Compromising Yourself as a Writer

I recently considered submitting to another publisher when an open call of submissions went out. Checking out the submission call I had a sudden distaste for the publishing industry. The reason was the level of graphic sex that they wanted. Yes, I write gay erotic fiction, but I don’t write what my buddies back in the fan-fiction community called PWP aka Plot? What Plot? For those of you unfamiliar with that term it means writing sex just for the sake of sex, plot need not apply.

Is it just about sex?

Just recently I’ve noticed that a number of publishers are spewing out a great deal of PWP. Please don’t take my comments the wrong way there is always a market for that type of writing, but what I’m wondering is if I as a writer have to compromise myself to be published in certain venues.

I’ve always been more of a plot with sex kind of gal. Back before I had my first work published I would torture and tease my readers (in the fan-fiction world) for pages, hell sometimes chapters, before they would get the full blown sexin’–or so they claimed. Okay, so maybe I did tease them, but they always came back for more. 🙂

Now that I’m finally here in the publishing world I have to wonder about the plot vs. the sex. Do I need to compromise my style just to get published with companies that claim they sell erotic romance, but in reality just publish PWP?

What ever happened to the romance in erotic romance? I don’t give a damn whether you write heterosexual or GLBTQ there is still a difference between erotic-romance, erotica, and just straight up porn. There is nothing wrong with any of the above, but we need to take a long hard look at the quality of what we’re sending out into the ether.

Quality is something that I not only have a problem with in the erotic-romance genre, but in mainstream books. In a society where we’re told on a daily basis what we should wear, how our hair should look, what we should eat, what movie to watch etc. it’s not surprising then that what we read is being controlled. I used to think of books as a way to escape from the world around us. Now though writing has become not an art form as it should be, but a way for any Tom, Dick, or Harry to make a quick buck. No insult to the Toms, Dicks, and/or Harrys of the world.

This statement may make me unpopular with some folks. I’m not saying this to be mean nor is it out of petty jealousy. A writer is who you are not who you force yourself to be. Some people believe being a writer is a choice and after hearing supposed overnight success stories (e.g. Stephenie Meyer) they skydive into the publishing world with dollar signs in their eyes. When they don’t immediately start raking in the bucks they decide to blame everyone around them.

Too damn many divas exist both as writers and publishers. Folks it’s not about the money. Oh, don’t get me wrong the money is creamy sweet icing on the literary cupcake, but that’s not what being a writer is about. Being a writer means a great number of things to numerous people, but ultimately, the truly successful writers were born to do so. We know in our hearts and souls that we have something to offer to the world, we sometimes or more often than not write for ourselves and success is cream-filling in that Hostess Cupcake.

My point…

I write because that is who I am. I’m not here to pander to the masses. If the masses like what I write that’s a lovely thing and I appreciate that. It’ll be a cold day in Hell before I end up writing below my intelligence level just to make a quick buck or to be accepted by the newest be all, end all, publisher.

Maybe I’m an idiot, maybe not, but in the end I can’t bring myself to compromise who I am–both writer and human. At least I can be proud of my work.

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2 comments on “Compromising Yourself as a Writer

  1. Crazy enough, this PWP rule is changing within pubs or should be. And its so funny that you blogged on this because I was dealing with the matter yesterday. I think readers want Plot—what you are writing. I think judging by your reviews, YOU are doing EXACTLY what you should be doing. I suggest you submit to Noble Romance Publishing. I think you would do very well there. Let me know if you need help concerning their guidelines or have questions. I even have a pre-edit sheet you can use lol…(courtesy of Jill Noble)

  2. Thank you for the pat on the back Mz. Scarlett. This publisher I looked at is one of the most well known out there. If you want to know who I’m talking about private e-mail me. I refuse to bad mouth another publisher–that’s just childish.

    It has this fantastic reputation, but what I saw was basically sex, sex, sex, blah, blah, blah. It really bothered me. Don’t get me wrong I write graphic sex, but as you well know the plot is extremely important to me as well as character development. I’ve never picked any bones about that part of my writing.

    No, I don’t think I’m the next Rice, King, or one of the Bronte sisters, but I find no reason to dumb down erotic writing. In my book, erotica is 10% physical and 90% mental. Our minds are the best sex toy we have and its time the publishing world realized that.

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