This 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.