Speculative Erotica Markets — Philcon 2010

Almost every year at Philcon, I moderate the panel on selling fantastic (science fiction and fantasy) erotica. It was interesting this year to note how the panel topics have shifted over time: print to electronic to self-electronic.

For several years, after I first began to publish erotica, just before the beginning of the twenty-first century, at science fiction conventions I would give talks or host discussion groups on selling science fiction/fantasy erotica. I would focus on short stories, in particular selling sf/f erotica to mainstream erotica markets, also discussing sex in science fiction/fantasy in general. Once I’d sold novels, I added in chat about print publication, and my experiences writing erotica for Harlequin.

For the last few years, another local author, Stephanie Burke, has also participated in the Philcon panels; she focuses on electronic publishing, mostly in erotic romance, and talks about how she broke into and continues to sell to those markets.

This year, for the first time I found myself discussing self-publishing at the panel, as well. It seems to be the year of it. I read an interesting article in the Novelists, Inc. newsletter about how cover quality can influence sales of Kindle/Smashwords/etc. books; if you’ve received back the rights to a novel from your print publisher, usually you will need to do a new cover. Some writers have seen significant sales increases simply from getting a new, better cover that looks good as a thumbnail. One of this year’s panelists was L.W. Perkins, a cover artist for numerous small presses and for electronic press Liquid Silver (please note her site is undergoing renovation at the moment; I gave the link for future reference).

I’ve been following reports from fellow writers who’ve experimented with electronically publishing novels or short stories they were unable to sell elsewhere, or that were out of print; sometimes they have significant sales. I’ve been following discussions of using free Kindle downloads to encourage sales of an author’s backlist.

Last year, I didn’t have any of that information. This year, discussion of these possibilities is becoming more and more mainstream.

Published by Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen’s writing showcases her voracious lifelong love of books. She reads over 120 new books each year, especially historical romance, fantasy, and space opera, and incorporates these genres into her erotic fiction. Her first erotic novel, The Duchess, Her Maid, The Groom and Their Lover (Harlequin Spice, December 2008), was translated into French and German. Her second Spice novel, The Moonlight Mistress (December 2009), was translated into Italian and nominated for a RT Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her third novel is The Duke & The Pirate Queen (December 2010). She has also published erotic short stories as Elspeth Potter. When not writing, Victoria conducts research in libraries and graveyards, lectures about writing and selling erotica, and speaks at literary conventions on topics such as paranormal romance, urban fantasy, erotic science fiction/fantasy, and the empowerment of women through unconventional means. Her daily writing blog features professional writing and marketing tips, genre discussion, book reviews, and author interviews. She also guest blogs for Heroes & Heartbreakers and The Criminal Element. She lives in Philadelphia.

2 replies on “Speculative Erotica Markets — Philcon 2010”

  1. I do think that a good cover can do amazing things. People do judge a book by its cover, at least when impulse purchasing.

  2. I was interested to note that one author had tripled sales after switching from a quickie amateur cover to a professional one.

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