When I started writing erotica in 2006, one of the most popular blog topics was something like: Erotica versus Smut. What's the Difference?
I remember lots of authors elevating their work--you know, saying their erotica wasn't smut, wasn't porn. Their work was superior because... I don't know... reasons. You think I can remember random blogs I read 9 years ago? I can barely remember what I did this morning.
What I do remember is writing these defiant posts (maybe in my head, maybe on the internet) about how I had NO trouble calling my work smut. I embraced the term. It's sex writing. It's fucking on paper. It's smut!
Man, was I talking out of my ass. I had no idea what smut was, back then. No clue. Yeah, I'd written stuff for Hustler Fantasies, but my pieces were tame. I know that now, because I've turned a corner.
Early in my career, I primarily wrote short stories for inclusion in erotic anthologies. Literary erotica. Brainy erotica. Boring erotica.
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold up, there, Giselle. Did you just call literary erotica BORING?
Yeah. Or no. I called MY literary erotica boring, but I say that contextually, and I'm going to explain.
There's a certain kind of piece you write when you're submitting your work to a collection of literary erotica. The latitude you can take is enormous. What qualifies as erotic is really up to you--and your editor, of course. You can write diverse fiction. Sex can be anything. Except porny. Because we're better than that.
How could that much room to move possibly be boring?
Well, it really depends what your readership is after. Why are they reading this story you wrote?
If they paid $15.95 for an erotic anthology, yeah, they're probably looking for literary erotica. They know what to expect. They want you to tickle their brains.
But if they paid $2.99 (or $0.99 or got it free on Amazon) for your weird-ass boring piece of shit short story, trust me, you're going to hear about it.
I speak from experience.
When the calls for submissions dried up in the land of literary erotica, I learned pretty fast that the story you write for an anthology isn't the story you publish as a standalone piece of smut.
The reader is buying your $2.99 or $0.99 or FREE ebooks to get off. Not to tickle their grey matter. Not for their horizons to be expanded. Not for their perspectives to shift so they can look at life in a different way. They're buying this piece of smut to get turned on. That's it.
I didn't learn the true meaning of smut until Lexi Wood came into being. I remember being scandalized when "Daddy" erotica was popular. (It still is popular, but you can't call it that anymore or your book will be banned.) Suddenly Lexi comes into my life, and she's writing about stepdaddies fucking their barely-legal stepdaughters, and I find out that's where the money is. The money's in your stepdaughter's tight virgin hole.
She drags me into her world of pure smut and I realize why so many readers have called my work boring. I wasn't giving them what they were looking for. Now that Lexi's led me to water, I'm drinking in all that's sweet, tangy and taboo.
...and, GOD, do I love it...