Selah March

September 3, 2006

Inevitable Market Corrections and How They SUCK

Filed under: Uncategorized — Selah March @ 9:46 am

So, sometime in the next few days I’ll tell the story of how my father, God love him, managed to humiliate me in a tiny, farming-community grocery store by telling everyone within earshot that I write dirty stories for a living. The highlight of my week, really.

But in the meantime, the talented and lovely (seriously, check out that smokin’ headshot) Jordan Summers has blogged about the state of the Erotic Romance market. She talks about reading books that have little-to-no worldbuilding, shit characterization, nothing-to-speak-of plot and no believable foundation for the strung-together sex scenes, all of which appear to be in competition for The Kinkiest Literary Encounter of the Year award.

Says Jordan:

“I’ve been reading a ton of ebooks lately and to be honest they’ve all began to blur in my mind… Maybe I’m getting old (wg), but it seems like things are being thrown into books for ‘shock value’ and/or ‘salable’ reasons.

I realize that BDSM, M/M action, Anal, and Menages are big right now, but why does every book have to have them? I can’t tell you how many times I’m reading along and then bam out of nowhere there’s an anal scene, a menage, or whatever. Nothing leads up to the scene. It’s just dropped into the book. WTF?”

In other words, it’s all “three holes, no waiting,” and screw the story.

I haven’t had a great deal of time for reading lately, and when I do get to sit down with a book or ebook, I’ve been tending to gravitate toward non-fictional history (great for sharpening those mad world-building skillz) and the occasional male-author-penned thriller. They tend to refresh my palate and help me keep my own prose lean ‘n’ mean.

But if Jordan and the other folks I’ve heard speak on this same issue are right–and I’ve no reason to believe them to be mistaken–the deluge of plotless, shallow smut is about to drown the EroRom market. And that just sucks for those of us still trying to break in. Especially those of us who work overtime on 3-D characters who engage and plots that entertain in addition to love scenes that arouse. I know I’m not alone in spending much more time on the scenes that build up to the sexual encounters between my protags than on the actual sex itself. Because if my mind and emotions are not engaged by the characters, then no matter how hot their boinkage, it won’t move me on any level. And I’m egotistical enough to believe that most readers are a lot like me that way.

The really disturbing stuff is in Jordan’s comments section. Editors are sending back manuscripts, asking for more, more, MORE and kinkier smut, while readers are tossing aside books unread, disgusted by the lack of effort on anything but the sex.

I guess we saw this coming, yes? The pendulum always swings, and now it’s nearing its furthest point in the direction of “give ’em everything, all the time, so long as it’s hot and involves the exchange of bodily fluids.” The inevitable correction in the other direction will tighten the market, cut the chaff from the wheat and ultimately be good for everyone…even if it makes the market tougher for those of us still fighting to break in.


And while I’m here, I should mention that Amber Heat at Amber Quill Press is having a sale on Erotica and Erotic Romance in the month of September, which means LIE TO ME is now available for the bargain-basement price of $4.50. It’s the perfect back-to-school gift for your…um…really mature, college-aged daughter who happens to like erotic romantic suspense and reads ebooks. Or you could just go on ahead and buy it for yourself, I guess.

Yeah. I just KILL at this promotional stuff. – Romance of Dubious Virtue


  1. In a related vein, I’ve pretty much given up on buying supernatural romances: Kim Harrison and Kelley Anderson being the only real exceptions.

    Comment by Elaine — September 3, 2006 @ 10:38 am | Reply

  2. That’s interesting, Elaine. What, specifically, is turning you off to paranormals? Is it something along the same lines — shallow plot and characterization?

    Comment by Selah March — September 3, 2006 @ 11:35 am | Reply

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