Since the dawn of a certain book series that has had housewives frequenting the "fetish" section of their local adult stores, Adam & Eve, and hardware stores across the nation, it seems that the sensation has caught on. We're seeing book after book with the same template as that infamous book series written by a certain Englishwoman. No harm no foul folks, I have nothing against the whole BDSM book genre or even rough sex in a book, but folks....let's not get caught in the rut! Just what am I talking about? Well it's simple.
First you have the dashing, sophisticated, and drop dead sexy mid 20s to early 30s mogul that has a penchant for being a Dom always in search of his next submissive and in walks the young, curious, smart, and natural beauty with a shy smile. Our mogul has a penchant for control while our seemingly shy wallflower is willing to do anything to get to the "heart" of his soul of endless torments that have stemmed from some childhood trauma.
While there is nothing wrong with that template, it gets old after awhile. I don't mind reading about a tortured soul but it gets a little boring as a reader to keep reading the same thing right over and over. So far Sylvia Day's Crossfire Series, Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty books, and a few others have managed to make this genre work; instead of a template mind you that in my opinion was morphed from a young adult book series that have become icons in the line of YA vampire romances. I'm really not trying to bash a certain book series (which I'm not naming but I'm sure you all know which one I'm talking about) but I'm just pointing out that the market is being flooded with really bad knock offs from potentially talented authors who are hitching on the bandwagon of this trend because that's what's hot. What I want my fellow Indie and self published authors to take from this is to be your own creative engine. Don't follow a template in your writing when it comes to wanting to write an erotic romance that entails BDSM and fetishism as the backbone of the story. Not all characters need to have been abused as children. Those who practice BDSM and other fetishes are not all from messed up childhoods. They haven't been abused and there's a stereotype developing that if one engages in such that they must have been beaten, molested, raped, or some other sort of tragic event in their lives. If one would do some research, one would find that most BDSM couples come from normal and everyday lives that most of us come from. They don't have horrific tragedies that have led them to BDSM or other fetishes. It's simply their choice of lifestyle when it comes to coitus. (I sound so Sheldon Cooper don't I?)
Fifty reasons to be your own creative engine all begin with being your own creative genius. There are plenty of ways to make a story take off, hit the climax, and have a great finisher or cliff hanger without following the above mentioned template. By following a fad or trend, you're not expressing your own creativity-you're going to end up type cast. Some authors who have done this will probably never write another book because they are going to be forever type cast as a "trend" author. What is a trend author? Someone who follows the template and adds a few quirks here and there but basically copies the same story right over and over. When Anne Rice wrote her Beauty series she wrote something seductive, erotic, and stimulating. Sylvia Day's Crossfire series has similar traits as to the template novels but she put enough of her own ideas and creativity for her series to stand on its own and hers wasn't written based on a certain YA series.
A great Erotic novel, in my opinion, isn't just about rough sex or even kinky sex-it's about seducing the reader. Any romance novel whether it be erotica, historical, contemporary, or even paranormal is based on a great story and character chemistry, along with some really steamy love scenes. There are literally thousands of porn titles that all have some cheesy lines and then just sex acts. They're not meant to have great story lines and many books are following suite. They appear to be one thing but end up being a cheesy porn movie without the cheesy music but all just fail in the lines of story, strong characters with chemistry, and bad sex scenes. Remember: Sex sells but bad sex doesn't. No one who spends their money and time on a book wants to read endless pages of bad dialogue and bad sex. Readers want to be seduced into a story and possessed by the book. You, as a writer, wants to have your readers remember your story so much that they're re-reading your book until they can get their hands on your next one. That is my goal anyhow, and it should be yours as well.
The last thing you want is to bore your reader and just like Sex In The City, people are going to get eventually tired and bored with Carrie always getting involved with a Mr. Big that has money and likes hard sex and vice versa. People who are truly book readers and not just those who pick up something because it's the latest fad, are not going to be repeat customers if that is all you're writing and publishing. People want to pick up a book and be right there in the moment in the story. They want to be able to feel the characters and want a memorable experience from reading. It's what drives them to go back to the book stores and online to purchase books and will make them want to crave your books. Award winning Canadian author, Denyse Bridger, said it best, "Publishing and the market has changed drastically in the past 10 years", and it has. It's easy to jump on the fad band wagon, and publishers who aren't worth their salt are putting out these fad books because people are buying them up but are any of these going to be memorable? Years from now will anyone look back a really remember these books other than, "Oh yeah, there was something about those, but I can't really say what was so big about them." Authors like Rice, Kenyon, Lara Adrian, and the other big names in romance fiction have proven that their books stand alone and will stand the test of time. Isn't that what we as writers want for ourselves? It's what I want. I want people to remember my name and my books as being something they really enjoyed reading and were captivated at my story lines.
Again, I'm not bashing but we've got to take the market by the horns and steer it back on track. It all starts with you dear writer. Be your own creative engine and don't fall into the rut of following a fad. Don't get stuck with shoulder pads and side shaved heads just because it's what was cool, easy, and sent a few bucks your way. Sure, one author wrote a book series using a template and now has a movie deal but will that person have any staying power or lasting success? Be your own creative engine and drive your stories down a different track!