General Writing

We’ll Have The Usual, Thank You!

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Yes, you will. There’s no doubt about it. You’ll have the usual and nothing but the usual, forever and ever, amen. Most of you may not know this, but in my retail store I try to carry unusual items, unique and not the run-of-the-mill merchandise that other stores carry. I mean, I want to be different so people will have a reason to come in and shop with me. I want to be competitive. Guess what sells? Go on. Don’t be shy. *Jeopardy music playing* The usual!! Ta-da! And there you have it. The usual.

Seriously. We sell more of the usual than anything else. We sell what you can buy in other stores and can get in other places and on line. When we buy, my spouse makes sure we ask our vendors, “What’s the top 100 items you sell?” We want those things. Like it or not, there’s something to be said for that. That’s why it’s called the top 100 sellers. They don’t call it that for giggles and grins.

What on earth does this have to do with books? C’mon, Scarlet. You write books. What’s your point? Guess what? “The usual” sells well for books too. Yes, they do. The Billionaire-Biker-Alpha-Male tropes. There a zillions of them, and more coming, mind you. They’re being cranked out as we speak. Oh, look. I see one now …

When I published my first book four years ago (OMG, it’s been FOUR years ago? It seems like last year!), I really didn’t know much about the erotica genre. I don’t practice the things I included in my books (Oh, yeah, I wrote a collection), so I had to do research so I could minimize sounding like an “idjut.”

When I started my first book (uh, oh—that’s actually the one I’m trying to finish now. Don’t ask), the one I published first, I had a dream. I had a dream to create something wild, unusual, extremely different and not the run-of-the-mill tropes you find out there today. I wanted to write a book with a different twist and one that contained at least the elements of a theme that would really turn readers on. Did I succeed?

Meh, some like it. Some don’t. What’s the surprise, then? Of course there will be those who enjoy what you write, and then there are those who simply don’t cop to it. True, dat. And for those of you who don’t like my approach to kink or my erotica collection, I don’t hate you for it, either. Am I disappointed? Aw, yes. Of course I am. It means I fell short of my goal.

It’s been four long years, and though I created a Facebook author page, created the blog, and a year ago created a Google+ account (I just started participating more in Twitter a few months ago), I didn’t do much more marketing. I surely didn’t put my books in a Blog Tour or pay for advertising. It was when Booktrope picked up the collection that I did more, and also started lightly asking for reviews—mainly picking one or two bloggers at a time. I still have a list I haven’t gone through.

The four years have given me some time to possibly grow a thicker skin, but I still get bummed when someone doesn’t like the work. I still shake my head when someone doesn’t cop to what I write. One author told me that he wished there were more readers who liked works that deviate from the cookie-cutter romance novels, but the market is what it is.

True, dat—again, dammit! I like writing for the joy of it most times, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to make a little money at it, or have some validation that what I produce is good. The real truth: I simply do not like writing tropes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I’ll write one someday. Maybe I just released one. Heck, I don’t know. But cookie-cutter is simply not for me. If you find my work something you just can’t get into, then too bad. For both of us, really. You didn’t find a new author you like, and I didn’t find a reader who’s a fan.

Does it shake things up for me? It does a little at times, and here’s why. It’s just another teaching lesson that the erotic genre is so diverse, it’s difficult for me to keep up with it. I’ve also learned from Goodreads that “Dark Erotica” doesn’t mean my work fits beautifully into that category. I thought it would have been a match made in heaven, but I clearly missed the mark on that notion. Try some different groups? Yeah, I guess I could do that. Throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks.

Here’s the real truth about my Pleasure House Tales: there are three more books I’d planned on writing for that collection, and now I’m questioning if it would even be worth it. Why write them if people already have issues with the ones currently out there? And the issues being the fact that these books are not the tropes currently available and not an approach to subject matter that’s popular. I’d thought about trying to join book signing events for this collection, but now I’m seriously reconsidering it. I just don’t think this collection fits in.

Admittedly, there are times I wish I’d just written Pleasure House and stopped and moved on to other books. I learned something else: I somehow created a world that people who do enjoy the books made clear: they love The House, and they want the stories to take place there. Some even mentioned they’d like more books with other characters and ones focusing on some of the original characters.

The thing potential readers need to know about the Pleasure House Tales is that they are erotica novels. Though these books have romance elements, they’re not sweet, soulful reads, usually. Pleasure House honestly has a more “Victorian” feel to it, and the purpose of that book was to introduce a reader to the world of The House and to accompany the main character on a journey of sexual awakening. The other books have not only some of the original characters, but new ones as well. This collection tells the different stories of the patients (admits) of The House, what they experienced there. There are different kink elements, and medical play is a big part of that too. Some scenes hit you from out of the blue unexpectedly. For some it will be seen as abuse, others will see it as a score, that you surprised them when nothing much usually surprises them (in a good way).

Maybe I’ll write those three remaining books someday; maybe I won’t. I’m just not sure. Maybe I’m just a little tired right now and need to take writing a little bit slower to re-group. Finish up the current book (the original first novel) I’m working on. The bottom line: The Pleasure House Tales are not your normal read, and the scenes will surprise you. If you’re wanting to deviate from the norm, take a break from the popular market reads and try on something different for size, these books might work for you. For those who are wanting the usual reads, please move on. There’s nothing to see here.

scarletdarkwood

Certified Tarot Reader and Author of Fiction

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