Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Blog

Sexy Snippet Day for March

by | 7:00 am | Sexy Snippets | 16 comments

Ah, the weekend! Time to relax, unwind, curl up with your honey (or honeys!) and of course add more steamy goodness to your latest work in progress. But I hope you’ll also take a few minutes to post a bit of your sexiest prose, because today is Sexy Snippet Day!

The ERWA
blog is not primarily intended for author promotion. However,
we’ve decided we should give our author/members an occasional
opportunity to expose themselves (so to speak) to the reading
public. Hence, we have declared the 19th of every month at the Erotica Readers and Writers Association blog Sexy Snippet Day.

On Sexy Snippet day, any author can post a tiny excerpt (200 words or less) in a comment on the day’s post. Include the title from with the snippet was extracted, your name or pseudonym, and one buy link.

Please
post excerpts only from published work (or work that is free for
download), not works in progress. The goal, after all, is to titillate
your readers and seduce them into buying your books!

Feel free to share this with erotic author friends. It’s an open invitation!

Of course I expect you to follow the rules. One snippet per author, please. If
your excerpt is more than 200 words or includes more than one
link, I’ll remove your comment and prohibit you from
participating in further Sexy Snippet days. I’ll say no more!

After
you’ve posted your snippet, feel free to share the post as a whole
to Facebook, Twitter, or wherever else you think your readers
hang out.

Enjoy!

~ Lisabet

Once A Slut Always A Slut?: Why Fallen Women Can’t Get Up

by | 4:30 am | General | 15 comments

When I first began the research for my novel set in the 1910s, I expected to learn about the past—ideals and attitudes and fears about sexuality a hundred years ago. Since then—it’s been almost a year now since I started this project–I have learned a lot about how sex was discussed in that time, but I’ve also realized how much of these same concepts and feelings inform our current attitudes toward sexuality.

One of the many time-honored mythologies about sexuality is that it is a natural, physical act that lies beyond the reach of culture. There is some truth to this, of course, but sex is so much more than bodies. As erotica writers we know it’s about stories we tell ourselves.

One historical reference that has really stayed with me is Lynda Nead’s Myths of Sexuality: Representations of Women in Victorian Britain. Nead’s book focuses on images in the visual arts, in particular the image of the “fallen” middle-class woman. The painting above is “Misfortune,” the first in a triptych known as “Past and Present” (1858) by Augustus Leopold Egg, which hauntingly portrays the downfall of a respectable wife and mother. In this painting, the woman has literally fallen down on the floor in her emotional anguish at the discovery of her adultery.

Like HEA’s and HFN’s required in a marketable romance today, stories about women who strayed from the path of virtue in Victorian England had to follow one accepted trajectory. A wife who had sexual relations outside of marriage would be expelled from polite society forever. Inevitably abandoned by her wicked lover, her only recourse was prostitution. While she might enjoy the luxury of a first-class brothel for a while, after a few short years she would be walking the streets, infected with venereal disease and clutching the body of her illegitimate child who died in her arms. Her own death came soon after, either by starvation, illness or drowning herself in the river, as we see in Egg’s third painting in the triptych, “Despair.”

In other words, ladies, don’t seek sexual gratification with anyone but your husband. It won’t end well. Or will it?

William Acton, author of Prostitution Considered in Its Moral, Social, and Sanitary Aspects in London and Other Large Cities; with Proposals for the Mitigation and Prevention of Its Attendant Evils (1857), disagreed. In his sociological study, he found no organized progression between the stages of prostitution. Many women, although admittedly of the working class, had sexual relations that involved the exchange of money, but went on to marry and have families. Prostitutes at higher-class brothels sometimes married their patrons and claimed they made attractive mates because they knew what men wanted. Acton asserted that most prostitutes died of the same diseases ordinary people did. Comparing the health of a prostitute at age 35 to that of a married woman or a working seamstress, he wrote:

“We shall seldom find that the constitutional ravages often thought to be necessary consequences of prostitution exceed those attributes to the cares of a family and the heart-wearing struggles of virtuous labor.” (Nead, p. 148)

But why let reality get in the way of a good story? It was true enough that a woman suffered far more social opprobrium for extra-marital sex than her spouse. An unfaithful husband could discreetly step out of the bounds of propriety, then step back in again if he so chose, with no loss of status. His wife was expected to look the other way.

Ironically, although women suffered more for an affair, it was assumed they had no sexual desire of their own. Her husband’s negligence was presumed to lead to a woman’s weakness to the overtures of a seducer. A commentator in The Westminster Review (1850) summed up the contemporary understanding:

“In men, in general, the sexual desire is inherent and spontaneous, and belongs to the condition of puberty. In the other sex, the desire is dormant, if not non-existent, till excited; always till excited by intercourse… If the passions of women were ready, strong and spontaneous, in a degree even approaching the form they assume in the coarser sex, there can be little doubt that sexual irregularities would reach a height, of which, at present, we have happily no conception.” (Nead, p. 6)

Sir, I do agree, you had no conception indeed.

It would be nice to say this is all in the past, but we face many of the same issues today, albeit in a moderately altered form. Women are still divided between good girl and slut. The sexuality of good women is focused on one partner. The slut asserts her sexuality and is thus regarded as degraded, dangerous and uncontrollable. Kim Kardashian’s nude selfie brings out offended sanctimony worthy of the church ladies of yore (although a good number of finger-shaking critics were men).

Many people in the United States oppose not only abortion but birth control. As in Victorian times, only the female’s situation receives censure and punishment. I personally am quite confused as to why men rarely (I can’t think of an example) speak up about the consequences of a governmental restriction of birth control. Don’t men care if female contraceptives aren’t covered by insurance or, if things proceed along the desired trajectory of some extremists, are outlawed as they were from the mid-nineteenth (1873) to the mid-twentieth centuries (1965)? Surely, gentlemen, this will affect your intimate lives to an extent that merits protest?

More to the point, what are the stories we tell ourselves today about sex? Moral and religious restrictions have been loosened, but instead our public expression of sexuality is constrained by aesthetics. Only slim, beautiful people between the ages of 18 and 30 are considered worthy to be sexually active in our imaginations. The media portrays older or “ugly” people being sexual as gross and ridiculous. Marital sex is depicted as dull or nonexistent. Attractive unmarried people, on the other hand, engage in abundant hook-ups via Tinder, indulging in unrestrained anal and oral sex and threesomes. Women still seem to get the short end of the stick, so to speak, vulnerable to date rape and selfish lovers who don’t “give” them orgasms. Still it seems everyone is having more and better sex than you are. What can you buy to improve the situation?

