I asked Amber Skye to write a little something about being a writer or the writer life and she gave me so much more. This post will help both readers and authors. Enjoy!
P.S. Links throughout the article for the stories are going to ‘smile.amazon.com’ so that you can donate to your chosen charity while buying scintillating smut!
The Ramblings of an Erotica Author
Happy New Year boys and girls! As the one-year anniversary of my adventure into the life as an erotica writer approaches, I thought it might be fun to share a few tidbits about what I’ve experienced and learned over the past year. I began writing Laci’s Lingerie, my first venture into the world of erotica, in late January of last year. Since then, I’ve penned and published a total of seven novellas or novelettes—The Pink Posse reaching #13 on Amazon’s Lesbian Erotica Bestsellers’ list. The act of writing is mostly a singular endeavor, but when you, lovely reader, pick up one of my stories, it becomes a labor of love that I have the privilege of sharing with you! For that, I am eternally grateful! The praise, the feedback, and the goodwill from both my readers and my author pals, has been simply overwhelming!
As a thirty-nine-year-old wife and mother of two teenagers and a former third-grade teacher in a private school, I’m quite possibly an anomaly for authoring tales of Sapphic delight. And perhaps even more uncharacteristically, I’ve modeled the covers for five of my seven publications (Laci’s Lingerie and Block Party being the exceptions). But it was my husband, a writer himself, who encouraged me to regale y’all with my lesbian experiences…and yes, I’ve had plenty! And, quite simply, I’ve always found that reading sexual stories involving two women to be the most sensual and erotic. So, consequently, I believe that genre chose me, rather than me choosing it. And when I sat down to put my filthy imagination to work, the words flowed as naturally as the juices from the hoo-ha of a horny college coed. In fact, I’ve never outlined a story and I never know how they will end until I’m nearly finished with the tale.
So where do I get my ideas, and how do I proceed? I’ll tackle the idea aspect first. Shortly after deciding to embark on a career as an author, I was strolling through a local outdoor mall on a warm and lovely winter day. I was actively considering what I might write about, when I passed a lingerie store. I stopped and peered through the window before deciding to enter and browse—and no, it wasn’t a Victoria’s Secret. Upon entry to the upscale boutique, I was warmly greeted by an attractive black woman who was perhaps a few years my junior. A voluptuous redhead, with a most spectacular pair, also worked the store. And after making a few minor purchases, I exited—giddy and excited—with the idea for my first story. My latest work, Block Party, evolved from another personal experience. I was painting the exterior of my front door on a beautiful October afternoon, when a pretty and perky blonde strolled into my yard and handed me a flyer for a neighborhood gathering. The beginning of Block Party is eerily similar to the actual events of that day, but the remainder of the story exists solely in the author’s dirty mind! The point is, I like writing about everyday people in common life situations…and then throwing my readers into a tizzy with the raunchy details of wild, lesbian fantasy. And while I have no objection to vampires, werewolves, aliens, and the authors who write about them, they simply are not my thing. But if you like that kind of fantasy, then there are plenty of good authors out there writing it.
And that brings me to my next point. How is the story created? I don’t care within what genre one writes. To me, there are five essentials to good writing and therefore a good reading experience. And as a consumer myself of many genres, I look for the following: interesting characters; entertaining dialogue; a solid storyline; detailed imagery; and workable prose.
Let’s take characters first. Of course, I want to know about her physical appearance, especially if I’m reading erotica. But I need to know more than she’s a gorgeous blonde with big tits. Does she have a slight bend in her nose that gives her a quirky cuteness? How about a laugh? Or maybe her eyebrows do something a little odd when she’s aroused or provoked. Is she sweet? Bitchy? Gullible? And these characteristics don’t necessarily need to be described through the narrative. Perhaps we can learn something about our character through dialogue. Does she talk too much? Is she reticent? Does she say ugly things about others behind their backs? And does the dialogue affect us? I prefer characters whose dialogue elicits some emotion from me. I want them to make me laugh perhaps. Or maybe they evoke anger or sympathy through their words.
