Reviews…you can’t control the reader’s experience

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I was doing some catch-up work for the erotic pen name I’ve been using. I have an Amazon Author page that needs updating, a Goodreads Author page that needs updating, a blog that I need to write…well, you get the picture.  While I’m still keeping mostly mum about that pen name, I came across two reviews that actually called out my stories.

One was positive saying that my first ever male-male story was a favorite in the collection. Yay!  I get a little nervous about writing men having sex because I have to rely much more on my imagination than I do when writing from the female perspective. Having someone say they loved my story is more than just fun, it’s confirmation that writing skill and imagination are as or more important than experience. I’ve always hated the “write what you know” idea people put out there. Yes, if you don’t know it, you go out and learn it. But, barring any bizarre alien intervention I am unlikely to ever experience the male body from the inside out. In terms of the mystery novel I’m working on, I’m kind of glad I don’t actually have to experience what I put my characters through. I am not kind to those poor people.

The second review was slightly confusing. The reviewer cited my story as a specific example of what was wrong with the whole collection. It was a collection of stories in the BDSM erotic genre, and the whole point was to get people into sexual scenarios where people submit and pain reigns. (Re-read the above paragraph…research is my religion.) The reviewer dinged my story for the plain fact that my two characters don’t have actual sexual intercourse, even though the female totally gets off on her experience of submitting. Add in that this was an erotica anthology, and not an erotic romance anthology, it was a surprising review. It’s like buying a barbecue cookbook and complaining about the fact there are so many recipes involving meat, or that all the meat is cooked, you know, on a barbecue.

What I’m trying to get at here is that no matter what you think you’re writing, or who you’re writing for, someone is guaranteed to read it differently than how you wrote it.


(c) Can Stock Photo

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