The most obvious example of the continued degraded status of sexuality is the attitude toward erotica. Erotica writers are still considered “lesser,” not good enough to write “real” literature. We do it for the money–remember, I didn’t say these concepts were based in reality, did I?–and there is no art to our stories. We simply write down our own experiences, being sluts and all, because who else would be shameless enough to write about sex? Aesthetics come into play, too. I’m often told that I “don’t look like an erotica writer.” This suggests a rigid conception of the profession to say the least. Oh, but we’re also frustrated housewives who have to resort to fantasy unlike the capering nubile folk on Tinder who are getting the action. There is no winning this game.

I’m feeling like I have to provide an antidote to all this, but of course I can’t. Sex eludes our control, especially when a partner is involved. It threatens the work ethic, because who feels less like serving the capitalist machine than a person who has just had a satisfying orgasm? Still, I can’t help but think that studying the history of sexuality, talking and writing about our sexual experiences, thinking about new ways to express sexuality both in public and in private, all of this creates stories about sex that are fresh and true and real.

That’s got to make a difference. And surely, in some of our tales, the wife will get up from the floor, dust herself off, and take control of her destiny.

Donna George Storey is the author
of Amorous Woman and a collection of short
stories, Mammoth
Presents the Best of Donna George Storey
. Learn more about her
work at www.DonnaGeorgeStorey.com
or http://www.facebook.com/DGSauthor

Representation of Novices in BDSM Erotica & Erotic Romance

by | 6:26 am | General | 5 comments

One of the best kink education panels I’ve ever
been part of was a group of experienced queer tops being real about our
experiences back when we were new tops. We told stories about mistakes we made,
how afraid we were, how much pressure we felt to act confident. We were real
about the ways we realized that we wanted to top, and what that early
self-discovery was like. We talked about the tricks we used to get over our
nerves, and the ways we learned to value our own needs. It was one of the most
real and important conversations I’ve ever had with a group of tops, and I feel
incredibly lucky to have participated in it. There was this hush in the room as
we spoke about this, a sense that we were breaking silence, that this
conversation was precious. We don’t have these kinds of
conversations often
 in kink community, rarely
speak openly as tops about being vulnerable, nervous, scared, or unsure.

When I was a novice top, I would have
loved to read stories about tops who were unsure. Part of why I felt like
I had to act sure even when I wasn’t as a novice top was that no tops were talking about being unsure. If
I’d been able to read stories about tops who were unsure, it would have been
validating, and really helped me. I know that some people look to erotica
& erotic romance for fantasy, and to get off. I sure do. But I also look to
it for a mirror.

The first erotica story I wrote from
the top’s point of view, “Nervous Boy”, had the top character being unsure. It
felt like such a risk to write. Maybe I was the only top that felt this
way. Maybe the bubble of faith readers had in him would burst when they saw he
was unsure. Maybe I couldn’t find these stories because no one would be willing
to print them. (I was wrong about the last one, by the way.)

These days I work really hard to include tops in my erotica who are
unsure, vulnerable, and scared
. I consistently write experienced
tops that doubt themselves, that need support, that are vulnerable, that have
needs. I care about those stories. I think they are important, not just as erotica,
but as a voice in kink culture that insists on top vulnerability and tops
having needs. But these stories aren’t the only kind of mirror I needed as a
novice.

I would love to read stories about novice tops
learning from experienced bottoms. I would love to read stories about
novice tops getting mentored, or learning through co-topping. I would love to
read stories about novice tops figuring out how to top through reading, going
to classes, having cybersex, talking with kinky buddies, watching instructional
videos, watching other people play. I would love to read stories about novice
tops trying out bottoming as a way to learn, and the ways that works for them,
or really doesn’t work. I would love to read stories about novice tops refusing
to try bottoming despite being pressured and finding other paths for learning
and self discovery. I would love to read stories about novice tops and bottoms
learning together, perhaps in group scenes, perhaps through co-bottoming,
perhaps on their own or with friends.

There are very few stories that center novice
tops. I can’t name more than a few short stories (mostly about couples
experimenting with kink together) and about half a dozen book titles, and I
read pretty damn widely. (If you are looking for examples I particularly
recommend For RealHave Mercy, and Sated, which actually features a novice switch,
but I especially adore her topping moments.) The dearth of examples illuminates
a pretty big gap in BDSM fiction.

But I think the gap is wider than that. The kinds of stories we tell
about novices are a bit…one-note.

Most of the time in BDSM erotica and erotic
romance, when a
character is a novice, it seems to be a stand in for virginal innocence. This character has done very little (or no) research about kink, and often has had no prior kinky fantasies. A clean
slate, if you will. The novice is
inevitably the bottom or submissive. (And for the most part, a woman partnering with a man.) Much of
the time, the experienced dominant teaches a novice submissive about their submissive identity. The novice only learns
about kink from
their partner, or occasionally a bit of internet research. They don’t talk to
other kinky people. They aren’t part of a kink community. They often don’t
know any other kinky people…besides their love interest.

There are so many other possible stories we could
tell about learning BDSM and being a novice.

What would it be like if we told stories about novices who took charge of their own learning
about kink, and went after what they
wanted? What would the story arc be if we started from there? With novice tops and
bottoms who didn’t learn through their lovers alone?

What about a story with a main character who
dropped kink (or a certain kind of
kink) after dipping a toe in, and is now thinking about picking it up
again?

What could the story be if the character is an
experienced top or bottom that is exploring switching for the first time?

What about a story centering folks who are new to
D/s but have done SM or bondage for years?

What about a story centering a novice whose first experiences of BDSM are with a professional? 

What about a story centering a novice who learns about their own kinky desires through doing sex work?

There is so much possibility in stories about novice queers, novice Ren Faire folks, novice goths,
who come out into kink as part of their culture, and now need to claim it for
their own. So many cultures and communities are kinky. It’s really
different to be a novice trying out BDSM inside one of those. Sassafras
Lowrey has written two (non-erotic) novels (Lost Boi and Roving Pack) about communities of homeless and
precariously housed queer and trans youth that center kink as an important aspect of the community culture
and a vital part of the lives of the characters. I would love to read more
erotica and erotic romance stories about being a novice in that kind of context. Where characters are coming into kink
through being pagan, or punk, or a vampire, for example, where BDSM is already
an integral part of the cultural landscape.

What if the story was about a novice top or bottom trying to claim their desire as a
survivor of violence, navigating the complexity of consent?

What if the story was about a novice top or bottom of color grappling with racism in
the kink scene, claiming their sexuality in that context?

What about stories with novice edge players? I
was definitely one of those, and would have found so
much solace in a story that came from a place that acknowledged the diversity
of desire and the ways that just because you are a beginner doesn’t mean that
you don’t want intensity in your BDSM.

What would the story be like if it centered a novice who went to kink education or munches with
groups of friends? I went to some of my first kink events with my best friend,
who’d been kinky all along, but I hadn’t known, in 5 years of friendship. I’ve
seen novices find each other
early on in kink community, and form intense friendships, support each other to
explore. I want more stories about novices who support each other,
where that friendship is a core part of the story of self-discovery.

