Publishing a Little-bit-o-Smut

When I decided to try my hand at publishing a little bit-o-smut, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing—still don’t, really. I had a fair number of more literary pieces in my catalog, some poetry, a few essays, etc, but nothing really steamy, and nothing that I’d managed to get published. I was eager to give self-publishing a try; and, after a fair amount of research, decided erotica might be a fun place to start. I find the subject matter endlessly stimulating; and, let’s be honest, there’s a lot of really bad erotica out there. So, I thought it would be an easy genre to break into. I was terribly terribly wrong.

Yes, there is a crap-ton of cheesy, porn-ish, low-brow erotica available today. In fact, there is so much bad erotica, it can be difficult to find the good stuff. Separating the wheat from the chaff was once the job of publishing houses and editors. However, in today’s world of e-publishing, It’s easier than ever for a would-be wordsmith to publish, and harder than ever to stand out from the crowd.

It is a true testament to the determination, persistence, and sheer bull-headedness of those that manage to break away from the crowd and have their work judged on its merit. Publishing today is a tough business in which to get your footing—especially with a full time job and family. It doesn’t help that the e-publishing machinery available today largely shuns anything with more than the most modest depictions of “the sex”.

I recently posted “Down the Rabbit Hole” to Critique Monday via Reddit’s eroticauthors sub. The results were…sobering.

Apparently, my cover is too literary and too artsy for smut, and my blurb isn’t “hot enough”. It became painfully obvious, rather quickly, that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. In the end, I realized that I don’t want to “just write smut”. I want to write good stories that push the readers boundaries and preconceptions. I want to write engaging prose that stimulate the mind and, yes, sometimes the libido. I think I can do that. However, I have no idea how to get that to across to a perspective reader.

How does one use a single image and a few short sentences to explain something so complex to someone in only a moment? How do you even get them to see your cover and read your blurb? I don’t have a fucking clue. There are some that have figured it out though. I’ve stumbled upon some truly remarkable writing out there—good in its own right, and hot as hell to boot. I’m guessing that my stumbling upon these erotic raconteurs was no accident, but rather the result of their tenacious and continuous writing, editing, publishing, and promotion.

So, what’s a boy to do?

Well, I’m going to write some stuff, and I’m going to put it out there. Hopefully, a few people might read it; and, if I’m terribly lucky, some will like it.