Friday, June 03, 2011

What The Oysters and Chocolate Editors Look for in Erotica

Thank you so much for having us on your blog, Roxanne!

We’d love to take this opportunity to write about erotica and what we look for as editors. We truly strive to publish the best stories out there. When we selected the twenty stories for our newest anthology Nice Girls, Naughty Sex, we read over 400 short stories; that means we sent out more than 380 rejections!

Writers often ask us why their story was cut. Here are the top five reasons why your story might have been passed up:

  1. Not enough sex! This is genre fiction after all. You wouldn’t publish a crime novel with no crime or a science fiction story with no scientific fiction, so it stands to reason that a sex story with no sex isn’t going to make the cut.

  2. Too many clichés. If you use the phrase “wave after wave of pleasure” to describe an orgasm, Jordan will scoot your story to the rejection list before you know it. While describing a cock that is “hard as steel” will have Samantha sighing and saying “next!” Other phrases to avoid include: “probed with his tongue,” “a juicy peach” (to describe a pussy), “her heaving bosom,” and “he plunged his rod into her aching cunt.” After reading thousands of erotica short stories, our tolerance level for cliché is terribly low.

  3. When the character’s dialogue reads like a porno play-by-play. For example: She said, “I’m hot baby. Hot for your cock in my ass!” He said, “Oh yeah, do you like it like that? Do you like it when I fill you like that?” She said, “Oh yeah mmmm. Yeah!” This story will be cut.

  4. Not enough soul. We don’t have anything against pornography or any smut that exists just for the sake of smut. But when we select erotica, it has to have soul. This means we actually want to care that the characters are having sex. What’s their motivation? What makes their relationship complex, (like in A.M. Hartnett’s “Name Your Price”), or romantic (like in Jeremy Edwards’ “Eastern Daylight Time”), or haunting (like in Sommer Marsden’s “A Technicality”), or healing (like in Sienna Conroy’s “For His Pleasure”)?

  5. Just doesn’t fit. Though your story will be well crafted, have a soul, and be filled with fresh language and exciting sex, sometimes it just doesn’t fit with the emerging theme or feel of the collection, or it may not fit with the flow of the anthology as a whole. Also within the anthology, the stories may follow a similar theme, but they can’t all be the same. When selecting for our first anthology (Oysters & Chocolate) we actually had to cut out two awesome stories from the final running because they both featured lesbian bathroom sex, and we already had a lesbian bathroom sex story selected. We saved one of those(“Phoenix” by Valerie Z. Lewis), and it’s now published in Nice Girls, Naughty Sex. We had no idea that so many lesbians were having sex in the women’s room! But when you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

Jordan LaRousse and Samantha Sade are the co-owners of They are authors of three sex advice books (Mastering Your Man from Head to Head, Penis Genius, and Clit-ology) and co-editors of two erotic anthologies (Oysters & Chocolate and Nice Girls, Naughty Sex).