Saturday, March 16, 2013

SEX SELLS - WELL, DUH!

Valley of the DollsThis week I've seen a few people hop on this subject with abandon, and they've all been sort of knee-jerk reactions over the book "50 Shades of Gray". One site gave her running review and she was not in any least bit kind. She could NOT BELIEVE she had actually read/spent time & money on the books. She really did us all a favor for posting the review.

So, after reading this and a few other posts where someone actually said "Sex sells[books]", I began calming down and aksing myself WTF do I care? It's not as if EL James invented trashy novels, or really hit on something new here. Because she didn't. And she's not the first to get wealthy over it, either.

Sex in novels has always sold well. Here's an example of an early novel. Valley of the Dolls by author Jacquilne Susan with her roman a clef debute novel that grossed her $8 million when it came out in 1966. It was about three women, abusing alcohol and barbiturates (dolls is the slang term for downers), and choosing the wrong men to get involved with. Oh, and sex, and lots of it. Well who couldn't like that? Critics were "unkind" to her books ("Once is Not Enough", "Love Machine" etc.), but still she was happily jetting around the world, being seen on all the TV talk shows, and hob nobbing with the stars of Hollywood.

It was dubbed as a "Gateway Classic Trash" -- aka "trashy novel", and boy, you know, a whole bunch of women writers after her got on the bandwaggon and wrote/write dozens of similar novels where weak women characters hook up with men who use and abuse them. Well gag me.

So, this isn't new stuff, people. And if sex scenes--whatever combo you write--sells, then certainly RAUNCY SEX SELLS even better. This is not rocket science, but basic human curiosity and someone wanting to get off on the scenes in a badly written book--who cares about what's between the pages or how badly it's written, as long as we get to that spanking scene, right?

I'm not about to read, and have no desire to read such books with BDSM in them. I don't like erotica. I could not get through a whole novel by Laurell K. Hamilton. For one thing there was no plot to speak of, and the writing was, on a scale of 1-10 about 4.5. (Example: "It was so cold... so cold" - well how cold was it exactly? Where your nips hard or what?)

Furthermore, I don't like weak heroines who wind up with assholes who use/abuse them. I'm not that way, I hate seeing women wind up with such men, so why would I want to put both my heroine or my reader through it?

In my Sabrina Strong series, my main character is a strong female. She hasn't quite got the kick-ass part down, but she's learning, gradually. She's not a vampire slayer. Well, maybe in bed she is... eh-hum. Her one weakness is sex, and since vampies have the pheromones going, she gets to wear a ring that deters it, as long as they haven't tasted her blood or she's tasted theirs. She manages to tell master vampire, Bjorn Tremayne (Vampire Ascending) that she would not tollerate his messing with her that way, and wouldn't work for him if he continues such behavior. He cools his heals, but still wants her. Throughout the three books I have out right now, there's many hunks in every one of them, and women readers can take their pick of their favorites.

I didn't want to write a romance, or follow such plot lines that were so predictable you'd fall alseep, or begin skipping every page in between the bedroom scenes... I've made it hard for anyone to predict which guy she winds up with in any book. I wanted adventure, mystery, danger and relationships to be key in my novels. So when it came to sex scenes if it has something to do with the plot, I write it in.

In contrast to "50 Shades of Gray" my books do have vampiers in them (I'd heard that 50 Shades was the result of fan fiction of "Twilight" I have no idea in what draft the vampires were taken out), werewolves, elves, one smart ass leprechaun, and a few surprises, as well as a strong heroine who won't get pushed around by vampires and demons. As a bonus you can sit and read my books in the doctor's office, on the train, or wherever, and not feel like you have to hide the cover. Althought the sex scenes in my books have been described as "hot", they won't make you want to poke your eyes out.

The third book has steampunk themes, where Sabrina goes into another world to find her cousin who fell into a portal. Here she encounters more good-looking, hunky vampires than you can shake a stake at, plus goes up against Dracula himself--and doesn't cave.

Vampire Nocture, available on Amazon.

8 comments:

  1. In the work I've done collaboratively with Norma, there's a lot of sex in the manuscript, but the characters are first and foremost smart and have depth. Unlike the works of Ms. James.

    And I'm astounded at the response to a character who really is a complete asshole. Christian Grey, a barely warmed over Edward Cullen, fills the role of possessive abuser... and somehow guys like that are a draw?

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  2. My manuscripts/books also have sex in them. But like you said our characters and plot move the story along.

    I'm not sure what sort of people like this sort of guy, or these books. I've read brief summaries of them and was not interested in them whatsoever.

    Trashy novels like these may sell very well, but we shouldn't be tempted to write down to this level in order to make sales. I think you caught that point, William.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Don't mince words, Lorelei. Tell us how you really feel! Lol! ;)
    You cracked me up with this, but you're not wrong. It has been around forever.
    Have a great week, my dear friend.

    -Jimmy

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  4. My erotica titles under my pen name already sell just as much if not more than my erotic romance titles under my real name. But I'm not rich because I write about lesbians, and #1 rule of sex sells in books is that you need lots of men sword fighting to make money. Oops @ me. Seems like the more plot I write the less I sell. You'd think I'd learn and just write porn all day. (But wow does that get boring.)

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  5. ~Hey, Jimmy. Yeah, I shouldn't beat around the bush so much. I hope that it didn't offend people. I simply know what I like and what I don't like to read or write.

    ~Hildred, power to you if you've found your nitch and it's selling. I have trouble getting two or three bedroom scenes into a book w/o wanting to climb the walls (or huz LOL)

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  6. This is great!
    I love this post!
    Tell it like it is, girlfriend. wow.
    You are so right about trashy novels.
    Here's something that I remember when it happened: with the success of certain trashy novels a number of years ago, some writers got together
    (THIS IS A TRUE STORY) 6 or 7 prof. writers wrote a novel, each in their own way, as a JOKE. The main character was described differently by each one.
    The book had loads of sex though!
    it not only became a best seller, it was made into a film called,
    NAKED CAME THE RUNNER!

    your point is proved, Lorelei. it sells it always has.

    Someone once said there was only one story that was ever written, we're all writing different versions of that one story. How we do it, is all that differs.

    loved this!

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  7. Thanks Carole. Thanks for stopping and making that comment. Never heard this before, but I can see that happening.

    I thought I was right, and I think because we've seen the trends we know where it got started.

    Thank you!

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