Let's Talk About Sex!!
There exists a strange dichotomy between the portrayal of sex in our 24/7/365 media and what is "accepted" by society as being something to be talked about openly.
What is the hangup with sex in our culture?
Sex is something we all think about from the time our bodies start to mature, a biological imperative, good for relieving stress, connecting on a deeper intimate level with one's partner, etc., etc. - but yet it is still strictly viewed as verboten in most circles to admit that you personally have desire or needs. In fact women with the same sex drive as men are too often labeled as "easy" or "sluts" in our society.
I do not really care what turns you on - that is your own private business of course - but the moralizing judgment in public of those who embrace their own kinks in private has to stop. That is simply my opinion of course - and I will qualify that as I always do with one of my favorite phrases. "Your mileage may vary."
As most of you are probably aware of by now - I write erotica. Erotica is an interesting genre in that it is one of those things that people enjoy, but are not likely to talk about in "polite society". Erotica also seems to get a bad rap sometimes as people tend to confuse it with porn. Think of it this way - with porn you are getting nothing but descriptions of the sex acts. With erotica you are seeing behind the scenes - so to speak - and enjoying the thoughts and feeling of your characters. There is a discernible story line and shockingly enough the story could probably stand on its own merits without the explicit descriptions.
Anyway - I digress - as I tend to do on occasion.
So - what does the societal hangup with sex have to do with erotica? Good question - I'm glad you asked. ;-)
As an author of erotica I have found it to be quite the uphill battle to spread the word about my writing to a larger audience. Even with 75+ four and five star reviews - there is something missing.
Anyone want to venture a guess? Go ahead - think about it - I'll wait right here ... raise a hand when you are ready.
Yes? I said raise your *hand* back there in the third row - although that *is* quite impressive.
Where was I?
Ah yes - what is missing? Word of mouth. Societal shunning. The virtual equivalent of that Scarlet Letter we all remember from so many years ago.
For example - I recently posted about Volume Two of my Summer's Journey series being FREE for two days on Amazon. (Okay - so I posted A LOT about that - what's your point?)
There exists a forum that I participate in wherein a bunch of authors talk about their experiences with KDP Select and their results from having one of their books free.
An author who had one of their books free during the same time period I did experienced 12,000 downloads in the period of two days - driving their ebook into the Top 100 in the Amazon store - gaining them some valuable exposure.
In the same time period - despite my best efforts at having freebie sites list my book as free to their wider audiences, not one of them did - and my free downloads were about 1,200 - or 1/10th of the other indie author.
Why you may ask? Was this author's book that much better than mine?
I submit it was simply because my ebook was erotica and this other book was in a more "acceptable" genre. Now - some of you will say - (and you will be right) that I chose to write in this particular genre (well - actually it chose me - but that is a whole other story) - and that genre choice is what is limiting me.
True enough I suppose, but let's go back for a moment to what I said was missing.
Word of mouth. Even in this day and age of vast new resources online for self-promotion and marketing - the number one best friend of any author is still word of mouth "advertising". A reader enjoys your work and passes on word about it to a friend or family member. That person tells someone else, and so on and so forth.
This does not occur to the same degree with erotica - due to the societal stigma associated with talking about sex. This is an interesting phenomena that even extends to fellow authors. On that same forum I was talking about earlier - I posted a few questions about my own experiences with the free book giveaway. Even my fellow authors seemed to go out of their way to distance themselves from the erotica author.
Readers will contact me and say they LOVED the first volume of the series - can't wait to read more, but they hope I will understand if they don't tell anyone they loved it - their family, friends, pastor and German Shepard would be shocked to know they were reading that kind of material.
So ... what's my point ...?
I'm not sure I have one - after all of that - so if you were waiting on one - oops. ;-)
Maybe I just think we should initiate (somehow) a healthier societal attitude towards sex. A more realistic one that acknowledges human sexuality instead of berating it - or idealizing a particular body image through the media.
Of course - that *could* simply be the self promotional erotica author in me saying that. ;-)
Embrace your sexuality and love one another. Life is too short and we are all in this together.