Warning: This post might tick some people off. This is for writers who feel like they are drowning in an erotica-saturated industry.
***Disclaimer: I am in no way judging or putting down anyone who writes or reads erotica. I understand that people like it, and I have no issue with that. But I do want to address how it has saturated the market and made it difficult for other genres to excel.
As a fairly new author, I have seen how difficult it can be to gain a solid readership. Time has been good to me and for the amount of effort I have put into this, I have been so blessed by the response to my books. But it’s still hard. It can be so, so hard. No matter how much of yourself you pour into your stories, there will always be people who hate them. And you might always wonder why it seems like novels with no real depth gain more attention than yours.
I never expected to feel like I might have to sell out on what I believe in to make it in this industry. That’s what I want to address today. I want to remind you that your stories matter.
A while back, a good-natured individual told me if I want to sell more books, I will need to write an erotica novel. “That’s all the rage right now. Nobody cares about books anymore unless they’re raunchy.” (You know who you are, and you know I love you anyway!)
I struggled with what she said for days. I looked at the industry and really evaluated what people want. Every time I scroll through my Facebook feed I come across E.L. James’ latest novel, Grey, or something similar. Women pant and drool over these, posting comments that honestly make me start to lose faith in the world of modern literature – not because of the content, but because it seems like no one values a story anymore unless it’s riddled with sex. Just a handful of years ago, erotica was only found in those little paperbacks with half-naked dudes on the front. Fabio, anyone? Now it seems like everyone and their mother are suddenly jumping on the erotica-writing bandwagon.
Listen… I have nothing against those writers. I have nothing against erotica (even though it’s not for me). I think any book with a deep, meaningful plot can be good (and I’m sorry, but constant coitus is not a deep, meaningful plot. There has to be more to it!). I mean, there is sex in my books. It’s brief and not at all explicit, but it’s there. It’s just not what my stories revolve around, and I’m starting to learn something valuable: if I can’t make it in this industry by writing deep, raw, passionate stories that don’t rely on sex to pull in readers, then I will happily write for a small readership (and mainly for myself).
Honestly, I disagree with what this person said. There are tons of books out there that people go totally crazy for. And I know it sounds like I’ve done nothing but bash erotica, but that’s not the point I am making here. The point I am making is this: If you want to write it; if you feel like that’s your niche in the author world, more power to you. But if you are just trying to fit in because every other table at the book signings you attend has more visitors than yours, you’re selling yourself short. Write what you are passionate about. Don’t look at what everyone else is doing as a compass for what works for you. I mean, think about it: DINOSAUR erotica stories have higher sales ratings than most beautifully written, life-changing books. Stop comparing!
I believe in writing from the deepest, rawest parts of your soul. That is what produces stories people cling to. The literature world has evolved so much that it’s almost unrecognizable in comparison to what it used to be. Self-publishing has made it possible for virtually any book to be put out there, and while I think it’s good that more authors now have a chance to have their stories heard, I think it has also damaged the market in a lot of ways.
Shallow, half-assed, unedited, unpolished books drown books of true quality. Fads swoop in (like erotica) and make it almost impossible for the rest of us to have a place in the crowd.
But don’t give up. Just don’t. Don’t write for anyone but yourself. In doing so, your story might change someone’s life. And if it doesn’t, at least it might enrich yours by weaving it from the things that make you, you.
Bio: Allison was born and raised in the mountains of Oregon, birthed of the crisp, clean air and rainy forests. She now resides in Oklahoma City, though she is still thoroughly attached to her home and finds much inspiration for her stories whenever she has a chance to return. As the spouse of a police officer and a full-time photographer, she is on her toes 24/7. In 2013, she was a recipient of the Oklahoma Next Generation award: an award given to thirty individuals under the age of thirty in the state who have proven to be innovative and inspiring leaders in the arts, entertainment, business, media, and other areas of impact.
Often told that she has her head in the clouds, she couldn’t deny it even if she wanted to. Allison began dreaming up stories long before she was old enough to write them. She enjoys a variety of genres, including YA, romance, historical romance, fantasy, dystopian, and anything else that hooks her interest. She prefers to write books that tell gripping love stories in heart-wrenching, real, inspiring ways. Her stories are deep and raw, taking the reader into a world that is richly intricate. Readers often say that they are swept away and left reeling when they have finished the last page.
Allison loves to interact with her readers, and she does her best to respond to every email she receives. To learn more about her, visit her Facebook page and follow along on her writing journey!
Books by Allison J. Kennedy: The Choice.
How do you heal from your past when you’re still trapped within it?
I lost myself the night of the party. Just like that, my innocence and my sanity were torn away.
I would like to say that time heals all wounds, but it doesn’t. And I would like to say that falling in love is what rescued me, but it wasn’t. Nobody told me what to expect in the coming days and weeks and months after conceiving a rapist’s child. Years later, my wounds are still just as fresh as the night they were made. It would be so easy to disappear and allow the memories to consume me.
But that’s the choice, isn’t it? To live instead.
**This book contains rape triggers. Discretion is advised.