As you will know if you read last week’s blog, I went to Eroticon at the weekend - the UK’s first conference for erotic writers (this included writers of erotic romance, erotica as well as sex bloggers).
I had a terrific time – and well done Ruby Kiddell for organising it. It was terrific to talk to people who understand, not only my love of this genre, but the trials and tribulations of writing this genre.
These were my reflections:
- The conference had quite an international flavour – a number of people from America, a couple of Australians, one from Belgium and another from Switzerland (although American) that I was able to ascertain.
- But the discussions also brought out an international element relating to attitudes of different countries to erotica. For instance one of the publishers there said that, despite having licensed brothels, they have found it impossible to get their books into Australian mainstream bookshops (whilst they have no problem in the UK). On the other hand in mainland Europe (in particular France and Italy) erotica is not necessarily a separate genre but has been included in mainstream literature for decades. I was intrigued when the same publisher who talked about problems with Australia stated that they are selling exceptionally well in Spain, Portugal and Romania.
- As expected there were mostly women at the conference (one of the publishers indicated that most writers of erotica are women compared to 20 years ago it was mostly men). What surprised me was that the women seemed to be mostly in their 20s and 30s with a just few older. I felt distinctly old at 51.
- One item of interest that came out for me was different people’s experience with different publishers – and not necessarily the same. Some people had had a dreadful time with their publisher whilst others thought theirs was terrific.
- At a publishers’ panel session I attended one of the questions asked was what type of novel is over-represented and one publisher said ‘the couple appearing to have an affair who turn out to be married after all’. As for the under-represented themes these included Victorian spanking and generally anything historical.
- The recent paypal issue was raised. Worryingly one of the publishers there stated that they only dropped one book from their shelves. This was worrying because it was a ménage with twin brothers as it was regarded as incest despite the men not being involved with each other as ‘brothers with one woman’ is the subject of my latest story I am finishing off!!! I know Siren has lots of those type of stories so I hope it is going to be acceptable when I submit it. On the other hand the publishers also commented that they felt this issue will die down in a few weeks. I certainly hope so but it is a shame for any author in the meantime who has had to have their book pulled.
- I came away feeling very lucky that I am able to be open and honest about my writing to family, friends and work colleagues as so many people had to keep their work hidden behind pen names (which I have, but not because I want to hide it from people I know) because of concern about family – particularly if they have children - or work reputations.
- There was a session on how to write about things you have no experience of including other genders. Generally it was fairly obvious – read, research, practice on yourself, on others if you are able, talk to others and don’t be afraid to write it. It was interesting to note though that women writers are regarded as being more emotional in their writing and men more descriptive but also that as the market is generally for women – and women like their characters to have more emotion – o maybe we don’t need to make our male characters less emotional.
- The conference finished with very interesting flogging/whipping and burlesque demos.
- The highlight for me was meeting my favourite erotica writer – the fabulous Janine Ashbless – the person who inspired me to write (despite me telling her I wasn’t nearly creative enough before I started writing – so the joke is on me now six books later!).
Roll on Eroticon 2013.