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Erotic Romance the Red Sage Way

by Red Sage Publishing

Hi everyone,

With the deadline for our writing contest coming at the end of this month, we thought it might be useful to offer a few editorial pointers.

Around the Red Sage water cooler, we’ve been talking some about what makes a story a Red Sage story. We’ve been in the erotic romance business since before there was such a thing as an erotic romance business, and we’ve always had a consistent approach despite the fads that erupt and wither across the industry. Our stories have stood the test of time, too, with every single Secrets anthology, all the way back to the first volume, remaining in print to this day.

I freely admit that I’m sometimes bewildered by the questions we get from aspiring writers about trends. After assuring us that they’ve studied market trends in erotic romance, they ask, do we want stories about
(____fill in blank with sexual fetish of choice here____). Or, are we still interested in stories about (___fill in blank of cooling trend here____).

We’re perfectly happy to read stories featuring any number of kinks and sexual adventures, regardless of the trend of the moment. The sexual component of a story is crucial to the success of an erotic romance. And of course, we pay attention to market trends — of course we do! — but that’s not what forms our editorial decisions.

The sex in a story is just one component, regardless of what flavor that sex might take. If the rest of the components don’t work, we aren’t likely to publish your story, even if reverse-lolita fantasies or spanking or zero-G sex are the hot new thing. These things may very well be popular with current readers. These things may very well lend your story a sizzle that makes it a great, up-to-the-moment read.

But will it stand the test of time? Will people still want to read your stripper pole story when they’re sick to death of stripper poles and would rather burn their eyes with acid than read another story featuring one?

If the answer is yes, then I suspect the reasons for the answer have less to do with the presence of a stripper pole, and more to do with the surrounding elements: plot, character, emotion, and that grand, gorgeous, sweeping feeling we get when we read about two people falling in love. The stripper pole — or whatever sexual element you include — is a way of demonstrating something important happening between people falling in love.

Our readers want to be caught up, body, mind and heart.
Body – the sex must be powerful and adventurous and explicit and meaningful.
Mind – the plot must be engaging and dynamic and compelling.
Heart – the hero and heroine must come alive, must be vivid and emotional and complex, and they must bloom in each other’s presence.

If you want to include the latest sex trend in your story, by all means, do so. We always say that the difference between a close friendship and a romance, after all, is the sex, and in order to fully explore a romantic relationship, you can’t leave out the sex. We wouldn’t publish a story that contained no sex any more than we would publish a story that contained no heart. And, let’s face it, fantasy elements can be an awful lot of fun.

Just don’t forget that we aren’t publishing stories about particular sexual elements. We publish stories about people falling in love, and if those stories contain particular sexual elements that work in the context of the plot and characters, then we’ll be proud to publish them regardless of whatever the sex or story trend of the moment might be.

Keep writing, folks. That contest deadline is approaching! And if you want to discuss this or ask any particular questions, post to the comments and I will respond.

Theresa Stevens
Managing Editor

1 comment

Anonymous March 7, 2008 at 7:10 am

I had two questions about the contest..
One, How can one be sure our story was entered in the contest when submitted?

Two, How long do we wait to hear about a winner?

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