It’s not chick porn? Really? You sure that’s not what you want?

Sure, it’s a rant, and it’s personal. A review. “This book wasn’t hot enough. It was kinda warm.” That’s my pet peeve complaint about reviews. Hot enough for what? “No toys were required”? Shudder. Alarmed is a strong word, but I think I actually am alarmed. I’m concerned that while we’re in the midst of a digital revolution, one that I’m strongly behind, the divide between “epublishing” and “traditional NY” publishing is shrinking in many areas except one. If you want to sell ebooks, be prepared to write chick porn. (Okay, that may be a little strong.) But make sure they say “I love you” several times. Then it’s a romance.

I don’t mind if someone doesn’t like my books. Okay, I mind in that it’s disappointing, but you know what I mean. But I loathe when a book is judged on its heat level. Just pick up something from the erotica section, please.

So, help me out here. Name one (yours or someone else’s) small press/ebook that was a success in terms of reviews and sales that had NO significant open door sex. I guess I’ll describe the standard as a classic Nora Roberts contemporary heat level, if that helps. Please restore my faith in…well, I’m not sure who.

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12 thoughts on “It’s not chick porn? Really? You sure that’s not what you want?

  1. I wish I had one! My short story is in a sweet anthology that’s gotten great reviews (from small online reviewers)…but the sales aren’t there. At least, I have no idea how they compare with other epub titles, but I wouldn’t consider them “there.”

    I know there are lots and lots of readers who are having a hard time finding books that are closed door…but apparently something’s missing, because all those that are looking for them aren’t finding those that are out there!

    I don’t know what the solution is…but this is one of the factors that’s made me switch to YA writing. I’m discovering that lots of readers read YA for this reason, because it’s easier to find this type of story there…so it makes sense to write for YA…especially since my characters are 17 and 19 anyway.

  2. ciarcullen says:

    Thanks for commenting, Kathleen. I guess my wording was a bit strong. I’m just so keen on small press publishing, but I want to see the full variety of titles and heat levels. I salute small presses that still take any heat level. But I’m afraid they’ll have to sacrifice that for sales at some point.

  3. vivianarend says:

    Hmm, no open door sex? Can’t give you that, but I will share my book Wolf Signs did very well and it’s got only two hot sections. People seemed to enjoy the relationship between the characters, and the jokes, and I’ve had no complaints about the heat level.

    When my writer friends and I compared how ‘early’ in our books the characters got intimate, my novella was the slowest with nothing but a kiss prior to page 60/90.

    I will admit that I doubt some epublishers would have even picked up this story since it’s more romance than erotic, but the readers still enjoyed it.

  4. vivianarend says:

    Oh, and I feel like I’m pimping out my story, but it’s all the info I have in terms of results for a sweeter ebook.

    Blushes.

  5. Nell Dixon says:

    Things to Do has fab reviews and for chick lit, no open door sex, etc sales that were/are ok. Not anywhere near as good saleswise as my out of print books that were e pubbed by a sweet romance specialist but not so shabby.

  6. ciarcullen says:

    Thanks Vivian and Nell. Pimping good books is never a bad thing!

  7. anny cook says:

    Yep, I’m tired of the entire mess. Recently had a book rejected because there wasn’t enough sex. And you know what? That’s a fine reason. A very fine reason. I’m also tired of the kink, kink, kink that is apparently necessary to succeed. So I’m embarking on a new venture with romance… and maybe a tad of sex.

    We’ll see how it goes.

  8. ciarcullen says:

    Awe, Anny. It’s a fine thing when you hit your own boundary and don’t cross it. My question is: enough sex for what? I’ve read your work and enjoyed it very much. I don’t know what to say. I find this very annoying.

  9. anny cook says:

    Oh, thank you, Ciar. I so respect your opinion. I’ve been uncomfortable for a while with the cry for more, more, more sex. Deep down, I think that “how much” should fit the story, not the other way around. Just as there are relationships where sex is either extremely important or they’re “eh, take it or leave it”… well, there are stories that go both ways. I’ve decided that will be my parameter. What do the characters want?

  10. vivianarend says:

    Anny, I have to agree that the characters call for the situations. It’s annoying to me to read a book and it’s like the author wrote down ‘insert sex scene here’ when the plot didn’t call for it.

    Just write the story and see what happens, I think that makes for better stories all round.

  11. ciarcullen says:

    Yep, what Anny and Vivian said. Sometimes I almost cringe when I have to write a sex scene, because I have this internal (actually sounds external) voice saying: more, more, more, add some kink, sales sales sales. If it’s not your thing, or the story simply doesn’t call for it, then it shows, shows, shows. I even noted one well known purveyor of ebooks quasi-calling for the softer stuff.

  12. Lilith Saintcrow has her Dark Watcher series. I don’t know if you’d classify that series as a ‘big’ seller (even though I think that it is popular) and that doesn’t have any sex at all. (hardly even eludes to it)
    Does that count? or what about Kim Harrison? of course, she’s not one of my “have to buy it now” authors, so I don’t think I remember exactly how her first couple of books went, but I could have sworn, that there wasn’t any sex in them?
    any way…. just my wandering thoughts 🙂

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