Hello, and welcome to the RADblog! I sincerely hope you enjoyed the month of September, and my Character Creation 102 series. If you have anything else you’d like me to cover in the realm of character creation, please leave a comment and let me know! The RADblog is, as always, designed as a way to help writers grow in their craft, to keep them informed about the changing world of publishing, and to have a lot of fun along the way.
This month, I thought we’d talk a bit about the saturated world of publishing, and discuss a few genres and book types I think you’re better off not writing at all. Now, it’s not to say that you can’t write in these genres or that you can’t possibly do well with them, but to give you a little bit of an idea into what publishers might be looking for, and, by extension, what readers are looking for.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “But sex sells!”—and in some ways, you’d be right. But in my opinion, erotica is where good writers go to become bad ones. And it’s also one of the most highly saturated markets around, because of the “sex sells” logic.
The thing with erotica is that it is, in all honesty, a small niche market. There really aren’t that many readers out there who primarily read erotica. Ask any readers you meet on the street. The majority of them aren’t comfortable reading erotic novels, and if they’re parents, they’re looking for non-erotic novels for their children to read (and that, unfortunately, is becoming very hard to do).
However, like we said, sex does sell. Erotica does sell. But only to the same subset of people, who buy out everything they like. This is how erotica sells. Because the people who read it are ravenous, and they’ll read as much of it as they can get their hands on. Unfortunately, that also means if you’re not putting out a new book every few weeks, they’ll lose interest in you as a writer and move on to someone else.
That right there is how erotica turns into the genre writers go into to die.
Because of the rapid-release requirement when releasing erotica, writers are forced to put out upwards of twelve books in a year while writing in this genre. And that’s only the books released in this genre. If you’re looking to write clean fiction on the side, you’ll have to push out at least one other book in a year as well (depending on the length and genre, of course).
This rapid writing, this surge in writing erotica which is, let’s face it, basically the same story told different ways, causes writers to burn out incredibly quickly.
I myself have watched as good writers have entered the erotica fiction field, only to burn out in two years and give up on writing entirely.
I don’t want to see that happen to you! In fact, I want to see you thrive in your writing, I want you to have an amazing career where writing can be the thing you do day in and day out, to make all the money you and your family need. But in my opinion, erotica is not the way to go to pull this off.
While it may be a wallet-filler when you start out, if you’re able to get the right marketing attached to your work, it will be even more likely to cause a burn out, and to push you into losing your love of writing in general.
On the other hand, if you write in the same genres you love (fantasy, say) but nix the erotica within it, you’ll open up your reader range to include everyone in the spectrum. Now, you won’t just be reaching out to the ravenous erotica readers, but to the majority of people who read. Keep it clean, and you’ll be able to reach the young adults, the parents, the families, the people who have been reading since they were children but never got into the erotic fiction game.
That, right there, seems like a good tradeoff to me.
Associate Editor, etc.