I Also Suck at Marketing

My original intent was to keep my porn writing career a dirty little secret. My uptight neighbors and kids' friends' parents didn't need to know about it and give me the stink-eye or worse. So like Ann Rice, I thought up a clever pen name for my "erotica."
I even designed a pretty logo for social media.
Well, since the neighbors haven't invited me over for coffee in five years, clearly I'm not Their Kind of People. That's OK, they're not My Kind of People either. So I decided that I don't need to care about what they think. We can continue to wave politely from 30 yards away for the next ten years.

But I kept the pseudonym, partly because I like it and partly as a "branding strategy." (God, I hate marketing terms.) I have started four mainstream books, at least some of which I still hope to publish and that I think of as my real writing, and it's a good idea to keep them separate from the potboiler porn. When I buy a Tom Robbins book, I have certain expectations, right?

However, my feeble attempts to sell the porn are disheartening, not because of the slow sales--I've already exceeded my honest expectations--but because my tentative steps into social media marketing on Twitter are so distasteful. My @CACarbury Twitter feed is full of other erotica writers and their cliche come-ons and book covers of rippling abs and, more mysteriously, scantily clad women. (Not to mention the straight up titties and dicks that appear in my feed.)

I called my erotica "potboiler" above, but I actually wrote it to appeal to me--within certain conventions of monster porn and present-day boundaries on sexual content. (No fictional minors were harmed in the writing of this pornography...because even in fantasy, there are limits, apparently.) I wrote original, inventive stories to set up the sex scenes, though after eight scenes, it is getting increasingly difficult to find new ways to say "insert large tab A into wet slot B" without resorting to eye-rolling euphemisms for penis and vagina. And I made simple, elegant covers for the books, not just because I'm cheap and wouldn't pay for a professional cover, but because I don't find the bare skin, lacy lingerie, and draped fabric appealing.

Written porn is sold mostly to heterosexual women, so why is it full of pictures of...naked women.



















The trouble is that it must be me who is wrong because pretty much ALL the advertising I've seen conforms to this norm of overblown (no pun intended) descriptions and soft focus, shadowy, soft core images.

I'm starting to feel about the porn the way I do about friends: there MUST be other sarcastic, disaffected, grunge-loving, feminist stay-at-home moms like me, but we'll never find each other because we are each avoiding the conventional ones who outnumber us. Similarly, there must be people who would like my kind of porn. But how to find them...

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