Ebook Publishers and Erotica Romance

by Keira on March 5, 2009 · 14 comments

in Erotica, News

dearauthorSo 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.

Leave a Comment

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 anonymous March 5, 2009 at 12:04 PM

Dear Author’s administrator Jane has a long history of bashing Ravenous and its authors, dating back to even before Ravenous launched. (Just scroll through the site history if you don’t believe me) I saw this review as a personal attack on an author and publisher she personally does not like, not an intelligent discussion of erotica or what constitutes quality writing.

Ms. Layne has received four-star reviews in the Romantic Times and five-star reviews on this very site in the past, so I don’t think she could possibly be as bad as Dear Author is making her out to be. This really seems to be a personal vendetta.

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2 Sandra Cormier March 5, 2009 at 1:02 PM

I contacted Jane with an offer to review The Toast Bitches, and she agreed to take a look.

I wanted to thank ‘Catherine’ for her positive comments about my novel on the site, but I’m staying on the sidelines for now.

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3 Sasha March 5, 2009 at 1:09 PM

I don’t know if I agree.

I think there is a distinct different between well-written erotica in a story…and then pure smut.

I read other Jamaica Layne stories and I found it unattractive, smutty and down rightly — sorry to say — I’ve read R & NC-17 FAN FICTION that is better than what Ms. Layne produces…

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4 Keira March 5, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Sasha – Smut/erotica in fanfiction they’re used interchangeably but I get what you’re saying about the quality aspect.

Sandra – I’m glad she did because it’s important to note that not all erotica is written the same and that some of it can be great.

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5 Sasha March 5, 2009 at 1:57 PM

I think there is a distinct difference though — smut is dirty, mindless sex with no point.

Erotica, is supposed to be something along the lines of say — “Lolita” or Lora Leigh books. There is a plot, there is substance, and its driven by sex. Not the other way around.

I’d say Layne falls into smut versus erotica. I guess in fanfiction land, you’d call that a PWP — a porn without a plot.

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6 Keira March 5, 2009 at 2:17 PM

That’s true about the differences. I was just pointing out that smut and erotica are used the same way in fanfic with little distinction. In fact ppl proclaim proudly that their story will have sex in it by calling it smut or as you said PWP. Places like adultfanfiction[dot]net also run warnings on their stories. It’s up to the writer to announce them. On websites like that it seems the dirtier and more off the wall the story is the better it is received. Of course the difference comes down to price and market. Online it’s free and the people reading it search it out. You don’t expect it in something you purchase for the romance and sex… hence the warnings.

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7 KM March 5, 2009 at 2:04 PM

I have to disagree with the assertion that Jane is “out to get Ravenous Romance,” but even if she were, I don’t think this review could be construed as a personal vendetta in any way.

If I were to completely ignore Jane’s commentary about the book and base my opinion solely off of the excerpts provided, I would still find it to be offensive, disgusting, poorly-written, and not in any way, shape or form erotic OR romantic.

The writing speaks for itself, and the writing fails. Period.

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8 Catherine March 5, 2009 at 2:25 PM

You’re welcome, Sandra. I hope Jane will give you a fair review! There is some excellent writing coming out of RR. I enjoy the books that are more character driven and The Toast Bitches definitely qualifies. Morgan James’ Haunted Seduction, while not exactly what I’d call a romance, was definitely an erotic ghost story with great atmosphere and a flawed, therefore believable heroine. And I’m getting a huge kick out of Em Lynley’s Sex, Lies and Wedding Bells. I’ve also read some of Sephira Geron’s horror novels and am really looking forward to reading her Ravenous work.

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9 Sasha March 5, 2009 at 3:01 PM

KM — you said it!

I had some time and I went over and read the review, and just based off of the previous work I read from Layne, as well as, the excepts on Dear Author — you said exactly what I was thinking.

The writing speaks for itself, and Layne is just THAT bad.

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10 anonymous March 6, 2009 at 10:59 AM

Ironically, all Jane & Dear Author has accomplished by this is to help increase Jamaica Layne’s (and Ravenous’) sales tremendously. When it comes to selling books, all publicity is good publicity.

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11 anonymous March 31, 2009 at 8:41 PM

How can anyone say this is not a personal vendetta? I haven’t read Capitol Affair but in all my years of writing, I have never seen such a scathing review, intent on discredting the writer’s works on a whole. Is this Jane from DA a profesisonal reviewer, or just an author basher when she doesn’t like someone. The posts at DA are nothing more than a witch-hunt against Ravenous and designed to discredit the company in whatever manner they can. Some claim DA has power (choking on my coffee here). Hitler had power too — as long as he got all his little minions to kill innocent human beings. I see this DA thing against one publisher very similar. DA is a tiny fish in a vast ocean with nothing but a bunch of minnows following the site because apparently they have NO LIVES. You should get one Jane, and quit leading a biased, prejudiced, brain-dead lunch mob.

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12 A K April 5, 2009 at 8:15 AM

I thought the review was very correct. Jane limited her comment to the one book. Anonymous, are you the writer or her best friend?

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13 Anne Davission April 15, 2009 at 7:22 AM

I’m late to this discussion but want to say that I agree with Catherine that there are some good reads from Ravenous Romance. I liked “Haunted Seduction” a great deal and plan to read “Sex, Lies, and Wedding Bells.” I’m not big into astrology but the premise of some of the Giron novels do look interesting enough to give one or two a go. I buy my ebooks with care and after having read any available excerpts ahead of time. I’m still much prefer print but know things are changing.

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14 szaleniec April 23, 2009 at 3:42 PM

Anonymous #11: Regardless of DA’s motives, the excerpts presented spoke for themselves. Thanks for the entertaining post though – the Godwin was somewhat formulaic but “lunch mob” has to be one of the most hilarious malapropisms I’ve ever read.

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