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 you’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