On my personal blog yesterday I let the cat out of the bag on some juicy inside gossip. If you didn't read it, no worries, I'll post the gist of it here. Basically I write under two names. Kelly Kirch is the mainstream writer of Romantic Suspense and Regency Set Historicals. While the stories are warmish, they are not considered HOT by most industry standards. Sizzlin', sure.
Katie Blu writes erotica. She writes for Ellora's Cave and Total E Bound, though TEB does not yet have one of her books out yet. So I feel like I have a good grip on the variety seen in what is popular and to what extent. I also write under four imprints or three publishers and three editors for those names. It's an interesting juggle to say the least. I only recently admitted to the link between the two names as I felt it important to come clean. I was overwhelmed at the support from my friends who read the blog.
Basically it comes to this, mainstream is not as popular as erotic fiction. All my mainstream books in ebook format and print together do not total a single month from the brand new author Katie Blu made in a single month for a single work. No, I will not go into detail. I don't ask you what you make, do I?
It started as an experiment. Two blog friends of mine write erotica and we wondered what would happen if you put a name out there that you never promoted. Would the sales come in or did promo have a specific change in the numbers? Then came the urging of one of my editors. I was intrigued, believing I couldn't do a book with erotic elements. So never one to back out of a challenge, I penned Hot Under the Collar. I tried to put every situation I could think of in there to shock my editor. She, I discovered, is unshockable. I tried a few more times and still, no shock value.
In the whole experiment I posted a very few times to chats and a few times to blogs with excerpts. I rarely commented on the editor's loop to keep a low profile. But with my other name, Kirch, I posted constantly. I did all the foot work, schmoozing, blogging, chatting I could come up with. I purchased promo items and signed books. But it remained true that the erotica well outsold the other books.
Is it because erotica is easier to buy online than a bookstore, no embarrassment factor or judgments? Is it because it's sexier? Better story? Worse story? Maybe it's not just one thing but several. The experiment worked. I have proof for myself and a need for cash flow.
Erotica sells. Sex sells. No matter how you slice it, that's where the big bucks lie.