Notes from the Armchair #6

By Laura Zats

Twenty years ago, any author who wrote for teens or middle grade wouldn’t have been considered “serious” writers. Even now, there’s still an idea that YA and MG authors will at some point graduate to writing “good” books, or “serious” books. Luckily, the amazing success of series like Harry Potter have worked to legitimize these categories (and whether or not they actually needed to be legitimized is a whole other issue which I won’t touch today), and YA and MG authors are some of the proudest and most vocal people in the book biz I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. More people are reading these books than ever before, and they’re half adults!

I’ve been open to queries for almost three weeks as an official Red Sofa member. I’ve received dozens of YA and MG books, which is amazing. It means that the categories are growing. This week is also #PitchMAS, a twitter-based pitch contest for all genres. Today, the top 76 book pitches were announced, and about 50% of them are for people under 18.

I’ve noticed that while YA and MG have been experiencing a boom (and will continue to do so for many years), there are some genres and categories I expected to see in my inbox that I haven’t yet….

Remember a few months ago when 50 Shades of Grey made reading erotica not only acceptable, but also something people should do? Yeah. So do I. And while I’m no big fan of E. L. James, I was expecting that erotica and steamy romance authors would come out of the woodwork in the same, proud way that YA and MG authors have been doing for the past few decades.

But I have only gotten a handful of romance titles (I’m not including YA romance here), and no erotica.

Not one.

Sad face.

Call me crazy, but a lot of unpublished romance and erotica authors are weird about being known to write “smut.” Which is a bit silly, considering that millions and millions of people read it. Mostly, I just want people to send it to me, and then I want to sell it. I don’t care if you don’t want your family to know you write sex scenes. Use a pen name. I won’t tell!

Either be proud of what you write (which you should be, regardless of what you write!), or make an alter-ego and have that person be proud of what you write. Either way, send me some steamy stuff!



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  1. Daniel Bensen on December 20, 2013 at 3:38 am

    Huh. I’m surprised too.
    But after reading Bonk I’m starting to think that human beings are just bad at thinking (let alone talking) critically or rationally about sex. Maybe there are just too few people who can think about sex in the (uh) gritty detail the subject needs to be written about?

  2. Valentine Bonnaire on January 6, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    I’ve been doing a little tour of Goodreads, seeing “who” the reader is for my end of the genre. It’s very interesting to see how many literary readers there are? Very.