Monday, November 06, 2006

Let's Talk About Sex

Okay, first, let me ramble.

For those who are curious about my list of five things, did I snow you all? Ha! I am so sub-tul. Or, you know, y'all just don't know me.

The one that is *not* true is number 4, about dressing up as a curvy Lone Ranger. Though I participated in high school rodeo in Wyoming, I never did it in costume.

The Engineer says I cheated because he did not actually *fling* the rabbit at me. But, yes, proud romantic that I am, I got married because of a dead rabbit.

Well. The *real* proposal was mine. He surprised me with the rabbit, but *I* had already bought *him* a ring. And so, after I made dinner that night (not rabbit, mind you), I put the little black box down beside his plate and said 'Here, I brought you dinner, marry me.'

It's been eight years. :)

In other news: I have had contact with Fox. I had a great conversation with a man named Gabriel (who told me that Fox actually read the finalist entries. Did you guys know they were doing that? I didn't!) Next steps on how to work with them in the development deal are forthcoming.

I turned in a long overdue novella over the weekend. And I played some Final Fantasy XII, which was my reward.

I have not NaNo'd. I should. I have a bunch of projects, though, so I may just add up the sum of my words and call it a technical NaNo, and not worry about the 50K being all on one project.

Now, the sex part:

I am so, so very frustrated by the fact that, in order to make a good showing in the ebook market at the moment, it seems to me that one must write hot, on-the-page sex. Okay, wait, I amend. One must write hot, on-the-page sex with graphic language. No euphemisms and you absolutely can't close the door. Readers right now want hot, hotter and blazing and that, unfortunately, just isn't my speed. So, I've seen my co-writers sell better, get more reviews, and more oohs and ahhs from the mailing list/chat room crowds than I ever will.

I vent not because I think they don't deserve it. I've read the books. I enjoy reading erotic romance sometimes, too. And these are some very talented women I'm talking about. It just chaps a bit when reviews and readers come back saying, 'We love your writing', but the sales numbers don't bear up.

Sex sells, and that's the bottom line. I can change or I can cling to my sensual-but-not-steamy stories and stiffen my bottom lip.

It just gets to be too much to keep quiet about sometimes, you know?


Chrisjournal said...

A very good friend and an incredible writer/editor once listened to me moan and groan about this sort of problem -- not sex writing in my case, but more complexity of theme/content and subtlety of language. Same thing with the feedback -- I got less of it, and it was uniformly very good, but the pieces just weren't as popular as the fluff stuff.

It was lovely of her to listen to me rant for so long, but in the end she made me think long and hard about a key factor: who's my audience. "My" audience was a smaller set of readers who were willing to work a bit harder for their fiction, who appreciated a well-drawn underlying theme, and there wasn't anything I could do about the size of that group, except to realize that because what I did was different, I would *always* have an audience -- it would just be smaller than those who answered the demands of popularity. But like a great little black dress, it was not ever going to go out of style.

I'm kinda rambling, but I think my point was something like this: your only power in this situation, really, is to decide who your audience is going to be. You can't change the fact that more people want candy than a delicious three-course mediterreanean meal, yanno? But you can realize that those tastes aren't reflective of your worth or quality, and you can search out the audience for great Greek and take your work there...

Sara Dennis said...

Very true, Chris. Very true. Thanks.

Jana J. Hanson said...

Keep clinging, Sara! There's hope for the rest of us yet!! (I hope)

Richelle said...

I hear you, Sara, on writing what you want and how that ranks with sales and whatnot. I had a moment of zen last night where I asked myself why I wrote and what my ultimate goal is. Success was up there, unsurprisingly, but there are different costs that come up for achieving success as far as sales numbers go. I think it's awesome that you're staying with what feels right to you.

Pam Skochinski said...

Oddly enough, this was the topic of the Wicked Company list just recently -- there was a population of folks that thought it was great (sex, sex, and more sex) and some thought it was just nothing but printed porn.

Guess I like sex in books if it's integral to the plot/relationship. But I'll admit that there I times where I skim it if it's too graphic. Inserting part B into slot C just doesn't "do" a whole lot for me. I like the euphamisms. . . leaves a little more to the imagination, but heck, that's why I read!

Alice Audrey said...

It's funny you're having trouble with too much demand for sex, and I'm having trouble with not enough. Half the judges love the sensuality of my stuff, and half call my heroine "slutty".

There must be a way for you to reach your market better than you have now. For sure your market is out there.


Shelli Stevens said...

I can understand your frustration hon. I feel a bit of the same but in the different aspect, that I use humor in my erotic romances. And a lot of people don't want humor in them.

So cool about the Fox thing. :)