Self-Publising, Why Sex Sells, and Do You Fit In?

Instead of the traditional news update this Sunday, I've decided to rant. A lot has been happening in the world of ebooks lately, and it's raising a lot of questions. Is erotica the genre of choice for all indies...and will these books eventually overrun all the rest?

That's Sexy

Amanda Hocking is yesterday's news, and the big name in indie books lately is E. L. James. The little erotica book that could has become a pop culture question until probably the end of time, and erotica has become the driving force behind the ebook craze.

Erotica and romance titles are the biggest-selling indie books on Amazon. In fact, self-published titles are currently dominating these genres in the sales figures.

For those of us who don't write erotica, this can be seen in a scary sort of way. If the people who buy indie books are buying erotica and I don't write erotica, that means I'm screwed (and I hope you'll pardon the pun, but we are talking erotica here). And by some standards, the presence of so much erotica in the self-published market can feel a little seedy. Aren't all self-published books now painted with the same, somewhat smutty brush?

They're both good points, to play a bit of Devil's advocate. My books are largely intended for youths, so being associated with erotica isn't really the best thing for me. And when my author photo is just a picture of me smiling and a bestselling erotica author's photo is a sexy, bikini-clad woman on the beach...well, it doesn't do a lot to promote the message of professionalism I'm always touting.

But on the other side of the coin, what's good for self-published books is good for self-published books. Erotica may be the "in" genre right now, but trends tend to change. If this one doesn't, fine. There's still more than enough room for all those books of other genres. And while I don't write erotica, I find that some people still do buy my books so I'm sure they'd be willing to buy yours, too.

Sex sells. I don't know what else to tell you, but it does. Beer commercials have half-naked women in them and half-naked women don't sit around swilling beer all that often so clearly these commercials are about the women and not the drink. Sex sells in books, too, and it always has. But other stuff also sells in books. There is no sex in Harry Potter and sex has never been in an Agatha Christie book. So you don't need to add sex to sell books...but in today's market, it definitely can't hurt. 

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  1. It'll be a phase, just like everything else this century so far as been a phase. Remember vampires?? I don't write erotica either, so I can identify - we just have to wait.

  2. It sells, which tells more about the audience than the writer. There will always be a market for genius. Just keep writing well, and don't worry about the audience. It will find you.

  3. I agree with everything here!

    Sometimes I wish I wrote erotica. And honestly, Ive seen several authors who write erotica now, only because it IS whats selling, even though their passion is YA, or fantasy, or something other than erotica.

    Still, Im ready for the next phase to start!

  4. Thanks for all your comments! You added a lot of interesting info and opinions to this post.