Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Pubic Wars


Got a little sea-sick surfing the e-pub ocean the last few days.
Found - besides Samhain - Aphrodites's Apples, LooseId, Triskelion, Changling Press, Double Dragon, Mundania, Venus Press, AmberQuill, Ellora's Cave....
Two things I looked at first in the "Submissions" section: (1) word count, and (2) genre categories.
You know - the sub-genres - for the exclusionary clauses.
Some publishers may list "paranormal", but in reading the fine print, you may find that they specifically exclude "time-travel."
They may publish mainstream romance, but have had it up to Tuktoyuktuk with the amnesiac's cowboy's baby.
Now, I'm not writing straight erotica, and the sex in my series - when it does happen - is probably no more explicit, and certainly no more frequent, than you'll find in many mainstream imprints, though that's fairly explicit. Sex is only part of the story, and has to occur in the context of developing character and plot. That's not to say it's not...um...hot.
Some of these e-pubs also consider less steamy stories, and are kind enough to classify them according to the degree of sexual content - everything from none to non-stop.
So far, so good.
The various publishers state that they will not consider any submission that demeans another individual or group of people.
I consider this with some alarm, wondering if it's all right for my characters to really, really despise Islamic terrorists.
Back to sex.
So imagine my eyes getting very big and very round when I see that a couple of publishers have found it necessary to specifically, specially, and categorically exclude:
pedophilia, necrophilia ( the undead doesn't count, of course), beastiality (weres, aliens and odd creatures are ok), scat, rape or incest, and snuff.
I guess there are weird writers out there.
Writers who think this stuff is titillating?
Found myself gagging along with the editors.
But the best, the very best, exclusionary clause I found was on the Ellora's Cave website.
You know Ellora's Cave. Going great guns. Big erotica. Considering a mainstream line, even.
They say: "NO pedophilia. If someone even sends in a script like this our editors are liable to dry heave and we WILL report you to local authorities as potential threats to society."
Now that's responsible sex.

Bangster:A braggart; mid 16th-18th c.; coll. verging on Standard English. Now obsolete except in Scottish dialect.
Banjo: a bed pan; circa 1850-1910, derived from the shape.
Bankside ladies: Harlots, especially of the theatrical quarter; colloquial; circa 17th c.

31 comments:

Savannah Jordan said...

I only submited to Samhain on suggestion from the editor who dropped by here. And, I write for Aphrodite's Apples, because they wanted me. (really good feeling to be wanted!!) Most of those other e-pubs that you mentioned have once muddied this screen, as well.

What's my point?? We have some similarities; and, you're on the right road, Bernita. I'm excited to watch this play out for you!!

**And what is it about the damn sex? Everybody wants it, everybody classifies it, catagorizes it and it's participants!!**

Sandra Ruttan said...

Responsible sex indeed!

I suppose for erotica there have to be specific guidelines. I've written rape scenes, but that's a completely different context.

Besides, you don't want to involve animals. All the animal-rights activists would make your life miserable.

(said with tongue firmly in cheek)

Bernita said...

Thank you, Savannah!
Yo think that Frank Yerby - a one-time popular writer - used to be considered risque!
I haven't muddied the waters anywhere (dither, dither), either regular prints or e-pub, but I must say the relative speed and lack of complication sounds intriguing.

Bernita said...

I believe they say that in their lines, rape can occur off stage, be referenced for motivation, etc. but never, never as titillation.
As you say,Sandra, different context entirely.
I was really pleased to see those particular editors not just hold their nose.

Sela Carsen said...

Hey Bernita, I can't read what the hangers are saying today!

And I'm becoming more and more tempted to submit to an e-pub the more I read here. I went to a workshop on Friday with a Big Name romance author and she flat-out said, "You can't break in with novellas." So it's either stuff it under the bed until I've made my name and someone asks for a novella, or submit to an e-pub.

Bernita said...

"The last person to use him was a speed skater."

The e-pubs seem to be quite welcoming of novellas, Sela.
One thing, they don't hold on to rights forever, either.

Ric said...

Of course you would choose sex as a topic on the weekend.

For those who are interested in weird sex, fetishes, other strange and wondrous things, google is available.

The whole pedophelia thing is to keep our 'guardians' from seizing your computer - which they will do (at least in this country).

Bernita, stop dithering and put together an attractive package and give it a shot.

savannah, while some of us can get our adreneline going with a well turned phrase, or perfect sentence, sex works much faster.

Bernita said...

C'mon, Ric, would you read me if I choose to discuss the elegiac overtones in Wordsworth's poetry?

Didn't think so.

I really would prefer to think they have some standards.

Yes, I am dithering.
BUT, I'm working on a synopsis today.
Sooo, you're not turned on by verbal pheromones, hmmm, Ric?

Sela Carsen said...

Verbal pheromones = a minty fresh turn of phrase. *gg*

Bernita said...

Thank you, Sela.
An attempt to , um, conjugate lust...

Ric said...

Actually, I thought I DID say I was turned on by verbal pheromones.

Obviously the reason I keep coming back to this blog.

Bernita does it so well...

Bernita said...

Who can NOT like men?...

ivan said...

