Feedback and Writing for the Reader

We’re closing in on the two month anniversary of Corinna’s experiment in writing erotica for the public eye and I have to say, it’s as much fun and excitement now as it was when I started. Veteran writers might chuckle, as I’m still firmly in the honeymoon period. It’s all still new! It’s still fresh! It’s still very, very uncertain if I have the chops to maintain a presence in this niche!

As of this posting, I have sold 45 copies of my stories, and had 2 refunds. I’m averaging a story sold each day but I have no idea if that’s better or worse than the average. I have read accounts of authors who were able to quit their day jobs after six months; I suspect that is not a decision I’ll have to make four months from now.

There is a visceral satisfaction to knowing that there are people reading and possibly enjoying what I’ve put out there. Thus far my short stories haven’t received many reviews. I believe I have two comments on Smashwords and one of them wasn’t the most encouraging, though it did allow that the scenario was well-polished.

Of the stories that have sold well, My Lover, My Brother has been the most popular. This wasn’t a surprise; incest is a perennial favorite and I knew it would do well. But the reception to some of my other works has been surprising. I thought for certain that Captivity would do better than The Nymphomaniac’s Pillow Book, for instance, as Captivity is my favorite of the stories in my library; I think it’s the most sharply crafted and fully realized of my stories, erotica with a strong plot and a compelling world filled with intriguing characters. The Zodiac Club is another one that curled my toes and pleased my muse while I was working on it, and it remains in the middle of the pack so far as popularity goes.

Sales, for me, are less about the money coming in and more about the readers out there saying, “Yes, yes, this is something done well and we’d like to read more!” Sales are the only feedback I have at this juncture on what I’m doing right. You don’t write erotica if you don’t want to turn other people on and you judge whether you’ve performed that function by how well a story does, the comments it receives, its ranks among your library. I write for myself, for the pleasure and craft of it, but I write for my readers as well. And at the moment, I’m not sure I’m tickling their fancy as much as I’ve tickled my own.

My purpose in writing this post is to invite feedback beyond purchases from my readers and potential readers. After two months, what have you liked about the stories I’ve offered? What do I need to continue working on?  There is always room for improvement. I can look at my own library and think of a thousand and one ways I could tweak things– longer stories, lower prices, classier covers, more explicit covers, more sex, adjusted language (I confess, the word “pussy” still makes me giggle like a schoolgirl), dialing back the focus on unique settings and plot elements as a vehicle for the erotic, increasing those elements to create more fully realized worlds and characters…

There are so many directions I can go in but my purpose is to please you as much as it is to please myself. None of those changes would tarnish my vision or purpose for my writing. I don’t feel I’ve done poorly, I’m proud of what I have so far, but pointers and critique are always welcome. So if you feel moved to do so, please do comment. Here, or through email (corinnaparr at gmail dot com). I invite your feedback and thank you for it, as well as for the encouragement shown thus far.

And now, back to writing. Today I will hit my word count mark for my anthology submission, come hell or high water. I have coffee, I have sunshine and soft breezes coming in through my window and all of the time in the world. Hello, weekend!

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