My husband was joking with me the other day about my work and said the words “Beth Croft: Smut Peddler Extraordinaire!” and after laughing about it for a while it got me thinking about how much I love the casual way we talk about these things and how much I genuinely love what I write.
My family and friends know without a doubt the kind of person I am and where my interests lie, I have mentioned previously that my parents were at the start of introducing me to all things spooky and weird so I have never be ashamed of my writing with regards to them seeing it. My mum actually told me before when I mentioned I was having a low mood kind of day;
“Write some porn or violence, that always cheers you up!”
My family are wonderful and weird and I grow prouder of them day by day, however the rest of the world’s attitude is somewhat different.
There already exists a large stigma against people who self publish- I find it frustrating beyond all reason. For a lot of people this is a wonderful medium to write in, be inspired by and for some even earn their own way! Yet for others because it is done off of your own back and not a third party it is constantly referred to as “not real writing” or “oh so you’re not really published if you’re on kindle.” this is the kind of attitude that makes me want to scream and throw things but however much you try to alter these perspectives, the outcome is always the same. Its a waste of time, they will not understand and the more you talk the more they tilt their head sympathetically and say “Good for you!” in that disgusting simper.
I self publish because I love it, I love how quick and easy the process is, I love being in control of my own work, I love the networking side, I love the fact that I can do my day job- well more like night job- work 35-45 hours a week and come home and write for fun and just send it on out there and read stories from over people doing the same thing. There is a passion there and motivation and its wonderful to watch and be part of it. In short self publishing makes me happy and I stand for and by it completely.
This doesn’t mean to say that I don’t still seek out traditional publishing,I do still want to see my work on bookshelves in Waterstones one day. However there comes an issue with regards to the stories I want to write and it involves the very stigmatized view of erotica and romantic fiction with Queer narratives.. I looked up many different publishers for my works, my latest book Under The Boardroom Table was a much longer story and may still become one but at the moment it exists as a single short story, easy to read, more than easy to get off too, I found it fun to write and as I researched the different books on the market, found the singular short stories at a £1 each more than worth buying and re-reading.
It was originally however a romance novel with far more BDSM themes, I wrote it, edited it and when I thought about applying to publishers I did my research and then laid in bed for a while in a low mood spiral.
See Queer romance came in two categorizes in traditional publishing (in England)
-You have your loveydovey lesbian fiction (but only purely gay. Men can be a thing of the past but no bisexual characters or anything other than gold star lesbianism)
-erotica novels which can involve lesbian sub plots but they cannot end up with the main character. (seriously what the hell)
Neither of these allow for any of the following- polyamorous relationships, bloodplay, knifeplay, bondage, erotic asphyxiation, roleplay (that’s not sexy schoolgirl or light hearted kitten play) and form of bdsm that goes deeper than spanking, paddles or slight rope.
I was stumped. How the hell was I going to publish this? I liked my BDSM safe, sane and consensual sure but I also liked it nasty with blood and bruises and lust. My character’s were not always typical gay leads, they were bi or pan or queer. I re-read my story and gave up putting it on the back burner for a while.
Until I found this blog- http://orphansurvivalguide.com/self-publishing-erotica-101/
I read as many of the free erotica books I could find on kindle and kobo and I was hooked, editing my stories to make them fit as perfect little erotica novelettes and sending them out. It was thrilling and wonderful being able to write exactly what I wanted and even better, read the things that others were creating too.
This may be a pseudonym, I have to keep my private life a slight secret purely for the fact that my parents work in the public sector, but I have never shyed away from the fact that yes I write porn and yes I love doing so. Maybe one day I will send something to a traditional publisher and it will miraculously pass all the boundaries and end up on shelves but for the meantime there is a sincere element of pride to be part of this community and in control of my own work!
I would just like to say a big Hi! and thank you to everyone who followed/ commented! It was the nicest thing ever to see and I hope you enjoy my posts and what I have to see even if I do come off a bit ranty sometimes 🙂
Thank you so much, hope you are all well!
Much love, Beth x