I occasionally write erotica. Just the odd snippet, for fun. It seems that erotica, like a lot of sexual things, are still sort of looked down on by a lot of people and I think that’s a shame. I find it to be a fun genre to read (when done well) and a fun, but challenging, genre to write. Sure, there is a lot of crappy erotica that gets published, particularly now that ebooks are so popular, but the same could be said about a lot of other genres that don’t have as bad a rep.
I’ve often thought about what I’d do if I ever wrote erotica that deserved being published. Would I publish it under my own name? Under a pen name? Pen names seem to be common in the genre, and I won’t deny that there are many practical reasons to use one. Anonymity, no risk of social backlash or awkward conversations with friends and family. At the same time, it also seems like a hassle to have to write, sell and promote different books under different names. Plus, there’s a part of me that feels that if someone is unsettled by reading an erotic story (either because of the genre, or because they know the author), that’s their problem and not the author’s.
I can’t say erotica is that high up on my list of priorities right now, but I haven’t ruled out the idea of giving it a more serious attempt one day. If I do, it’ll be challenge to decide how to go about it, and whether or not to do it anonymously.
If anyone reading has experience writing erotica, and especially publishing erotica and other types of fiction, I’d love to hear what you have to say about it, and particularly about the pen name vs. real name debate.
I think erotica gets a rap because we’re still trapped in a puritanical mindset. It makes no sense to me that blood and gore are perfectly fine, but a healthy sexual appetite is frowned upon.
I definitely agree with that.
I never really read much erotica beyond friend’s short stories and the like. Like you said, it’s a niche just like anything else. I wrote one and put it out under another name as an ebook with little success. The people that read the stuff I write couldn’t find it and I did not get much response from the genre crowd. The market seems to be saturated with everything that the only thing really standing out is a body of work, not necessarily the work itself. I think if you can show that you are passionate to keep writing and putting out work, then you will find an audience. Even bad writing can be fun and by doing you get better, no matter the genre.
Hi Evan and thanks for commenting. It’s true, any writing is good practice!
At the moment, I only have erotic scenes, not all-erotic books or stories. I’d definitely need another pen name were I to go that route, particularly considering how many Orthodox friends I have. They might not want me around their kids anymore if they knew I wrote erotica!
Awhile ago I wrote a blog post on amateur mistakes to avoid when writing erotica: http://carrieannebrownian.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/avoiding-amateur-writing-mistakes-erotica-version/
I’m embarrassed for some of the amateurish stories I’ve read on Lit Erotica. I think my biggest pet peeve is when a supposed romance or erotica writer doesn’t know the real location of the hymen or thinks it’s an unbroken factory seal.
Hi Carrie-Anne and thanks for stopping by! I really appreciate your comment and can definitely see how your social circle would make you wanna use a pen name.
That seems like a good list, I’m going to bookmark it for future reference.