As an indie erotica author, I acknowledge that there is always something I can learn to improve my stories, my marketing, and the way I interact with my readers. The “Lessons” series will focus on authors who (currently) are a part of the Top 10 erotica authors on Amazon. I’m going to read one of their bestselling titles, and then analyze why I think it is selling so well.
So, I have a “Kill List.” But is has nothing to do with murder. I am a vegetarian and have a hard time killing a bug with a circumference larger than a dime. Jenika Snow made this Kill List because, as aforementioned, her position in the Top 10 erotica author list.
It’s hard to separate myself from the quality of writing, or draw comparisons about how I write to another more successful author. It’s like a French indie filmmaker being all enraged that Transformers made so much in the box office: I can’t take things personally, I just need to sit down and learn. This isn’t a book review. It’s a list of reasons why I think Jenika Snow has an incredible number of positive reviews on her work and a huge following.
I picked “Lumberjack” of her titles because the guy on the cover looked hunky, and I have a thing for thick guys who smell like nature and sweat and flannel. It seemed like a more lighthearted subject than some of her other work, and was a standalone story which appealed to me. I think the tone within was much more serious than expected, and I will say nothing about using an axe as your only lumberjack tool in these modern times. But enough sass from me. Why is this selling so damn well?
#1: It’s great segway into the erotica genre
If you love the romance genre but are looking for a little more in-n-out, this book is a fantastic middle ground. It doesn’t go too outrageous with sexual acts (a casual butt licking is how devious we get, people), and it is still more about crazed longing than it is about the sex itself. The man is still a very traditional romance hero, and no one is getting peed on. It reminded me of porn online with titles like “two lesbians give each other a loving, splendid orgasm” or something loving like that. It’s straight male-female with a heavy dose of romance and longing.
#2: Oodles of romance
On that note, the boning doesn’t start until about 50% into the book. And this is only after the characters have been given woeful backstories and established their need to stick a “d” into a “p.” I think splitting this up, again, makes a great transition between the romance and erotica genre. I listen to a lot of Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, and he always describes WWI as a historical “estuary” where old tech and new tech meet. This book is sort of like a romance/erotica estuary, where both old 70s Harlequin and new erotica meld.
#3: A strong “Happily Ever After”
This is something I never ever have in my erotica: a happy ending outside of the orgasm itself. I just don’t know that sex really can lead to a long term relationship/marriage/babies/etc. The best sex in the world usually happens with a guy named Frank who has all of his worldly possessions in a trombone case. Even though the Happily Ever After is tacked on in the last 5 pages, Jenika is hellbent on giving her readers a very happy ending, and probably an upcoming baby. I have a feeling that readers expect this kind of thing, in these dark and trying times.
After “Lumberjack,” I am much more open to testing the waters of a happy ending, and not being afraid to add more romantic set up into my own stories. Another thing I learned about the author aside from reading her work is that she has a huge community of fans of Facebook, which is a tool I’m not currently using. (I have a page, no one “likes” it yet).
– Make happy endings beyond just THE happy ending.
– Work on Facebook page.
– Add more backstory/buildup before the encounter itself.