Thursday, June 14, 2007

Selling Your Ass


The Toilet of Venus,
Simon Vouet,
oil on canvas, c. 1628-39.

Sex sells. Erotica lines contine to increase market share.

Marketing emphasis, branding and the like, encourages writers to market themselves - which leads to the inevitable association of the producer with the product.

Some writers deliberately cultivate a provocative and sexy profile, seeking by implication and innuendo that they write from vast experience.

Which is fine. Some readers are definitely thrilled by the idea of fictionalized confessions by a sex goddess. So thrilled, in fact, that they transfer their squee from the product to the pimp.

We may then observe the spectacle of the author who proceeds to draw herself up and proclaim, in fine and furious fashion, she is not that kind of girl, and that readers have no right to confuse her with her characters.

Somewhat disingenious, I think.
'Tis a pity...

Disclaimer: I once offered, along with Ric (see side bar) on Miss Snark's blog, to dance naked in Times Square for a contract.
Speaking of Miss Snark, I recently clicked on an anonymous and rather pathetically imitative new blog which makes liberal use of clue gun and nitwit.

Pffftt.

Like the Highlander, there can be only one.

36 comments:

Erik Ivan James said...

~laughing~
We say it so often: Write what you know.

In my case; what I...umm...erm...think I know.

Bernita said...

Imagination should never be discounted, Erik.

spyscribbler said...

Ohmigosh, LOL ... erotica authors do that, period. I've heard a few get appalled at the idea that they should have the same fantasies as their characters.

Even funnier, some will swear that they never get turned on by their own writing. And then you've got the ones who get all huffy at the notion that they write erotica. No, they don't write erotica, they write romantica, or erotic romance.

When it comes to sex, we all have certain hang-ups, LOL. I guess erotica authors are no exception.

Ric said...

Ah, sex. And it isn't even Friday. Must be this stretch of incredible weather.

My beta readers (mostly female)certainly wondered... And I think looked at me with different eyes after some of my more imaginative scenes. "you think you know someone..."

Early on, I had a roommate lock me out after reading an extremely violent work.

Come on, folks. This is fiction. If you read it and wonder which parts are and which are based on real events, I'm not going to tell - but I'm not going to deny either.

Great Post, Benita.

Bernita said...

Hee, Natasha. If it sells more power to them, and there are some damn fine writers among them.
What raises my eyebrows is not the subject, but the hypocrisy of those who deliberately cultivate sililarities to sell books and then pretend they have been misunderstood.
Horror and mystery writers sometimes pull the same switch.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Ric.
We just have to acknowledge that readers will make certain assumptions - and live with it.

Jaye Wells said...

Nice post title. I wonder if being the red headed, yet highly paid, stepchildren of romance makes erotica authors defensive before they even get to the marketing. I also think any interviewer who can't come up with a better question than the cliched "how do you research your stories (wink,wink)" needs a new gig.

I've been to the Pretender's blog. It's like a little girl clomping around in mommy's stillettos.

Bernita said...

Yep, Jaye - naughty of me - the title will disappoint the hit-and-flit crowd and may even top "Medieval Porn" in psuedo popularity...

Some writers may feel anxiously constrained to push the sex profile buttons to be taken seriously in the genre.

And "stilettos" is another word emphasized there. Sad.

Rhea said...

With all the nice old paintings on your page, I thought I'd stumbled onto Sister Wendy's blog.

Ric said...

rhea - that is laugh out loud funny!!!

kmfrontain said...

My editor just asked if I wanted a bio at the back of the upcoming release. I said no. I don't know what to put in a bio half the time, or I think whatever I'll write is unutterably lame, so why bother? I really haven't figured out how to market me. Lately I just opt for humour, because how do you mesh boring housewife with writer whose work is categorized as beyond sizzling because she writes homoerotic stories? I won't cheat readers and build a persona. The stories will have to stand for themselves.

Bernita said...

Yes, Ric...left me totally flabbergasted, Rhea!

