Yes, this is filled with whisky

Yes, this is filled with whisky

Friday, June 01, 2012

Friday Night at the Question Emporium

Is there a stigma to writing/publishing erotica? If it is my interest to ultimately be successful in some other mainstream genre (YA for example) is it something I should avoid at all cost? I realize a pseudonym was probably once the answer to avoiding any potential taint, but in today's internet age, I have my doubts as to the the anonymity one would actually provide. 


50 Shades of Gray isn't the comparison if you're thinking of publishing erotica.  50SG is a phenomena that we're not likely to see repeated for quite some time. And if you were the author of a book that successful, you'd have a whole different set of problems than trying to be published in another category.

Erotica is a large and thriving category, thanks in large part to electronic publishing.  I think you can have a very nice lucrative career writing erotica without worrying about whether you can be published in other areas.

That said, you're right that you'll want different names. You really don't want your YA readers and your erotica readers going to the same website for info about the author.  For starters, your YA readers will want to interact with you; you may not want your erotica readers doing that!

The trick is to separate the identities completely.  You can register copyright to a business name; you can open a bank account in a business name, and have 1099s sent to a business name. Yes, someone could track you down and discover the name behind the corporate name, but that's a feverish stalking  we're not talking about here. We're talking about a general knowledge that Felix Buttonweazer is the same person writing Pat The Bunny and Bunny Does Boston.

Make a plan about separating your identities and get all the pieces in place BEFORE you sign a contract and you'll be fine.  (If you have an agent, s/he can help you with this.)

13 comments:

Voirey Linger said...

I have a question concerning your advice on registering a business for separating the names. It that extreme a measure really necessary? Would having the copyrights registered to the pen names not serve the same purpose? How do these options differ?

Also, as an erotica writer, I can say that I've interacted with many readers and they have all been wonderful. I love my readers and they are welcome to email me any time.

Clare said...

With regards to having two separate names/ identities for different genres, a number of writers like Anne Rice - who wrote both horror and erotica under different names - and Nora Roberts/ J.D. Robb have multiple pennames, but people are well aware of that fact. It isn't a secret identity, simply different names for different style. It is, like you said, you fans know exactly where to go online, and aren't stumbling onto something they would rather not see.

Anna Roberts Moore said...

I think the stigma of being a chick-lit author is just as bad as erotica. Anything written by a woman about a woman in which relationships are involved is deemed chick-lit. My first novel I'm working on is "chick-lit," but I'm also half-way through a YA series, and I have an idea for a story that takes place on the moon. (Not with aliens or starships but real-life situations.) I might have to register three different names for my female audience, YA audience, and Sci-fi audience.

Janet Reid said...

Voirey, your publisher has to pay a name that is attached to a tax ID number. Either you provide your name and SSN or you register a business name and provide an EIN. If you want to keep the two identities very separate you need a different name AND a different tax ID number.

Voirey Linger said...

Thank you for clarifying that for me. It makes sense now.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Let me ask the question in a slightly different form. Should I list erotica publishing with legit presses like Ellora's Cave or Evernight in a query letter?

Terri

Janet Reid said...

Terri Lynn, absolutely. The question was about keeping authorial identities separate for readers, not agents. The only thing agents will care about is your sales figures.

Cara M. said...

Hmm, personally, I think it would be more pleasant to interact with mature adult erotica readers than rabid teenage YAers. :) Actually, from experience, it usually is.

Renee Pinner said...

Great advice! Thank you.

Steve Ulfelder said...

I'm a corporate attorney with a well-known law firm in greater Boston. I began writing erotica (specializing in a subgenre called heavy fetish) as an amusement, but was pleasantly surprised when a major erotica publisher spotted some of my blog posts and contracted me for a 3-book series.

Now I've got a new girlfriend, and I'm meeting her family over the July 4 weekend.

My question, of course, is: Should I tell my new girlfriend's parents I'm an attorney?

Janet Reid said...

I'm laughing like a hyena, all alone in my office, at that last comment.

Steven J. Wangsness said...

I don't want to write erotica, I want to live it, and I don't care what name I use.

The Writer Librarian said...

Decadent Publishing is an erotica publishing company that also has an imprint for their YA books called Bono Books. They do this in order to keep their YA and erotica audiences separate. I'd suggest submitting to them if you write both genres. I believe the submission form is the same for both Decadent and Bono. Good luck!