Layla Stuff and Porn

on March 12, 2012 in Misc

Yeah, I figured that title would get your attention.

I’ll summarize the innocent Layla doings first, then move on to the juicy stuff.

Now that spring is here I’m FINALLY getting back into Layla activities.  This means that on Sunday I woulda gone wall climbing if I’d had the time, but since I didn’t I at least studied French and had a solid workout with lots of stretching.

The stretching is important, but getting more limber has been a back-and-forth battle for me.  Any look at action heroes, martial arts, etc. tells you that being very limber is a fundamental necessity.  But now, at long last, I seem to be making consistent headway.  What seems to really work for me is simply…

Doing it till it hurts.

And by that I mean stretching my body, especially my legs and hips, not to the point of injury but to the point where muscles and tendons HURT.  I get into the necessary positions and push and pull and hold it and then go deeper and then ease up and then deeper again and make myself relax into the feeling of the stretch even when it really hurts.  And I hold it long enough until the pain eases… And believe me, I’m really making progress.

This kind of talk is also a natural segue for the porn topic.

In case any of you missed it, on Sunday there was a big article in the New York Times on something that depresses the hell out of me, to whit:  yet another small-time unknown writer has received a HUGE, MILLION-DOLLAR THREE-BOOK CONTRACT and all because she wrote a trilogy that I, also a small-time unknown writer, never thought to write.  And I bet you never penned such stuff either.

Her three novels (her being E L James) are about S&M erotica.  Wags are calling it “Mommy porn” and “Twilight” for grownups.

Here’s what happened.  James wrote the trilogy, which was put out by a small publisher in Australia, where she lives.  She couldn’t even get decent distribution for hard (no pun intended) copies of them, but they were available as e-books in the U.S, where they started selling like crazy even with no advertising or marketing.  This was enough for the Big Six American publishers to go apeshit and start bidding on them.

Sure, commentators have criticized James’ plodding prose, lack of content and pacing, and “have shredded the books for their explicit violence and antiquated treatment of women, made especially clear in the character of Anastasia, an awkward naif who consents to being stalked, slapped and whipped with a leather riding crop.” But hey, but who cares about literary details as long as the books sell?

By the way, that quote is from the NY Times, and here’s the link:

You know what’s really a joke to me?  How big publishers are supposed to be such experts on what sells and what doesn’t and how they keep trying to narrowly define genres that they tell writers to stick to.  But the fact is an obscure book often turns into a bestseller before the “experts” realize that readers are onto something.  That’s what happened with everything from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and the self-published Mutant Message Downunder to the godawful Celestine Prophecy.

So for all you writers who want to get published, forget about subscribing to the useless Publishers Weekly and analyzing the market and honing your literary skills and polishing your manuscripts and perfecting your query letters.  Instead, you might as well just tell an imperfect story that comes straight from your heart.

Or from another body part.

10 Responses to “Layla Stuff and Porn”

  1. I just wrote what i wanted to write and didn’t worry about it.

  2. Helena says:

    Alex — Yes, but you’re an emotionally stable writer. Now about me…

  3. I think that I truly write what I want to write. Other writers (I might have to say) not so much. Many are part of religious groups and they are worried that if they include any sex at all or indulge any of the fetishes that they are hiding, that they will be judged. Some try to hide behind pseudonames, etc. I don’t have this problem as I’m an atheist and don’t believe in intelligent design and the other trappings that go along with that. As a result…I have two friends. And I’m not afraid of embarrassing myself in front of two friends.

    As for my family…my mom is crazy and my dad only reads world war 2 books. That’s it. The rest of the family doesn’t care.

    So I don’t have those pressures. Not to argue with what Alex so boldly stated, I know he is very religious. I wonder if his book would have addressed more adult issues if he wasn’t afraid of letting them out of the bag because it could cause people he knows to judge him. I’m just speculating here…but I do wonder about these things.

  4. Helena says:

    Michael – Judging by the number of women responding to this new trilogy, I think the odds are a lot of religious women are reading it too and not having a problem with the sex. Back in college my (very religious) roommate and I used to joke about wanting to write a soft-porn novel just for fun and to see if we could make any money at it, but we never bothered to write a word. Would I do it now? Maybe, but only under a pseudonym not because of scruples but because personally I get really self-conscious about anything so personal. It’s a privacy issue with me. But hey, if you (or the author of this trilogy) want to go for the sex gold, more power to you. Meanwhile, I wouldn’t mind a million dollar contract for novels I’ve already written.

  5. Hart says:

    teehee I have a friend who writes erotica who is SO ANNOYED with this book. In fact most erotica writers seem to be because the heroine is whimpy==it really IS Twilight for housewives, or so I hear. But you are absolutely right, that it is nearly impossible to guess what might take off. I really hope something of mine will. The more I right, the better those odds, eh?

    Well done with the flexibility progree–I really need to commit to that and have such a hard time. I’m just not able to get myself to take the time. For aerobic activity, sure, but not the’hearly still’ stuff.

  6. Helena says:

    Hart — I just read a review of this Grey book and the author (a man!) complained that the heroine was mousy and boring and yes, wimpy. But the hero she hooks up with is a billionaire and in many ways the book is about a money/wealth fantasy. Not surprised.

    Hey, just do a few minutes of stretching after aerobics when your muscles are warm. Who has time for much more than that?

  7. bobbie says:

    I’ve researchsed this recently.

    There was actually a time when the promotions departments in the big houses had to promote whatever editors presented to them–good books worthy of shelf space. “Sell this book to readers!” an editor might say. Now, it’s the other way around. Promotions is more likely to dictate to editors what they can sell, what they can promote, etc.

  8. Helena says:

    Bobbie — I think you’re right. I know that editors used to have the ultimate say on any book, but now marketing departments can kill off a book if they decide the don’t want to promote it or don’t know how to. Pretty sad.

  9. Old Kitty says:

    Can’t go wrong with sex!! It sells! It lives! It breeds! Ahem!!


    Oh the papers are always full of these stories of amazingly lucky writers.
    :-) I think I read of another – romance writer – couldn’t find a publisher – sold lots of e-books, got a bidding war going and then et voila – got a fab writing contract, book deal, film deal, t-shirt industry and stationery!

    These day I just go “meh!” and go straight to the horoscope section!

    Oh you take care now with your stretching and ninja moves!!

    LOL! Take care

  10. Helena says:

    Old Kitty – Yeah, I should stick to the horoscope section too. And I love how you say that sex lives and breeds.