Bernita said...

Sounds sensible, Karen,I do prefer the emphasis on the story.
Let them wonder.

Charles Gramlich said...

There can be only one? Does the imitator now need to have her head removed?

Steve G said...

I once offered, along with Ric (see side bar) on Miss Snark's blog, to dance naked in Times Square for a contract.

This got me laughing. I think I would have a better chance if I said I wouldn't dance naked in Time Square for a contract.

Bernita said...

No, Charles, just pitied.

"I think I would have a better chance if I said I wouldn't dance naked in Time Square for a contract."
Can't believe that, Steve - not after you posted pictures.

Ric said...

Bernita and I are going together.

Last time I was in NYC, it wouldn't have been uncommon. Now, though, I guess they've cleaned up the place a bit.

Still looking forward to it

Bernita said...

mon cavalier...

Jon M said...

I always find that innuendo just slips out, oops sorry! But I think you have to be yourself, people will find you out in the end, (If you'l pardon the expression). :-)

Bernita said...

I don't think there's any need to beat around the bush, Jon.

raine said...

I once offered, along with Ric (see side bar) on Miss Snark's blog, to dance naked in Times Square for a contract...

You mean it isn't true?
Awww. :-(

I write erotic stuff, but I'm not particularly concerned about establishing that kind of personal profile. Probably because I simply don't lie that well. :-D

MissWrite said...

I sure do wish I had the looks to pull off the 'sex goddess' profile. It really shouldn't matter what the writer looks like, but in reality it sure does... sex sells... so do sexy writers. haha

Amie Stuart said...

What Raine said....Just becuase I write it doens't mean I live it and I'd feel very uncomfortable trying to act like something I'm not. OTOH I won't sit around gnashing my teeth and proclaiming, "Just bec. I write it doesn't mean I'm a slut."

Bernita said...

And probably because you don't need to, Raine. Nor Amie. You're both professional in your approach to writing.
Sometimes I suspect the "hawt" persona business is as much insecurity as anything.

The truly "sexy" writer, Tami, doesn't need to assume a persona.

Scott from Oregon said...

"I once offered, along with Ric (see side bar) on Miss Snark's blog, to dance naked in Times Square for a contract."

Winter or summer?

Bernita said...

New Year's Eve may have been mentioned, Scott - I really don't remember.
I think we were prepared, regardless of season.

December/Stacia said...

If I don't get turned on by what I write, how can I expect anyone else to?

It's a good way to know if a scene is working or not, anyway. :-)

Bernita said...

Perfect point, December!

writtenwyrdd said...

I work a job that would definitely frown on me being a writer of erotica. Besides, I'd hate to have the fine, upstanding citizens of my small town know what I was getting up to. It's bad enough that they know everything else! LOL, small town life... I'm definitely going with a pseudonym if I publish erotica!

Frank Baron said...

"...cultivate a provocative and sexy profile...."

THAT'S what I shoulda done! Dang. Maybe it's not too late. If I lose a few pounds...get a haircut...scrape a few of these fish scales off my clothes....

Bernita said...

Wise, Written.
You could always promise to put them in the book...

Men generally have a provocative and sexy profile, Frank.

writtenwyrdd said...

LOL Bernita! Imagine this conversation in my bible-thumping little burg: Hello Mrs. N. I am writing a porn novel and thought you'd be perfect as the lesbian dominatrix. Mind if I interview on the key club I hear you belong to? No? How about letting me put a web cam in your bedroom so I can do some research?

Bernita said...

If they ever gave you grief, you could always claim local volunteers provided the "as told to" information. You could have a ball, Girl!

LadyBronco said...

One of my betas told me the love scene in my WiP was 'bold.'

Still not sure what he meant, but...okay.

Seeley deBorn said...

See that's why I chose a pen name that sounds kinda classy. 'Cause I'm not that kind of girl.

Bernita said...

I think "bold" is good, Lady B.! Nice word.

Fiction IS the name of the game afterall, Seely.