Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Year in the Rear with the Gear - One Year of Publishing Erotic Fiction

First image in my gallery.
A year ago to the day, Leona D. Reish appeared with Daemonique I: The Darkest Desire. Back then it was ‘vol.1’, a mess of formatting and with a different cover piece. Not to imply I know what I'm doing now, but my blog posts back then sure a mess, too.

A day later, Smashwords’ read an ebook week kicked off, so I pushed to release a second book that got in on the 7th. Seeing that come around again now brings back a lot of memories. I was really very easily disheartened back then when nothing really happened through that first week with its sale event going.

In some senses, I’m just as easily disheartened now, and certainly still learning. I'm aiming to tie up current projects before I really start on anything new, since now I've a better understanding of things, I don't have to be so scattered about it. So we'll see how things go. As much as they change, I think they're going to stay the same.

Sat in a different corner of the room, at a different desk, though, things have really come a long way. It's really been a year, huh...

For sake of index-browsing scroll fingers, the rest of this post is pretty long and getting put behind a pagebreak. First year anniversary though, should probably celebrate or something. 

Christmas at a military base with a disembodied brain.
My kind of fun.


Little peopleses
I’ve come in contact with a lot of people in that time, in one way or another. Maybe some of you are reading this. I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve. One thing I’ve learned is social media stuff is pretty hectically noisy and used very subjectively, to say the least. I’m sure there’s as many that I’m a complete click-through ‘follower expanding’ stranger to.

That’s one of the disingenuously funny things I’ve learned.

One of the others is that I’m not into what people would probably normally expect from an erotic author. As ironic as a fear of being judged while already writing dark and perverse things is, it’s there. Due to being things that no one really ‘openly’ associates with, rather than a sense of freedom, there’s conformity and reclusion to appear normal and familiar. It’s a stifling feeling I may actually be able to give up on.

I’ve talked a lot about how reactions and censoring has been pretty crazy in the past and don’t really intend to again. I think the long and short of it was the race to the bottom of basic decency. If there was no standard, to “be successful”, it would end up that you have to find cover material out of porn with the crassest run-on sentence string of fetish words you could find, or go unnoticed.

Personally, that really doesn’t appeal at all, and to Amazon? They just said fuck that in the heaviest-handed manner possible. I guess considering the size of the monster they’d created, damages were inevitable, but they are getting a lot better about it of late. Still, a couple of important points remain.

First, for those that started recently or has yet to start, contrary to what people that have been in this for years on end and will tell you the scene is dead now and that you missed the golden age, it’s still in its infancy as far as being stable. Amazon has only recently even acknowledged and implemented categories for erotica, rather than some nameless dark corner.

Keep a respectable, level head on what you do and you’ll probably get through gates fine. If not, they are at least openly contacting the author about what section needs to be changed, if not exactly what. I imagine they fill out  form with say “Reasons: [x] Cover” and it automates that mail to you. But it’s something.

Secondly, do what you want 'cause a pirate is free. What you more likely missed out on was a lack of supply. Beggars can’t be choosers until they don’t have to beg anymore. Much like the universe and waistlines, the market is constantly expanding. People have much more choice and freedom. By the same hand, advice is a pretty mixed bag of “give people the same as everything else they’ve read because tropes are cool and creativity is not” that I’m not really all that fond of.

I get where it comes from, and it’s why there’s real contention between the standard, dismissive “write what you enjoy” and “write what the majority vote wants”. When the field expands, they want to hone in on the “richest node” for their time, and just repeat ad infinitum to mine that ‘clique’, giving them exactly what they expect from it.

I think it’s why it’s difficult to be plain and honest about my own interests, per se. extending to “be who you are” and “be who readers expect you to be”. Not all as sunshine and freedom as you’d expect an independent endeavour? These are some of the feelings I’ve felt build up and reinforce “if you want to be successful”. Extra quote marks around “successful” since concept of success, needs and wants vary far more wildly than advice.

An you know what I think, sitting here a year to the day of when Daemonique and Leona D. Reish first came to public light? Fuck that. Fuck this, fuck those, fuck that thing especially. Fuck labelling audiences down to so much as a singular gender identity. You’re a person, not a genital predisposition, so fuck that. Also fuck devaluing the magic, mysticism and freedom to create worlds because it makes less money or targets the ‘wrong’ audience.

There’s a saying along the lines of that the more science teaches us, the less alive we really are. The more we understand, the less we dream.

Fuck stagnation of creativity, especially. I’ve never written to abide to that, and I don’t care to. If you can write to “the best formulaic tropes for women” and you’re perfectly happy, then cool, great, but don’t imagine it’s the “only answer” or that it’ll be five figure success by default, or that you need to be that to be validated.

I got an email recently from an older guy in the US who likes crossdressing and femdom that regularly goes out crossdressing and had a Mistress for five years. I also recently got talking with someone else and found I’d inspired this poem. Both really amazing things to feel and get back from entirely different people in different places.

Thing is, they’re not part of any ‘key target audience clique’. I wrote without that concern and touched the lives of people because they’re people. That’s always been my thing, and makes me (emotionally) happier than any bank transfer credit. They and absolutely everyone should be able to find fiction – erotic or otherwise – that appeals to their individual tastes and genres.

So that’s how I’m going to continue. Comfortably and consistently in my own way to push and promote that this also exists, whether or not I'm talking crap. I’ll take the risks because there’s a comfortable base beneath it and I want passion before five figures. Whether what I do to get that appeals to you will come down to because you are you more than a market trend.

If you read this far, you’re one of those awesome people not part of the short-term attention statistic, or a really fast reader… or scrolled. I don’t know, I don't judge people.

Here’s to another year. Thank you for being here with me.


  1. While I haven't quite been at it for a year, I'm coming to the same conclusion as you. I tried writing to the broad, general, mainstream audience. It was boring, and it burned me the hell out. If people can do that and feel good about it, great for them. It doesn't work for me. There are people out there who love the brand of stuff that -I- write, and they deserve to read it just as much as I deserve to write what I love.

    Obviously, that can't become an excuse for not improving as a writer, but anyone who takes it as such is a dunce, anyway.

    In any case, happy 1 year. And I hope the second treats you well.

    1. Thanks! It's really great to see people going strong since having started, and nice to think things are starting to get more stable, so good to see yours coming along.

      That's really it, too. Loose example but say like female Night Elves are great, amazonian military figures, so you want to write something inspired off that theme, but the consensus is they should be burly guys and not elves to appeal to a 'better' demographic. Suddenly everything's flat on it's face, and I mean okay... writing that isn't hard, certainly not any more difficult, but you're not really behind it.

      Thing I'm settling on is if I want to write amazonian elf fantasy, I don't care so much if it's 'less popular' or who writes it and what for. 'More lucrative' won't necessarily ever mean 'more lucrative for you', since even top 100 within the lower denominators is a healthy amount. You go day to day building the fiction you love, and sales will follow it.

      An absolutely doesn't mean there's reason to not improve. If anything your quality would want to be higher to reinforce that this genre and your work in it is there and can be enjoyed as much as anything else for the right reader. It's just improving at writing what works for you. An if some of my fetish experiments are to go buy, there's definitely people that want to read those sorts of things.

  2. Keep your head up and your freak on! Don't sell out to sell books! I read the whole thing (FYI): I am one of the awesome ones lol!