Romance, Erotica, and “Mommy Porn”: Steamy contemporary romance is legit

posted in: Various Musings | 0

Originally posted on March 10, 2012

Today, my significant other pointed me to an article he found on the New York Times website about E L James’s Fifty Shades trilogy. I’d heard about her books, but I haven’t read them. I’m not sure that I will, just because I’m not into BDSM (and, I’m told, the sex scenes are pretty darned graphic, not that I necessarily have a problem with graphic, mind you).

But that doesn’t matter. What does matter is the fact that her steamy romance books are selling like crazy. According to the Times article, the trilogy has sold more than one-quarter of a million books, and that fact alone has set the internet world abuzz. (Really. Google it if you don’t believe me.)

Again, that’s not necessarily that exciting either, because there have been lots of authors who have sold millions of books. No, what I find exciting is the fact that it’s maybe, just maybe, becoming acceptable to write sex.

Chances are most of you reading my blog already accept and, in fact, embrace that! But I’ll be frank. While I’m content with my book sales, I don’t write just to read my own stuff (although I do like to read it). Writers write to be read. We want people (preferably lots of them) to get caught up in the stories that previously only existed in our heads. And I’m no different. I long gave up the dream of being able to give up the day job to write exclusively. But I want women to read my books, get swept away, enjoy themselves. I want lots more readers!

No, I don’t want to just write about sex, although I know there’s a market for it. There’s also a market for erotica, which to me means a (usually) romantic story with lots and lots of sex throughout. Well, I’m not big into that either, because most of the erotica I’ve ever read gets to a point where the sex feels forced. (Okay, so the hero and heroine just had sex for the fifteenth time in three days, and now all the sex is starting to sound the same.) Sure, I love to write about sex, but that’s not all there is to it. My heroines have so much more they want to say, so much more they want to do.

Still, I didn’t decide to blog today to get up on a soapbox. I wanted to celebrate. I was thinking, “If erotic stories heavily laced with sex are becoming popular with enough women to get the notice of both the media and large publishing houses, then maybe my books will get noticed more.” And that’s my hope…that if a BDSM novel (with what I’ve heard has a fairly thin plot) can be wildly popular, maybe I can be mildly popular. I can dream, can’t I?

UPDATE 3/15/24: Since writing this post, I have read Fifty Shades (and, although it’s not necessarily my cup of tea, its plot is not paper thin!). But I have to say I’m still grateful that my books have an audience, regardless of how many naughty scenes are in my romance novels!

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