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'09 Authors Insider Tips

Everything About Epublishing
by Angela James
Digital Publishing & Print
Common Myths of Epublishing
Ebook Formats and Devices


FictionCraft
by Louisa Burton
Compelling Characters
Point of View, Part I
Point of View, Part II
Learning to Love Conflict
Story Structure
Keep ‘em Guessing
Keep it Simple
Keep Your Writing Real
The Importance of Pacing


Literary Streetwalker
by M. Christian
New World of Publishing
To Blog Or Not To Blog
Meeting & Making Friends
Thinking Beyond Sex
Selling Books
Walking the Line
e-book, e-publisher, e-fun
Still More E-book Fun


Shameless Self-Promotion
by Donna George Storey
Our Journey Begins
Pitches and Bios
Websites, Blogs & Readers
Publicists, Press Kits and...
Viva the Internet
Adventures in Cyberspace
Promoting In the Flesh
Make Your Own Movie
Bigger is Better
Looking Back, Planning Ahead


Two Girls Kissing
by Amie M. Evans
Questions to Ask Yourself...
Tough All Over


The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
Ideas
Practice Makes Prefect
5 Books for Fiction Authors
Poetry In Motions
Six Serving Men
Ashley Lister is Anal
Stealing Ideas
Celebrating Poetry


2009 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
Myths
Graduation


Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
A Year of Living Shamelessly
Adultery, Exhibitionism ...
John Updike Made Me Do It ...
Story Soup: Forbidden ...
Lessons from Amazon
Naked Lunches ...
Erotic Alchemy
Secrets of Seduction
Are You a “Real” Writer?
Don’t Fondle My Sentence


Cracking Foxy
with Robert Buckley
The Passionate Taphophile
Havens on Earth
A Knight Without Armor
Jail-Baiting
Magic Carpet Rides
Getting Hammered
Keep It Quiet
Hang Around for a Spell


Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
Worked Up About Why
Worked Up About Why, Part II
All Worked Up About Porn
The Catholic Church
Purity Movement
The National Crisis
The Future
About Homosexuality
Public Indiscretions


Pondering Porn
with Ann Regentin
Premature Ejaculation
Auctioning Off What?


Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Who's Who Around the Table
Retro-Shame
Ritual Sex
Mixed Legacy
The Spectrum of Consent
Drawing the Line
Marriage without the Hype
The Distracting Smirk
Innocent Guns
Gardens of Earthly Delights


Provocative Interviews

Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
Anneke Jacob
D L King
Kristina Lloyd
Lisabet Sarai
Mitzi Szereto
Portia Da Costa
Shanna Germain
Sommer Marsden
Susan DiPlacido


Guest Appearances

Marketing a Self-Published Novel
by Jeanne Ainslie

Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker

by M. Christian

Walking the Line

 

M ChristianThere's no doubt about it, things are really tough right now: aside from the depression/recession that seems to be killing publishers daily and making life even harder for writers, there’s the too—often—painful transition from print to digital books, and the problem of getting yourself heard in a world full of other authors screaming for attention.

So it’s only natural that writers would feel a lot of pressure to write books and stories to fit what they think is the flavor-of-the- moment.

So, should you do it? In my opinion the answer is a definitive, absolute, certain … kind of.

Short stories are very different critters than novels. With stories, you’re often writing for a specific anthology, Web site, or the like. The parameters are set, the topic is predetermined, and you're expected to work within those expectations. Absolutely, then, you should work to meet the guidelines set by the publisher or editor.

But even then you can be too specific, follow the guidelines too literally. It goes like this: you sit down and create the perfect story for a project, one that you've carefully crafted to be exactly what the editor is looking for. The problem, though, is that a lot of other writers are more than likely doing exactly the same thing, so when all the stories arrive on the editor’s desk, yours could very well be just one of a dozen "perfect" stories.

The trick, and thus the title of this column, is to step onto the tightrope balancing between exactly what the editor wants and unique enough to stand out. Alas, this is easier said than done but there are a few important things to remember that can make it a tad easier to pull off. First of all, always respect the editor’s plan for the book.

If they are reading for, say, a vampire book, don't send in a werewolf story. Second, being unique doesn't mean using the book as a personal platform: even though you might hate vampires, try and write a story that respects the genre and its readers. Thirdly, the best way to stand out from the pack isn't by being audaciously outré but instead by writing a unique but still accessible story—a new twist but not something completely warped.

Hey, I never said it was easy. When you’re trying to walk that very thin line between mundane and outrageous, you’re taking a risk. If you’re lucky then yours will be the story that stands out from the rest of the submissions on the editors desk, or be the one in the book that everyone talks about. If you’re unlucky, though, you'll get a rejection slip.

Tough, I know, but there are worse things than rejection. Sure, you can create something designed from word one to fit the flavor of the moment but you'll be doing everyone, especially yourself, a real disservice. Riding the current literary wave will mean that your work will always just be part of something else, that it will be difficult to stand out. My favorite story about this comes from a few friends who used to write ‘classic’ porn—cheap bumpy-grindy stuff. After a few years of ‘success’ they woke up one day suddenly realizing they'd become soulless, lazy writers and couldn't do anything else.

