Now that my latest book is out and there’s a free sample to get you started, I have more time to check out the market. Just reading the opening passages of a few samples of erotic fiction. Let’s call this: homework.
There’s screaming. There’s a gun. There are the obligatory expletives. She is tied to an over-sized table. Of course. I can anticipate the rape scene and all the rest, depicted by an author I assume (and I hope I’m right!) has never been raped. He did this. She did that. More screaming. More expletives. I give up after the opening paragraph, already cringing at both the female protagonist’s name and that of the author. If that were my real name, I’d consider treating myself to a pseudonym.
Only two paragraphs on display and already one typo: should that be long blond hair?
Six paragraphs for our delight. Ah, there’s literary merit for a change. No typos, though a number of grammatical issues (a self-published book?) and the direct speech is as stiff as hell. Nothing erotic has happened so far. It’ll come later. No pun intended.
A bestseller this time and a huge chunk for us to enjoy, which I do, I must confess, for it is well written. Nothing new, plot-wize or stylistically, but at least it’s well written. Still wouldn’t buy it, though.
No erotic scenes in this opening but I can smell one around the corner! The sample steers clear of kitsch and even has enough humour to draw a smile from me. The author, it seems, is not content to have the characters play cat and mouse, but she will play cat and mouse with us, the reader, too. I think I know how this will end, though I wouldn’t say no to reading a bit further.
All these samples are typical of the genre. I’m not sure I can find my place here. I’ve been saying it for a while: I don’t think what I do is erotica. The fit is too loose for my liking. Adult fiction? Or maybe erotic fiction after all. Intellectual erotica; what I’ve elsewhere described as high-brow rumpy-dumpy.
Many have confessed to me that although they love reading what I write, they don’t feel comfortable talking about it to others. Ah, so that’s why when I invite readers to share what I post on Facebook, very little happens.
Turn it down a bit?
Still no one sharing. I can’t twist anyone’s arm, but maybe I can use this knowledge anyway:
I like the one above as it makes clear that the book isn’t only for women and I like the one below for its international flair.
Doing my very best to steer clear of the word ‘erotic’, but noting that some people are left puzzled by the term ‘adult’ fiction. To say ‘romance’ would be to say too little. Would be to make it all too soft. I need to draw attention to the style as much as to the content. The novel, VERSES NATURE, is experimental:
‘cubist characterizations, full of violence and scorn’ (Purple Starsky)
‘Primal, deep, complex, secretive, honest, spacious. Grabs you.’ (Robert Hall)
Experimental romance? Experimental adult fiction? I can use these terms to describe my book, but it still makes sense to also refer to my work as erotic. Doesn’t need to be the same type of erotic as everyone else, does it? So ok, I’ll join the club; bring in some fresh blood. Change the genre from the inside.