Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Erotic Writing - Fad or Not? (#erotica #selfpub #eroticromance)

I’m not very good at following fads — especially in terms of clothing. Ask anybody who knows me in real life and they’ll tell you that my fashion sense is my major failing point as a gay man.

In truth, though, I would buy more clothing if I could afford it — but things like mortgage payments, cat food, human food, and bills tend to take precedence. And when I do have some money for clothing, that tends to be about when my underwear needs replacing, and that stuff is expensive. Buy a few pairs of underwear and my budget for buying a shirt is blown.

There is an upside, though. By sticking with generally non-fad clothing, what I wear tends to stand the test of time. I might not be the most color-coordinated or be wearing any fancy labels, but I never have to feel like I’m dressed dumpy.

Today, I’ve got on plaid shorts and a blue tee, as well as brown sandals and red underwear. None of it is particularly current or fashionable — but as a whole, it works and it’s affordable. The shirt is the newest clothing item — I think I got it last year.

But there’s more to fads than just clothing. There was that whole fidget spinner thing that’s just about burned itself out. And, of course, being an erotic author often seems like a fad.

I got into the erotic genre right around when Fifty Shades of Grey was taking off. I had no knowledge of the book at the time, nor did I have any real knowledge of self-publishing and how thousands of people were scribbling out dirty stories to make a quick buck.

If I was in it for a quick buck — if I was following the fad — I would’ve copied what everyone else was doing and just start cranking out the smut. Instead, like with clothing, I took my time and I invested in what I was doing.

I don’t sell as well as those who are able to follow the market with more agility. I write the stories I want to write and I take my time doing so. I may be behind on trends, like with clothing. But also like with clothing, my books and my presence as an author seem to be standing the test of time. They might not be the most current or trendy, but they do the job.

Like with that whole fidget spinner thing, we all know of authors who burst onto the erotic ebook scene with half a dozen short stories because they heard it was a good way to make some easy money — and then when it doesn’t work out like they expected, they give up and move on to the next thing.

I don’t mean to denigrate those authors at all. Those who can make it work are writers whom I admire. And those who didn’t make it work and who gave up — well, if they were in it for the money and nothing else, then they were in it for the wrong reasons.

Fads come and go. Eventually, the fad of “there’s easy money in smutty ebooks” will pass — and those who are in it because they love it, and not because it’s supposedly an easy buck, will still be here and benefit from the suddenly-decreased competition.

Success in writing erotic fiction more often than not comes from persistence, patience, and productivity. This means writing and releasing work on a semi-regular schedule and not getting discouraged when sales are low, but rather knowing that with time and more releases, sales will grow.

Erotic writing is a fad to some, but not to me.



Cameron D. James is a writer of gay erotica and M/M erotic romance; his latest release is The President And The Rentboy. He is publisher at and co-founder of Deep Desires Press and a member of the Indie Erotica Collective. He lives in Canada, is always crushing on Starbucks baristas, and has two rescue cats. To learn more about Cameron, visit http://www.camerondjames.com.

7 comments:

  1. I don't know why I write erotica. Surely not to make money.

    It's just that all my characters always want to fuck and suck. I have nothing to do with that. ;>)

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  2. I have a gay cousin, and his major failing as a gay man is that he doesn't like musicals. Another stereotype blown away by reality.

    When I started on my way to becoming published, I thought I might be able to quit working 2 or 3 jobs, and work just one, in addition to my writing. I soon found out that royalties checks are not guaranteed, and promoting is a whole lotta work and very time consuming. Time that I don't have, since I work so many jobs. Sigh...

    I still write because it's a noisy place in my head, and once I get the story out, it's quieter temporarily...until the next voices become insistent. And as Daddy X says, my characters all want to "fuck and suck" also, so my books will always be erotic. I guess I'm just lucky there are internet publishers now. Back years ago, I'd never have gotten any books out.

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  3. People have been writing erotica for centuries--people like us who are fascinated by sexuality and desire. Sure, certain topics and subgenres in erotica are trendy, and those trends rise and fall, but the best erotica, I believe, is timeless.

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  4. You've said some sensible things, Cameron. Persistence seems to be the key to success in many things. We need to ignore anyone who tells us we can't succeed at X because that's so yesterday and we missed the boat.

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  5. I think written erotica used to be the place where sexual neophytes went for (questionable) information, but these days there are plenty of other (equally or even more questionable) for them to go. Still, well-written erotica will always have its appeal, even during times when it's considered taboo. Maybe especially at those times.

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  6. I like how you write about this, Cameron. I don't have the agility to follow fads either, but I think taking your time and investing in what you really care about is the right way to go in any case!

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