What if the story was about a nerd who did tons
of research first? Who spent years
exploring their kinky desires through writing or reading fan fiction before
trying it out in life? I knew much more about my own kinks with very little
experience because I had so much cybersex. Folks in kink communities are often really scornful of people
who learn about kink outside of real life experience, but it’s so common! I
know there are more people than just me who did tons of reading before they
ever acted on their desires.

I would be so excited to read BDSM
fiction that represented the wide range of novice experience that actually
exists in life. Perhaps one of these ideas will inspire you to write something
new. I know I’d love to read it!

SCAMAZON – Amazon "Kindle Unlimited" Scammers Netting Millions

by | 12:00 am | General | 15 comments

scamazonHow are scammers making millions off Amazon? (And off any author enrolled in Amazon’s KDP Select program?)

It’s easy. So say digital entrepreneursscammers like Dave Koziel – who admits to outsourcing his material, he’s not an actual writer or anything. You see, all you have to do it just upload “books” stuffed to the gills with anything, even unrelated material (romance books, cookbooks, South Beach diet books, foreign language texts, any and everything you’ve got at your disposal) then use a click-bait link at the front of the book (something like “Click here to win a Kindle Fire!”) to take the reader directly to the very back. A German blog has detailed these tactics as well, although it seems the German Amazon store (much smaller than the U.S. one) is cracking down on this now.

Why does this method result in big bucks? Because of how Amazon has changed the way it pays authors enrolled in KDP Select. Authors know that when Kindle Unlimited was first launched (rather quickly and in direct response to other book subscription services that were just popping up like Scribd and Oyster) we were paid “by the borrow.” It was similar to a sale (on sales, we were paid 70% of list cost) except now we were paid out of a general fund instead of a set percentage. (Like a “pot” or “kitty” – a communal pool of money – except in this case, Amazon was the only contributor and authors the recepients.)

But Amazon changed that payment method from “per borrow” to “pages read.” Not pages written, mind you – but how many pages a reader actually reads.

Except, the problem with this method that’s recently come, shockingly, to light, is that there’s a loophole in the system. Apparently, if you put a link at the beginning of your book to the very back and a reader clicks it – the author is paid for all those pages. A full read. Even though a reader just skipped over them.

Remember when Amazon capped the KENPC count at 3000? This was why.

Except Amazon didn’t want us to know one important thing – they lied to us.

They have no idea how many pages a reader actually reads.

Let me say that again, just so you don’t miss it:

AMAZON HAS NO IDEA HOW MANY PAGES A READER ACTUALLY READS.

Wow. A little bit of karma coming back at you with these scammers, Jeff Bezos?

Because Amazon has been scamming authors in the KDP Select program all along.

They decided to pay us by “pages” read, when in fact, they can’t count actual pages read, and they can’t time how long a reader actually takes to read those pages (last time I checked, no one could read 3000 pages in less than two minutes…)

Oh, they can email me and my publishing company that I’m missing a “page break” at the end of my novel, or threaten to take my book off sale or label it problematic for typos (that may or may not actually be typos), or actually take my book off sale (which they recently did – Bear Necessitiesjust after a great freebie run, too, while it was on sale for $0.99 – thanks, Amazon!) because I provided bonus content in the front of a book instead of at the back – but they can’t actually count how many pages a reader reads in a book.

Yet… this is how they have decided to pay authors. Per page read.

See anything wrong with this picture?

I sure do – and it smells like fraud and class-action lawsuits to me.

How do I know Amazon can’t count how many pages a reader reads?

Because, if Amazon had a way to count how many pages a reader actually reads, a link at the front of the book that took the reader to the very back would result in two pages read.

Just two, not every single page in the book.

But as Dave Koziel and company have proven, that’s not what’s happening. There’s a little loophole in Amazon’s system. When a reader clicks a link at the front of a book that takes them to the end of a 3000 page “book” – it gives that author 3000 “pages read.” Not just two.

If Amazon had a way to count how many pages a reader actually reads, placement of the TOC (table of contents) at the front or back of the document would be irrelevant.

But as this post proves (and man, do I feel awful for author Walter Jon Williams– he’s out a hella lot of money because of Amazon’s knee-jerk reactions and lack of planning and forethought) Amazon has suddenly begun removing books with a TOC at the back of the book from sale. As usual, they decided to shoot first and ask questions later, and damaged legitimate authors in the process, as David Gaughran first pointed out.

If Amazon had a way to count how many pages a reader actually reads, placement of “bonus material” (an extra story or book along with the original source material, which many authors have started to do, including myself in the Kindle Unlimited program) would be irrelevant. You could put it at the front or back of the book, and it wouldn’t matter, because the table of contents tells the reader what’s where, right?

Except the truth is, Amazon is showing us through their actions – their cap on KENPC, their insistence that the TOC needs to be at the front of a book, and their recent email to me about “bonus” content not being allowed at the front of a book – that they have no idea how many pages are being read in any given book.

All they know is where a reader STOPS reading.

That’s all they can actually calculate.

That’s why a TOC needs to be at the front (because TOC defaults as the “start” point of a book, and if it’s at the back and a reader goes to the TOC, an author has just been given credit for a full read even if the reader didn’t read the book) and why they are no longer allowing “bonus” content at the front of a book.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, there are legitimate, non-scammy reasons to put a TOC at the back or bonus material at the front. The TOC (especially if a book is long or a boxed set) takes up valuable real estate in the “Look Inside” feature or “Sample” on Amazon. Placing it at the back avoids that issue.

And the logic behind putting “bonus” material at the front?

Well, this is how I explained it to Amazon in my letter to them:

I had a very legitimate reason for putting the bonus book/content at the front of this title.

The last time I put a bonus book at the end of the book, I had reviews complaining that the original title ended at “50%” – and they thought it was much longer, because the bonus book was taking up real estate at the back of the original text.

In this case, I put the bonus book up front (and labeled it clearly on the title page and in the table of contents) so that when the reader finished the main book, it would be near 100% and they would understand they’d reached the end, and wouldn’t feel “cheated” or “ripped off.”

It’s easy to look at a Table of Contents (TOC) and navigate to the book they purchased.

You see, I was under the assumption that, since Amazon is paying us by PAGES READ, that you, at Amazon, actually had a way of knowing HOW MANY PAGES A READER ACTUALLY READ.

I assumed, since it would be fraudulent otherwise, per our contract in publishing with you, that since you were paying us by pages read, if a reader skipped over a book in the table of contents, we wouldn’t actually be paid for those pages. So that putting bonus content at the beginning of a book would be no big deal, no harm, no foul.

Apparently, that isn’t the case. And you never told us that. As a matter of fact, you, personally, (rep’s name redacted), lied to me and said that skipping to the end of a book would NOT result in a full-read. We emailed about this and talked about it on the phone when KU 1.0 was originally rolled out, and you assured me that yes, Amazon had a way of tracking the pages a reader actually read, with time spent on each page.