Here’s Val in Side Out, a recent tale I wrote involving lusty athletes:
“That frickin’ Claire,” she said one day after practice as we strolled from the locker room.
“What?” I asked.
“Damn, Celia,” she ranted. “She’s as red as a vine-ripe tomato. Sa-ide Ow-t, Sa-ide Ow-t!”
I laughed. “Side Out” was a common expression used among players as an encouraging cheer to return the ball to your team’s court for serving. Val did a pretty fair rendering of Claire’s drawn-out chant.
“I’ll tell ya, Celia, I’m going to bang a ball off that girl’s head one of these days.”
I chuckled again while Val paused, and then she resumed the bashing.
“And OMIGOD! She is like so OCD: ‘Stand here!’ ‘Drop back!’ She’s a frickin’ freshman and she thinks she’s the team captain. I’m so fucking triggered by her right now!”
I laughed again, but Val was working herself into a frenzy over this girl.
In that short passage, we learn that Val is a little bitchy, immature, and back-stabbing. But we also get a little chuckle from her nonetheless. So we have a pretty good idea of whom we’re dealing with for the remainder of the story.
Which brings us to storyline. For me, any story—including erotica—requires a backdrop and it needs developing. What is the landscape? Perhaps our characters are working on a project together in an office setting. They each have talents that complement the other. Maybe they unite in heroic efforts to complete a particular task, beating a deadline and overcoming difficult obstacles. They bond and discover they’ve become sexually attracted to each other, or quite possibly, realize they have been all along. So…is there something about the story that causes us to rally behind our characters and cheer them? Do we have a vehicle that carries us through the lives of our characters? Does the story flow and make sense? Is it clever and creative? These are things I want in my literature, so consequently, I try hard to provide them for you, lovely reader!
And next, there’s the issue of imagery. Imagery is an electrifying essential element of writing when it comes to erotica. The most sexually provocative stories I’ve read tend to describe the aromas, sights, tastes, touches, and sounds to a degree that I feel as if I’m a participant in the story myself. I want to smell her musk, or feel the soft silkiness of her hair—or the smoothness of her shaved pubic area. Is she loud? Does she scream when she climaxes? Maybe she sinks her teeth into flesh during orgasm. What does her cum face look like? I find these descriptions highly provocative, and I want you provoked when reading my stories. You should demand it from me!
And finally, there’s prose. Putting a noun and a verb together for most of us is not too difficult. But can we combine elements of writing into a flowing, coherent pattern that is intelligent, interesting, and compelling? I would guess that this is an author’s biggest challenge. And this is where true talent comes into play. Frankly, some have it and some do not. I’ll let you, lovely reader, determine that yourself when it comes to my writing. It’s not for me to say. But as a consumer of erotica, I have often been excited to try a new author only to be disappointed when the story lacked any kind of real imagination, flair, or slick writing skills. It doesn’t matter how wild the story is, how many bizarre sexual experiences the author has had, or how dirty they can make their characters. If the writing is weak—and this includes editing and proofreading, which could be a blog in and of itself—then the story will crumble like a stale cookie being gnawed on by a messy toddler.
So now that we’ve explored the development and processes of writing—and specifically erotica—let’s consider how an author presents themselves to the world. Social media is great! I use Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. I know other authors who use Tumbler, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Personally, I’ve found Twitter a good fit for me, and I’ve met some fabulous people on that particular social media. I would estimate that perhaps more than eighty percent of my readers discover my work through Twitter. So I thought I’d share some thoughts and experiences from my daily interaction on that edgy platform.
A year ago, when I first opened my Twitter account, I was touched and honored to be embraced by the erotica community. For the most part, experienced writers who had been selling their erotic stories on Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble were quite willing to show me the ropes. In turn, I have tried my best to return the favor by paying it forward to new authors who pop up and are looking for some guidance. I was further surprised to discover operators of certain accounts who were more than happy to altruistically sponsor my ads on their websites and tweet about my work at no cost. I was flabbergasted to find that the erotica community was filled with extremely kind and giving people who truly wanted to see quality authors succeed. The lovely and talented Mischa Eliot is a perfect example of this. She’s featured my work on her Sharing is Caring platform numerous times, is always handy with a re-tweet, and is genuinely interested in helping others. So when she asked me to contribute to her website, I happily agreed. And what is so unbelievably fabulous, is that most authors don’t view their craft as a competitive sport. There isn’t too much of the sentiment “Read my book instead of hers.” The sentiment is more accurately expressed with “Read my book and hers!” And guess what? I’ve yet to meet one of these people in person. They exist totally through the digital world of social media.
