I'LL TAKE ROMANCE...
Suzanne Ruthven talks to Barbara Ford-Hammond, commissioning editor for Bedroom Books, about romance, sex, erotica and everything to do with getting published in this genre.
SR: Romance, sex and erotica are very personal things to write about so perhaps we should start by defining exactly what you are seeking for this imprint, from the writer’s point of view.
BFH: Romance: Many, mostly non-authors, think writing romance is an easy ride. It isn’t. With any genre one of the most important things is to be comfortable with your words. Romance should be tempting with the possibility of a thrill. Romantic comedy is exactly what it says on the tin but injecting inappropriate humour is usually a fail. Let your heroes, heroines or protagonists share their story. Woo your reader.
Erotica Fact: The reader must be rewarded with knowledge. With non-fiction it is important to be thorough and if writing a ‘how to’ book the writing must be authoritative without being patronising - informative without being excessive.
Erotica Fiction: A good story is a must. The ride through the book should be like a roller coaster without the nausea. Readers of erotica want to be aroused and expect to be fulfilled. The book must have a strong ending with all loose threads tied. There must be no unfinished business.
SR: We’re always told to read good examples of a particular genre if we want to be published in it. If I’d got to chose a personal favourite erotic writer it would be Frederico Andahazi (The Merciful Women and The Anatomist), who produces a wonderful blend of erotic/gothic/chiller; what would be your choice (and why).
BFH: Fabulous choice. My favourites change daily depending on my mood and I am as happy with a cleverly written tome of passion as I am with a saucy easy-to-read holiday chick-lit. I am hoping for new undiscovered authors to admire and read.
SR: Your submission guidelines for fiction are: “Romance, erotica, sensual or downright ballsy, including historical bodice rippers; paranormal sexy-time with vampires, werewolves, magic and the like. When you want to escape: whether seeking a passionate fulfilment, a moment behind the bike sheds, a laugh with a chick-lit or a how-to - come into the Bedroom and take your pick. Bedroom readers are open-minded explorers knowing exactly what they like in their quest for pleasure, delight, thrills or knowledge. And we’re also willing to consider quickies, erotic shorts, collections and compilations.” Have you got any additional advice for writers wanting to send material to you for consideration – in other words, what don’t you want to receive?
BFH: I do not like crude writing or silly words for body parts. He will not admire the look of her fairy foo. Likewise, she will not swoon when he whips out his wooden stave. These are real examples. If the writing is a struggle the reader will be dissatisfied. Keeping everything appropriate to the story is important. A story with bits of sex stuck in as an afterthought is not good. When I receive proposals I want to say, “Oh, yes. Give me more!” I will not request a full proposal if I yawn.
SR: When it comes to non-fiction, you state that you cover the following subjects: Kama Sutra or Tantric type works; problems/solutions guides; sexual health research; coming of age sex education; humour/saucy postcard style/double entendre; relationships and therapy particular to couples; sexuality-goddess oriented material; sex through the ages/historical, etc., How much of a ‘professional’ background would a writer need before submitting material for consideration in this subject area?
BFH: Experts, writers with knowledge and good researchers are all welcome. Authors need to be clear if they are sharing opinions, studies or papers and thorough citing must be included. Passing off is never allowed.
SR: Are ‘enthusiastic amateurs’ restricted from writing for you in this genre?
BFH: There are no restrictions. I welcome all good authors.
If you are currently working on a typescript that you think might suit Bedroom Books, why not send an inquiry in the first instance via the website at www.bedroom-books.com ‘author inquiry’. Or visit facebook.com/BedroomBooks
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