Sunday, August 24, 2008

Publication Day

Publication day is a thrilling day for any author, second only to seeing your book on the shelf in a bookstore. August 14, 2008 was that special day for me when my out-of-print novel A Country Girl was republished by Xlibris. My bestselling erotic novel has a long history (Dell, Blue Moon), which I wrote about in my article "The Autobiography of Writing an Erotic Novel," that will appear in September at Erotica Readers & Writers Association. See the Erotica Readers & Writers Association.

My experience with publication reflects the changes in the publication industry when in the early 70s I could send my unsolicited manuscript to Grove Press and receive a positive response from the literary editor. When the editor moved to another house and Grove lost my manuscript (fortunately I had made a copy), I found a home at Dell three weeks after my agent contacted them. My agent, and this is 1972, came as easily as the Dell contract.

How times have changed! I was again fortunate to be published by Blue Moon, but with a limited printing, and once sold out, even with back orders, they refused to reprint. At the time, I didn't know that Blue Moon was on the way out and so was Avalon.

I find it ironic that today when the Internet is a multi-million, or is it billion, dollar source of explicit sex, a print resource for literary erotica no longer exists. And there is a difference between porn and erotica. Mitzi Szereto, who pioneered the erotic writing workshop in the UK and Europe, believes that "erotica is literature, and therefore it should be written as literature. There's a tremendous difference between erotica and porn. One need only measure whether the work has lasting value and artistic integrity." See Mitzi Szereto. I agree completely.

As a writer of erotica, who found herself without a sympathetic publisher, I turned to self-publishing, which solved the in-print issue, but not the distribution. No longer enjoying worldwide distribution and the luxury of walking into a bookstore and seeing my book on the shelf, I turned to the internet--that great equal opportunity provider.

The internet connects the writer to a universal audience. And new technology brings new opportunity with websites, articles, blogs, and social networks. But I have to confess, I'll only feel that delicious pride and satisfaction when I can convince a bookseller to order my book (I wisely purchased a two-year returnability policy), and I can once again go to the shelf and turn my book face out and secretly take a picture.

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