Admittedly, when I first decided to get into writing erotica, I had some concerns. Outside of the usual “can I even write?” and “will anyone buy it?”, I also found myself wondering whether or not I could write the things that would sell while remaining comfortable with the subject matter, scenarios, and everything else that my head wanted to put out there.
Personally, I’ve always kept at least a little divide between my fantasies and my feminist beliefs, and I felt I could do that as a writer as well. After all, if I was just writing about the sort of things I fantasized about, then everything should work out fine, right?
Of course, writing what you want to write and actually writing something that sells are often two completely different things. Since I’m being honest here, I have to admit that my decision to write erotica certainly involved an interest in making money from the craft. Like so many others, I fantasize as well about a simple life as a writer and the happiness that can come from being my own boss. However, a quick scan of the bestsellers lists on Amazon or most other book retailers continues to illustrate to me that writing what I’m comfortable with and writing what sells might be a number of shades apart.
Fantasy vs. Felony
For the most part, most of my concern deals with issues of consent and abuse. As someone who has an interest in the BDSM community, and also maintains a strong belief in the importance of consent, I’m often bothered by the treatment of both subjects in popular media. Sadly, this includes erotica.
I’m not going to dig deeply into it since there are certainly other people who have covered the general topic of BDSM and consent in popular culture, etc. as well as the popularity of such things as Fifty Shades of Grey and how it portrays BDSM, relationships, and other things. However, I did want to make it clear that I won’t be chasing after big sales numbers by writing similar stories since I believe there are plenty of other ways one can satisfy a reader without adding to an already problematic rape culture and promoting horrible ideas of what a good relationship should be like.
Although I’m up to explore taboo areas of erotica, and my next book even includes a little bondage (along with pseudo-incest), clear consent and respect will always be underlying things in any scene I write.
After all, if we’re in the business of writing fantasies, why not create/promote a world that we dream about beyond the bedsheets as well?