Thursday, May 16, 2013

#TheVixen Asks: Are You Selling Out or Finding Your Niche When Writing #Erotica and #EroticRomance?

This week has been a bit of a mess for me personally dealing with things at my “evil day job” as a veterinarian. The details of that will be discussed on my blog Not Enough Time in the Day soon. Right at the moment I’d like to talk about something that still has me reeling. On May 15th an author decided to publish on another blog how she had to compromise her principles and her “art” in order to make money. How did she do that you ask?  Well, she “sold out” by writing erotica.

Yeah, you read that correctly. She stated she SOLD OUT to write erotica and low and behold she made a hell of a lot of money. Is she happy that she’s found a niche for herself and her writing that also pays well? No. She’s lamenting that she invested so much time and money into her “baby” urban fantasy series that tanked compared to her one erotica novel.  She even went so far as to say that her erotica novel not only paid her the big bucks, but did it never having broken through the Amazon top 100. 

Really?  Check again, chica.  Smooth marketing strategy ticking off all the erotica/erotic romance authors and readers. Not only did you get free publicity, your erotica novel cracked the top 100 and the top 20 in a few categories. Then when the blog owner pulled your post? BAM! Even more publicity and twitter firestorm.  Way to go!

I shocked you there didn’t I? You all thought I would be pissed off and naming names, basically turning from The Vixen to the Bitch in a few nanoseconds. Well, I did see red when I first read it and I’m still upset she basically called all erotica and erotic romance authors sell outs.  Then I read her blog again…ten more times to be exact and then laughed.  You see, she’s laughing all the way to the bank while many of us are pissed she added herself to the large list of authors who treat us like unwanted stepchildren.  It’s bad enough we have to deal with it from authors not in our genre and subgenres, but when it’s one of “our own,” the slap stings all the more and cuts to the bone.

Why on earth would you trash the very genre, authors, and readers who made you all that money?  It’s got nothing to do with “compromising your principles.” It’s all about the money for this author.  She called her best-selling erotica novel trashy. If she feels it’s so bad, why write it in the first place?  She came right out and said she did it to appeal to the market. There’s nothing wrong with that, but when you trash that market after you succeed in it, you end up making yourself a pariah.
I see things a bit differently here than several of my erotic writing friends.  This particular author is upset that her CHOSEN genre didn’t pay off the way she wanted it to so she jumped ship and found her true calling.  THAT’S what she’s upset about.  Not the fact she has to write erotica/erotic romances to make money but the fact she’s GOOD AT IT!  So to draw attention away from the fact her urban fantasy series wasn’t the smash success right out of the gate and her erotica was, she turned to snarky comments and jokes at the expense of herself and the rest of us who write “the trashy smut.” 

What I do take offense to is being dumped into a group of people who’ve compromised their morals and principles to write what I enjoy writing and reading.  By whose moral code are we comparing ourselves to? Not mine. I’m not compromising one damn thing to write what I want to write. Yes I do so under three different pen names, but I don’t make it a secret that all three are me, Tammy aka The Vixen.  When I first started out, Tammy Dennings Maggy WAS my real name, but I’ve since remarried to the fabulous Mr. Vixen. So if you’re friends with me on Facebook, you’ll see my last name is different there.  I write poetry, erotica, erotic romance, YA, sweet and mainstream romance and mainstream fiction. In order to keep some of them separate from each other, I found it necessary to have multiple pen names. I need to keep the adult themed material separate from the YA, and I wanted to delve into M/M and ménage. So with all those ideas in my head, Lia Michaels and Stephanie Ryan were created to help with telling those tales.

Does that make me a sell out for wanting to write in subgenres that make more money than M/F contemporary erotic romance? NOPE. I love to read books in all of those genres so it’s only natural for me to want to write in them.  When you write what you love, it shows and you WILL find your audience. 

One last issue I had with the now pulled blog post is the implication that all you had to do as a writer was crank out the smut and you’ll be rolling in the dough.  You see, the market is absolutely FLOODED with books now thanks to the ability to self-publish.  Many of these books truly are trash with very little to no editing, are poorly written and simply awful to read if you can get through the first few chapters.  Just because you add in a sex scene and vulgar language doesn’t make it erotica or an erotic romance.  Fortunately for the readers out there, there are many more novels and short stories that are true gems. Some of which get buried under that garbage so it’s up to us to help sort it out.

Join my street team
How do we do that?  We stop the attacks on each other and slamming of adult genres. When you find books you’ve enjoyed, pimp them out. Help the author get the recognition they deserve for their work. Visit their author pages, blogs, Goodreads and tweet about them.  Join their street teams if they have one. You can get many extra perks for helping the author promote their work and you get first dibs on sneak peeks and new releases. Oh and did I mention there is always fun swag to be had by all?

