So today Jane from Dear Author came out and reviewed Knight Moves by Jamaica Layne. I have not had a chance to read the ebook yet, but I am understandingly sympathetic to the squicks being brought up. Clearly the novel is not going to be accepted or beloved by a majority of readers due to language choice and certain erm... acts.
The comments to Jane's posts are more enlightening as posters argue the merits of erotica, compare the language to other authors, and defend Layne from Jane's biased review. I'm about halfway through the comments and so far nobody has stood up for the book itself - which to me would make more sense for the hostility against Jane (by some commenters) because then she would be commenting negatively on somebody's personal choice of material to get off with.
As evidence by their about section Ravenous Romance strives to provide high-quality, sensual romance. They are looking to bring solid authors and stories to the table that turn you on and leave you emotionally satisfied at the end. Did Knight Moves do that? It doesn't look like it...
Of course what turns one person on is completely different from the next and can be seen as offensive and crass. I found Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty Novels to be a complete turn off and they are well received if you give weight to the 4 Stars average from Amazon's 160 reviewers.
Written erotica is a tough nut to crack. It needs to be evocative and stirring. It needs take the romance novel deeper into the bedroom (or wherever!) and shed the euphemisms and pussyfooting without crossing the line.
Perhaps Ravenous Romance should consider following Samhain Publishing with warnings on their stories:
Warning, this title contains the following: explicit sex, graphic language, D/s, light bondage, menage a trois, hot nekkid man-love.
What do you think? Does that sound like a good solution? It won't help with awful writing but it will help appraise readers of what they are getting themselves into before they commit to a purchase.
It's not all bad news though, epublishing and erotica are gaining momentum and recognition. Ravenous Romance's Holly Schmidt was interviewed at MobilizedTV. I particularly liked this portion:
Is there something about the mobile platform that made a good fit for erotica aimed at women?
I think it’s portable and discreet. The fact the reader can be sitting on the train and reading a dirty story and nobody knows it has an appeal.
ETA: Okay I'm all caught up with the comments from Jane's recent post and while Knight Moves is the primary focus, a couple of readers have come forward and pointed out other RR stories that are good including: Haunted Seduction by Morgan James, The Toast Bitches by Sandra Cormier, and Sex, Lies and Wedding Bells. Like with print publishers, epublishers will have good reads and bad reads. It's not fair to judge all by one book.
You can get double your money with Ravenous Romance now by buying gift certifications in denominations of $25. They are calling it their stimulus package.
Also in Epublishing news B&N Buys Fictionwise for 15.7 Million Dollars.