What makes a man write erotic ebooks un­der a fe­male pseu­do­nym? AN­DREW DONALDSON gives us a peek into the nude world of erotic lit­er­a­ture

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - MUST READ -

WHEN I FIRST told a friend that penury had driven me to write pornog­ra­phy, he re­as­sured me I was tread­ing a well­worn lit­er­ary path; many au­thors had ex­ploited the baser in­stincts of their read­ers in or­der to sur­vive. It was a small con­so­la­tion. Mark Twain, Alexan­der Pushkin, Anaïs Nin, Henry Miller and Anne Rice had in­deed churned out smut, but only when they were starv­ing at the be­gin­ning of their ca­reers. I, on the other hand, was still strug­gling af­ter 33 years as a jour­nal­ist.

So, here’s the thing: we tend to think of porn users as men, but women con­sume vast quan­ti­ties of the stuff, mainly in text on tablets and dig­i­tal read­ers. More than 80% of read­ers of erotica are women. Men like to watch, but movies, it’s said, turn women off; they’re freak shows, they’re ex­ploita­tive and de­grad­ing, they leave too lit­tle to the imag­i­na­tion, the sex is too car­toon­ish, the sheets too grubby. So they Women’s erotica went main­stream with the megaselling Fifty Shades tril­ogy. EL James’s BDSM pot­boiler was a ground­breaker, ac­cord­ing to pub­lisher Peter Fer­ris, whose Xcite im­print is the UK’s largest printer of erotica. ‘Erotica is an ideal genre for ebooks,’ he said at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair. ‘Print sales were start­ing to de­cline. Get­ting into the ma­jor book­shops them and the buy­ers were very hard to reach.’

Dis­cre­tion is also a fac­tor. With no cover on dis­play on de­vices like a Kindle or an iPad, the lit­er­a­ture is anony­mous. As pub­lisher Giada Ar­mani said at the same book fair, ‘I think that women have al­ways wanted to read erotic lit­er­a­ture. But what woman bran­dishes an erotic book [on pub­lic trans­port], or at work, whose cover dis­plays the sil­hou­ette of a naked man?’ The other thing about ebooks is that, for bet­ter or worse, any­one can pub­lish them. And they

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