Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Predictions for Erotica in 2013

2012The world didn’t end on December 21. *gasp* I guess I have to actually start paying on all those “No Payment until 2013″ furniture loans I took out in 2011! *sigh*
The good news is that no 2012 Apocalypse means there will be a 2013 to look forward to writing in (well, unless we all fall off the fiscal cliff of doom…)
So since I still have my tinfoil hat around, I thought I’d put it on and predict the future of the erotica ebook market in 2013:
1. Translations
I think translations are going to be big in 2013. Some moved very early into the German market (which is currently the largest and is growing by leaps and bounds) but as Amazon adds more International stores and Kobo (who focuses so much on International sales) grows, we’ll see more and more erotica writers looking for people to translate their works to gain foreign sales.
2. Audio
This is another big market for 2013. Now that Audible offers direct access for authors through ACX, we’ll see more and more erotic versions of novels, and even shorter works, being translated into audio.
3. Longer Works and the Return of Erotic Romance
This has already been happening, of course, and you know this if you’ve watched the erotica bestseller lists changing over time. Erotica readers will still enjoy shorts now and again, but they’re going to start looking for longer, more sustainable stuff as time goes on.
4. Tamer Covers
This goes with the former. I hate to say “I told you so,” but when the whole Paypal debacle happened, I warned erotica writers that the over-the-top titles and covers would only go so far for the attention-grab of readers—and would likely attract the wrong kind of attention eventually. Now the trend has shifted into tamer covers, ala 50 Shades of Gray. I think covers will re-cover somewhat this year, and we’ll see less plain ties and feathers and candles and more people, but less-skin is definitely in this year!
5. Growing Niche Markets
Niche markets are going to grow this year. BDSM is an obvious one, but other niche markets will find more readers, as the ebook market grows. Topics like lesbian erotica, BBW, cuckold, group sex, piercings/tattoos and furries are ripe and ready for a breakout audience.
6. Erotica Bookstore Breakout
Someone is going to create it. I don’t know where or how, but I’m sure that an erotic-focused bookstore is going to breakout this year. Maybe more than one. Competition is a good thing!
7. Erotica Serials
Erotica serials are going to grow in popularity, but I have a feeling readers are going to start demanding more story and length in their serials though. I think the era of 5K $2.99 serial pieces is past.
8. Paranormals
These somehow never lose their popularity, and I think 2013 is going to manage to gain some new paranormal ground. I predict some new supernatural sexy creatures this year!
9. Movie Crossovers
Not full “adult” movies (i.e. porn!) but erotic adaptations of books into movies. Yes, ala 50 Shades of Gray (I’m still wondering how they’re going to make that one… not much plot, honestly!) We’ll see some NC-17 rated movies out in 2013, I think!
10. Growing Audience—Fewer Writers
Readers are going to continue to look for erotica, but I think the amount of writers dabbling in erotica is going to wane. Those looking to cash in on the gold rush and recreate the boom of 2012 may find sales less satisfactory than they hoped and look for other revenue streams. I predict the writers who love the genre and are serious about it will prevail, and readers will find and focus on the writers who give them what they’re looking for—good writing, good stories, and hot sex!

