Ah, the infamous Saturday night “sex panel” at ConCarolinas. What a rollicking good time! I don’t think there’s a huge privacy concern here, but I’m going to use first name, last initial for the panelists.
Perhaps wisely, the con staff decided to make this a 21+ panel, checking IDs at the door. I don’t know who had to check James T’s ID, but I might have been quaking in my boots. If I didn’t think he was a teddy bear in disguise ;)
Emily L, the capable moderator, first asked about use of pen names: if so, why? She edited erotica under a man’s name, because men don’t argue with men the way they do with women. Tamsin S offered a funny story about choosing to use a pen name to protect her family from any embarrassment, and her father promptly encouraging his Bible study group to buy her first book. A couple of panelists were concerned about their job security if they were known as erotica authors. And Tyffani K said she was worried about what her more conservative friends would think, until she reached a point where “I forgot why I cared” (to which the whole room applauded).
Audience question about copyright under two different names. Copyright registration is $35 per piece, but copyright is self-defined as inherent in the “final product” of any piece of art/writing.
One advantage of working with a publisher is they will probably go to bat for you to help protect copyright.
Discussion about how to publish: Agent? Traditional publisher? E-pub?
Ellora’s Cave doesn’t require an agent – direct submission
James’ refrain for the panel was “The more dicks the merrier!”
Why are straight women reading the preponderance of M/M (male/male) on the market?
Erotic manga, “Yaoi” (“yow-ee”), very rich tradition, very popular in Japan, boy/boy
Women’s role in erotica has traditionally been more empowering that in romance
There is a certain fascination and appeal to the idea of having someone (a man) take care of *everything* - Women are *tired*!
Sex can be realistic or over-the-top porny sex – sex is supposed to be fun!
We don’t read eroticism for realism!
Use poseable art dolls to check body alignment, fit
Thomas Roche is a great male, erotic writer
Ellora’s Cave has a line, EC for Men
The most difficult aspect of writing a sex scene is keeping it fresh and feeling original after lots of scene
You don’t have to one-up yourself in writing
Don’t have to give all the detail; every time
Fade to black is okay in erotica (sometimes)
Sweet/loving is okay
You need an emotional arc to engage your reader with the characters
At what point does one or the other character freak out that sex is becoming love?
Humor is a great aspect of sex
Great discussion of identity exploration, transgender, asexual – these are voices often not represented
Ze/Xe/They are sometime preferred pronouns
Erotica is a safe space to explore possibilities
Ursula LeGuin, Left Hand of Darkness
So the kicker of the panel was a raffle for two large “goodie” baskets. Yes, I won one. Lots of books, lots of goodies – most of them not even sexual, actually. And yes, there were a few “toys” – one of which none of the panelists knew what to do with and asked me to report in later. Let’s just say we called it the “pastry brush”. ;)
June word count