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Old 10-02-2011, 02:01 AM   #16
MeiLin
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crich70: Totally agree. A 2-star review of the first in my series said the sex was awkward. The book's about an 18-year-old man, of COURSE the sex is awkward!

Steven: Re: the warning--I don't think it's necessary. If the seamy underworld theme is played up in the blurb, it's pretty clear it's not suitable for children. I don't have a warning on mine (apart from checking the appropriate boxes at Smashwords and B&N). But there are three half-naked people on the cover, two of whom are ID'ed in the blurb as avatars of the gods of sex and love, and the title's "Lovers and Beloveds." That pretty much gives people the idea what they'll find in the book, even though it's not 100% or even 50% erotica.
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Old 10-02-2011, 01:27 PM   #17
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As far as the warning goes, so long as the description is clear about what could be in the book, and its tag (where tagging applies) you do not need it. But if you cannot tell by cover/description, then yea... I would edit the description to make it clear, or add the warning just to help those looking for something to read to have a better idea before they get into it.
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:09 AM   #18
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Steven: Re: the warning--I don't think it's necessary. If the seamy underworld theme is played up in the blurb, it's pretty clear it's not suitable for children. I don't have a warning on mine (apart from checking the appropriate boxes at Smashwords and B&N). But there are three half-naked people on the cover, two of whom are ID'ed in the blurb as avatars of the gods of sex and love, and the title's "Lovers and Beloveds." That pretty much gives people the idea what they'll find in the book, even though it's not 100% or even 50% erotica.
I do have to redo the cover, but I was planning on using the dominant element from the original cover: A studded leather collar and leash. I could go more hardcore with the cover, but again, I don't want to emphasize the bondage element to the extent that readers expect a lot of it to be in there.

I can also redo the blurb, which originally read:

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In 2001, heiress Ellen Levinson vanished from a downtown Washington hotel under mysterious circumstances. Five years later, a series of blackmail letters lead investigator Alain Guest to Nashville, and into the local Goth and bondage scene, in search of the missing girl. Will he find Ellen alive... manage to avoid the blackmailers... or will his own fractured psyche finally shatter under the onslaught of such extreme and sexual lifestyles?
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:43 PM   #19
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I think it depends on your intended market. Sex scenes of almost any type do restrict your market. I think we each have to decide if maximizing sales mean more than telling your story exactly how you want to say it. I rarely criticize someone for deciding that food and shelter come before artistic needs.
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:05 PM   #20
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I think it depends on your intended market. Sex scenes of almost any type do restrict your market. I think we each have to decide if maximizing sales mean more than telling your story exactly how you want to say it. I rarely criticize someone for deciding that food and shelter come before artistic needs.
In this case, the situation may be reversed. I left the more descriptive material out in order to maximize sales. (It didn't work.) Adding it back in may serve to drive sales higher... sex does sell.

I'll also be changing the blurb, probably to emphasize the sexy aspects of the story, but not to emphasize bondage... which is closer to the aspects of the story anyway.
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:43 PM   #21
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sex does sell.
I dont believe that. Its an often repeated line, but sales do not seem to fit that. For example, G rated movies typically out sell any other rating.

Now if you play a line where you have some small amount of sex, you probably restrict your market more then if you just put it all in, because you loose the people that dont like to read that, but you do not really pick up the people that do because its not enough for them. I think you need to be in one camp or the other and not try to play to both.

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I'll also be changing the blurb, probably to emphasize the sexy aspects of the story, but not to emphasize bondage... which is closer to the aspects of the story anyway.
Good plan. Any time you make the blurb more reflect the book is good, as it will help make sure the book ends up with the people that are most likely to enjoy it.
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Old 10-05-2011, 01:39 AM   #22
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I dont believe that. Its an often repeated line, but sales do not seem to fit that. For example, G rated movies typically out sell any other rating.
I would point out that romances & erotica are selling *amazingly* well in ebooks. That I can name, off the top of my head, a dozen romance/erotica DRM-free publishers, thriving in a market where the "big 6" publishers are screaming about losses.

