I recently took part in an online chat, and someone asked a question that really got me thinking:
"Is there a credibility issue with erotic writing?"
And the short answer is that in many cases, yes, there is. In spite of the boom in popularity for the genre that Fifty Shades of Grey created, for a lot of people it's still not considered a "proper" genre. It's something to be giggled about, only read behind firmly closed doors, etc. As a writer, that's frustrating, but I can live with it... it's just the way life is.
But it does mean we have to take a different approach to getting our names out there than authors in many other genres. For example, great ways for authors to promote themselves include: doing a talk/reading/signing in a local bookshop, get featured in a local newspaper, do some kind of event with your local library, get involved in local craft fairs... you get the idea. All great and valid things to highlight books to potential readers.
In the past I've attempted to arrange some of the above ideas. At first, the person you speak to seems interested, but as soon as you mention that word... erotica... you've lost them. It's just too risqué, they're scared of what people will think, how they will react. Fair enough - at least I tried. I'm very much a person that'll try things out, and if they don't work, that's okay. At least I know what works and what doesn't.
But it can be very hard, as a writer, to feel like you don't fit in. I've been to some conferences and things where, although everyone is very friendly and welcoming, they clearly find it difficult to talk to me about my work. Others, however, are fascinated, and I've come across many people that, when asked, write "romance", but if pushed further will admit they've also written erotica or erotic romance under a pen name. Others still wonder if I've done everything I write about, and assume that I spend my days writing and my nights prowling BDSM clubs. That's fine, though, that just makes me giggle as it's so far from the truth.
I know all the above sounded kind of negative, and for that I'm sorry. I wasn't being negative, more telling about my experiences. But now, on the flip side, I'd like to talk about where I do fit in.
Online, these issues seem to go away. If people aren't into the genre I write in, that's absolutely fine. I engage with those who are. I chat on Twitter and on Facebook, and rejoice every time I get a review or a message from someone telling me how much they enjoyed my book. I'm grateful I can still reach readers using the power of technology, and even more grateful that they exist. They may not be able to get new book recommendations through their local newspaper or library, but they can still find me, and others like me, and hopefully check out our books, recommend them to friends, and so on.
This is why I adore my fellow Brit Babes - now there's a group where I truly fit in. We're all a little bonkers (but that goes with the territory of writers), we all face the same struggles, and we all push each other to succeed. Having that support network is vital, and incredibly valuable for me. Those girls ensure I won't give up.
The same goes for our awesome street team. We couldn't wish for a friendlier, more dedicated bunch of people on our side. We talk books, of course, and our team read and review fiendishly for us, as well as help pimp out blog posts, buy links, and so on. But we also chat more generally, whether it's about books, films, hot guys (admittedly, that's a very popular topic), or just share funny gifs we've found online.
What I'm saying, ultimately, is that though in some cases, yes, people are still shying away from erotica/erotic romance, it's still got a readership. A big readership. You probably won't bump into them in your doctor's surgery (or if you do, they won't admit what they're reading on their Kindle as they wait), but they're there. And they're a bunch of the funniest, most warm-hearted people you could ever wish to meet. If you're reading this, you're probably one of them. For that, I thank you.
Latest release: Love on Location.
ALSO - I'd love to get your thoughts on this. How do you feel about erotica/erotic romance? Do you read it openly, discuss it with your friends and partner/s? Or is it something you keep to yourself? Let's discuss... :)
Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller) and Eyes Wide Open (an Amazon bestseller). Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 140 publications to her name. She owns Erotica For All, is book editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter and Facebook. You can also subscribe to her monthly newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9