Awesome erotica for awesome adults only
I’m not sure how many people actually buy their smut in paperback anymore. It seems to me that the advent of the Kindle has given rise to a huge amount of people who had always wanted to read erotica but were embarrassed to be caught reading erotica. Kindles and Kobos and Nooks effectively allow us to carry our books everywhere and obscure what we’re reading from the rest of the world.
This is a good thing.
That girl across from you on the train in the morning who’s always got her cute nose in her Kindle? You know, the one with the conservative skirt and jacket and those legs – oh my god, those legs – who looks so tight-laced? Yep, she’s reading about sex with vampires and loving every minute of it.
That guy down the row in the suit and tie who looks like he’s never enjoyed sex – not even once – who’s always staring at his phone? Totally reading about a woman who dominates men and wondering what it would be like to crawl behind some hot chick.
Digital eBooks and the ease of publishing has also given rise to a lot of authors who might never have found a voice otherwise. Something about the world tells me those stories about Bigfoot and dinosaurs might never have seen the light of day in a traditional publishing environment. “You want to write a story about a bunch of high school girls being kidnapped and raped by Bigfoot? The door is right behind you.”
Yet, those stories were immensely popular for a short period of time. I read the first Bigfoot story. Wasn’t my thing, but I can see how others might enjoy it.
And that, right there, is the rub of the argument. Traditional publishers were forced by monetary concerns to publish only stuff they felt would be popular enough to justify the expense of printing and distribution. Printing, if you’ve never checked it out, is hugely expensive. Likewise distribution. So, if you’re going to print up 100,000 copies of something you want to make damned sure you sell the majority of those copies.
ePublishing changed the dynamic. Now authors are free to write whatever they want and there are no real costs involved in the publication process. Sure, Amazon probably had a huge amount of R&D put into the Kindle platform, and there are some costs associated with maintaining the servers and network connections, but when you get right down to it publishing 100,000 copies of a work costs only marginally more than publishing one copy of a work.
ePublishing also cut the old-school publishers out of the loop. This has had both good and bad consequences. On the one hand there’s no guarantee that a publisher would accept something as off-the-wall as Bigfoot erotica – smut that would go on to redefine what we think of as erotica. This was the good side of things; authors could go directly out there and start pushing whatever they wanted and if there was no audience they could feel free to create one. The downside is publishers used to be gatekeepers of a sort, ensuring anything that made it into print was, at the very least, suitable for print and was well-edited and so on. That’s not necessarily the case anymore and a lot of works out there – mine included – need to have the authors spend a bit more time cleaning up.
So, there you go, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Now, into this whole milieu drops on-demand printing. This is a further game changer. While ePublishing allows anyone to publish something at the drop of a hat, the reader still has to have some specialized equipment to read what’s out there. That’s extra cost for the reader and they may or may not want to express it. There are also people who don’t understand the technology, are terrified of the technology, or just plain don’t like it. Sure, eReaders are great because you can carry your entire library in your pocket but books have one thing eReaders never will. Books never run out of battery power.
Plus, there’s a large group of people who just want to hold a book when they read it.
In the past, if you wanted to have your book printed it cost a ton of money and you pretty much had to go through a publishing house to do it. Places like CreateSpace have changed that dynamic to the point that it’s pretty much free to get your book made. Sure, there are printing costs, but a reader can buy a book for $6.99 – which is less that a lot of paperbacks these days – and the author can still realize a buck or so in profit. You also don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll sell all 100,000 copies of that book to recoup your investment because there’s no need to print 100,000 copies to begin with. If you want a copy of a book, great, we’ll print that bad boy off for you.
Now, as far as preparing something for print – well, that’s a different story. You can take a Word document and a cover jpg, throw them at KDP and the formatting will largely be handled for you. You don’t have to worry about page numbers or margins or any tedious mucking about with headers and footers. With physical printing, all those things become hugely important. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still easier than it used to be. I did my first printing work in PageMaker, back in the mid-90s and everything we put out had to be print ready – meaning the printers took a picture of what we sent and it came out exactly like what we sent them. I got well versed in crop marks, flats and signatures, picas, color separations and all the other fun things that go into making a book.
It was hugely time intensive. Now, I’ve got some formatting to do, got some covers to redesign, but it’s all nowhere near the amount of work it used to be. Plus, if I only sell one book, no harm no foul. note – I hope I sell more than one book.
So, if you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to, that’s it. I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth, I’ve actually been fairly busy. I’ve got a couple of short stories in the Kinklectic (here and here) anthologies. I’m working on another short story, starting up a full-length novel, and getting everything ready to be put into a few books that collect everything from 2014.
I’ll let you know when it’s all ready. There’s really nothing like reading smut on actual paper.