Selena Kitt
Erotic Fiction You Won’t Forget

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Long-Term Erotica Game

dreamstimefree_8571973As a erotica writer, are you in the short-term game or the long-term game? Did you know there was even a difference? There is–an important one.
Even before the Fifty Shades phenomenon, writers were discovering that erotica was a gravy train when it came to writing. The fact that the erotica market supports selling shorter works for more money made it very appealing to writers looking to make a decent living. It also seemed “easy,” at least on the surface. You pump out (excuse the pun) 20-30 short titles in a few months, and you’re suddenly in the money, paying your mortgage with your royalties!
Since Fifty Shades, the erotica market has been literally flooded (excuse the pun again) with stories about billionaires doing naughty, wicked things to their secretaries. Mark Lefebvre from Kobo says “enhanced Romance” (which is code for erotica) sells the most on their ereader and when Mark Coker from Smashwords says “Romance is our bestselling genre,” what he means is erotic romance. When Mills and Boon starts holding erotic writing seminars, you know the genre has arrived.
I know several very mainstream writers–names you would easily recognize if I printed them–who have decided to get their hands dirty and supplement their “real” writing in their preferred genre (be it sci-fi, mystery, “regular” romance, horror or whatever…) with some erotica writing. I find it amusing that many of them, back when Paypal wouldn’t pay for that “smutty stuff,” self-righteously deemed it “too bad, so sad.” Some of them went so far as to say, “Serves them right for writing that nasty stuff!” Of course, their livelihood wasn’t at stake then. Now they have a dog in this fight. Now they’re writing erotica right along with everyone else, discovering that Amazon filters “certain” covers and “certain” content from their main search, that Apple bans “certain” titles altogether, that some smaller vendors deem “certain” subjects unacceptable.
Now these writers are discovering how erotica writers really get treated. Everyone reads it but no one wants to admit it. Erotica writers are excluded from certain blogs and groups because of their “content.” Erotica writers are the subject of snide remarks and disdain–yet lo and behold, they’re some of the biggest sellers out there. And now these writers know what it takes to write a good sex scene. Hey, wow, there is really more to it than inserting Tab A into Slot B! At least, there is if you want to sell well, build a brand, and actually make a living at it.
Which brings us back to the long vs. short term erotica game. Many of the people jumping on the erotica bandwagon are in it for the short term. They didn’t start writing it for the love of the genre—they started writing it for the same reason people set out to California in the 1850′s to pan for gold. Short-term erotica writers are looking to cash in, pay off some credit card debt or buy a few new toys, and ride it out until the wave crests and fades away.
Short term erotic writers are watching and following trends. Daddies? I can write about Daddies! Billionaires? I can write about billionaires! Werewolves? I can write werewolves! In fact, I can write about Daddy Billionaire Werewolves! Short-term erotica writers want to make short-term money.
Not that there’s anything wrong with short-term money!
But there are erotica writers who have been doing this for years, who do it because it happens to be the genre they fell in love with (like some writers fall for horror, or thrillers, or romance—it’s just where they “fit”) and it’s the genre they want to write in. These are the writers in the long-term erotica game. We’ve watched the market trend and change. Fifty Shades opened a few more doors for erotica writers, but the basic landscape hasn’t really changed.
The basics are still the same and will always be the same.
**Write a good story.
**Make it hot.
**Write what you love, what turns you on.
**If a certain trend is popular and it appeals to you, then go for it! But if you’re faking it, your readers will know.
**Your characters are real people, and if they don’t act like it, your readers will know.
**If you’re not that into it, your readers will know.
Erotica writers in the long-term game can take advantage of the short-term market, but please, don’t forget to look down the road. This is where you could really hurt yourself if you want to be in this long-term. Those who aren’t in this for the long-haul are near-sighted. Yes, you should pay attention to what they’re doing, but don’t necessarily model yourself after them. They aren’t thinking five, ten, fifteen years ahead.
Remember, if you want to be around and have readers in the future erotica market, you have to build a readership now. If you become some flash-in-the pan writer, spreading yourself thin with a hundred pen names and short, trendy titles with lots of cotton candy fluff but no real meat, your readers will go away dazed with the sugar-rush but ultimately unsatisfied. No one can live on cotton candy forever.
Writing what you love in any genre is important. Erotica is no different. Readers aren’t stupid, and they’re not reading erotica and erotic romance for any other reason than they read mystery or horror. They want something specific, and they want a writer to give that to them. They develop a relationship with the authors they love. Short-term erotica writers aren’t going to build that kind of reader base.
Long-term erotica writers will still be here, still writing, after Fifty Shades has trended and gone. And their readers will remember them and continue to seek them out. Those in the short-term game will have either moved back into their own “real” genres, or they will have found that writing erotica isn’t bringing them the cash it once did, and decide to do something else.
Those who love it, who are in for the long game, will still be doing it. They will be the writers of erotica’s future–as long as they remember not to fall into short-term traps.

Selena Kitt
Erotic Fiction You Won’t Forget
LATEST RELEASE: Becca (Daddy’s Favorites)