All this, however, is not to say you never should pay attention to what’s out there or never try your hand at writing for a specific market. Aside from the reward of possibly getting exposure, trying new things—even trying to be the next ‘flavor of the month’—is how writers discover hidden talents or may even find they enjoy writing a certain kind of story or book. Stories are frequently worth an experiment.

In the end it all comes back to the tightrope, to finding a balance between playing it safe and being unique. One wrong step and you might be too different to be popular, or not even get out there at all, or fall the other way and be yet another copycat book in a fading genre—or trap yourself into being a common, bland, lifeless hack.

The best teacher, as always, is experience. You will make mistakes, we all do, but with practice you'll hopefully find not successs (because that word is too subjective to have meaning), but instead a balance between art and commerce, between paying-the-bills popularity and admirable literature.

M. Christian
May-June 2009


If you have any follow up comments, questions or stories to share about "Thinking Beyond Sex," please drop by M. Christian's blog or send an email to: M. Christian

Read more of M. Christian's Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker in ERWA 2009 Archive.

______
"Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker" © 2009 M. Christian. All rights reserved.

About the Author: M. Christian is an acknowledged master of erotica with more than 300 stories in such anthologies as Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Bisexual Erotica, Best Fetish Erotica, and many, many other anthologies, magazines, and Web sites. He is the editor of 20 anthologies including the Best S/M Erotica series, The Burning Pen, Guilty Pleasures, and others. He is the author of the collections Dirty Words, Speaking Parts, The Bachelor Machine, and Filthy; and the novels Running Dry, The Very Bloody Marys, Me2, Brushes, and Painted Doll.
Email: M. Christian
Websites: mchristian.com
meinekleinefabrik.blogspot.com
frequentlyfelt.blogspot.com



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'09 Movie Reviews

Blame It On Savanna
Review by Byrdman

Cry Wolf
Review by Spooky

Faithless
Review by Spooky

Heaven or Hell
Review by Oranje

House of Wicked
Review by Diesel

The Office: An XXX Parody
Review by Spooky

This Ain't The Partridge Family
Review by Spooky


'09 Book Reviews

Anthologies

A Slip of the Lip (ebook)
Review by Jean Roberta

Best Women's Erotica '09
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Bottoms Up
Review by Ashley Lister

Enchanted Again
Review by Victoria Blisse

Frenzy
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Girls on Top
Review by Ashley Lister

In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed
Review by Ashley Lister

Libidacoria (Poetry)
Review by Ashley Lister

Licks & Promises
Review by Ashley Lister

Like a Thorn (ebook)
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Mile High Club
Review by Ashley Lister

Nexus Confessions: Vol 5
Review by Victoria Blisse

Nexus Confessions 6
Review by Victoria Blisse

Oysters & Chocolate
Review by Kristina Wright

Playing with Fire
Review by Ashley Lister

Sexy Little Numbers Vol 1
Review by Ashley Lister

Up for Grabs
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Novels

A 21st Century Courtesan
Review by Donna G. Storey

The Ages of Lulu
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Amanda’s Young Men
Review by Kristina Wright

As She's Told
Review by Ashley Lister

Bedding Down
Review by Victoria Blisse

Broken
Review by Ashley Lister

Brushes & Painted Dolls
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Cassandras Chateau
Review by Ashley Lister

The Edge of Impropriety
Review by Kristina Wright

Exposure
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Free Pass
Review by Ashley Lister

The Gift of Shame
Review by Victoria Blisse

Kiss It Better
Review by Ashley Lister

The Melinoe Project
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Mortal Engines & The ...
Review by Ashley Lister

The New Rakes
Review by Ashley Lister

Ninety Days of Genevieve
Review by Victoria Blisse

Obsession: An Erotic Tale
Review by Kristina Wright

Sarah's Education
Review by Ashley Lister

Seduce Me
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Lesbian Erotica

Lesbian Cowboys
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Night's Kiss
Review by Jean Roberta

Where the Girls Are
Review by Jean Roberta

Gay Erotica

Animal Attraction 2
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Boys in Heat
Review by Vincent Diamond

Faewolf
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Low Road
Review by Jean Roberta

Personal Demons
Review by Jean Roberta

Ready to Serve
Review by Vincent Diamond

The Secret Tunnel
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Shuck
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Transgressions
Review by Vincent Diamond

Non-Fiction

Best Sex Writing '09
Review by Kristina Wright

The Big Penis Book
Review by Rob Hardy

Erotic Encounters
Review by Rob Hardy

The Forbidden Apple
Review by Rob Hardy

Hollywood’s Censor
Review by Rob Hardy

Lady in Red
Review by Rob Hardy

Licentious Gotham: Erotic...
Review by Rob Hardy

Live Nude Elf
Review by Rob Hardy

Live Nude Girl
Review by Rob Hardy

The Other Side of Desire
Review by Rob Hardy

Scripts 4 Play
Review by Ashley Lister