Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Circlet Likes How to Write and Sell Erotica

The good stuff just keeps on coming!  Check out this very nice review of my book How To Write And Sell Erotica by TammyJo Eckhart on the Circlet Press site:

There’s a myth I’ve heard as an author: Authors are Wealthy. Not so much, and I can’t say that I’ve ever met a wealthy author who did nothing but write erotica. You can win awards and you can have a dozens of works out there but the common expression “Keep your 9-5” applies to a genre writer. Being an author is a lot more work than you imagined.

That’s where books like M. Christian’s How to Write and Sell Erotica Tips of the Trade from a Literary Streetwalker can lend a helping hand for the beginner. There are dozens of how-to guides for new authors, so the trick is to find one that offers you honest advice that you can apply to your life.
You may have heard of Christian if you’ve read science fiction, gay, or BDSM erotica in the past two decades because his personal publication record is quite lovely to read. However, he isn’t only a fiction author: he’s edited a lot of books and writes a weekly column about writing and the publishing business.

This book grew from his weekly column with Erotica Readers and Writers Association (ERWA) which, if you aren’t already, you need to be familiar with if you want to any money. In thirty-seven previously published essays on the ERWA website, Christian covers everything from the basics of writing to the complexities of contracts and marketing. His style may put off some readers, however, because it is more conversational and his truths can be discouraging for those with unrealistic expectations.

Having seen some truly terrible erotica in my own time, I have to say that his advice is both on the mark and far from it. You see, some of this terrible writing I’ve seen has been published,  bought by low-quality publishers or self-published. With enough time and effort, almost anyone can become “published” these days. Making a living as an author is a very different matter. Creating quality stories that will be remembered is another issue entirely. Christian touches on all these topics.

In addition to Christian, there are eight other erotica authors and editors in this book answering the same set of three questions, allowing us to see how different and yet how similar their careers have been. By including nine different perspectives this guide avoids promoting the flawed idea that what works for one author will work for another.

Most manuals for writing include a listing of publishers and agents but How to Write and Sell Erotica does not.  Publishing is an on-the-edge business. Publishers and agents frequently fail or change what they will work with. There are dishonest people claiming the role of agent or publisher as well. Giving any list is saying that those listed are reliable and useful; that just might not be the case in a year or two.

In general the overall flow of the essays in this book goes from the basics to the more complex issues, though some topics, like what words to use and how to do research, are tackled a few times. The fact is that writing for a living is complicated work, hard work, and Christian never lets us forget that in this book. His joys, his frustrations, his victories and successes are all written with an engaging and blunt style. If you take this book for what it is–experiences you can learn from–and are not looking for the one true way to be an erotica writer, you’ll gain much from this collection of essays.


Emme said...

Congratulations on the review! It's certainly well-deserved. I enjoyed the hell out of the book. In fact, I'm continuing to enjoy the hell out of it (I confess I kind of wolfed it down without chewing carefully the first time through) as I go back and re-read, a bit at a time.

Thanks for this lovely, warm, encouraging, entertaining, and highly useful collection.


M.Christian said...

Thank YOU -- it means a LOT to me that you like the book!