Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Lying for Fun and Profit

All authors are deceitful.  The whole idea behind writing a novel or short story is to tell stories that sound believable to your audience.  But I think with some genres, the deceitfulness runs a little deeper.

I’ve found with writing erotica, people assume that I’m writing about real life experiences.  (Honestly, if I fucked as much as my characters do, I wouldn’t have time to write about it.)  But with creating a pseudonym to write erotica, it certainly helps to give readers the impression that I’m a man-slut.  Would you rather read an erotica book from a party-loving man-slut or from a quiet, shy guy that likes to read Star Trek books?

It’s a little odd that this deceit seems to be required in erotica — if I were to write a sci-fi story, I wouldn’t have readers wondering if this was based on my lived experiences fighting off alien hordes on some distant planet.  If I were to write a thriller, I doubt anyone would wonder if I really had chased spies through Croatia.  Yet if I write about a hot sexual encounter — say, two guys in the back alley behind a gay club — I get readers wondering if it’s based on my sexual history.

Really, it would hurt my sales if I wrote dirty stories, but anywhere I was active online I kept saying, “Oh, I don’t do anything like what I write — I could never lower myself to such base desires.”  And it would also hurt my credibility as an erotic author.

Again, that’s a little odd since mystery authors don’t lose credibility for not actually being detectives, fantasy authors don’t lose credibility for not being wizards, and paranormal authors don’t lose credibility for not being vampires.  (That being said, there are some mystery authors who have a history in police, military, or forensic science, and I think it works in their favour — but it’s certainly not necessary for their success, since they are skilled writers to begin with.)

So is my whole persona a lie?  No, actually.  I present a slice of myself online, the slice that I believe appeals to readers of erotic fiction, and leave the rest of me offline.  I do twink-watch at Starbucks, like flirting with hot guys, and I really am a man in his thirties that looks rather twink-ish.  And while my stories are not based on lived experiences, I have had some experiences that parallel some of my stories.  Some, not all.  I confess I have not been involved in a bukkake… yet.  The rest is up to you to determine.

Cameron D. James is a writer of gay erotica and M/M erotic romance; his latest release is Go-Go Boys of Club 21: The Complete Series.  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.


  1. There's a place for writers who want to portray truth. It's called Non-Fiction. We'd be derelict in our duty if we didn't give 'em made-up shit. Plenty of room for everybody.

    And hopefully-- then some. Wheeeee!

  2. Your points are well-taken, Cameron, but I do suspect that authors who write erotica are at least more interested in sex than the average person. Even if you haven't experienced something, I believe you need to be able to imagine it convincingly, and get some sort of charge out of those musings, to be successful.

    I'm reminded of a great movie, "The Amateur", directed by Hal Hartley. Isabelle Hupert plays a ex-nun, a virgin, who makes her living writing porn.

    Why not?

  3. We create characters with the potential to have the experiences we ourselves may be unlikely to have, but that's what readers are after, too, so why not?

  4. This is interesting. I'd say there's another side to this, though. I have been at events where I felt a social pressure to say that of course I would absolutely never do the stuff I write about, which is... not true. As a woman writing erotica, I think one is still engaged with the implication that you might be a slut. Some people want you to be a slut and some people want you to say you're actually a good girl who writes about slutty things, and it's still super-hard to get out of that dichotomy, which is what I'd really like to do.


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