Monday, July 25, 2011

Have You Ever Been Accused of Writing Porn?

I write erotic romance, and quite frankly I don't make any bones about the fact. I'm not ashamed of it. I don't necessarily advertise it at work, but if someone asks me, I have no problem telling them what I write.

Now that being said, I occasionally run into people, co-workers, beta-readers, and others who have accused me of just writing "porn" or "smut." Sometimes trying to explain that there is a difference between writing erotic romance which has a plot, and dialogue, as well as, relationships, and porn which usually has none of the above is difficult.

I had a difficult experience not long ago where I had sent one of my beta-readers a copy of A Gift From Home, which was my first F/F romance, so I was already nervous about how it would be received. I don't believe this person read more than a chapter or two before they wrote me saying they couldn't finish it because it was porn and just nothing but sex. Since there are only four sex scenes in an almost 100 page story, you can imagine my surprise at having it labeled, "porn." To say I was upset, and even a bit angry would be the truth. I now have a clause in my beta-reader's contract saying they must read the entire book before giving any feedback. There is also a clause saying that the reader accepts that there will be different kinds of books including ones with m/m, f/f and menage scenes, or scenarios. This is so potential beta-readers know what they are getting themselves into and so I don't have this happen again.

Have you ever been accused of writing porn? What did you do? I ended up simply responding kindly to the beta-reader but deciding that I needed to re-write my beta-reader contract. Honestly, I'm reluctant to send this person any other books, because quite frankly it stung having something I worked so hard on described this way.

I'd love to hear from other authors about how they've handled it when someone called what they write pornography.