We need a new word for newbie erotica writers, I think. Newbie erotica writer sounds boring. Newrotica writer? Suggestions on a tweet to @AmyTempleWriter, please.
What are the biggest stumbling blocks for those of us new to this path?
1. The Mindset.
It is highly tempting to decide that erotica can be written only by candlelight with soft music playing and gentle breezes wafting the curtains atmospherically (fat chance in Ireland in November – if I leave the window open a crack my future will probably a lot more Wuthering Heights than Fifty Shades, what with the dying of horrible diseases and being rained on). It is genuinely difficult to get into the mindset of writing erotic fiction when you’re used to writing factual stuff on demand, or even mainstream fiction.
Also, all it takes is one text from my mother to put the kibosh on sexy writing for, oh, hours. Mum Temple likes to text. I taught her. It is my second-biggest regret in life.
Protect your mindset, but don’t get caught up in the glamour of it all. That way lies madness, and empty Word documents.
2. The Fear.
I live in constant terror that one of the people I socialise with will discover what I’m writing. Not because I’m ashamed or because I have especially judgmental friends, but because I am Irish, and we like to slag our friends off. A lot (for evidence click here – be warned, contains the bad C word). It is how we show love. They could get years of mileage out of a single scene.
3. The Marketing.
I’m writing under a pen name, so I can’t utilise the (minimal) goodwill I have built up over the years under my real name. That time I rescued an entire puppy and someone Retweeted my 140-character tale of heroism? Not ever going to equal a book sale. Damnit. Lucky for the puppy I would have saved it had I known that (since you don’t know who I am, you’ll just have to take my word for it that Real Life Amy saves puppies).
How else am I going to sell this book? I’ll just have to hope the sodding thing is good.
4. The Imposter Syndrome.
I have this all the time anyway, so it may not be a problem for you guys – or it may be an even bigger problem, because I’m so used to living with the feeling that I am miraculously fooling everyone and they wrongly believe I am a functional adult. When I compared Tiffany Reisz’s bio with mine, it was with Imposter Syndrome that I was wrestling (if you thought the sight of me wrestling was unexpectedly unsexy, fear not, the book I’m working on has no wrestling scenes). Erotica writers should be devastatingly sexy, surely. I am not. I strive for devastating on a good day, but only in the fields of cookng and witty comebacks.
5. The Publicity.
I know, I know. Chance would be a fine bloody thing. I remember when E. L. James’s husband, writer Niall Leonard, was ‘unmasked’ and left wide open to comparisons with Christian Grey. He had this to say about it: “Perhaps being married to me helped her to fantasize about someone more interesting.”
He also said this: “I’m the least romantic fecker that ever lived – ask my wife Erika, aka EL James. Our first Christmas together I bought her a tin opener, and my earliest experience of kinky sex was her trying to shove it up my arse.”
I want to have a pint with this man so badly. He’s, like, top of my Semi-Famous People I Want To Have A Pint With List. And I don’t even drink pints.
What’s been driving you nuts when trying to write about sexytimes?