Why I love The Big Book of Orgasms better than all my other books, or "the big little book that could"
Maybe you're not supposed to say you love one book more than all the others, but I'm not exactly the type to stand on propriety. So there, I will say it: I am so excited about and proud of The Big Book of Orgasms I'm not even sure it's worth keeping editing erotica books (though I would love to do a sequel should I be so lucky). I will for a while, but this is my career high, the one book I am going to bat for and doing crazy things like flying out to San Francisco for less than 48 hours, because I believe in it that much, because I want it to succeed so badly.
I've been trying to unlock why this book feels so make or break for me, and I think it's in part that I truly think this is a book anyone can enjoy. Don't have a lot of time? Each story can be read in about five minutes. Curious about kink but aren't sure how far you want to dip your toes? There's plenty of it, but also plenty of lighter stories. Sometimes I hear feedback that my books don't have enough, for example, gay male stories, or some other type of content. While this book doesn't have everything, it comes as close as I am likely to with any of my books. I won't lie, though: it's far easier to edit 20-25 stories, from a logistical perspective, than 69. The editorial freedom is the flipside to 3 times as much paperwork, email and wrangling. That's only worth it if the book is beautiful and hot, inside and out, and this one is, for me.
This one was just a perfect storm of me getting everything I want as an editor, and, I hope, offering everything an erotica reader could want--except meaty stories; these are brief and will likely have you wanting to read more by these authors. If they were longer, the book would be too unwieldy to fit in a pocket and would lose some of its charm, in my opinion. I like that the minute you pick this book up, if you're the type who reads print, it looks and feels different than most erotica books. It can fit in a purse or pocket. It's handy and hopefully something you'll want to handle, hold, savor. I also think that because it has such a mix of writing styles, perspectives and scenarios, from multi-published authors and newcomers to the erotica genre, it gives readers a depth of sexual diversity.
I worked very hard to make sure "orgasm" didn't lose its luster as a theme from "The Beginning" by B.D. Swain to "The Final Challenge" by Heather Day. I think that is the potential danger of a themed anthology, but this theme was so wide open that there was room for plenty of ways of approaching it, including things I never in a billion years would have thought of myself, like the gender-bending technology of "Remote Control" by Logan Zachary. That's the kind of story I love to publish, because it's just so far out of how I write that it's like a gift to my brain. At Delilah Devlin's blog, I talk a bit about why there are 69 stories--yes, it's to get readers enticed, but as an editor, that format gives me so much more freedom, and I hope, in turn, that I'm giving readers more of what they want, including things they might not have thought they wanted.
This post is kicking off the virtual book tour (my post is late, but I will be linking to all the posts this month and next on a timely basis). I do hope you will join me and 9 contributors for a free reading this Wednesday at Good Vibrations, 1620 Polk Street in San Francisco, and if you can't, that you'll tell people in the area. It's my last San Francisco reading for a very long time, possibly ever. I think as I prepare to turn 38, with all the weight and pressure of that birthday, I'm starting to realize that I need to celebrate the parts of my work life I'm proud of, and this book is one I am unabashedly proud of. I gave a postcard for the book as I was mailing 70 copies to the clerk at my local post office, so now I'm known as "the one with the dirty book." I will give that postcard to anyone who asks (literally: want one? If you're in the U.S., email orgassmantho at gmail.com with "Postcard" in the subject line and your name and mailing address in the body and I'll mail one to you!)
This book has made me proud again to be an erotica writer and editor. Rather than my usual mumble with strangers, for fear of getting into an awkward conversation or having them spill some unwanted sexual secret, I'm boldly claiming it. This is what I do. This is my life's work (so far). This is the highlight of the trip I started as I left law school and wrote a little story called "Monica and Me," all in one beautiful little package. It's the big little book that could, and I hope it does, in every way. If you want to help make this best book of mine a success, I'd love it if you'd spread the word about the reading, join me January 3rd in New York City at Between the Covers at the Museum of Sex, 233 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and share your thought son the book at Goodreads and Amazon (My dream goal is to get to 100 Amazon reviews by my birthday, November 10th.). Thank you, and thank you to all the authors in the book for making this book one I'm honored to have my name on. You can read excerpts from all 69 stories on the book's Tumblr and keep up with the news at @BigBookofOrgasm on Tumblr. win a copy from Johnny FunCheap through November 11th.