Ah Bernita,
Elegiac overtones in Wordsworth's poetry.
Dare I quaff a daff?
Maybe that's what's wrong with me.
I woke up this morning to discover to my horror that I not only quaff
daffodils in thes pre-Easter season,but I am starting to grow breasties as well. This is not good; while Wordsworth was never considered a dirty old man, I had no compulsions whatever over being known as a dirty old man.
Breasties? Me? God's chosen?
Somebody in a comment above says
she couldn't see the hangers in your cartoons.
What with my pot belly, I can't see them either.
Dear god, I have become a blimp.Capon?
My last duchess complained that it was not only that, I had also become a perv. "All men are pervs".
Whatever. Most famous lothario in York Region (at least that's what I thought in my own head) and now breasties. And hankering for the sweet smell of daffodils.
Gotta phone Alison. Alison means flower.
Late middle age is the pits.
I am growing...
Now we pay for all those superiorities. Next thing I know, I will be writing Home Thoughts from Abroad.
Sheesh.

Bernita said...

Hate that poem, Ivan.
Have your prostate checked, your pheromones/testosterones may be fading - for cause, not age.
I could clothe that advice in Romantic allusions, but it would be just too dirty.

ivan said...

Funny thing.
I wrote into Grumpy old Bookman's blog, "Feeling grumpy? Look to the prostate," only to find that poor Grumpy had developed a hitch in his get-along as well.
But we've got to get off this old man stuff and get the girls to comment more on the work at hand.
Sandra, I like you in colour better. Why is that?
I've always had a theory, somewhat explored in my first novel, The Black Icon, that icons flip over in times of accelerated social change.
As far as I can see is a change to the even better now that you have sold a book.
The only thing I've sold in the last few months is a magazine piece for an ethnic publication, and though there are offers of more money, I am growing so senile
that I can't get it together to address the publication and actually put a stamp on the envelope...I mean, shoelaces are a challenge.
Also am eccentric as Inspector Cluseau now. "That's my gun pen.
Get your own gun pen."
Lord, how I identify with that incompetent old fart!
That's me falling down the manhole!

Sandra Ruttan said...

"Sandra, I like you in colour better. Why is that?"

I don't know. I'm in color somewhere on my website though.

ivan said...

Wonderful. I will visit.

Rick said...

Bernita - Who can NOT like men?...

Me, for one, at least in this particular context. ;)

-- Rick

Bernita said...

I'm relieved to hear that, Rick.

ivan said...

Heh Heh

archer said...

Sex is only part of the story, and has to occur in the context of developing character and plot.

That is a wicked invention by bluenoses. When I am trembling at the brink of the great turning point of my hero's character; when the brilliant-but-misunderstood midget heroine realizes at last the awful meaning of her grandmother's dying words; when the courtroom door swings wide to reveal the missing, gap-toothed heir--that is the time to type three asterisks and write a completely incongruous sex scene, using characters I either invent on the spot or lift from another story entirely. These characters are often in period costumes from the wrong period, and make gasping references to events that have nothing whatever to do with the story, or contradict it entirely ("Get your filthy hands off me or I'll kill you the way I killed [insert main character's name]when he was a baby," etc.)

I have used this technique often, and guys usually refer to it as "that good part."

ivan said...

Archer,
Well, I for one don't resent Italians for bearing gifts.
Kinda liked Pirandello and his
Six Characters in Seaarch of an Author. Characters and events that have nothing to do with the story, yes, and even a Deus ex Machina, a ghost out of the stage "machinery" lowered on a winch to move the action along. Everybody arguing, everybody in pain, whose son, whose daughter is this, by which wife, which husband, etc.
Having travelled some of the territory I was starting to learn about the "pain industry", love, loss, multiple wives, illegitimate chidren--all the good stuff.
Pirandello is an obscure back number and nowadays nobody's heard of him. So I would really be interested in seeing a bit of your script, if only to reminisce of times of my own not knowing whether my anus was punched on or bored, homeless, in pain and still kind of in love.
Really interested in your technique. Can we see a snippet?
Ivan

Shesawriter said...

I am not surprised at all. The world is full of sick puppies who think the reading public wants to read about their sick fantasies. I don't.

Tanya

Rick said...

Archer - These characters are often in period costumes from the wrong period ... More precisely, I would assume, they are out of period costumes from the wrong period.

ivan said...

Shesawriter,
Just wathing the tail end of the Olympic ceremonies and saw six clowns out of Fellini.
Did you ever see Satyricon?
That was even weirder than Pirandello--at least Pirandello had a sense of humour. The guy was hilarious, teasing a comedy out of an awful tradedy, or series of tragedies.
I never could get Fellini.
Farting devils. Angel-headed gay guys, surreal shipwrecks. Odysseus gone mad.
Made me want to repeat an old army joke. "What's the matter with you people, doen't anybody **ck any more?

What time is it getting to be?
Am I on topic?

Bernita said...

It's obvious now that both Archer and Ivan write literary novels.

You're right, Tanya, not only sick, but, I imagine, boring when all is said and done.

archer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
archer said...

[In a tone of delighted enthusiasm] Bernita: I do NOT write literary novels!! I write HOT STEAMY SEXY LOWBROW MECHANICALLY PLOTTED HIGH-CONCEPT THRILLERS that millions and millions of people will buy once they grasp the allegorical implications.

Bernita said...

Happy to know that, Archer, they're the very best kind.
You confused me with your post about blue-noser devices. It seemed to contradict the brilliant and witty snippits I've read on your blog.

Tsavo Leone said...

Isn't it a sad indictment of the era in which we live, where the publishing industry has to specifically state that certain things simply are not acceptable for publication?

Anonymous said...

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