Editor-in-Chief Kelli Collins bitches about whatever’s bothering her this time.
I’m not embarrassed by what I do. I’ll just throw that out there right now. If I’m not afraid to tell my 82-year-old mother that I edit erotica, why would I care about anyone else’s opinion? If I was at all uncomfortable about working with erotica authors or editing erotic material, I just wouldn’t do it. End of story.
But plenty of people who abhor erotica continue to involve themselves in the genre. To say that pisses me off is putting it mildly.
I heard two horror stories last week, one from an author whose assigned editor told her she hates erotica, including said author’s story. (By the way, this was the author’s first book; nice intro to the industry, right?) The other was from an author whose erotic novel was reviewed by someone who hates the genre and had no issue sharing that fact in the review. (The review of the plot was positive, but when you start a review by telling all and sundry how much you hate the genre, it rather takes the shine off any positivity. Duh.)
I’ll keep this simple: If you don’t like erotica, DON’T EDIT, PROOF, CRITIQUE OR REVIEW IT.
Reviewers, I’m not so worried about. The plain fact these days: Anyone with enough time to register a blog page can declare themselves a reviewer. And I’ll take certain ones more seriously when they stop misspelling every other word and stop getting their jollies by passing off insults as “critique”.
Editors…you get the bulk of my ire. Why would you suffer through something you hate? You don’t eat food you don’t like. You don’t see movies you don’t like. Why would you read books you don’t like? Do you enjoy ruining an author’s publishing experience? Are you on a power trip? Or is it simply about keeping your job? After all, plenty of epubs assign books to their editors instead of letting them acquire their own…
You know what? Quit. Seriously. If your employer assigns genres you don’t like or don’t respect or are morally/religiously opposed to, or whatever, find another job. There’s a new epub starting every other day; surely one will be a better fit. When you hate what you do, you make the editing process miserable for yourself and the author; you deprive them of your best work and the chance to make their novel shine. You can’t give authors the full benefit of your talent, can’t help them develop theirs, if you don’t enjoy their work. It’s a simple no-brainer.
In the publishing industry at large, there’s a massive bias against romance authors. Literary snobs turn up their noses despite the fact romance sales account for more than half of the genre paperback bottom line. In the romance industry itself, there’s a bias against erotica authors. It’s been a struggle for authors and publishers to gain recognition from RWA, and I’ve heard more than one romance author opine that erotica isn’t a “legitimate” form of fiction, despite the fact it’s been around for centuries. Worse, some tell me they’d be “embarrassed” to write erotica. Good thing no one’s forcing you to write it then, huh?
Erotica authors face enough challenges without being additionally deflated by the person who’s supposed to believe in their talent the most—their editor.
Erotica authors are, in my opinion, bold, daring and brave, with a passion for writing that extends beyond the pages of their novels. They’re willing to try harder, revise more and suffer longer to get their break. They’re smart, savvy and, in the case of some of the earliest and biggest names in the genre, took a calculated risk on a largely unknown and untried format. Amassing fans and laughing all the way to the bank long before the big boys in New York began scrambling to catch up in the digital game.
No. I’m not embarrassed by what I do. But I’m grievously embarrassed by some of my more ignorant professional peers who think I should be.