It's hard to underestimate how much of a big deal getting to edit Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 has been for me.
I truly don't even know if I have the words. This is a series I've been submitting to since my very beginning in the erotica field. I got hand-written rejections from the series' first editor, Marcy Sheiner, that spurred me to be even more determined to break into the series. I have changed email addresses since so can't quote it directly, but after a few rejections, I got an email with "Doing the Dishes" in the subject line that said that Marcy wanted to publish that story of mine, my dishwashing fetish story. I was overjoyed, and that remains a favorite story. Other stories of mine have made it into the series under both Sheiner and the next editor, Violet Blue.
So it's still a little pinch-me surreal to have my name on the latest title, which has been rebranded to take out the calendar year and therefore make it a book that bookstores will want to keep on their shelves after December 31st. I took the responsibility of editing this book incredibly seriously. I consider this the culmination of my 11 years of erotica editing, both because this is a series with an avid readership, and because I hope it's one that women who may or may not read a lot of other erotica will pick up. I wanted it to be diverse in terms of sexuality, sexual orientation, sex between two people and more people, race, age and setting. To do that all within the word count I was given is a challenge; this book could easily have been twice the length, and out of the over 200 submissions I received, I had to make some very tough choices. But I did and I am so proud of the result and can't wait to share it with you.
Which brings me to...the book's official release date is January 12, 2016, but I will be buying 50 extra copies to send to those in the U.S. who are willing to review the book on Amazon.com. I will send those 50 people a free signed copy they'll receive by the end of 2015 in exchange for posting a review on Amazon by February 29, 2016. Sound good? Just fill in ALL FIELDS on this form (yes, I require you to have previously reviewed a book on Amazon so I know that all 50 copies are going to people who are eligible to review it there) and the first 50 people will get a copy. Not in the U.S.? I'll be sharing buying links for as many retailers as I can find. If I could afford to send books outside the U.S., I would, and if this book knocks it out of the park in terms of sales and brings in enough income, perhaps in the future I will be able to. If you're a blogger or journalist who wants to write about the book, send me your name, mailing address, blog or publication title and URL to rachelkramerbussel at gmail.com with "BWE" in the subject line and I'll have Cleis Press send you a copy.
A question I'm sure the writers out there want to know: am I editing any new titles? Right now, I don't have any calls for submission, but I hope to in the near future, and as soon as I do, I will be posting those. Should I be granted the honor of getting to edit another volume in this series, one thing I'm going to do is only open it to authors who weren't in this first volume, to make room for more voices. That's part of my mission as an editor, to widen the audience for writers who are starting out, just as the genre was opened to me when I wrote my first story, "Monica and Me."
Here's the thing, though: in order to make editing any new books worthwhile for me, I have to make sure the ones I do have coming out are successes. I used to not consider my output and pump out 6-8 anthologies per year, and the books suffered for that glut. Now, I'm working smarter and making sure my books are as excellent as I can make them and that I put the effort into making sure they reach a wide audience. That's more important to me right now than simply chasing the next anthology contract. So while I hope I will be editing more books, I'm focused on my current books because I want them to be read. One huge way to help my books succeed is to review them (anywhere is a help, and any kind of review goes a long way); this is my thank you and offering to 50 of you. You can also add it to your Goodreads want-to-read list, which is also very helpful in boosting the book's profile.
Here's the lineup for Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1. Few things make me happier as an editor than publishing authors I've never published before, and there are many of them in this volume!
Table of contents
A New Canvas Tara Betts
Demimonde Valerie Alexander
Ophelia the Second Jade A. Waters
Revisiting Youth J. Crichton and H. Keyes
Date Night D.R. Slaten
Flying Solo Rachel Kramer Bussel
Drawn by Nic Heidi Champa
The Ropes Elise King
Starstruck Lazuli Jones
The Altar of Lamented Toys Jessica Taylor
Matilda’s Secret L. Marie Adeline
Scents & Sexuality Doriana Chase
Alvin’s Night Elizabeth Coldwell
Enter Me Tabitha Rayne
The Wolf at His Door Deborah Castellano
Out of the Ordinary Rose P. Lethe
Lighting the Pyre Theda Hudson
Restitution Ria Restrepo
The Carnalarium Rose Caraway
Waiting to Pee Amy Butcher
Two Doms for Dinner Dorothy Freed
The Assistant Tiffany Reisz