A Country Girl Novel

The Autobiography of Writing an Erotic Novel
April 19, 2011, 2:47 am
Filed under: erotic novels, publishing

Part 3

My experience the second time publishing was different from the first. A Country Girl was available at Borders, Barnes & Noble, Chapters, airport and independent bookstores, and sex stores in North America, and had worldwide distribution. I would go into my local bookstore and turn my novel face out and bask in the pleasure of my novel sitting on a bookstore shelf. I always offered to sign copies, and one manager arranged to have me sign preordered books at a display table. 

Once my novel had sold out, the copyright reverted to me. What to do? An erotic novel that had sold over 64,000 copies, without any advertising, and now out of print. The option was clear. Bring it back into print. After again trying the route of publishers and agents that considered erotica and having no luck, I turned to self-publishing. 

I signed with a major print-on-demand publisher after they assured me that there was no problem with the explicit content only to have my contract cancelled four months later when I submitted my manuscript. The content, I was informed, did not meet their publishing guidelines, and I was referred to clause 19 of my contract stating that the author warranties the work is not obscene under U.S.law. This had already been proven years before, during repressive times with no law suits, and my novel obviously conformed to US obscenity laws. The publisher emphasized that “publishing is a business of opinion, and our opinion is but one.” To their credit, they immediately refunded my money. 

Once again, I was stuck. I looked into my options and decided to become my own publisher and print with Lightning Source. I had even chosen the name of my publishing company, but I decided to call Xlibris whom I had been talking to before. After my previous experience, I had no expectation that Xlibris would publish my novel, which indeed is explicit and honest, but also romantic, innocent, and passionate. 

Again, luck prevailed. Fortunately, I had a strong supporter at Xlibris. When she asked if my book was anything like Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, which she loved, I said, Even better! Well, to my surprise and joy, they agreed to publish my novel. And today A Country Girl, with a new cover and the addition of seven original nude drawings, is back in print forever! 

Happy? Yes! I’ve travelled a long way with this erotic novel, beginning in 1970, when I wrote in longhand at a small wooden kitchen table and then typed the manuscript on the toilet seat in the bathroom so as not to disturb my then husband, who was studying at our only desk in our small bachelor apartment, to 30 years later when I wrote the concluding chapter on a computer, and might I add, with no diminution of spirit or lusty intensity. 

Initially, I wrote under a pseudonym because of my parents, husband, and children, but when Blue Moon published A Country Girl in 2005, I decided to use my real name. I am proud of my erotic novel, and also of myself, since I never gave up. I believe in my story, and even today after all these years, when I reread Angela’s adventures, I am still moved and often surprised, yet again, at her boldness and passion. 

“The Autobiography of Writing an Erotic Novel” was originally published in the September 2008 edition of the Erotica Readers & Writers Association.

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