Fifty Shades of Grey. And what truly amused me was that writers who previously shunned the idea of writing “that stuff” were now invading the erotica genre like panhandlers looking for sparkly stuff in the early days of the California gold rush.
Of course, there’s no recreating the organic success of something like Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s like trying to recreate Harry Potter, Twilight or The Hunger Games.
Yes, wizard, vampire and post-apocalyptic fiction can and has ridden
the coat tails of such bestsellers. But you can’t recreate the first,
because the original had an x-factor that the later copycats couldn’t
capture. It’s like cloning – you can get a facsimile, but it’s never
going to be the same.
That said, apparently my name has been
bandied about this summer, after the popularity of the James’ series,
because I’ve had not one, not two, but… well actually it’s now more than
three, agents approach me in the past month or so with the promise of,
“You could be the next EL James!” First of all, you’re assuming I want
to be the next EL James. You’re also assuming I want to be traditionally
published. Two pretty big assumptions.
I’m not sure I want to do
either. Do I really want to open that door? Most of the agents have approached with the caveat: “I know
you’re doing well on your own…” so at least they know the score. I’ve
got 100 titles out there with my name on them and I’m pretty close to a
million ebooks sold (if I haven’t passed it officially already… I still
have to run the numbers) in the past two years. "Pretty well" is a bit
of an understatement, I think.
I always said, “I’m glad I write
erotica, because no agent is ever going to approach me with a ‘too good
to turn down’ offer from traditional publishing.” I was so sure of this
fact, especially given that everyone from Amazon to Apple to Paypal wanted to get rid of the stuff.
Then Fifty Shades of Grey became a runaway bestselling series.
I’ve got a decision to make. To agent, or not to agent? I know all the
arguments for and against. I think we all do. But self-published erotica
and erotic romance authors are heading toward traditional publishers in
droves. Sara Fawkes recently signed with Amanda Hocking’s agent and he got her a book deal with St. Martin's. Maya Banks just signed a 7-figure deal with Penguin for a three book series.
Publishers are now banking on erotic romance.
Whhhhaaat!? Really!? Have I entered the Twilight Zone?
leery, I admit. I’ve heard so many horror stories about traditional
publishing from authors who have jumped ship to self-publish. But there
are authors (like EL James or Amanda Hocking) who have decided to go the
other way, from self-publishing to traditional, and they’ve had good
The fact is, I have a three-book series based on Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed
waiting in the wings. It was a huge seller for me in the days before
Amazon decided to ban "certain types" of fiction, and although its ranks
have never recovered there, it’s also the book that spurred people to
run over to Barnes and Noble to buy it and clock in record sales (over
$100,000 in a month!) last year. It’s also my “most requested” book in
terms of a sequel. It's different while still tapping into the erotic
romance genre, it's controversial, it's already got an enormous
following of readers who want to read a sequel and it's hot--in short,
it has huge potential.
Now I have to decide… do I want to self-publish it? Or give it to an agent?
What would you do?
Erotic Fiction You Won't Forget