Sunday, July 22, 2007

After these messages. . .

Cie here -- I'm pooped. I'm in the middle of the finale and I'm pooped enough that I had to take a few minutes and take a breather. Then back to the action.

In the meantime, I stopped on a couple of forums I visit and did a little browsing around.

I discovered that RWA had stirred up a hornet's nest (again). Okay, first, let me say that I am not currently a member. I lapsed, and while I miss my local chapter (RWA Online) I was not happy with some of what went on in a previous administration and didn't renew. I've been meaning to sign up again, but honestly, I've been procrastinating, and also looking at it critically to see if it was a membership that was going to really do something for me.

That said, I've noticed something and I want to blog about it. I am especially willing to do so since there doesn't seem to be much traffic going through here right now and I can clear my thoughts without inviting open warfare (I think).

There seem to be two sore points that keep coming up (over and over and over again).

First -- sexuality, sexual content, erotica.

Second -- E-publishing.

There are people who firmly (VERY firmly) believe that explicit sexuality has no place in romance. There are other people who (JUST AS) firmly believe that explicit sexuality is a valid part of romance. Never the twain shall meet. So you have those pesky issues come up like visual standards for ads and covers being displayed where some folks are going "We have to keep it G to PG-13" (To use movie labels everyone is familiar with.) and others are going R is appropriate, maybe even X.

My personal stance: People have sex. If people didn't have sex there wouldn't be people. It's how we breed. It is also a wonderful way to express love, intimacy, affection, and a whole lot of other really positive things in an ongoing relationship. Romances are relationship books with people. Now, I admit. I don't personally read erotica. Not my thing. Nor do I want to write it. (I'm sorry, FOR ME it just feels too much like "Insert tab A into slot B repeatedly. Add moaning as needed.") But it is a valid art form that has been around since people started writing. Heck, there are probably some explicit cave paintings somewhere. You're not going to stomp it out, even if you try. I'm not exactly a prude, (as you can probably guess from our books), but our sexual content is about the top end for me. More than that and I get embarrassed. There are times when I really wish I could just write the old "fade to black" where they go into the bedroom and you KNOW that they're gonna, but you don't have to go into a detailed description. Just insert a chapter break and start the story again in the morning with them smiling and satisfied. But there are other people who not only write it, they love it, are good at it, and they have a huge fan base.

MORE POWER TO THEM. I don't believe in censorship. I do believe in the rating system, and in parental responsibility to watch out for what your kids are getting into, but I'm much more worried about graphic violence (again, our books are at the high end for me) and GRATUITIOUS violence and sex (and sexual violence) than I am about one, two (or more) committed people having a good time with each other in the bedroom.

Now, I'm not too worried about contests. First off, we tend to write stuff that is borderline to the point where people have a hard time categorizing us. So we're not likely to qualify for the big RWA awards (just my opinion. And if I don't re-join we definitely won't. We would both have to be members). But I do think that it is probably going to be difficult for an erotic romance to compete against its more conservative and mainstream brothers. I think a separate category would be in order. BUT that's my personal opinion. I know people who believe mainstreaming is the way to go. I just know that if I was judging the erotica wouldn't stand much of a chance because it makes me uncomfortable and I don't generally read it. Is that fair? Maybe not. Heck, even probably not. But judging is subjective, based on if you like the book.

*********************

On to E-publishing.

I said in a panel (taking liberally from something my co-author had mentioned) that IN MY OPINION (Note the all caps. My blog, my opinion. You don't have to agree. Hell, you are free to disagree) Comparing E-Publishing to Traditional Publishing isn't just comparing apples and oranges. It's comparing apples and CATS.

Because of the low (not nonexistent, but comparatively low) overhead, E-publishing can take risks that are simply not feasible for print publishers. They can experiment with shorter (or longer) lengths, unusual content, etc. Print publishers can't do that as well for a number of reasons. Two that spring to mind are (1) COST. Yo, they're in it for the money. It's a business. They have to have enough sales to pay for all that paper, shipping, advertising, etc. They're not going to take a huge risk on something that they're not SURE has the potential to pay them back. (2) TIME. E-publishing can go through the process a bit quicker. It usually takes 1-2 YEARS for a book to get through the print publishing mill (note the usually. It CAN take less -- or, God help us, MORE, but we're going with an approximate average). Trends that are HOT right now could be cold, dead, and long buried by the time a print book sees the shelf. It means that they will likely be more conservative in their choices so as not to wind up with a complete DUD that drags down their profit margin.

There are GREAT e-publishers and e-authors. There are CRAPPY e-publishers and e-authors.

BUT GUESS WHAT

There are GREAT print publishers and print authors. There are also CRAPPY print publishers and print authors.

AND GUESS WHAT ELSE?

Stuff I think is crappy you might love. And stuff that you love, I might think is crappy.

BUT IT'S OKAY.

Because it takes all kinds to make a world. And there is something out there for everybody if they're willing to look. This is a GOOD thing. So, if you're into inspirational--WHOO HOO--GO FOR IT. If you're into erotica YIPEE KI YI AY--Again, go for it. I will continue to read my middle-of-the road with suspense, some romance, a little mystery.

Now, back to the big fight scene with its (non-gratuitous and hopefully realistic but not TOO graphic) violence.

Y'all have a good day.

Cie

15 comments:

L said...

Amen.

Darla said...

Exactly! Very well said!

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