's working out though. lol

02-19-2005, 10:43 PM
A publisher has to decide, find, and target certain demographics. It is imperative that they know what audience they are targeting. If writers want to make any money I think they need to do the same. I know it is hard to write what we do not get into, but still there is a lot of leeway to compromise and find a publisher that is looking for close to what interests you in writing. Then, we need to break down and give them what they want lol.

I think writers never really want to be business people they just want to write, but if we ever want to make money we have to look at the business sides too. So, I have a certain targeted audience in mind when I write. I could write many different degrees of erotica from near porn to romantica, but I am writing what I think will hit and interest the largest amounts of people in my targeted audience.

So like most things in writing it is a juggling act, but if I can see stuff selling out there in my genre I want a piece of that pie.


Deanna Lee
05-06-2005, 12:15 AM
First-- thanks Kate-- I blushed a little.

A dear friend of my mine, Sable Grey (www.sablegrey.com), walked into my life out of the blue last year and taught me a few lessons about putting myself out there that I had some how missed in my 29 years on earth. I doubt seriously that I would be published today if I hadn't met her.

The first two books I published were written because I thought they would sell. Not to say that I didn't put a lot of work into them--because I did! I looked around at the publisher's website I had chosen. Purchased a few of their books and also books from various other publishers. After all of this research I sat down and plotted 2 short stories- novellas.

I submitted The Kissing Game to Liquid Silver Books in Janury of 2004 and then I prepared to be rejected. To my utter and complete astonishment it was accepted and published. I submitted the second novella, Second Chances, shortly there after and it was accepted as well.

My third novel wasn't born out of market research and my thoughts on what "would" sell. Undressing Mercy is really a book from my heart and the heart of other women like me. I wrote it because I needed to and if it had never gotten published I wouldn't have cared. It was the story that I had buried deep down and when I finished it I felt like a new person.

So I guess my advice would be to write for yourself with an eye on the market if you are interested in making money. If money or being published is not the central goal--write for yourself and see what happens.

05-06-2005, 12:27 AM
I have recently sold my first MF erotica and my firs porn (non-romance). It is definitely all about knowing who the reader will be and what they will want.

05-06-2005, 01:52 AM
I'm afraid I agree with veinglory. If you want to sell, you have to write to market.

P.S. Did I mention the hermaphrodite and the hunchbacked jester?