The guest post I wrote for Kyle’s blog was so much fun that I invited him by to sit down and tell us all about what it is like to be a male erotica author. As one of our friends once pointed out – he’s basically a unicorn, so I jumped at the chance to get a little on his perspective of the indie pub community.
So sit back, relax, and prepare to laugh as Kyle gives us a tiny glimpse into his world!
How you look shouldn’t matter, but it totally does.
One thing I have noticed in my time as a male erotica author, is that looks ABSOLUTELY MATTER. It shouldn’t because after all, everyone that buys books only does so because they love the author’s content and writing style, right? WRONG. I have seen accounts on Facebook that are so absurdly fake that it physically pains me to see the women clamoring over them in the comments section. Then I go look to see how many women are following and liking their pages only to find out that they have a bigger following than most of the legitimate authors I know. I found myself asking in my early days what set them apart. Then it hit me…
Ladies, the line forms to the left.
Most of them are fake accounts. A five second google search revealed what I had already assumed to be true. Now, people say that you shouldn’t assume, but when I see a young male model looking guy, spending 12+ hours a day on Facebook promoting his smut books to a “less than computer savvy” demographic, I can draw my own conclusions. Of course, there are some that know these are fake accounts deep down, but I assume it’s one of those “Ignorance is bliss” kind of situations. As long as they can’t verify they are fake, the fantasy stays alive! (Sorry ladies. I know you hate me right now.)
After reading all that, a lot of women could chalk this up to me being jealous, but that isn’t the case. The people that know these are fake accounts and want to enjoy the fantasy is one thing, but others are being purposely manipulated for the purpose of selling books. I don’t like the idea of people being bamboozled with less than ethical tactics just to make a quick buck. Sure, some of them bring it on themselves by falling for such an obviously shady marketing tactic, but if they grew up before the age of bullshit dating profiles, the game was kind of rigged against them from the start.
Your mom will read this shit.
It takes a lot of nerve to publish anything for the masses to consume and put under the magnifying glass of judgement. Erotica however, takes even more nerve. You are putting out your own dark and dirty fantasies in hope of turning people on, and getting positive feedback from people you don’t even know. What you aren’t counting on is feedback from your mother…
“When’s your next book out, dear?”
One day, I was casually browsing through my Amazon reviews when I saw that a woman sharing the same first name as my mother had given me a five-star review on one of my smut books. Then, I looked closer. Turns out, she also had the same last name, and the same profile pic, and lived in the same city. I couldn’t believe the coincidence, and found myself wondering if my mom knew that she had such a spot on doppelganger out there just under her nose. Then out of nowhere, my mom writes me on Facebook! Before even checking the message, I was thinking to myself, “So odd that she would write me right as I found her imposter!” So, I open the message to find this. “I reviewed your book! Proud of you!” Which was met with a resounding “EW FUCK EW FUCK EW FUCK.” So, naturally, I shut my laptop, soaked it in gasoline, and watched in quiet somber as it burned.
People consider erotica authors as “not real authors”
Nothing can make “legitimate” authors turn on you faster than writing an erotica book. When I first started writing, I just wrote dystopian, and gained a lot of fans from those communities. In fact, I still write dystopian, along with a plethora of other genres. I am just one of those “write whatever you feel like writing” kind of guys. It does have its drawbacks, though. People tend to look down their nose at you. The second you write something that doesn’t fit your friend’s agenda, you find yourself friendless.
“I see here you wrote the word cock in your book, you just earned yourself a lifetime banishment.”
You see, the reason I write sex into my books now is, sex is just a huge part of life! Seriously, if it wasn’t, no one would even be here to read my smut. I think when you take sex out of a book, or avoid the topic, it does the reader a disservice and makes the whole story… Less real. Come on, books with male and female protagonists that travel together for years at a time, love each other, and find each other attractive, but can’t pull the trigger on fucking? Right…
I understand being excluded from some communities due to them having young readers that need their eyes sheltered from the harsh reality of tits, but what I can’t understand is how people can look down their nose at me from on top of their ivory tower.
Erotica, well good erotica, takes a lot of planning, and the same amount of work as any other book. Mainly due to the fact that it is a book, like any other book. Just because some people may not agree with the content, hardly somehow makes a person “less of an author”. People with this mindset can fuck right off.
Your true fans, are amazing.
The fans in the erotica community are die hard! Even saying die hard is an understatement. These people will go out of their way to help you on a daily basis and promote you to hundreds of thousands of people. Behind any erotica author is an army of fans that made everything possible. A lot of erotica authors seem to take this for granted, and offer to do nothing for themselves, or even bother thanking the people that helped get them there.
“I’m on top of the world! What could go wrong?!?!”
This system of “Take, take take”, can’t really sustain itself. I have only been in the business for a few months and have seen many authors go the way of the dinosaur simply because they don’t know how to say thank you. This is a business of relationships, and I think that’s what I like the most about it. Not only do I have people that are fans of my work, but they are also my close friends. I appreciate every single tweet, share, like and any other form of exposure they offer me. I think once some authors get over a thousand likes on their page, they get a “larger than life” attitude and delusions of grandeur. We are just writing our daydreams, not curing cancer. Take it down a notch, Shakespeare.
People can be assholes.
Not surprised? I was. In a community based on your social interactions, and how well you get along with others, I never dreamed I would see some of the petty shit that I encounter on a daily basis. From fans leveraging their friends against authors to extort prizes and gift cards, to some threatening bad reviews if you don’t give them what they want. You probably think I’m joking, but there are cliques of people that roam from author event to author event for the sole purpose of wiping out prizes, with no intentions of actually participating or supporting the author.
“Go ahead, give that $5 gift card to someone else, I dare you.”
What’s worse is, they seem to have no moral compass telling them that what they are doing is wrong. Their friends all support this behavior and will pretty much blacklist any author that crosses one of them and doesn’t give them what they want. I have been able to avoid these types with a simple “Go fuck yourself,” but others have actually caved.
These people come and go once the gig is up and enough authors catch on, but there is always a new batch of “mean girls” ready to take their place.
You can’t let shit get to you.
Sometimes as an author, you get bad reviews, and those reviews suck! It’s a direct shot at your ego, and no one takes that well, no matter how much they say otherwise. We can get through those, though. I mean we have to. What is harder to swallow is a one-star review with no context just because someone wanted to spread out their reviews to be taken more “seriously”. People ACTUALLY do this.
Others not only give you a shitty review on Amazon and Goodreads, they also put it on Facebook and make sure to tag you. If you didn’t see it the first time, they will tag you again until you give them your obligatory “thank you” through gritted teeth.
Couth, do you speak it?
That said, you just have to brush it off. Not everyone can see your artistic vision, and not everyone that you encounter will be a fan. That’s completely okay! For every person that treats you like an asshole, or gives you some seething review, there will be a hundred more people that love your work. After all, like I said before, it takes balls to publish anything. So next time you see a lady publishing her work, congratulate her on her massive set of balls. It should go over real smoothly.
Did you dig Kyle’s article? Want to read more? You can find him here (Relax, we all stalk him. He’s totally cool with it. Trust me.)