Men Writing Erotica...
I am often asked by men about writing erotica.
Let me rephrase that.
I am often approached by men who are interested in writing an erotic book.
They all have one common question: Should they hide their gender when publishing a book? Should they choose a female pseudonym? Go the M. Pierce route and hide behind an initial? Or should they own their gender - and could being a man actually be a benefit when it comes to attracting female readers?
A year ago I wrote a blog post about this, breaking it down to my opinion, and then three exceptions. If you'd still like to read all that, you can scroll down, it's at the bottom of this post. It's well thought out, but turns out that I was COMPLETELY WRONG.
Yep. I threw up a poll in my reader group, a group that is comprised 100% of women, and guess what? The results (from 320 women) surprised me.
It turns out less than 1% of those women wouldn't buy erotica written by a man. And while 14.5% of them might hesitate to purchase male-written erotica, they could still be persuaded, if the cover/blurb/reviews were strong.
So I say, to men everywhere, GO FOR IT.
My (Prior) Opinion:
Men face an uphill battle when writing erotica unless it is marketed to a male audience.
First things first… you're a guy. Which is great! But, because you are male, your fantasies are wildly different than a woman's. You experience sex differently, you are visually turned on in a different manner, and you have a completely different orgasm than we do.
Let's remember, for a quick moment, the #1 rule of writing: Write What You Know.
The first thing you need to consider is whether you are going to write for men or women. Fun fact: 95% of the erotica readership is female. For the most part, females read erotica and men watch it. So the male target market is smaller but easier to write and market for because you are writing, in essence, for yourself. You don't have to put yourself into the mindset of a woman (which, let's face it, is a complicated place).
Back to the subject. Women will read erotica written by men if it is written in the right way. You need to focus how we (as women) think. We don't want a big description of how the woman looks - in fact - the hotter the woman is described, the more turned off some female readers will be. The male lead should be the focus. Female readers will want to know how he looks, how he screws, and that he thinks the woman - no matter what her looks - is beautiful.
I guess what I'm trying to say is... you have to get inside our head and write from our POV. Or, if you write from the male POV, you have to make him think everything that we, as women, want him to think. Which isn't an easy thing to do, AT ALL.
That being said, men write relatable female characters all the time, so it's certainly possible, it's just challenging.
1. Are you gay? That's a personal question, but Male on Male erotica is HUGE and women love to read about it. It might be the perfect market for you!
2. Are you sex on a stick? Do you wink and women fall over? Then you have a leg up in the erotica marketing department. A few years ago, a mysterious male appeared on the scene, armed with a sexy cover and describing himself as a 'real-life Dom.' Fans flocked to his page, joining his fan group and gobbling up his erotica, all while musing over his mysterious persona. He played up the act, giving out personal phone calls as giveaway prizes and flirting with readers via Facebook and Twitter. His books enjoyed a certain amount of buzz and attention, in part because of female reader fantasies--which isn't to say it wasn't a strong book. But then… he posted his photo online. Overnight, the mystery was gone. He, while not terrible looking, wasn't Sex-on-a-Stick.
3. You are ridiculously talented. You write in both the female and male POV seamlessly, and can spew out hotness without offending or turning off either sex. Congrats! You should go for it. I would suggest writing under an initial (F.A. Jordan) and use a non-gender-specific photo (like your book cover) as your profile pic until readers have a chance to buzz about your book without discussing your gender. Then, in due time, I'd make an announcement with your gender. But keep your photo private unless…. yeah, you got it. You're Sex on a Stick.
Good luck and write on!