The Calls

There are many things that I like about writing erotica. There’s the obvious – it’s fun to write stories comprised of salacious bits, the explicit parts that your fingers itch to flip to when blonde,erotique,glasses,lips,secretary,typewriter,vintage,woman-d9715cc2cc4ddb85876f55c1741d5bc4_myou’re reading an otherwise innocent book. Then there’s the less obvious – sex is a fascinating lens through which to explore human emotion, motivation and psychology. It can be everything from forbidden to mundane, joyful to terrifying and everything in between. We all do it, and yet we gobble it up like a secret box of candy.

And then, of course, there are the practical reasons why I like writing in this genre. Namely, the calls, or calls for submission. Erotica, unlike most genres, is very open to new writers. This isn’t to say that the anthology editors and publishers who act as erotica’s gatekeepers have low standards – they don’t. In fact, the attention to detail, editorially speaking, is quite rigorous. They might like a story, but this won’t keep them from asking for edits – sometimes small, sometimes quite extreme. The first time I had a story accepted without additional edits, I popped a bottle of champagne (though I must admit that I like champagne and will embrace any excuse to drink it).

Calls for submission are this genre’s way for extending an invitation to writers at all levels of experience, from the never-before-published, to powerhouses in the field. If a story is good, if it fits an anthology’s theme or an editor’s needs, it will very likely go in, even if all you’ve published before is a scintillating newsletter on personal finance. This is not to say that there aren’t slush piles – there are. They’re inevitable regardless of the genre. And of course, the more you publish, the more your name gets searched out in the deluge of submissions. Still, it heartened me  when I was starting out to know that, if my story was good, eventually someone would want it. And eventually, someone did.

If it weren’t for their egalitarian nature, I would very likely be slogging away unhappily in some other field. They gave me a chance to hone my skills. And when I finally produced a story worth publishing, a call for submissions put that story right onto a gatekeeper’s screen. Even better, calls have become the venue through which I establish myself in a genre that I have both come to respect, and think of as home. Anthologies are forming the foundation for my backlog of longer works.

So, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the calls. May you continue to help writers prosper as I myself hope to do. xx.M

9 comments

    1. Boy, you said it. If I can get stories submitted to 5 at this point, I’ll be happy. March is such a long month and it’s so full of good dates – why does the first have to get all the love? 😉

  1. As someone not opposed to pursuing publication one day (especially erotic things) and someone very interested in the publishing industry in general, it’s very useful for me to know this. I think it’s a very cool thing, too, that erotica publishers have this attitude. That good writing is good writing, and everyone gets a chance. I had no idea!

    1. I’ve been writing seriously for about 8 years, mostly in mainstream literary markets, and I have to say that I’ve never come across such openness in any other genre. Plus, I’ve got to say that, as a community, erotica writers are some of the most supportive and welcoming people I’ve ever had the privilege to meet and / or work with. Definitely feel free to email me privately if you ever want more information – I’d be happy to give it 🙂

  2. I adore calls. I wouldn’t be where I am without them. I wrote and then had nothing specific to do with what I wrote, so things just sat around. With calls, I was given a specific topic to write on. It was like writing papers back in college – at which I excelled – except more fun.

    I have the same problem as everyone else; there are more calls than I can possibly write for, and I sometimes end up feeling a little frazzled trying to write for everything I want to do.

    1. Yes! It’s exactly like writing papers in college, except the topics are sexier. I love the nudge they give you as regards deadlines, too. I tend to distract easily, so knowing that there’s a hard deadline on a call helps me prioritize. Of course, like you said, with so many calls coming due in such a short space of time, frazzle still happens.

  3. Ahh this post is super reassuring for a total newbie to the industry. I’ve been writing erotica for a while but haven’t tried submitting yet—so good to know cracking in isn’t impossible!

    1. I’m so glad the post was reassuring – it was definitely meant to be. For what it’s worth, two years ago, I had *never* even considered writing erotica for submission. It was just something I did for myself. Now, I’ve got a nice little clutch of stories lined up in anthologies, two collections in the works and a novel waiting on deck. It kind of sucks you in. Plus, it’s a lovely community of writers 🙂

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