Wednesday, September 22, 2010

E is for Erotica

I think I may have been around the block a few too many times.

I used to be able to handle the sometimes clueless questions about romance or e-publishing with a whole lot more grace and good humor. I used to be able to smile tolerantly at the people struggling to figure out whether my books were “real” books or…god only knows what.

Lately, however, it’s been starting to get to me. So here’s a brief (well, hopefully it’ll be brief. I can occasionally be concise you know!) rundown of some of my current pet peeves.

1. Please don’t refer to me as an e-book author. I write books. Period. Technically, I suppose I should say I write stories (or novels, if you prefer), which are then turned into books by my publishers. These books can take several different forms—print, digital, maybe audio someday. 

Maybe you don’t mean for it to sound like an insult when you relegate my books to a particular category based on the format in which they're released, but the simple fact is this: that’s exactly how it does sound. Kinda like Paul McCartney’s Paperback Writer, if you know what I mean.

2. Please don’t assume that I’d rather be print published than e-published. That may have been the case at one time but at this point I’m actually pretty sure my books are exactly where they’re supposed to be. You may think of “e-publishers” as being somehow inferior to “print publishers” or “real publishers" or "New York publishers" or however else you want to refer to them. I don’t.

3. Please do not make the assumption that gave this post its title. The “e” in “e-book” does not stand for erotica—no matter what you may have heard. Which is not to suggest I have anything against erotica or erotic romance, because clearly I don’t. It’s just that there’s a lot more to digital publishing than sex...disappointing as that may be to some people.

4. While we’re on the subject: Erotica and erotic romance—not the same thing. No, really.

5. Want to know what other two things “aren’t the same”? E-publishing and Indie Publishing. 

Look, I have nothing but respect for indie authors, but they have to wear a lot of hats and spend even more time “not writing” than I do. Most publishers—yes, even the digital ones—employ people to handle all (okay, most) of the non-writing work involved with bringing a book to market, work that I can’t or don’t want to do myself. 

I don't want to be the person responsible for finding or hiring these other people either. And I don't delegate all that well. As long as I can find reputable, well-respected publishers willing or—even better—eager to publish my books I’m happy to share the profits of my labor with all the people (editors, proof-readers, cover artists, everyone else I’m leaving out) who help me sell my books or who help to make them better.

6. If you’re writing a book, or thinking about writing a book, or maybe you’ve just finished writing a book, I will most likely be genuinely happy for you. I will most likely even be happy to listen while you tell me all about it. At. Very. Great. Length. 

Hey, you’re excited. I get that. And I think it’s great. I will probably even be willing to listen if all you want to do is complain about how hard it is to find a publisher ‘cause, trust me, I get that too. However, here’s another “e” word for you: Education. 

We all feel like we’re throwing darts sometimes, but if you’re sending your manuscript to the wrong publishers because you couldn’t be bothered doing a little research first, or if, even worse, you’re not sending your manuscript out at all (‘cause, you know, these e-publishers, all they want is erotica!) then you’re making things even harder for yourself than they need to be. And I have to wonder if you really want to be published at all.

7. And if you’re writing a book, or thinking about writing a book, or thinking about thinking about writing a book, and all you want to talk to me about is how your book is too good for “commercial” publishers—that’s why it’s being rejected. Or maybe you want to tell me how it’d be a sure-fire, blockbuster, best-selling hit if it weren’t for all those short-sighted agents who keep shooting it down. Or that it’s the kind of hard-hitting, truth-telling story that could get you killed if it ever came out…please, find someone else to share with.

8. Oh, yeah, and please don’t tell me that, of course, you “could” write books--and they’d be awesome too, man!  Because, after all, writing books is really a very easy thing to do, right? It's just that you have so many more important matters on which to spend your time; or “people” (ie publishers, agents, readers, me perhaps) just don’t have the intelligence to appreciate your talent, or… 

You know what? Forget it. I don’t care. You have your reasons. Let’s leave it at that, 'kay?


I have one more “E” word for you today, dear blog readers, and that’s “Erin”. Yes, I’m referring to our very own lovely Ms. Nicholas who believes she’s under some kind of weird Twitter curse. Go here and follow her: I hear she’s planning all sorts of cool giveaways in conjunction with her latest releases: tote bags, refrigerator magnets, free books, blueberries…oh, no, wait a minute. Not blueberries. Those were for something else.

Don't forget to come back here tomorrow to read Chapter Three of The Zillionaire Vampire Cowboy's Secret Werewolf Babies.


Meg Benjamin said...

Oh man, PG, does this ever hit a nerve! I actually know a couple of writers who have been sitting on their manuscripts for years because they won contests with them and are absolutely determined to sell them only to print publishers. And, of course, the print publishers really aren't interested, no matter how many contests they've won! I don't know for sure that they could get them epubbed, but I know they won't submit them, which I consider amazingly stupid.

Skylar Kade said...


And yes, you should ALL follow @erinnicholas because she's magic.

Heck, if you're not following the Naughty Nine, you're missing out!

Anonymous said...

Well said!

I think e-books are so relatively new, most people (even writers) don't really understand what e-books are or what they mean to the future of publishing. It used to be much easier to get published in print than it is now. But with consolidation, rising costs, and publishers unwilling to take a chance on unknowns, the slots have narrowed. E-books have leveled the playing field again and made it possible for more authors to get published. E-books have allowed greater variety in length: shorts, novellas and novellas. I also think it's made publishers more willing to take a chance on new and different kinds of stories/genres.

And while I believe that print books will be around for a while, I think that print books are dinosaurs in a mammal world. Dinosaurs and mammals will co-exist for a while, but mammals will eventually rule the world.

E-publishing is a chance for authors to get in on the ground floor.

I, too, am a PUBLISHED author and my books are available in the e-book format.

People can say what they want about e-books. I'm just going to smile slyly and collect my royalty checks.

Kelly Jamieson said...

Oh yeah, you hit a few nails with that hammer PG! Thank you for erotica is not erotic romance. That really ticks me off.

Debra St. John said...

Great post.

I especially like the e for education. I hate it when people shoot their mouths off about things they have no clue about.

Juniper Bell said...

Sing it, sistah!! E is for Excellent, as is excellent points, excellent post, thank you for telling it like it is.

Erin Nicholas said...

Um... wow! Great post. I may just cut and paste it... *everywhere*!

And this twitter-verse thing?
Chocolate for everyone!


Kinsey Holley said...

Preach own, Sister. Preach own.