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Now if you play a line where you have some small amount of sex, you probably restrict your market more then if you just put it all in, because you loose the people that dont like to read that, but you do not really pick up the people that do because its not enough for them. I think you need to be in one camp or the other and not try to play to both.
A great many readers of romance & erotica books put up with the thin plots and cliched characters because other genres are prone to disruptive fade-to-black topic switches, rather than actually showing pivotal events in character interactions. (The idea that a gory murder should be described in exquisite, stomach-churning detail, but the one-night-stand that inspired the murder should be glossed over as shuffling in the shadows, never fails to amaze me.)

I'm a good deal more likely to venture out of my normal reading range if I know the author doesn't shy away from sex. It's a powerful force in human interactions, and I'm tired of seeing it considered the one topic that can only be mentioned, not depicted. I've seen a lot of books where sex was important to the story--and the writing gets disjointed before & after the spot that obviously should've held a sex scene, that either the writer didn't feel comfortable writing or an editor demanded to be cut out.

I'm aware it's not everyone's cuppa, and some people flat-out won't try anything they think might have an erotic scene. I can understand that; there's content I flinch away from, won't read if I know it's included, and sometimes drop a book I'm otherwise enjoying if I run across it. But that's personal tastes, not literary trends... the open market says there's plenty of interest in books of all genres with sex in them, and finding that audience is no more work than finding any other targeted group of readers.
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Old 10-05-2011, 01:57 AM   #23
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I would point out that romances & erotica are selling *amazingly* well in ebooks. That I can name, off the top of my head, a dozen romance/erotica DRM-free publishers, thriving in a market where the "big 6" publishers are screaming about losses.



A great many readers of romance & erotica books put up with the thin plots and cliched characters because other genres are prone to disruptive fade-to-black topic switches, rather than actually showing pivotal events in character interactions. (The idea that a gory murder should be described in exquisite, stomach-churning detail, but the one-night-stand that inspired the murder should be glossed over as shuffling in the shadows, never fails to amaze me.)

I'm a good deal more likely to venture out of my normal reading range if I know the author doesn't shy away from sex. It's a powerful force in human interactions, and I'm tired of seeing it considered the one topic that can only be mentioned, not depicted. I've seen a lot of books where sex was important to the story--and the writing gets disjointed before & after the spot that obviously should've held a sex scene, that either the writer didn't feel comfortable writing or an editor demanded to be cut out.

I'm aware it's not everyone's cuppa, and some people flat-out won't try anything they think might have an erotic scene. I can understand that; there's content I flinch away from, won't read if I know it's included, and sometimes drop a book I'm otherwise enjoying if I run across it. But that's personal tastes, not literary trends... the open market says there's plenty of interest in books of all genres with sex in them, and finding that audience is no more work than finding any other targeted group of readers.
Yep, the Romance market is a very large chunk of the book publishing market as I understand it and the line between Romance and Erotica is often quite blurred as well.
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Old 10-05-2011, 07:25 AM   #24
Steven Lyle Jordan
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I dont believe that. Its an often repeated line, but sales do not seem to fit that. For example, G rated movies typically out sell any other rating.
As others have pointed out, movies are different than books. I've also seen plenty of leeway in writing sex scenes in books that movies don't have, either because of more stringent ratings, or because of 2-hr time restrictions. You can't directly compare the two in this instance.

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(The idea that a gory murder should be described in exquisite, stomach-churning detail, but the one-night-stand that inspired the murder should be glossed over as shuffling in the shadows, never fails to amaze me.)
True.

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Old 10-06-2011, 04:31 AM   #25
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As a writer with a lot of sexual content, I look at it this way: Does the sex advance the plot or speak to character? Then it gets written in. If it doesn't, it fades to black. Simple rule.
Okay. I have to ask. How do you advance the plot in a sex scene? Over and beyond a fade to black.