Turns out, Amazon hasn’t been able to correctly count pages read since the very beginning, even though that’s exactly how you’re paying us. 

If you think this isn’t fraud, and that there aren’t authors out there already talking about a class action lawsuit, you’d be very, very wrong. There are a lot of wealthy authors out there who are beyond furious about this new information. 

I suggest you plug this leak as fast as you can and make some apologies and remuneration for it. 

And restore my book to published status immediately – and its rank as well, since you took it off-sale for a reason that shouldn’t have been a problem or caused an issue if you hadn’t lied to authors about your ability to actually count the pages you were oh-so-generously paying us less than half-a-penny for. 

On my part, it was completely unintentional. I was directly told that skipping over content in a book would not result in pages read. But that was clearly a lie. I thought I was creating a better customer experience (kind of like Walter Jon Williams and his TOC placement) when in fact I was unknowingly using a tactic commonly utilized by scammers.

Unfortunately, it’s not the only scammer tactic I unwittingly adopted.

You see, I have a link at the front of my books in my table of contents (I happen to place my TOC up front, so I dodged that particular bullet) that leads to the back and a link to sign up to my mailing list. I incentivize signing up to the list by offering readers five free reads. I’ve been doing this for years.

The thing is, I had no idea that doing this resulted in a full read in Kindle Unlimited. Because Amazon specifically told me directly that “skipping pages” wouldn’t work – that they could count pages read – and linking to the back page would not result in a full read!

I’ve been “cheating” and didn’t even know it was cheating. I wasn’t complicit in a scam but I’ll sure be blamed for it if they shoot first and ask questions later. (And as we know, they usually do…) Especially since I write erotica and I’m Selena Kitt. I’m guilty already by default. 😛

The problem is, Amazon has been throwing the baby out with the bathwater by taking books off sale for having a TOC at the back of the book, or bonus content in the front. As David Gaughran first pointed out, real authors are being hurt by Amazon’s attempts to plug up a leak that shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

And I’m afraid it isn’t going to end there, folks. 

Are links from the front of the book to the very back going to be next in Amazon’s line of fire? Could be.

The irony is, many people do what I do – put a link in the TOC to a mailing list with a free read to sign up. Many of those originally had their TOC at the back of their books – but now Amazon is forcing them to put their TOC at the front. In effect, forcing them to have a link now at the front of their book to their mailing list… which leads the back of their book, and would result in a “full read” if a reader clicks that link.

Doh.

I don’t know how Amazon will plug this particular loophole, but I know what I’m doing this week. *sigh* Time to reformat my Kindle Unlimited books and take out the link to free content at the back and put that content somewhere up front. It’s not “WIN A KINDLE FIRE” click-bait – it’s a legitimate offer – but I’m sure Amazon will see it differently.

It’s better to get out the way of a potential nuclear explosion if you know it’s coming than sit around and wait for it to happen – at least that’s my philosophy. And the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. So if Amazon’s reaction to this KU 2.0 problem so far is any indication, I’d suggest you follow my lead and clean up those “links to the back of the book” now before they nuke your stuff.

The thing is, all of this cleanup was preventable. There was no reason to implement such a flawed program like Kindle Unlimited in the first place. Amazon certainly could have predicted the original “loophole” in KU 1.0 that they attempted to close with KU 2.0.

Remember when short books were all the rage in KU 1.0? That was because every borrow that was read to 10% paid out around $1.30 each (well, at last count, the amount kept going down every month…) Erotica writers were hit hard when Amazon switched to the “paid per page read” scenario, because erotica authors have always written in short-form. What we were once being paid $2.09 (70% of $2.99) per sale for before Kindle Unlimited came along, then $1.30 per borrow for in KU 1.0, we were then being paid about $0.15 per read-through for in KU 2.0.

Ouch.

But the real scammers in KU 1.0 weren’t erotica authors, who simply benefited from the per-borrow payout by doing what we’d always done (writing short stories) – the real scammers put gibberish inside a book and made them so short that by simply opening the book on your Kindle, that first page would count as 10% of the book and result in a paid borrow.

Cha-ching!

Are you telling me Amazon couldn’t have foreseen that?

If so, I have some swampland in Florida to sell you.

Then KU 2.0 came along to “fix” the issues/loopholes/leaks of the “scamphlets” in KU 1.0. Amazon went to a “pay per pages read” scenario. It’s ironic that their solution to the money they were bleeding in the first Kindle Unlimited version was increased exponentially in the next one.

In KU 2.0, they weren’t paying out $1.30 a borrow to scammers who created their little “scamplets” and borrowed them in their little circles anymore. (Or to those nasty erotica writers who’ve always written shorts stories for readers who want to buy them… they clearly deserved to be punished for their dirty minds and “selling sex” in the first place, right?)

That’s great, but… before the KENPC cap was very recently instituted, the pages you could get paid for per-read were unlimited. Which meant that anyone could release a “book” of unlimited length in KDP Select (these scammers are putting garbage in their books – foreign translations, articles from Wikipedia, just words for words’ sake) then put a link at the front of that book that jumped to the back –  and voila. A $100 download in one click. I’m not kidding. I know authors who have told me they’ve seen these scammers bragging about getting that much per-read before the KENPC cap.

Even when they put the KENPC cap of 3000 on it, with the payout last month at $0.0041 per page read, that meant the maximum payout was $12.30 per download. Still not too shabby. Especially if you have lots of scammer friends to borrow your book and just click a link to read to the end – and push up your rank in the process.

KU 2.0 is far worse, in terms of scamming and money lost, than KU 1.0 ever was.

Guess you should have just continued paying out for those dirty erotica shorts, Amazon… 😛

Amazon’s continued “fix” to these problems are like putting a Band-Aid on a bleeding artery. Because guys like Dave Koziel aren’t just making money off Amazon. He’s making money off selling this method to other scammers and telling them how to make money scamming, too. And the more they scam, the more money they take out of the “pot.”

Check this link out. Apparently a 15-year-old mentee of Dave Koziel made $64,000 in a month. That’s not a typo.

Do I think this kid wrote all those words? Not if he’s following Dave’s advice, he’s not.

I’m posting a screen shot here, just in case the link gets removed. (You never know…)

Quoted on those images, Dave Koziel says: “A screen shot I got earlier from my mentee and coaching student @justin8600 For those of you who don’t know what this is it’s a report from Amazon that shows you your actual royalty payments from the Kindle store. Take a close look at these numbers and you’ll see how much money he is actually getting paid this month from Amazon. Did I mention he’s only 15? A lot of you may look at this and think it’s fake. How can a 15 year old possibly make $70,000+ in a month online from selling ebooks on Amazon? The world is changing and fast. Opportunities are out there to make money and a lot of it! It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you came from, what your circumstances are etc.”

screenshotb

Authors and readers –  does this make you angry? It should. You’ve been lied to and cheated, not just by the scammers, but by Amazon. Primarily Amazon, really. Scammers suck, but we all know they’re exploiting a loophole that was created by Amazon’s short-sightedness and could have been prevented by Amazon in the first place. The scammers are scammers – and they’re providing a poor customer experience to be sure – but Amazon bears the brunt of the blame here, let’s not lose sight of that.

