When I started my writer’s journey, I was briefly on a terrible Reddit board about writing “smut.” I was told my covers and blurbs were’t sexy enough. That I’d be a failure and make no money if I didn’t write to market and follow the formula of the wildly successful smut-writers trying to help me. None of them gave their author names. There was no evidence anyone was wildly successful. They were all about money and zero about writing.
I don’t write smut. I write erotica. And there is a difference. Dale Cameron Lowry, MM romance author and my first blog reviewer, described it thusly when he reviewed On His Knees in May of 2017, here:
… It’s not stroke fiction, designed to get the average reader off as quickly and dramatically as possible while they hold the book with one hand. …
On His Knees is erotica in the most basic sense: “stories written about the sexual journey of the characters and how this impacts them as individuals.” (Thanks for that definition, Sylvia Day!)
Sort of. Erotica explores loving through sexual expression. And a lot of real people do precisely that. Trust, care, selflessness. Without them, no great relationship and no great sex is possible. That’s why Hunt&Cam4Ever is a love story above all else.
But here’s the thing: readers get off reading my titles. I write explicitly. Maybe too explicitly for some, I guess. But I see them, I feel what they feel, want what they want, fear and love and suffer and triumph with them. In and out of bed—or car or van or BDSM club playroom. Or in a bathroom hearing the music you know will kill the man you love and knowing you don’t have time to save him.
They make me feel them.
And while I have very literally never written anything to arouse a reader, my message to you is: You absolutely get to get off reading this stuff. You get to cry and laugh and be confused. They are. I was. Have a damned orgasm if you are so inclined. I made a sort of joke about it in one of my promos for Snowed In because it really is a lot of sex.
The reader experience is theirs. And readers get to have feelings about what they read, because if they don’t, WTF am I bothering to write for? But what happens between the men I love is not any word that implies there is something wrong or cheap or dirty about what they do or who they are. Or who a reader is and how they respond.
My message to readers is: If you just read my books for the sex, to get off and that’s all, cool. There’s nothing cheap or wrong or dirty about you, either.
But you’re going to miss an amazing love story.