Self-Publishing & Erotica: The Cold Hard Facts-Part 1

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Nobody wants your book.


Let’s face it. You write smut, stuff where people, puppies or even big globs of electrically infused jelly-like masses are doing nasty things to other electrically infused jelly-like masses. Do you truly think there is an audience ‘out there’ waiting for your scribbling, let alone enough of an audience out there that some publisher will come along and agree to put out a book of your very odd, extremely niche content?


You’re not even that well-known of a writer. In fact, nobody knows you at all.


Come on, kiddo, believe what I say… nobody wants your book.


The above scenario describes me back in 2009 or so. I was writing only part-time then. Still, I was making some headway with my scribbling, specifically my naughty scribbling, and had managed, with a good friend I was partners with, to get to an industry convention of creators/owners/and web workers in the adult industry. My partner and I had come to learn, network, and ply our wares to site owners with the web copywriting/marketing we did. And at this convention, I met a wonderful lady who was the owner of the preeminent eBook house publishing erotica. She (Jean Marie Stine of Renaissance eBooks) would be the first publisher to publish me in book form and would remain my go-to house/publisher and very dear friend to this day.


I wasn’t well-known, I was a newbie in the business, and I wrote smut. Go figure… I found somebody to publish me. Yeah, forget my opener here, I was just trying to get your attention.


Then, as now, there are places out there to get your erotic book published. I’d dare say there are more eBook publishers available for this than print, but don’t get discouraged; this is true for all genres of writing. But print, that’s another story.


When I walked into my local Barnes and Nobles (and don’t even get me started on how those stores presently carry the stench of going-out-of-business among their shelves loaded now with fewer books and more games, calendars, and Funko figurines) and I saw that rows upon rows of Howard Stern’s last book, Howard Comes Again, were on sale post the holidays, for a whopping 30% off (in addition to my member discount) I took a pause.


Consider though, if my local store was any indication, and a bunch o’hardcovers by a well-known media-star, a book that charted on the best-seller’s list when it was published and earned a bunch of publicity, would very soon going to have to be boxed-up and returned, publishers have to be skittish indeed to sign somebody’s book.


Sure, the industry was shocked into submission (no, not the bend-you-over-my-lap-give-you-ten-high-hard-swats-across-your-ripe-bare-firm-booty kind of submission) over Fifty Shades of Grey. But the E.L. James series began as a web-based publication and was pretty much an anomaly.


The fact of the matter is, most erotica writers I know being published presently publish through eBook publishers, some audiobook, some print-on-demand, and some a combination of all of the above (I take the combination route). It’s just more economical for smaller houses and niche publishers to publish digitally. It’s even more economical for houses of all writing genres to publish electronically, but major, even smaller press do produce print copies of books; they are still out there; you see them all the time. And while I am thrilled to see, hold, smell, read a printed copy, a good amount of what you come across in your local store or at that airport candy store is going to be returned to the publisher or placed in the discount rack.


Then there is self-publishing, certainly a legitimate way to get your book out among the masses, and that which I will tell you about in part two of this two-part column. Sorry, I had to start somewhere and figured I’d just suck you in with the above.


Until next time.


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