If Amazon’s focus is “customer-centric” then their Kindle Unlimited program is a giant fail. KU 1.0 was called “Kink Unlimited” because authors (many who hadn’t started out writing erotica) jumped on the erotica shorts bandwagon and the market was flooded with them.

But KU 2.0 is now being called “Krap Unlimited” because of all of these crappy scam-books that claim to have great content, but really only contain a bunch of garbage and a click-bait link up front to take readers to the end, so the “author” of the book can get paid for all of those pages.

And when readers find these word-salad books, do they think, “Oh geez, a scammer, what a jerk?” No. They think, “Welp, everything they say about self-publishing and indies is true – their books suck!”

Thanks, Amazon, for perpetuating that myth.

And while the readers have to wade through crap (and boy, do they – I thought keyword stuffed titles weren’t allowed, Amazon?) authors are getting hit the hardest under KU 2.0. Not only are we getting paid less than half a cent per-word-read, these junk-books are forcing legitimate authors to split the “global fund”/pot with them. The rate we’re being paid per page just keeps dropping.

Gee, I wonder why?

Let’s take a look, shall we:

  • -6.32% = December rate decrease
  • -10.72% = January rate decrease

 

We can thank the scammers for that.

And here are some more numbers for you.

Amazon claimed recently that pages read were up by 25%. But I know that didn’t see a pages-read increase of 25%. Did you? I bet you didn’t. Want to know why?

Because those pages read were click-bait scammer reads, that’s why.

I can’t prove it – but other authors have speculated as much, and I believe they’re right.

Take a look at this graph. (Courtesy of my author friend, Michelle Keep – she’s awesome BTW, smart as a whip, and writes great books – and provides amazing services to authors – check her out!)

graph

Before November 2015, the pages-read increased steadily for months by about 100 million-ish a month.

Then, in November 2015, there was a 350 million pages-read increase from the previous month. A pretty sharp increase but we’d seen increases similar to it before from December to January the year before.

Then, between December and January, look at the huge rise. There were 700 million more pages read in that month. How do we explain that? Christmas rush? Hm. Maybe.

Historically speaking, though, the program increases pretty steadily on that graph – but it started spiking in November and continued to climb drastically—far more than it ever had before—in December and January.

Let’s look at the actual numbers.

  • From November 2015 to December 2015, the pages-read increased by 347,751,042. (about 350 million)
  • From December 2015 to January 2016, the pages read increased by 716,220,032. (about 700 million)

Can Kindlemas account for this gigantic rise? Can we just chalk it up to Christmas growth?

Well, let’s look at the year before:

  • December 2014 shows 1,154,321,678 pages read. (1.1 billion)
  • January 2015 shows 1,402,376,812 pages read. (1.4 billion)
  • Between December 2014 and January 2015, that’s an increase of only 248,055,134. (about 250 million)

That’s about 1/3 of the increase we saw between December 2015 and January of 2016 (which was an increase of 716,220,032 – about 700 million)

Historically speaking, this giant increase is suspect.

So let’s go back and look at this year’s dramatic jump.

  • December 2015: 2,929,051,855 pages read (2.9 billion)
  • January 2016: 3,645,271,887 pages read (3.6 billion)
  • If we add those two numbers we get: 6,574,323,742 (6.5 billion) pages read

Now, just for chucks and giggles, let’s subtract the “average” historical Christmas/Kindlemas jump (which last year we saw was about 250 million…) from that total. Or, hell, let’s go a little further, let’s add to that historical average and say we should have historically seen about a 300 million pages-read increase from Dec 2015-Jan 2016…

If we do that, we’re left with a 763,971,074 difference.

 

There’s that shocking, inexplicable 750 million pages-read increase.

For speculation’s sake, let’s say that huge page-read increase is actually the result of scammers. Just for argument’s sake, let’s say they’re the ones who have caused this dramatic rise in pages read.

If you translate those pages-read into dollars (multiplying it by the last known pages-read amount Amazon paid out, which was $0.0041 per page)… that comes to…

About 3.1 million dollars.

That’s a lot of money. 😮

Okay, I get it, I hear you – that maybe it’s an exaggeration. Maybe Amazon did have a big jump in program growth this year, because they were pushing Kindle Unlimited around Christmas time and offering discounts. Okay, that’s possible.

So let’s account for that. Even if natural growth increased enormously this year – what if scammers accounted for just 1/3 of that 750 million increase in pages-read?

That’s still a million dollars out of the pot.

But that’s not all, folks.

No, because not only are these scammers stealing money out of my pocket and every author’s pocket who participates in the KDP Select program, they are getting “All-Star” bonuses on top of it. Just to add a little insult to injury and rub some salt in those wounds.

Amazon awards All -Star Bonuses to its top-sellers in the KDP Select program. Some of those bonuses are $25,000. Scammers most definitely got bonuses last month – and legitimate authors who have gotten them all along for being top-sellers discovered that their usual pages-read didn’t qualify. The bar had been set suddenly higher, and not by real authors, but by scammers.

And Amazon could have prevented all of this. They could have anticipated all of these issues – just as they could have anticipated the problem of erotica surfacing on children’s Kindles and done something proactive and preemptive about that. But Amazon works like the pharmaceutical companies. They make a lot more money ignoring root causes and treating symptoms.

The question now is – what are they going to do about it? And is it going to hurt?

I’m afraid the answer to the latter question is “yes.” As to the former one? Well, they’ll treat the symptoms again, I’m sure. They’ve already screwed over legitimate authors claiming they now have TOC and bonus content issues in their books, whether Amazon was aiming at the scammers or not. We’re collateral damage, as usual.

And frankly, I’m beyond angry. I’m appalled. I’ve become an unwitting participant in this “scam,” because Amazon lied to me. Amazon informed me in no uncertain terms that skipping over content in book would not result in pages-read, but they lied.

How can I ever trust them again? How can you?

Whatever trust I did have (ha) has been completely decimated. I don’t even trust their royalty reports at this point.

And you know what really sucks? Thanks to Amazon’s deception, I’ve been cheating other authors without realizing it. I suppose, if I were in the Hunger Games (which is exactly what this whole thing feels like) I’d just end up dead. I don’t have the stomach for this sort of zero-sum competition they’ve set up in KDP Select between authors. But like Katniss, I don’t have a lot of choice, if I want to feed my family.

In the end, the worst thing of all, at least for me, is Amazon’s stranglehold on the market. They’ve forced me into this horrible, socialist program of theirs where it is a zero-sum game – and I have to fight or die.

