August 02, 2015
The Non-Linear Bookshelf
When I first wrote, I simply wrote. I thought I was writing a novel. I didn't even realize I was writing "genre" fiction. (As soon as someone told me, though, I definitely embraced my spot.)
A friend explained the other day that "genre" is helpful in bookstores and for readers. If you buy a mystery from the mystery section, chances are you're going to be reading a...wait for it... mystery.
But after talking to Sommer Marsden and Sophia Valenti, I keep reminding myself that there are no real "shelves" in the virtual marketplace. You can have a mysterious shifter erotic were-dinosaur romantic detective novel. All of those can be true. Your reader can find your book with those tags.
It's non-linear thinking—or rather, it's thinking along the lines of a non-linear bookshelf. Or out of the lines. Out of the box?
Now, I know what I write. I live and breathe erotica. I am bound for bondage. But I also know what I read. And many authors do blur the lines successfuly. Which is a good thing to me. It's what I'm trying to do with Figment. What I've been trying to do with The Lizard Queen since the late 90s.
Maybe I'd care more about labels if you could find my books in most bookstores. But you often can't. And if you do, they're not necessarily shelved where they're most comfortable. I'll be thrust into romance, buried in sexual studies, hidden in the how-to's, relegated to relationships. If there's no erotic section, there's no real place for me. On very good days, I sneak into literature (when nobody's looking).
This is nothing new. Erotica has always fought for shelf space (and respect).
So write that book, the one that cros-dresses—I mean, crosses genres—the one that pays no heed to the rules. Because rules are made to be fucked, said the die-hard erotic writer.
P.S. This is the post that wrote itself while I was trying to write a post called The Erotic Motel—a new concept I'm playing with. Sometimes I have to shake out a few kinks to get where I want.