What drives authors of erotic romance? Total-E-Bound explores...
This fortnight publishers Total-E-Bound are back and posing the question: What drives erotic authors? TEB author Morticia Knight explores...
What Drives Female Authors of Erotica and Erotic Romance?
When I was growing up, sweet and sensual romances were what women liked to read. Bookseller shelves were filled with women authors who wrote dreamy and wistful love stories where men who could easily double for Prince Charming swept virginal beauties off their feet. They made passionate love and the term "purple prose" was invented to indicate when an author used a flowery euphemism to convey a steamy moment between lovers. In order not to offend a woman's delicate sensibilities, one would never use the actual slang word for a man's "throbbing member", or a woman's "hot love sheath". But that was then, and this is now. Erotica and erotic romance is the number one selling genre for e-readers. There are many theories for this, the main one being that women feel that they can indulge without anyone knowing the subject matter of what they're reading. Even more interesting to me though, is that the vast majority of erotic romance, even gay erotic romance, is written by female authors. So what would drive a woman to become an erotic author?
Maggie Nash (Total-E-Bound author of The Master's Prize and others) says, "Writing erotic romance wasn't my first choice for writing, but once I started I couldn't stop. It's addictive!" I know exactly what she means. It is addicting. For me, it's been the opportunity to just let go and not have any restrictions on my writing, or on my characters. If you're writing in other literary genres, many times the explicitness of a sex scene may have to be toned down in order to be deemed acceptable. Even if it feels right for your characters to go in a very extreme sexual direction, unless you're writing erotica or erotic romance, it's likely you won't include it in your story. Maggie goes on further to say, "There's always a different way to express fantasies and using erotic romance, you can use it as a great tool for character development. If the characters aren't changed by the intensity of the erotic scene, then it's not working. I find this challenging, but empowering at the same time."
Maggie brings up another good point: erotic romance is empowering for women. I believe that's a big part of why this is such a popular genre choice for women, as readers and writers. When you're writing with no boundaries, you are able to free yourself creatively in a way I've never experienced with other genres of fiction. There is nothing more empowering than that. Yet at times, erotic romance has been accused of being anything but that; it has basically been lambasted as nothing but porn dressed up with a pretty ribbon. I think this is an uninformed blanket statement. Total-E-Bound author Chris Lange (Gabriel), states that, "To tell a love story true, a romance writer must bare hearts, souls, and bodies." Sex happens folks!
I predict a very near future where the lines will blur more and more between what is considered mainstream romance and what is considered erotic romance. The last decade has already seen mainstream romances get steamier and more explicit, and with the unexpected success of the BDSM themed trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey, (also written by a woman) the erotic romance trade is poised for an even bigger surge in offerings. I know of many of my fellow authors, including myself, who look at the popularity of that series and think, "Hey - I have a book (s) already out there that is very similar to that one. Does this mean I might land on bestseller lists as well?" This is great news for the women writing erotica, but it is also fantastic news for the fans. Readers will have better access to more erotica and erotic romances than ever before.
Finally, the best way to find out what drives a woman to write erotic romance, is to try one for yourself. At Total-E-Bound, there is an enormous variety to choose from, and even if you're feeling a little tame at first, there's a sexometer and a burn rating to help you decide just how far you want to go. Or, if you've read one type already, maybe consider exploring a different category. Have you ever thought about what it's like for people trying to have a serious, committed, happily-ever-after if they are in a ménage relationship? Might I suggest the new ménage anthology, All Together Now, just released at TEB. It features six different stories of ménage romance, including mine, "The Perfect Third". While you're there, look at some of the other genres, and maybe find out what's driving you.
To celebrate the release of All Together Now, Total-E-Bound are giving 25% off their ménage titles. Find out more here.