If you want to make a living at this, Amazon has created an environment where we’re all getting in the same bread line and fighting each other for crumbs. We’re all hungry. And getting skinnier every day.

(And OMG if one person in the comments says, “You’re not ‘forced’ into the program! You have a ‘choice!'” I will delete you so fast it will make your head spin like Linda Blair. We’ll talk about Amazon’s algorithms and how they weigh the visibility of KDP Select and the decreasing ability to make a living on any other vendor some other time, okay?)

Authors – when we were actually selling books, did we feel we were “cheating” each other out of dollars? Nope. Because we knew there was (arguably) an unlimited amount of dollars to be had. Competition in the marketplace is great – that’s good for the ecosystem. But competition for a “pot” of something?

That way lies… this madness.

And that’s all on Amazon.

They created this KDP Select monster. And remember that their whole company is run at a loss. In effect, Amazon is being subsidized by their shareholders. Authors keep complaining about Nook and Apple and Kobo and want to know why no other retailer is challenging Amazon for marketshare?

The real answer is, because they can’t afford to – they aren’t being subsidized.

And we, as a culture, have created the monster that is Amazon.

That, unfortunately, is on us.

selenasigsmalltrans

Confessions Of A Literary Streetwalker: Learning The Ropes, By M.Christian

by | 10:53 pm | Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker | 1 comment

The inclination is natural, I suppose: we go to school to learn just about anything else, so why shouldn’t there be a class or book or seminar that will teach you how to be a better smut writer?

Without getting too heady, the idea that there’s a special—perhaps secret—way of getting you from bad to good, or unpublished to published, or unpaid to paid, is a bit disturbing. Ruminating a bit too much on it can make it all a bit like a paranoid fantasy, like there’s a trick or a jealously guarded connection that allows other people to make it and keeps you out. But take my class, buy my book, attend my seminar and you too can learn the secret to successful erotica writing … just don’t tell anyone.

Without gnawing off the hand that feeds me, I feel guilty teaching writing classes. Standing in front of a room full … well, a few dozen, tops … of green writers, all of them eagerly waiting for the secret makes me want to confess it all for a sham, and in so doing spill my guts on the real true way to become a better writer, of erotica or anything else.

Not that a class or two can’t help, especially any classes that highlight some of the less-than-fun elements of a writer’s life. If you’re lucky, you might find the right kind of class, book, or seminar that gives—quickly and honestly—the sad facts of finding a market, writing a cover letter, formatting a story, dealing with publishers and editors, and so forth. Those kinds of books and classes can definitely help with the paperwork side of writing, especially since screwing any of it up can stop your story from even being read, much less considered. But they can’t make you a better writer.

The worst of these kinds of classes and books are what I call Frog Killers. You’ve probably heard the analogy before: you can study how a frog is put together by taking it apart, but you can’t put it together again afterwards. A book or class that focuses on picking apart a story—usually to a ridiculous set of specifications and standards—usually does nothing for new writers but make them hideously self-conscious. They write but then freeze up, panicking that they’ve forgotten the character transformation, that the story isn’t emotionally engaging, that there’s no conflict (man vs. man, man vs. nature, and whatever that other one is), that there’s no clear A-B-C structure, and so forth. With this oppressive laundry list in their heads, yelling at them louder than their nascent creativity, no wonder budding writers can feel like deer caught in headlights. This is why, when someone’s resume indicates that they have a degree in creative writing, I look at them like they’d stormed a hill under heavy enemy fire. It doesn’t make them better writers, though, even though they might be able to tell you—to ten decimal places—why their story is worth publishing.

The other kind of book and class you might stumble across in your search for guidance is the philosophical one. To be honest, I like these much more than the Frog Killers—more than partially because it mirrors my own idea that writing is more magic than science. These kinds of teachers approach writing as art, usually with a series of literary touchy feely exercises that will stretch and tone your currently saggy imagination. The only problem with these is that they can all too often retreat from the idea of writing as being work, taking away the 90% perspiration in exchange for the 10% inspiration. Creativity is one thing, but you still have to get the damned thing down on paper.

As far as I know, the only way to be a better writer is … drum roll, please … to write. Not much of a surprise, is it? Some classes and books might be good for the basics, and for the nuts and bolts of the business. Forums might be fun; newsgroups might be a diversion, but the only thing that will make you a better writer is to do it, and not stop doing it.

It’s a nasty rule, but aside from a few very rare exceptions, your first story will suck. It will suck painfully, forcefully, and with great vigor. So will your next one, and your next one, but eventually you’ll get better: your language will begin to flow, and you won’t be thinking about writing but will instead be telling a story. After that, you’ll find yourself enjoying the process, nodding at little turns of phrase or a well-toned paragraph. Later you’ll feel tears on your cheeks when you put THE END on something that worked out perfectly, beautifully.

Do you get where I’m going? No one can really teach you that, just like a paint-by-numbers kit won’t turn you into Picasso. The only way you can really get better as a writer is to try and fail, try and fail, try and fail, try and fail, try and fail, try and fail, try and fail, try and get a bit better, try and get a bit better, try and do something good, try and good something better, try and make something great ….

So what are you reading this for? Get back to writing.

Writing Exercise – the couplet

by | 5:00 am | Writing Exercise | 4 comments

By Ashley Lister

These are the opening lines from a poem of mine called, 7 Real Signs of Aging:

The seven real signs
of aging
Have sod all to do
with your skin tones changing
They’re nothing to do
with facial care
Or fifty shades of
dull grey hair
They’re not affected
by a smiling eye’s twinkle
And they’re nothing to
do with any old wrinkle
They’re more to do
with your saggy bits
Like balls and
backsides, jowls and tits
We reach an age where
no one wants to bang us
Cos our balls are
dangly or our tits are hangers.
The first of the
seven signs is a drag:
Cos that’s when your
perky bits all start to sag

Traditionally the couplet is simply two lines of poetry that share the same end rhyme. In the first stanza above, pairing such as aging/changing, care/hair and twinkle/wrinkle help to sell this piece as rhyming verse that’s written to amuse. This is one of my favourite forms because it’s an easy approach to writing poetry. All a writer needs to do is find a pair of words that rhyme and make them into a verse.

This is another example of a poem that’s made up of rhyming couplets. Apologies if it’s rough around the edges but this one is a work in progress.

I don’t have time for most sex toys
They’re made for girls – and I’m a boy
They’re shaped like willies or Bishop’s hats
And I don’t have any need for that
They’re pink and bendy and most will buzz
But I don’t need one of those because
When I feel frisky and get undressed
It’s true to say, I’m quite repressed
And, whilst I think sex is fantastic
I get put off by buzzing plastic
And, being of heterosexual stock
I’ve no need for a rubber cock
But there are some tools I do desire
When I want my pleasure to move higher
If you want to hear me cheer and cheer
Pass me the remote and a bottle of beer

As always, I’d love to see your couplets n the comments box below.

