Sunday, July 31, 2011

New Erotic Romance Imprints

Two more best-selling erotic romance authors have joined Delilah Devlin in publishing e-books under their own imprints. Shiloh Walker released her BDSM novella Beg Me last November. In May, Cat Johnson published Educating Ansley, a cowboy menage, under her Red imprint.

The covers of these self-pubbed books are terrific. No doubt the stories are just as buffed and polished.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Exploitation of Self-published Authors

I've been seeing a disturbing trend in recent months. Traditional reviewers and agents (and even other authors) are sensing there's money to made off self-pubbed dreams of making it big.

Charging for book reviews:

Kirkus will provide a 300 word review of your self-published book for $425. Not only that, but Kirkus promises you will also: “get your book discovered and proudly wear the title, Published Author.” In capital letters, even.

Publishers Weekly will consider reviewing your self-published book for a $149 "processing" fee.

Literary agents acting as self-publishing "consultants":

The Mediashift blog describes several of these intermediary agents who will "package" your self-pubbed book for a percentage. The Bookends Agency just announced it's also jumping on the bandwagon.

And finally, an example of a self-published author exploiting other self-published authors:

An Amazon forum spam queen provides a website listing random "indy" titles. She also provides these bonuses: referrer amazon links, and listing her own books first.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sub Frenzy and Non-Con Erotica

Kitty Thomas is an author who writes fiction featuring non-consensual BDSM. She was interviewed on The Forbidden Bookshelf Blog a few months ago. I've been stewing ever since. In this blog post I’m going to respond to Kitty's interview, and discuss what’s wrong with kidnap and rape BDSM stories.

First, Kitty says:
The rape fantasy is the number-one female sexual fantasy.
The number one female sexual fantasy is to be desired, not raped. Rape and desire are not the same thing--even in fiction. It's a big leap to conclude that readers who enjoy non-con erotica actually fantasize about being raped.

Then Kitty constructs a straw man to justify writing non-con:
A lot of people don't like rape fantasy in fiction because it "sends the wrong message". But I think that's just insane. No rapist is curling up with harlequin novels, bodice rippers, and kinky erotica to "justify" being a monster.
Rapists being inspired by rape erotica is not the only possible reason for objecting to non-con. In fact, I don’t believe non-con is dangerous because it arouses men. It's dangerous because it arouses women. Here's why:

When a new submissive discovers the world of BDSM, (often through reading erotica like Kitty's), she can be overcome with excitement. She longs to experience the intense emotions in those stories. She wants more and more, and she wants it now. This vulnerable state of mind, (or lack of mind), is termed “sub frenzy”. A frenzied novice sub will take foolish risks, discarding common sense. She won’t vet who she’ll be playing with, she’ll fall for the “you aren’t a real submissive if…” and she won’t understand that it is her responsibility to insure her own safety. Frenzy, supported by fictional extreme BDSM scenarios, can lead to serious harm to the submissive.

Non-con fiction glamorizes assault and imprisonment in the same way that war stories idealize battle. The real experience is far different than the fantasy. I believe it's negligent to romanticize kidnap and rape as sensible BDSM.

Finally, Kitty asserts:
A lot of the BDSM books being written now are being written by non-kinky authors for a non-kinky audience. So, if you aren't kinky and you find my fiction uncomfortable, please, just read something else. You have plenty of fuzzy handcuffs and safewords books to read. But those of us who like non-con kink fiction have far fewer books to choose from because of all the people who decided to go on a crusade to control what people are allowed to even think about.
Offering an opinion about non-con fiction isn’t the same thing as mind control or censorship. Nobody is on a crusade; non-con authors are not being victimized. It's an opinion. And finally, writing fiction with safewords (or fuzzy handcuffs) also doesn’t wipe out the author’s kink cred. Not unless a story with condoms is proof positive that the author is a virgin.

It's about safety.