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March 15th, 2012

First, thanks to Lorraine for last week’s blog. At the moment, every writer’s magazine or ezine that I read seems to have a piece by Lorraine talking about her new novel. And that’s how it’s got to be if you want to see your work out there and being snapped up by the public. So if you need some first-hand tips on promoting your book then you should consider enrolling on our How to Market Your Book course. Written, I may add, by Lorraine!

Erotica Rules

I was listening to a report yesterday about the popularity of the erotic book 50 Shades of Grey by English author, E L James. It took off in America and has now become an international bestseller. One category of e-book fiction that is currently soaring in popularity is erotica. Apparently it’s because women can now download and read erotica on their Kindles privately rather than having to go into a shop and actually purchase a book or sit on the train displaying a sensual/raunchy (take your pick) cover. Well, that’s the theory and it seems logical. So, if you fancy breaking into this burgeoning market here’s how:

• Don’t confuse erotica with pornography. The latter usually provides graphic descriptions of the nuts and bolts of sex. Erotica, on the other hand, is much more cerebral, dealing with the magic of sexual passion.

• You can’t get by with just a series of sexual encounters. You need to come up with a proper, gripping plot. It’s just as important as in any other genre if you are to keep your reader hooked.

• You need a proper balance between fantasy and credibility. Are a couple – however infatuated – going to rip off their clothes in the fruit and veg section of the supermarket in the middle of the afternoon? Is a middle-aged, over-weight, balding librarian really going to be a babe-magnet, fighting women off at every turn?

• You need the right setting – a sexually charged location. It has to be exotic, intriguing or glamorous – penthouse apartments, a millionaire’s yacht or a Victorian boudoir. Avoid squalor – the majority of readers are not turned on by public toilets.

• Power is an aphrodisiac. Can there be any other reason why so many women seem to be attracted to ugly politicians and statesmen? Alternatively, think about the dynamic where one character has absolute power over another – the willing sex slave.

• This is one genre where historical settings are still in demand. Consider the license that masqued balls, country house parties and the Victorian master-servant relationship provide. Think of the clothing your characters might wear (or enjoy taking off) – basques, corsetes, riding breeches!

• Get the mood right and take especial care with the language you use when describing behaviour and body parts. If you are too polite the story will sound twee; if you are too graphic it will be seedy. Try to strike a balance. And remember, a good erotic tale doesn’t need swearing and sexual insults.

• Writing erotica isn’t an easy option. In fact, it’s one of the most demanding genres. You need to be able to creative atmosphere, tension and sexual frisson to make it work.

• This is one of the few areas where using a pen-name is acceptable. Many well-known authors write erotica under a pseudonym.

Next week’s guest

My guest next week is Writers Bureau tutor Esther Newton who’ll be providing a timely warning about always checking your work before sending it out – something that might be particularly apt if you do decide to give writing erotica a go!

And before I leave you, don’t forget that we are still accepting entries for our monthly competition. Until the end of March you’ve got the chance to win a Writers Bureau Complete Copywriter Course – all you’ve got to do is use your current copywriting skills to design an advert for the course that would work in a newspaper or magazine. Good luck!

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