Bob emerged from under the sheets, face slick from her love. "You won't believe this, Mary, but while I was down there I found a CLUE!"
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Old 10-06-2011, 05:04 AM   #26
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Bob emerged from under the sheets, face slick from her love. "You won't believe this, Mary, but while I was down there I found a CLUE!"
that spot on your inner thigh that you thought was merely a freckle? its the killer's manifesto! get me a magnifying glass and my notebook, love. i may be here for awhile.


genius! i would read that book lol.

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Old 10-06-2011, 06:57 AM   #27
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Bob emerged from under the sheets, face slick from her love. "You won't believe this, Mary, but while I was down there I found a CLUE!"
LOL!!!!!!!!
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:44 AM   #28
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On a more serious note (yes, I must): In a sex scene, how well (or badly) the sexual moment works out can color the character's views of each other and impact their interactions in the future. You could just say it afterward ("I thought you were nice... but you just got off on hurting me! Never touch me again!" "I'm sorry, Paul..."), but describing that moment can have more impact.
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Old 10-06-2011, 05:31 PM   #29
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Okay. I have to ask. How do you advance the plot in a sex scene? Over and beyond a fade to black.

Bob emerged from under the sheets, face slick from her love. "You won't believe this, Mary, but while I was down there I found a CLUE!"
Obviously a sex scene can contain crucial character development & relationship information. (I would hope that doesn't need justification, that most people can understand that an incredibly intimate act can reveal important character details.)

Actual plot: other than the case of one character noticing something important about the other ("I see you're missing a patch of hair on the back of your head, where the victim grabbed you!"), it can matter to later plot developments. One character could later be distracted, or paying extra attention to how jackets fit, or aware of how crowded a room would be with three people in it, or thinking about jewelry, because of the events in a sexual encounter. It's no more or less likely to affect plot than "main character took detour to supermarket; noticed quite a few green Subarus in this neighborhood, later realized where the killer escaped to."

Some people come out of sex confused and muddled. Some come out of it refocused and sharp. Either of those details can be relevant to the plot. A marathon session that leaves the main character tired and hungry might lead to a trip across town to the only diner open at that hour, where they might catch a view of the person they're chasing. Or they might be so caught up in sex they miss a crucial appointment. And so on. Sex-as-plot-device is just as reasonable a concept as job-as-plot-device or kids-as-plot-device or news-story-as-plot device.
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Old 10-07-2011, 06:24 AM   #30
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Obviously a sex scene can contain crucial character development & relationship information. (I would hope that doesn't need justification, that most people can understand that an incredibly intimate act can reveal important character details.)

Actual plot: other than the case of one character noticing something important about the other ("I see you're missing a patch of hair on the back of your head, where the victim grabbed you!"), it can matter to later plot developments. One character could later be distracted, or paying extra attention to how jackets fit, or aware of how crowded a room would be with three people in it, or thinking about jewelry, because of the events in a sexual encounter. It's no more or less likely to affect plot than "main character took detour to supermarket; noticed quite a few green Subarus in this neighborhood, later realized where the killer escaped to."

Some people come out of sex confused and muddled. Some come out of it refocused and sharp. Either of those details can be relevant to the plot. A marathon session that leaves the main character tired and hungry might lead to a trip across town to the only diner open at that hour, where they might catch a view of the person they're chasing. Or they might be so caught up in sex they miss a crucial appointment. And so on. Sex-as-plot-device is just as reasonable a concept as job-as-plot-device or kids-as-plot-device or news-story-as-plot device.
And why does any of that require an explicit sex scene? It's all for titillation and market expectations. Now, I'm sure you're unlikely to agree with me but as an exercise imagine being able to convey every one of those, dubious, points without the need for gynaecological gymnastics in the scene. I can think of ways to convey these outcome of sex without sex. You really don't think you can?

Which is not to say I object to sex scenes - although they do nothing for me. I like proper porn - I just think it's a complete lie that anyone is using them to advance the plot.
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