The Modern Dirty Book Business

Angel Ackerman, CEO, and editor-in-chief of Parisian Phoenix Publishing, has just dipped her proverbial toe into the warm waters of publishing erotica. She began her publishing firm to “create books that promote unique voices and diverse perspectives,” and pretty much those kinds of books continue to be her bread and butter. Yet, now, two years and a few months into the creation of her company, Angel says of the new arm, Parisian Phoenix ‘Kink,’ “I have seen people using our erotica to initiate conversation with their potential sexual partners. That makes me happy… or should I say it brings me pleasure?”

Putting her money where her mouth is (or stuffing her conviction down the front of her leather bustier) this year, Angel published two erotica-based titles across her new imprint.

“I always hoped to publish erotica, as I wrote in the introduction of our just-released anthology Juicy Bits: Erotic Stories of BDSM, Kink & Fetish; I believe there is space in contemporary erotica to blend mainstream or ‘vanilla’ voices with erotica that pushes the envelope to allow couples to indulge any of their fantasies. I like to encourage different voices in all types of writing so that everyone feels welcome, and any topic we approach– and this could be academic or even controversial topics as well as erotica– allows readers to engage in a healthy dialogue.”

What Angel sees as a potential burgeoning book imprint of her independent publishing house is something many publishers have taken to over the years working in the Modern Dirty Book Business. 

The Present State of The Dirty Word

Award-winning author M. Christian, a contributor to the books Angel mentions above, as well as a celebrated writer of over 400 hundred short stories, editor, anthologist, writing teacher, podcast host, and the managing editor of Futureofsex.net, a sexual techno futurist site (and as Christian says, “putting the call out for short, implicit rather than explicit, erotic science fiction stories–so drop me a line at editor@futureofsex.net”) is also the acquisition editor and associate publisher for one of the first-ever houses to publish erotic eBooks, Renaissance E Books.

‘Chris’ claims, “Erotica is an exceptionally fluid genre: one day, it’s BDSM, all whips and chains; the next, more romantic, chocked full of swoons and ripped bodices; or maybe next, it’ll be dinosaurs, werewolves, androids, pirates, or whatever new style or content the readers and into.” But written erotica, in his view, “is more about telling an arousing story than just a bunch of dirty’ words strung together.”

Chris sees the marriage of technology and the written word as proving especially profitable.

“The Internet’s been very, very, very good to erotica. Not only are there still tons of novels, short story collections, and erotic anthologies being published, but there’s also a bevy of sites actively looking for content–including more than a few who want to turn them into audiobooks or even with smart sex toy integration so their customers can feel the action as well as hear it,” he says.

Gettin’ Hot Between the Ears

“Hearing” erotica is what Jim Loftin pursues with the erotica (and lots of other stuff) he publishes at his company Wordwooze Publishing.

Looking to self-publish eBook editions of the erotica he had written, Jim started his press. Then, a friend and fellow erotica author mentioned that she had just published an audiobook edition of one of her books and suggested that Jim do the same.

“She even put me in touch with the narrator who did her book,” Jim says of his first steps into what has become a sure field for his press.

“Hearing my book brought to life, I was hooked. By the time I had published all my books in audio, I decided to become a publisher offering authors a print/audio package.”

Jim has set up his efficient small press to get the erotica (and lots of the other stuff he publishes) as much read and downloaded in audio versions.

“I think audio offers more opportunity for growth of erotic publishing is growing exponentially.”

Surely Jim, who has a few of M. Christian’s books in his stable (as well as this author), is not alone. Both small presses and major publishers offer audio versions of their books; it is not just the denizens of a niche type of writing who offer this.

A Niche Among Niches

Erotic writing is arguably a niche among writing niches. And within this niche, there are even niches. 

And there are authors making sales.

William D. Prystauk writes Kink Noir erotic crime thrillers outside the already niche of erotic crime thrillers. He is finding his way, an audience, a publisher, and even awards for his work. His “twenty-something, bisexual private investigator solving crimes and stopping exploitation in New York City’s BDSM and LGBT communities” series was based on a screenplay he’d written. Then, as Bill says, “the movie deal fell through, I decided to write a novel version. The book allowed me to explore the erotic elements so much more. “

And explore them in a series that is wholly unique to the already unique world of erotica.

Writing his stories with a more “let’s see where it lands” attitude, Bill’s work can be found here: https://shorturl.at/auDM1, continues: “I had hoped to find an audience, and I did. I’ve heard from men, women, and couples who have been waiting for something like Kink Noir, where BDSM and its practitioners are presented in a positive fashion.”

No Matter How You Get It…Get It

Be it some sultry-voiced narrator tickling your ear with the latest femdom story from your favorite author, reading a chastity diary entry on Medium, or delving deep into arguably the most popular BDSM trilogy of the past few years, written erotica is out there ready to be plucked, salivated over, listened to…and mostly enjoyed. There is no denying that for purveyors of the art form, be one a writer, anthologist, editor, or fan, with the Internet shrinking our world more and more each day, one can get one’s hot little hands (or at least one hand, the other occupied or you know where) on a whole score of naughty words coming from a whole bunch of publishers and places.

Ralph Greco, Jr. is a professional writer and musician living in the wilds of the suburban U.S. Ralph has penned scripts, one-act plays, fiction, non-fiction, reviews, interviews, press releases for porn studios, small press and major market magazines, museums, and adult toy makers, across a score of online portals and written material around the world. Ralph is also the co-host of the Licking Non-Vanilla podcast and teaches writing at kink conventions. He has just published Writing Dirty Words: The Not-So-Sexy Reality of Making a Living Writing (and the Occasional Crack of a Whip)

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