LitReactor student success story: new fiction in Lit Select food erotica anthology Love Slave: Sizzle
Few things make me happier than to hear that my students have enjoyed my classes, save for when they tell me that work they created in my class is now published, and that that came about because of me. It feels like coming full circle and a wonderful validation of all their hard work and the community that's formed in my LitReactor classes. So yesterday when writer LN Bey announced that their story "Just Desserts" was published in the new food erotica anthology Love Slave: Sizzle from publisher Lit Select, I was thrilled. In LN's words from a recent blog post:
This is a food-themed erotica collection; I wrote this story as an assignment in Rachel Kramer Bussel’s online erotica writing class via LitReactor and I’ve been saving it for just such an anthology. I am especially happy about the acceptance because I mentioned it in my last blog post as an example of how I sometimes enjoy playing with the tropes of erotica in my stories, and now I look much more knowledgable since the story will be in print (or online, anyway)!
It's also wonderful to see that Lit Select has several calls for submissions posted on such wide-ranging topics ranging from "what went wrong?" to sports to enchanted forests to second chances. When I say that erotica is a democratic genre always in need of new writers, this is precisely what I mean. You don't need to have studied it, in my classes or anywhere else. You don't need intense research, unless you're writing about some specific aspect of sex like rope bondage, in which you'd want to make sure you're being accurate. You really just need imagination and dedication. Of course, we go over lots more than that in my classes, but I want to shatter the myth that to get published you need to somehow work your way up. You need to write the best work you can and make it as unique and polished and exciting as you can, but that is something I truly believe more people are capable of than they realize. I think many new writers shy away from submitting their work because they are nervous about it, and I always tell them the worst that can happen is it gets rejected. My work has been rejected umpteen times, but that doesn't stop me from continuing to submit it. In fact, those rejections have served me especially well in the last four and a half years of working for myself, because rejection is something I face daily and I know that my livelihood depends on continuing to persevere on the projects I am proud of and believe are worthy. Believing in your work, being passionate enough about it to pursue it in the face of rejection, researching markets and finding the right fit, is part of being a writer, and those are values I try to instill in my students. Again, I never pressure anyone to submit their work, but I do encourage my LitReactor and other students to get used to the submission process because it's a wonderful feeling to have worked hard and been rewarded for that.
I've written before about why I put a focus on my erotica students submitting their work, and I stand by it. Of course, not everyone wants to send out their work, but I want them to know what markets are available and what the possibilities are. Especially if, like LN, they have a novel coming out, whether self-publishing, as in LN's case, or traditionally publishing, getting your work seen by an audience beforehand has a great impact in terms of name recognition. This is all the more so if you're talking about an anthology, where, I believe based on editing over 60 of them, the final product is far greater than the sum of its parts, because you have so many people's combined talent and creativity in one package. You will undoubtedly be tapping in to an audience that may overlap with yours but that will also be different, because the publisher and your fellow authors will have wider networks than you alone do.
I don't share every student victory here, but since this book is out now and I think food erotica is a fun theme and something I often teach, I wanted to share it. Also, there's an early bird discount for my next LitReactor class, which will run May 17-June 14 and will likely be my final one for the year as I focus on other projects; sign up by April 15th to take advantage of it. Those classes are limited to 16 people and it's likely to sell out, based on past experience. It'll be my seventh time teaching the class and, having just wrapped up my sixth, I'm looking forward to working with another dedicated, enthusiastic group.
If you prefer in person erotica writing workshops, my next one will be a three-hour class Friday, April 1st from 9:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in Chicago (actually, Rosemont, Illinois). It's being organized by the wonderful conference CatalystCon but you do not have to attend CatalystCon to take my workshop. Full details are at the CatalystCon site and you can register here. Hearing fellow students read their work aloud and having that space and time to focus on expanding your writing boundaries is a wonderful way to kickstart your writing and you should go home full of story starts and prompts that will keep you writing for a long time to come. Official details:
April 1, 2016, 9:15 am - 12:15 pm
Erotica 101 workshop, CatalystCon
In this three hour workshop Rachel Kramer Bussel, professional erotica author and editor of over 50 erotica anthologies, such as The Big Book of Orgasms, Cheeky Spanking Stories and Serving Him: Sexy Stories of Submission, will take you through the ins and outs of modern erotic writing. Learn how to get started, find your voice, and write against type. You’ll discover how to incorporate everyday scenarios as well as outlandish fantasies into your writing, and make them fit for particular magazines and anthologies. The class will also cover branding yourself as a writer, using and selecting a good pseudonym, and using social media to promote your work and do outreach. She’ll also talk about submitting your work and keeping up with the thriving erotica market, including anthologies, ebooks, magazines and websites. Please bring paper and writing implements or a laptop to use for in class writing exercises. A bibliography with erotica resources will be provided.
This class will take place on Friday, April 1, 2016 at the CatalystConhost hotel. You must purchase a ticket to this workshop separately from CatalystCon on the registration page and do not have to attend CatalystCon to take the workshop. $45/person.. Register here.
Hyatt Regency O'Hare, 9300 Bryn Mawr Avenue, Rosemont, IL 60018