Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dirty Bits

by Dave White... well, sort of.

Sometimes I think he's making fun of me. Just a month or so after I spend an entire blog post teasing people blogging about writing a sex scene, my buddy Bryon Quetermous emails me asking if he can guest blog here.

And since I'm all out of controversial topics at the moment, I agreed to let him.

And what does he give me?

A blog about sex scenes.

The universe hates me.


It pains me to admit that many of you out there may not know who I am.
Sure I'm no Stephen King, but there was a time where I blogged a lot,
published a lot of short stories online, and even had a hand in
publishing several of the fellows on the sidebar there through a
website I ran called DEMOLITION. But then I got married, had a couple
of kids, and suffered one of the worst bouts of writer's block I've
ever had. So I shut down the blog and DEMOLITION and stopped writing
short stories and basically disappeared.

Well I'm back and looking for new readers
( This blog seemed as good a bridge as
any from my past life to the present so I appreciate the indulgence.
My post today is part discussion, part advice, and part shamless

Occasionally Dave White and I will chat about blogs and some of the
topics that seem to always pop up in them. Two of the biggies are
always writing sex scenes and e-publishing vs. traditional publishing.
I'd like to touch on both of those topics today, but hopefully in a
less clich├ęd context. One of the hallmarks of my old blog self was a
healthy (and sometimes over indulgent) sense of the truth in my life.
I wrote about everything, including my love life. I wrote about dates
and crushes and misfires and unrequited love among my posts about
murder, mayhem, and musical theater. And they were some of my most
popular posts. But since I've been married that's fallen off. I don’t
have crushes, or dates, or misfires really, or at least none that I'm
willing to admit publicly. But the funny thing is, I seem to find
myself writing more about sex.

It started with an invitation to contribute to UNCAGE ME, the
follow-up anthology to the collection of dirty stories EXPLETIVE
DELETED edited by Jen Jordan. For this story I wanted to really let my
nasty side fly. So in the middle of the story I had the most explicit
sex scene I've ever written. And I didn’t need anybody to tell me how
to do it. Sadly, I didn’t use my imagination I just wrote from real
life. And it's received some raves from people who have read it. The
next two short stories I wrote after that both ended up having
explicit sex scenes in them as well, also drawn from real life. Now
obviously, I will run dry quite soon based on my limited experience,
but it was an interesting revelation about what I'm capable of.

This also led me to looking into the erotica publishing field as a
possible outlet for some of this stuff. What I found is one of the
most profitable and technologically advanced segments of the
publishing industry. I found publishers that mix print with electronic
publishing seamlessly. There were tiny publishers with amazing
distribution and dear god, the money. Publishers, writers, readers,
everybody is winning. It's the first time I've felt excited about the
state of publishing in a long time. I've got to believe crime fiction
will come around to this stuff eventually. But until then, I think
it's good for writers to be exposed outside of their standard genre



John McFetridge said...

First of all, welcome back, Bryon, you were sorely missed online.

Secondly, I have a whole post ready to go called, "What Can We Learn From Porn?"

I actually had no idea the "erotics" publishers were so active, but it makes perfect sense. Technology has been driven by porn for a long time. I wonder how many pulp publishers financed their crime with erotica? We all know the story of how VHS won out over Beta by licensing to porn companies and the first people to make any money online were selling porn.

So, yes, I think there are a lot of ways that the crime fiction community can learn from the "erotica" community (I just have to put that in quotes, sorry).

One thing right away is the community part. There are some big porn companies, but as you say, there are plenty of small companies and a lot of sites that are really a group of "amateurs" that have banded together making some money at this. What they generally offer is a constant supply of new product from a variety of sources. People buy memberships to get access to product. It's a new way of getting product to people.

Bryon Quertermous said...

It's not just erotica, John. The whole romance industry is very techno-savvy. Harlequin just announced plans to start an all-digital imprint. Romance readers are voracious and will apparently take their reading in any form available.

Steve Weddle said...

I wonder if it works better for some readers, the having the book on an ereader. The not having the naked man-horse on the cover as you ride the bus to work.

I know some romance readers who like to have a book cover to hold their hard backs.

Just wondering. Of course, I'm sure some romance lovers would rather have the old fashioned kind that they could just spread open on the kitchen table.

John McFetridge said...

You may be right, Steve.

But another thing to consider is the delivery method. For a lot of these things people are buying subscriptions - or memberships - for access to future product. Kind of like old fashioned book of the month clubs.

I think Hard Case Crime have a subscription service and I bet Harlequin does, too.

But a wifi connected e-reader opens it up to so much more. Say you sign up to a subscription service from Do Some Damage. Seven times a year a new novel drops onto your e-reader. But maybe also, a short story a month.

And maybe also...

Mike Dennis said...

What a great post! This is an idea whose time has certainly come, or at the very least, is knocking loudly on the door.

I personally know an author who earns a very nice living by publishing her novels electronically. She writes in the romance, erotica, and erotic romance genres (apparently, they are three distinct genres). In addition, she's very prolific, cranking out 5000 words a day. And this is with a husband and kids!

She's up on all the latest internet moves and opportunities, and has built a very nice platform for herself.

Granted, crime fiction is not quite as formulaic as the abovementioned genres, so one's output might not be as intense, but I firmly believe that this is where our future lies.