Call For Submissions — Unspeakably Erotic: Lesbian Kink

by | 1:14 pm | Call for Submissions | 0 comments

Unspeakably Erotic: Lesbian Kink

Edited by D. L. King

To be published by Slate Edge Ink

Deadline: May 31, 2016

Payment: $50 plus 2 copies of the print anthology and one copy of the e anthology

D. L. King is looking for your kinkiest lesbian erotica, in fact, the kinkier, the better.

What is taboo to one might be tame to another and one person’s vanilla might be debauched and utterly kinky to someone else. Rope, handcuffs, wax, needles, tattoos, collars, whips, rubber, leather, worship, degradation, power exchange, butches, femmes, polyamory, food, shaving, phone sex, webcams, porn, role play—I could go on, but I’m not here to tell you what to write.

What’s that story that you’ve always wanted to tell? That one you thought might be just a little “out there,” the one your ex-lover told you never to tell? Go on, you can tell me. Whisper it to me. I’ll never tell. At least, I’ll never tell how it found its way into a book of dirty, kinky, sexy erotica. So tell me something a little transgressive. Make it hot. Make me squirm. Tell me just what happens when women come together, get down and dirty and let the inhibitions go.

Tell me about pain and pleasure. I want to hear about toys and implements, about hardware stores and sex shops, about corsets and trousers, fingers and tongues. You know what I want; I want something unspeakably erotic. But make no mistake, taboo, or not, there are still some things I never want, so don’t send me stories with underage characters, scat, or snuff. You know what to do: just make me happy—and damp.

Stories should be between 2,500 and 4,500 words, double-spaced, 12 pt Times New Roman. Please indent the first line of each paragraph one-half inch and do not include extra lines between paragraphs. No fancy fonts, no weird sizes, no bizarre formatting, no strange colors. Do not put a cover sheet on your story. You may send up to two never before published stories. I’ll want exclusive rights for one year from the date of publication (with the exception of “best of” anthologies), and then non-exclusive after that.

Send your story as a .doc attachment (NOT a .docx—if you don’t know how to do that, ask) and include the title, pseudonym (if applicable) and your legal name and mailing address to tabooantho@gmail.com. The subject line should read: Submission: TITLE. Please include a 50-word bio. Direct any questions to the same address. (If you are absolutely unable to send a .doc attachment, I will accept an rtf. But I will not be happy about it.)

From Fan Fiction To Hot Gay Male Erotic Medical Thriller

by | 5:00 am | General | 4 comments

Elizabeth Black
writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica, erotic romance, horror,
and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son,
her tuxedo cat, Lucky, and the two new feline additions Chloe and Breena. They
are Lucky’s new best friends. Visit her web
site
, her Facebook page, and her Amazon
Author Page
.
 

I admit it. I have written fan fiction. Stop laughing!

The first fan fiction I wrote was when I was in college. I
used to write Star Trek fan fiction
with my cousin, who was five years younger than me. She lived in Iowa and I
lived in Maryland, and we scorched the pages of letters to each other with this
crap. My favorite characters were Spock and Scotty. Her favorites were McCoy
and Kirk. We wrote long-winded and dreadful letters where we were the stars of
our own fantasies and the Trek
characters actions revolved around us.

Yes, we wrote Mary Sues. You’re laughing again!

We were perfect in every way. We were beautiful,
genius-level intelligent, vivacious, talented, knowledgeable in our fields (whatever
the hell they were), and the entire Enterprise crew was in love with us. Of
course, the bridge crew couldn’t get enough of us. Typical Mary Sue. I had no
idea the concept of the Mary Sue even existed, let alone we were splendid at
it. We kept these letters going for over a year, and both of us were hooked on
classic Trek.

I had a blast writing those letters. Sadly, I never saved
them. I wish I had. I could laugh and cringe over them while downing a bottle
of bubbly. I went another ten years before I wrote fan fiction again. In 1993,
I became hooked on The X Files. I
wished I could have worked on that show. I was in an AOL fan chat that show writer
Glen Morgan used to stop in, and he gave me the contact information to send my
resume. That was very nice of him. At the time I was working local crew in
Maryland doing lighting, scenic art, and makeup (including prosthetics) for
movies, TV, stage, and concerts. I worked on Die Hard With A Vengeance, Homicide:
Life On The Street
, and the movie 12
Monkeys
. I loved my work. I had enough of a background to qualify for union
work in Vancouver, British Columbia where the show was filmed at the time, and I was willing to move not only across
the continent but to another country. I thought I could live in Vancouver,
Washington in the U. S. and commute to British Columbia but that wasn’t
allowed. I’d have to move there and become a citizen. It was a long shot, but I
wrote. Never heard back. But I tried. I loved that line of work and being in
that fan chat.

Anyway, a couple of years later I attended a science fiction
convention as a guest panelist and I met a guy who was helping to put together
some anthologies. One was gay, one was lesbian, and one was TV fan fiction.
None of the books were ever published to my knowledge. It was a good thing,
too, because I didn’t know at the time I could have been sued for publishing
and getting paid for a short story based on The
X Files
without first getting the show’s permission. I did start the story
but didn’t finish it. However, I saved my file. I also wrote a lesbian story
for that other book and I saved that file as well.

Count about a decade into the future. I rewrote the lesbian
story and submitted it to Torquere Press for their Vamps anthology, and it was accepted! I was delighted. I had worked
on the X File for another half dozen
years or so. I changed Mulder and Scully to two gay men working on an outbreak
at a camp around a lake. I finally finished it a few weeks ago, and I submitted
it to a Men At Work call I saw at –
get this – The Erotic Readers And Writers Association’s Submissions Web
Page.  Funny how things come full circle.
The story was accepted! I called it Roughing
It
, and it’s due to come out in the spring. Although Jake and Lance are two
scientists, you can hear Mulder and Scully in their conversations. The story is
a cross between The X Files and The Andromeda Strain with a little sex
thrown in. The sex works, too. It doesn’t seem out of place. I like this story
very much, and it’s special to me since I have worked on it very hard for
nearly 20 years. The story in the Vamps
anthology is called Neighbors, and I
took the two characters in it – Charlotte and Lina, who could pass for
identical twins – and placed them in my work-in-progress Full Moon Fever. I hope to sell it to the same publisher that is
publishing my novel Alex Craig Has A
Threesome
. Xcite Books is publishing that book late summer. If it sells
well, I hope to pitch Full Moon Fever
to them. I’ll do what I can to make Alex
Craig
sell. I’m very happy to be with Xcite. Xcite has published four of my
short stories in anthologies so I’m not a stranger. This is my first novel in
several years and my first with Xcite. I need the boost. Keeping my fingers
crossed.