What can you do as an author to get your name out there? Open up dialogue with those who are visiting our pages, join blog hops, make friends with fellow authors and LEARN FROM THEM.  Don’t make yourself a pest by sending direct messages and private messages to people begging them to “like” your pages and books on Amazon and Goodreads.  The most annoying, rude and disrespectful thing you can do is post your links on other’s walls without permission.  If the only contact you’ve had with the person is that they accepted your friend request or started following you on Twitter, you should NEVER send those kinds of messages.  Get to know the person a bit as an online friend. Let THEM decide if and when they want “like” your pages and visit your blogs.  If you do cultivate those friendships, you will get yourself a vast group of fans and promotional buddies.
I know many folks have taken classes on how to use social media for promoting. Unfortunately, those teaching those courses have encouraged people to do exactly the opposite of what I’ve recommended above.  Their techniques may show you some results, but in the end all it will get you is “unfriended, “unfollowed,” and blocked from any further contact with those you’re trying to reach.  Don’t send out mass emails to everyone on your contact list either.  One of my pen names received one from an author that was a forwarded message from ARe letting all of us know her book was now available on that site.  It wouldn’t have been an issue if I was friends with this author at any point in any group. I’m not sure where she got the email for my pen name at this point either. 

Did it make me want to check out her work? No. I did go searching to see if we were connected at all and when I found out we weren’t through myself or my other pen names, I put her on my SPAM email list and will probably think twice about connecting in the future with her. I’m sure I’ll change my mind about that at some point, but for now I have to cut out the clutter.

As for the author who started me off on today’s diatribe I want to say congratulations on your success in the genre I adore. Your book is sitting at #16 in erotica and #205 in the paid Kindle Store. At 99 cents a pop, I think you’re doing remarkably well for “selling out.”  ;-)

~The Vixen

Learn More About The Vixen

Tammy Dennings Maggy is a multi-published poet and erotic romance author with Siren and Sassy Vixen Publishing. Her writing explores many facets of romance from ultimate betrayal to finding your soul mate. Her poetry serves as a companion to her novels and has inspired entire series all on their own. Tammy and her alter egos Lia Michaels and Stephanie Ryan make up the core authors at Sassy Vixen Publishing and together they've created the shared world series Temptations Resort. Look for the first books in that series to come out later this year.

Now happily married to her own Muse and soul mate, she continues to live her dream and act as secretary to all her characters demanding to have their stories told.

Check out:
Tammy's Website
Tammy's Blog
Tammy's Books on BookstrandAmazonBarnes and Noble,Smashwords, and iTunes
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  1. Well said,Tammy. I don't understand why any authors knock genres, as if a story in one genre is so much easier to write than another. We need to lift one another up, especially in an industry that can be both solitary and difficult. Thank you for your words of wisdom. :)

    1. Thank you for stopping in and commenting. It breaks my heart to see some authors repeatedly slam others for the genres they choose to write in. The worst ones are those who get into erotica/erotic romance and then turn right around and try to change it and basically make it even less than mainstream in my opinion. We've come a hell of a long way since the days of "fading to black" and keeping it all behind closed doors. Using overly flowery or "purple" prose is no longer acceptable. Authors like myself will not allow those "mean girls" take over our genre! (Picture me standing on a chair like Norma Rae rallying the people!) ;)

  2. :D Great post! If it comes naturally, why not? I got garbage because I didn't use a pen name on my erotica. Not expecting to ever get famous (though one can always hope!) I put my real name on it. I said if I was ashamed to put my name on it why write it?

  3. Beverly, I got yelled at by some other authors for using my real name to write erotic romance too. What do they care? I keep my writing separate from my "evil day job" and if they didn't like what I wrote, well, I'd cross that bridge when I came to it. So far we have an understanding. LOL

    Funny thing is the same authors who railed on me about the pen name for erotica/erotic romance can't understand why I have two other pen names for the other genres. Really? Seems their thinking is ass backward to me!

    Thanks for stopping in and sharing with us tonight!

  4. Kinda sad when she is biting the hand that feeds her... I love all types of books and I am not ashamed to say i read erotic... My blog is 18+ for that reason... but i do love YA as i read with my kidos :)I agree it was shitty of her to do that but smart at the same time as look at all the "free" promotion she got on her "Compromised Principles." Sounds like what my grandma and mama would call a bible thumper lol

    1. Exactly my point, Jeanette. Very savvy promotion how it all went down. I wish she would just embrace her naughty self and not make any excuses for it. She kicked ass with the sales and should enjoy it instead of giving the impression she feels guilty over it.

  5. Hey I don't mind being a sell out then. I think after this, I'll write more sell outs just for the heck of it!

  6. Very good post about this issue. I'm not a sell out. I love writing in this genre. I love my readers. It's sad that she doesn't.

  7. You know, I don't think it's an issue of her not loving her readers, but of taking the bashing of her own writing and yes those of our genre a bit too far. She has a smartass attitude like I do so I get that, but comments like she made shouldn't have gone out on a without expecting to get some backlash. It's the readers who have been more angered by this than us though. That could spell big trouble.