So what about using Twitter to promote erotic stories? I’ve learned a few dos and don’ts as I’ve travelled through Twitterspace! Mind you, these are my opinions of dos and don’ts. I’m no guru on the perfect way to navigate social media, so maybe something I suggest here may not work for you…but perhaps it will. I’d like to take this last segment to give you my theory on how to tweet, retweet, and direct message. So while this section is probably geared more toward other authors, it may be equally instructive to readers and others with casual interest.
I try to tweet something about my work more than five times per day but fewer than ten times—enough that I’m seen and recognized but not so often that it becomes an annoyance. I believe tweets should be cute, clever, or funny. Making someone laugh or smile will lead them to actually looking for your tweets or even causing your followers to pop in on your profile page a few times a day to see what you’ve been up to. A picture should always be included because they are much more likely to catch the eye than simple text. Add a link to your post. I tend to provide a path to either the specific story I’m peddling or my Amazon page, but if you have a website, then I suggest leading followers there. Make it easy for interested parties by updating a pinned tweet every few days at the least. Be a little dirty and provocative but avoid being downright vulgar. There’s time and space for being vulgar once the reader is inside the book! And some people might really enjoy the vulgar tweet, but they may be apprehensive about re-tweeting it because they don’t want the connection to it. Which brings us to re-tweeting.
I never promise to re-tweet all who tweet me, but generally it’s a good rule to follow. If someone takes the time to read and perpetuate my tweet, I feel like I owe them the same courtesy. I think it’s simply good manners. And re-tweeting is not an endorsement. Should an endorsement be desired, consider quoting the tweet and adding your helpful comments. When I really enjoy a piece another author penned, I’m more than happy to say a few nice things about it and possibly add a link to a positive review I wrote for the story. Being nice, considerate, and friendly creates good will, and you’ll probably have the friendliness returned. One thing I avoid though, is thanking everyone who re-tweets me, especially grouping a bunch together. It simply clutters everyone’s notifications. My opinion is that the best thank you is to return the favor. Re-tweeting is like going down on someone. It’s nice if they thank you but nicer if they reciprocate!
And what about direct messaging? I’m okay if you direct message me as long as you’re polite and are trying to engage me in intelligent and thoughtful conversation. But one way to get me to unfollow you is if I get an automated direct message from you trying to sell me something…especially if we’ve just met. I strongly suggest not even entertaining this practice. And yes, I write erotica—horny stories that are highly provocative—but I don’t want unsolicited pictures, videos, or requests to get together. I may be an erotica writer and am quite possibly one horny woman. But I’m not a common whore and sincerely wish to be treated accordingly.
A few other suggestions: Avoid political and religious comments on social media. I’m pretty sure that no one follows an erotica author to get political insight or spiritual fulfillment. So leave it alone. Consider the political divisiveness in the world these days. One silly tweet could alienate half your readers in seconds. Avoid arguments. While being feisty and cheeky is fun and entertaining, no one likes a snarky, angry, grumbling person spewing venom and hatred. Be kind! Be sweet! Be compassionate! And most importantly, give Amber Skye Erotica a try. If it’s not for you, there are plenty of great authors out there! I’ll even recommend them to you. Just ask!
Hugs, kisses, and blessings!
Amber Skye is a lesbian erotica writer living in the Southeastern United States. She enjoys relating her sultry, sexual experiences with her readers through her tales of steamy, girl-on-girl action. Amber’s characters encompass a wide range of women: from the hot college coed and the girl next door to the attractive older woman and everything in between. 18+
Please follow Amber on twitter @Amber69Skye.
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