Monday, February 04, 2008

The print market for erotica is dead? Not with editors like Alison Tyler and Rache Kramer Bussel around

2007 saw a further contraction of the print market for erotica. The long-running Blue Moon / Avalon imprint was killed off. Orion and Neon both cut back on their plans, including cancelling commissioned novels.

The publishers that remain have narrowed their calls for submission so that you they can hit a particular niche, preferably with a sure-fire formula – for example erotic
romance must have a happy ending. Apparently that and not the passion that people feel and express, is the defining characteristic of romance.

In this context it is particularly pleasing to see some editors having significant success in pitching short story collections to the publishing houses. Rachel Kramer Bussel has done well with the “He’s On top” and “She’s On Top” pair of D/s books and has more on the way.

Alison Tyler has managed to pitch an Erotic Alphabet series (now don’t you with you’d thought of that?) to Cleis. Putting something like this together is a lot of work. You have to handle the publishers and their lawyers. You have to push out calls for submission and deal with authors like me (Alison wanted one of my stories for "H is for Hardcore" but I was ill and didn’t get the contract to her in time) and you have continuously to publicise the books in the press and on the internet.

Alison was kind enough to give me a second chance to contribute to her series and I now have “Have a Nice Day” (one of the raunchiest things I’ve ever written) in her appropriately name “I is for Indecent” and “Other Bonds Than Leather* (my favourite this-is-what–it’s really-like BDSM story) in “L is for Leather”. The covers are cute. The authors cover a wide range of styles and content but all pack a punch.

So when I hear “e-books killed the print erotica market, aint it awful” line in writers’ formums I remind people of Rachel and Alison and point out that if you have the energy and the talent and the persistence you can make print work.

I wish them continuing success.

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