Wednesday, February 7, 2007

E-Publishers are purveyors of soft porn

I LIKE e-publishing, don't get me wrong. I think that it OUGHT to be a great way to give fiction that's not "marketable" by NY a way to be published. The problem is that the amazingly low quality of some e-books and e-publishers has already driven away many of the readers who require some kind of quality in their fiction. It seems to have turned into a soft-porn industry for women.

It's like the elephant in the kitchen -- everybody goes around denying that it's soft-porn, insisting that these are good stories, and sometimes, in a stupefying display of self-delusion, even insisting that e-published books are as good as those published by NY.

Yeah. Right.

Some of the review sites for "erotic romance" even go so far as to explicitly say "get your toys out" or other such "cute" remarks that make it obviously that for a good percentage of the readers erotic romances are stroke books. And as far as I can see, the books that sell are those that have the latest fashionable form of kink. Try to write a M/F romance that's almost--but not quite--publishable by NY (and lets face it, if it IS publishable by NY and you're not sending it there, you ought to have your head examined) and more than likely your piece is going to sell in inconsequential numbers while things labeled Menage!! Male / Male Romance!!! will have booming sales.

So as a result, writers that actually want to make money get pushed in the direction of writing stories that are all about the sex. Particularly KINKY sex. You know, there ARE other things in life besides sex, but you couldn't tell it from the e-publishing offerings right now.

The women buying erotic romances are looking for sexual titillation. And that's fine. I'm not against soft-porn. But let's not all go around lying and pretending that it's something that it's not.

What e-publishing needs is a better way of letting the readers know the quality and nature of the books, some source of information that those who want good stories and good writing can TRUST. The review sites are so universally positive that they are no help at all. Without some reliable source of information it's going to be impossible to pull back all of the readers who have stopped buying e-books because of high odds of being burned by low quality.

Zastruga

1 comment:

Chailyn said...

Well written article.