Print vs. E

Today I'm unveiling the cover of Secrets Volume 24: Surrender to Seduction, available July '08, in which my novella, "Hot on Her Heels" appears. So I was going to write a gushy blog about how much I love the Secrets covers - so sensual, so enticing. And then I got to thinking, the last time I posted a new cover it was for my story for eRed Sage, "Sex and the Single Pearl," another fabulous cover designed by one of my antho-mates in Volume 24, Rae Monet. That led me to ponder the differences between a story in hard copy, like Secrets, and a story available online and whether or not authors write differently with the different methods of delivery in mind.

For me, the answer is YES. After selling two novellas to Red Sage for their Secrets volumes, once I discovered Red Sage was launching e-books, I really wanted to join the fun. So I set out to write a couple of stories for eRed Sage and sold both of them, Sex and the Single Pearl, due in August, and Aphrodite's Fire, due in the fall. I think the single biggest difference between my Secrets novellas and my e-stories is length. Although eRed Sage is publishing all lengths, I prefer to download something short. And once I decided to write shorter, that changed other aspects of the story. The sexual chemistry and actual sexual encounters had to occur almost immediately. Character motivations and backgrounds had to be revealed succintly. The number of sexual encounters had to be reduced as well. So that means I concentrated on making the sex scenes hotter - giving readers more bang for their buck (all puns intended).

So I'm curious to find out whether or not writers approach an e-story differently than they would approach a story that will appear on the printed page, or is it all about the length? Also, do you find you write hotter in e-books? Let's face it. I think one of the reasons why erotic romance does so well as e-books is that it's much more comfortable for women to buy their erotica in the privacy of their own homes. I still remember nonchalantly putting Anne Rice's Beauty series of erotica on the counter in a bookstore in New York, hoping nobody would see me!


Liane Gentry Skye said...

Thanks for posting on this. I've always had issues with writing "short" last attempt is currently sitting at 37,000 words and growing.

Congrats on the new sale!

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Good morning, Carol. This was very interesting. I guess I do the same thing as you do without even realizing it. What I like about knowing I'm writing an e-story is I don't have to worry if the story will be enough to fit 50-75k. I can just write the story as it comes without thinking I have to be at 30k by this point in the story or it won't be long enough.

Since writing my first shorter story, I have found that I write tighter and that it's actually a little harder for me to reach the longer lengths. But I'm okay with that at the moment. :)

Love that cover--hope you have many sales, whether they be in the romance section or the Lit section. LOL

Terry Spear/Terry Lee Wilde said...

Congrats on the sales! I've written for print and the novel was turned into an epub. Most of the epubs I write for also put my stories into print. So for me, there's no difference. I write the story and hope that by having it in both formats, it'll be available to more fans. :) Great question!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this article Carol. For some reason, I've never wanted to write short, but I may just have to try it.

I find most New York authors don't recommend going e-pub because they say there's no money in it. I've been in a pro-class boot camp all week, and that author doesn't recommend it either.


Donna Marie Rogers said...

Hi Carol,

I have trouble writing longer erotic stories. I do prefer a short erotic romance, both reading and writing them. ;-) And yes, my Liza James titles are obviously hotter than my Donna Marie Rogers titles (LOL), but my contemporary western novella coming out with TWRP is borderline erotic. :-)

Love your cover!

~Donna Kowalczyk

Anonymous said...

That's an interesting perspective, Carol. BTW, LOVE the cover. Love the guy on the cover. I think he's the same guy as on our Vol. 21 cover. He's doing great work for Red Sage! May he continue to reign.

The girl's good, too, LOL.

I haven't written an ebook as Kate St. James yet, but I intend to, and, yes, I would intend them to be shorter than my Secrets novellas, but it never occurred to me to make them shorter *because* they are ebooks. I'm published in ebook and print in my other life as well, and those novels are short contemporaries, so nearly double the length of my Secrets novellas. However, you make a very good point about shorter downloads being easier to read on screen. I tend to print out the ebooks I purchase, but you can't do that if the publisher uses certain technologies. For ebooks that are intended not to be printed out, I do think length would make a difference. At least it would for me as a reader.


Nicole North said...

Congratulations on your latest sale!! This is a great cover too!

Mia Varano said...

Liane, 37,000 word is NOT short - LOL.

Stacey, I'm with you. The shorter I write, the tighter the writing. Every word really has to count.

Terry, yeah, I thought of that when I was writing the blog. Some e-stories become print and some print become e. In that case, there's no difference.

Donna, I prefer shorter erotica too. I have to admit, I've never read an erotic romance NOVEL. I have a few that I must read just to see how the eroticism is sustained for 80,000 words!

Kate, there's a girl on the cover??? LOL

Thanks, Nicole. Don't you just love those Secrets covers? So classy.

Mia Varano said...

Sandy, I think not writing for electronic publishing is a little short-sighted. As for the money issue, maybe that's why I tend to write shorter for e. Onlne is currently the best option for a short story. Most anthologies, including Secrets, contain novellas of about 30,000 words. I like writing short, and I like that there's currently a home for short stories, especially erotic short stories, online. Not many print publishers publish volumes of short stories. It's a great opportunity to find "homes" for your projects. (And the turnaround compared to print is awesome!)

ShawnaMoore said...

Hi, Mia!

To date, my stories have been available mainly in e-format, but that hasn't changed the content or my approach. I write the same for e-format as I would for print. Of course, I love writing really hot and also really tame (but only have one short story pubbed under another pen name there). You make an excellent point about sexual encounters, conflict, motivations, etc. when writing shorter, though. Everything has to get out of the gate faster. Congratulations on your success with Red Sage in print and your upcoming e-stories :) I've always enjoyed the Secrets anthos :)

Best wishes always,


Unknown said...

The cover looks great!
When I write, I write the best book I can, no matter where the story may eventually be published. E-books are part of the publishing business, providing more opportunities for authors. For me, e-books provided a market for my traditional Regency romance, "Lady's Wager", that did not really exist anywhere else.

Wendi said...

This is a great topic Carol. I'll bet we could discuss this for a week.
I have one erotic novel coming out this year and two erotic short stories. It was extremely hard for me to sustain the heat for 80k words in the novel, and my biggest fear is that the reviewers are going to tell me I didn't pull it off. :) But the short stories open up a whole new can of worms. The two that I currently have contracted are very short. 7k and 10k. I like to say they're plot-lite. :) The elements in the story all have to be very succinct because readers buy erotica for the hot sex scenes, and they want more than one. 30-40k is a fantastic length because it does force you to tighten your writing, but you can still delve into a rich plot, fully develop the characters and offer a few unhurried sex scenes. I love that length.
On the e-publishing, I didn't submit to e-pubs for a long time, but when I did I discovered how much more freedom I have. I can write any length I want. And in some ways, I can explore my creativity a little more. Ideally, I'd like to be published through a large publishing house and small ones. I'm actively pursuing both.

Wendi Darlin

Natasha Moore said...

Isn't that a beautiful cover, Mia? Of course, as the first Secrets cover with my name on it, it's all the more beautiful :)

I don't think I set out to write differently whether the story will end up being an e-book or in print. In fact, I often don't know when I start a story where it will end up. Length does have something to do with how I pace a story, however, and I love to write short, hot stories.

Great post!