Happy Tuesday, folks, Doris here with my thoughts on labels.
Writing labels that is. Those we put on our writing ourselves, those put there by our publishers, distributors, like Amazon and our readers.
I’m sure I shared before that I never envisaged myself as an Erotic Author when I first started on this writing journey. And it very much is a journey. Five years into it, and my writing is still evolving, for the better, I hope.
The day I feel I know it all, the day I feel I’m writing the same stuff over and over… that’s the day I’ll stop writing. I would bore myself rigid, let alone any potential readers, but I digress. Back to those labels.
When I first chose my tagline I came up with this.
Writer of sensual, sassy, sexy romances.
Even though I very quickly veered away from mainstream romance I saw and still see no reason to change that tagline. After all, I am a writer, my stories are sensual, my heroines always sassy, and there’s plenty of sexy going on.
While Amazon always places my stories into Erotica, I do not consider myself an Erotica writer. I write Erotic romance, the emphasis being on romance, the developing relationship between the main characters, which always ends up in a HEA.
We could debate the difference between writing Erotic romance and Erotica until the cows come home, but for me, it is this.
In Erotica the emphasis is on the sexual relationship between the characters, and there is no need to have a HEA or even a HFN. Typically, these stories are on the shorter side, a snippet of a couple’s sexual journey, if you like. They can, of course, be longer, and likewise, there’s plenty of shorter stories which are most definitively romance and not just sex.
Not that there is anything at all wrong with writing pure sex. I enjoy a well written Erotica story as much as the next person. Sometimes you don’t want the angst. You just want a quick, wham, bam, thank you ma’am kind of story to get you in the mood, say, or just to chill out at the end of a long day.
Although I would argue that a good writer can achieve that in an Erotic Romance too. That’s certainly my aim when I write. 🙂
However, this post isn’t really about the difference between writing erotica or erotic romance. It is about the labels we use when we describe our writing.
There seems to be a growing trend among authors to call their stories, filthy, the dirtiest yet, pure smut, pure filth, name it what you will, and my eyebrows always raise.
Why, you might ask? Well, for starters sex isn’t dirty. I always feel like responding, “I shall bring my soap,” when I hear of authors referring to their work as dirty.
I’m sure they think of it as a marketing ploy, but it has the opposite effect on me. Maybe, I’m just old-fashioned, hubby/sir and I have been together for 29 years after all, but stating it is your dirtiest book yet makes me not want to read it.
I’ll assume there is little more to it than sex, and I really want more than sex in the stories I read. After all, there are only so many ways one can write about the horizontal shimmy. Personally, I much prefer reading the build up than the act itself. Give me tension, give me passion, emotion that leaps off the page, plot twists that make me gasp, dialogue which makes me laugh, and yes, a good old dirty talking Alpha hero. Yeah, I love those, but don’t let that be all he is.
After all, a dirty talking man in the wrong setting is a sexual harassment case in the making.And before you roll your eyes, and tell me to lighten up and say it’s fantasy, it is. You’re right, of course, it is, but, and there is always a but. I would prefer for the characters I read about to be grounded in reality, in my contemporary stories at least, and certainly when BDSM is involved. However, that is a matter for discussion for another time. 🙂
Suffice to say that stories described as dirty don’t really do it for me. I think, and this is, of course, just my personal opinion on this, that authors labelling their stories as such do the industry no favours.
Romance, let alone of the erotic kind gets enough of a bad press as it is. We don’t really need to add to it, do we now?
Mummy porn, smut, filth, the devils’ work… (yes, my stories have been called that by some *rolls eyes in mild amusement*) those and more are labels forced onto the romance industry on the whole by folks who just don’t get it, and in most cases never picked up a romance novel in their life.
There are enough folks looking down their snooty noses at us, without us authors ourselves giving our work derogatory labels.
So, next time you refer to your latest story, take a step back and think about it.
That’s all from me today, folks. You’ll be pleased to hear I’ve put my soapbox away for another week.
Do stay naughty, folks.