I find it amusing I’ve written a story that originated as
fan fiction, and the final result is getting published. Hey, if it worked for
E. L. James, maybe it will work for me. Everyone knows those 50 Shades of Grey books started out as Twilight fan fiction. I can only dream
of selling as well as she has.

I’ve also written Once
Upon A Time
fan fiction, but that’s another post. At least I stuck to Belle
and Rumpelstiltskin. No Mary Sue in those stories. I won’t give links. I’m too
embarrassed. LOL Look for Roughing It
in April and Alex Craig Has A Threesome
in late summer.

The Politics of Obscurity

by | 6:53 pm | General | 0 comments

by Jean Roberta

I’ve been reading two related books about art in the cultural margins:

Memories of the Revolution: The First Ten Years of the WOW Café Theater, edited by Holly Hughes, Carmelita Tropicana, and Jill Dolan (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2015), a standard-sized paperback, and

The Only Way Home Is Through the Show: Performance Work of Lois Weaver
[one of the founders of WOW Café Theater], edited by Jen Harvie and Lois Weaver (published simultaneously in 2015 by Intellect Books in Bristol, UK, Live Art Development Agency, London, UK, and the University of Chicago Press). This is a large paperback coffee-table book, full of photos and illustrations.

I volunteered to review these books about the history of an amazing, grassroots women’s theater collective in New York City, which has survived despite the odds since 1980. I went to one of their performances in February 2003 when I was in New York for a reading from Best Women’s Erotica at Bluestockings Bookstore.

The WOW performance was topical and full of energy. (The official paranoia that followed the events of 9/11 was soundly ridiculed.) The performance space was not a conventional theater, but the intimate venue suited the subject-matter. I was able to find my way there alone because of the good directions provided by a local arts publication.

The acronym WOW originally stood for “Women One World,” and it stuck. There was clearly some overlap between the WOW collective and a more overtly political group formed in 1990s New York: the Lesbian Avengers. Kelly Cogswell, who wrote a book about the Avengers after the group’s demise, met and entered a long-term relationship with Cuban-born writer Ana Simo, who wrote a fairly structured, Checkovian play about painter Frida Kahlo and the assassination of Leon Trotsky in Mexico in 1940, which was performed by WOW. The versatile writer Sarah Schulman was also in both groups.

All these books about performance art with clear feminist and lesbian themes do a remarkable job of capturing something ephemeral: a zeitgeist, or the spirit of a particular time and place. Nonetheless, the women who were interviewed for the books claimed that their shows have rarely been reviewed in the Village Voice, let alone The New Yorker or The New York Times. Apparently, WOW stayed below the media radar for decades.

Both WOW and the Lesbian Avengers functioned as collectives with no government ties whatsoever. (This impresses me, as a Canadian.) The WOW women who were interviewed for the two books explained that they decided early on not to apply for government grants from funding bodies such as the National Endowment for the Arts because the application process would take up valuable time and energy, the applicants would probably be refused, and if they were accepted, they would have to conform to the funder’s rules. In other words, they would be forced to tone things down.

Can revolutionary art ever be accepted by the cultural mainstream? Much cultural history shows that this happens a lot, especially when the radical art is no longer cutting-edge (e.g. jazz, Impressionist paintings).

Here in Canada, every struggling writer/artist I know has applied for a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts (the Canadian equivalent of NEA). “Explorations” grants, in particular, seem intended for experimental art created by fledgling artists. (As a published writer, I’m not eligible for one of these.)

Is radical art more accepted in some countries than in others? There are mixed reports. The recent claim that African-American actors are not adequately represented in the list of Oscar Award winners raises the question of whether racism in Hollywood has persisted in subtler forms than in the era of Gone With the Wind. (Apart from the arts world, however, there is nothing subtle about unarmed civilians being gunned down by uniformed police officers, as documented by concerned bystanders with cellphone cameras.)

Here in Canada, the survival of the film industry is more overtly political, since Canadian filmmakers have traditionally relied on government support in various forms, including tax deductions. When the right-wing government of the province I live in abolished the Film Tax Credit here, the local film industry died.

Who becomes famous, where, and why? The claim has been made that lesbian fiction-writers are routinely ignored in the U.S. media, but not in England, where Sarah Waters and Jeanette Winterson are widely known, and where a lesbian poet, Carol Ann Duffy, was made Poet Laureate. Canadian culture, as distinct from U.S. culture, is rarely mentioned in these discussions, but I could point out that two lesbian novelists here, Ann-Marie MacDonald and Irish-born Emma Donoghue, currently seem as visible and well-reviewed as any of their straight male brothers in the field.

It would be interesting for someone to do a survey of “successful” writers (whom I would define as those who can live on their royalties) in various countries in terms of gender, race/ethnicity, and sexuality. Do gay-male writers (being men) have greater access to resources than do lesbian writers, all else being equal? If so, where?

Even if someone had the time, energy and funding to do this survey and publish the results, conservatives could object that talent has nothing to do with identity politics, and that artists without talent will always be rejected by the reading/viewing/listening public, or at least by the gatekeepers who represent the public’s best interests. Feh.

When I write my review of the books about WOW, I’ll be doing my part to alert readers to a performance-art scene that deserves to be better-known. But then, I’m probably below the radar myself.
——————

To Be Posted

by | 12:45 am | General | 0 comments

by Jean Roberta

Dear Readers,

Please forgive me for not posting anything on my assigned day. I have a post planned, and I’m hoping it won’t be too discouraging, since it’s about unrewarded writing (or writing which has to serve as its own reward).

Life intervened with mysterious insistence. This morning, the furnace in the basement of my house sounded like a buzz saw which could be heard from the second floor. I seriously wondered if it would explode while Spouse and I were at work. I considered cancelling my classes, then compromised by calling a plumbing & heating company and rushing home as soon as possible to meet the repairman at my door.

Repairman examined the furnace, which was quiet, and found nothing wrong. Nothing. The loudest thing in the house was our guard dog, a little Pomeranian who barks at strangers.

In due course, I was told, an invoice will be mailed to us for the repairman’s visit. Since he left, the furnace has been as quiet as a cat burglar.

Then I had to meet my Teaching Assistant to go over some student assignments.

Then Spouse filled me in on an ongoing situation at her work.

As long as the sun rises as usual, and my roof doesn’t cave in (fingers crossed), I will post something here on February 27.

Page 20 of 86« First...10...1819202122...304050...Last »

Hot Chilli Erotica

Hot Chilli Erotica

Archives

  • 2017 (85)
  • 2016 (137)
  • 2015 (160)
  • 2014 (155)
  • 2013 (144)
  • 2012 (110)
  • 2011 (14)
  • 2010 (5)
  • 2009 (31)
  • 2008 (8)
  • 2007 (3)

Categories

Babysitting the Baumgartners - The Movie
From Adam & Eve - Based on the Book by New York Times Bestselling Authors Selena Kitt

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Pin It on Pinterest