RT Booklovers Convention 2011: Covering The Erotica Genre

This year's erotica program at the RT Booklovers Convention was captained by author Sharon Page. So we went straight to the source to find out what her goals were as she created the sessions, which included Wednesday's "Teaching Harry How to do Sally" with Lauren Dane, Kate Pearce and Kayla Perrin and "Erotica's New Dawn: Sex, Lies and the Erotica Market" on Friday Morning with Kelli Collins, the Editor-in-Chief of Erotica's Cave, literary agent Miriam Kriss and author Janet Miller aka Cricket Starr. Get a special look at these panels that focused on the craft and business sides of today's erotic reads.

Sharon Page, Lauren Dane, Kate Pearce
and Kayla Perrin on Wednesday's Panel

On Wednesday’s craft panel the four authors focused on some of the how-tos of writing erotica. Sharon told us that she deliberately chose authors from across the subgenres, to give the discussion an eclectic flavor. Kate writes contemporary and historical erotic romances, Lauren’s stories are futuristic and contemporary and Kayla writes about multicultural couples. But when it came to the foundation of a good erotic story, all of the authors agreed that there are few necessary pillars regardless of the story's subgenre.

First off, it’s important to have a strong, detailed plot. If the tale doesn’t have a solid plot then it the story will fizzle not sizzle. However, a story that has a strong plot is one that readers will remember.

Secondly, even though their settings and characters are different, these four authors focus on the same things as they turn up the heat in a scene. All of the authors agreed that emotional connection between the characters is extremely important. Additionally, it is important to stay true to the characters when it comes to the action going on in the bedroom. If it doesn’t seem like something a character would do, don’t write the action into a scene just to spice up the story. These two aspects makes the characters more relatable for readers.

Finally, the authors spoke about the importance of using sex as a story arc and plot element. Rather than having isolated bedroom scenes writers have to weave the sex through the story in order to develop characters and also to resolve the characters’ internal conflicts. Sharon had this inside tidbit for aspiring erotica authors, “From the sex the love evolves.”

On Friday's panel, authors, an agent and an editor discussed where the erotica market is going during “Erotica’s New Dawn: Sex, Lies and the Erotica Market.” Something that Sharon found very interesting during this industry conversation was that everyone agreed that, other than certain language differences, other fiction genres are coming closer and closer to erotica as readers discover they enjoy their stories steamy. As the other genres heat up, more readers are branching out and trying erotic reads.

Sharon thinks that this trend is linked with the rising heat levels in movies, television and in books. Sex and the City was a forerunner of this trend that really brought frank discussions and images of sex into the mainstream. While this is not a new phenomenon —and readers will remember authors such as Erica Jong and Jacqueline Susann from the ‘70s — it is certainly true that erotica is a trendy genre again.

Erotica is also making its way into the mainstream with a helping hand from digital reads as well. A lot of readers who are reluctant to go into a bookstore for an erotic story will check it out online. Furthermore, e-books are so clearly labeled online that readers can find exactly what they are looking for when it comes to content.

We hope you enjoyed this insider’s look at the Erotica program at this year’s RT Booklovers Convention. If you are looking for more erotica coverage be sure to check out our Everything Erotica section on the RT website.