Your Question: What I’m wondering is how you see the current market of erotica and erotic romance. Do they still have a lot of growth potential in them, have they reached the saturated mark yet, or, for those of us still in the beginning stages of our writing careers in these market, has the boat already sailed and the wake is closing over our heads if we’re not Olympic-level swimmers out of the gate?
LB (or SuperLaura as we’ve started calling her)Well, erotica and erotic romance have definitely tightened up over the last year, but that happens with every subgenre that explodes out of the gate. I have sold first-timers into the NY erotic romance market as recently as a month or two ago, so there is still opportunity out there.
Erotic romance and erotica will always have a more “fringe” marketplace than mainstream romance or even mainstream sensual romance, so the number of slots that will be allocated to erotica and erotic romance are not limitless. But certainly these markets are more robust now than they ever have been. The question is what YOU want to write… if you have erotica in your soul and you’d have to stifle your voice to tone down the heat, I think you should go with it. Recognize that it could be tougher to place your MS than if you were writing something more mainsteam like romantic suspense and just do it anyway. I don’t think you should give up on anything you want to write because of the whims of the market. As long as you can accept that some subgenres are harder to sell than others sometimes, then that is your choice to make. Honestly, no manuscript, regardless of genre, is “easy” to sell, so I think you should write what you feel moved to write.
Your Question: Do you think it’s important for an author to be flexible and adapt easily to the changes in our genre or to stick to one sub genre and master it?
Well, in a perfect world I think everybody should get to write what they want but since when is this a perfect world? Some subgenres are more popular than others–all you have to do is go to a bookstore to see that this is true. I think we can all understand that it would probably be easier to sell a historical romance set in London than one set in Warsaw and that the market for romantic suspense is probably bigger than the market for futuristic romance. With that said, sometimes an author’s voice doesn’t always translate well across certain subgenres and themes.
If you naturally write material that is dark and gritty and intense, maybe it isn’t a great fit for you to write breezy, light romantic comedy. Just because your preferred subgenre isn’t the “it” thing at the moment doesn’t mean that you should necessarily write something else. Certainly you can try on other subgenres for size, but I don’t think anybody should change their writing universe if it isn’t a good fit for them personally.
Flexibility can be a great thing but so is being a real master of your subgenre.
Laura Bradford, when she’s not fielding emails, making phone calls, reading manuscripts and wielding her superagent powers, is also a very good dancer and she makes me laugh and happens to be one of my favorite people in the world. You can find her at the Bradford Literary Agency.