The Erotic Market

- by Sasha White

Hi Everyone,

My name is Sasha White, and I’ve been writing erotic fiction for almost 6 years now.   I know, it’s not a long time compared to many authors, but it’s been a busy 6 years.  I’ve had over 7 novels, 3 novellas, and easily over a dozen short stories published in that time.  Oh, and I have 2 more novels coming out in 2008, and one more in 2009 that are already written.  

What can I say?  I was lucky enough to already be writing hot, and multi-published in the genre, when the ‘big’ houses caught the wave.  And what a wave it is…Erotica has definitely come out of the closet. 

Women aren’t shying away from their sexuality anymore. Instead, we’re embracing the power we have.  The strong innate sensuality that most women have inside them that has been crying to be let free of its restraints. 

For years adult entertainment was focused solely on the male point of view.  Then women started breaking that barrier. Playgirl was the start, and is still going strong, helping make it mainstream for women to openly enjoy the sight of a hot hard body… and to explore and express their own sexuality. 

Erotica has been around for years too.  But traditionally it’s leaned to quite a literary stance.  Berkley publishing house launched its first Erotica line in 2006 and it’s going strong.  Why is the Berkley HEAT line different from other erotic lines or the erotic romance ones that have been gaining so much popularity in the last while?

Because it’s combining two genres’, and one of them isn’t romance.  

HEAT is a mainstream erotica line. It’s stories are about women exploring and enjoying their sensual, sexual and downright primal side without the need for love and a happily ever after. 

That’s not to say that there isn’t a happily ever after in HEAT titles, just to say that they’re not always a HEA of the traditional man-woman-marriage sort.

Society is changing; women don’t always want love and a traditional happily ever after anymore.  We’ve become stronger and more focused on our own needs and desires instead of the women of my mother’s generation who thought any man was better than no man. And this new mentality is showcased in novels that contain an engaging story, and a plenty of hot sex for those of us that like to read about real honest and intense emotions.

There are critics out there who think just because the stories have a sexual focus that there is no emotion in them, or worse yet, no story.  I challenge those people to tell me that desire isn’t an emotion.  Or yearning.  What about excitement, anger and fear?  Those are emotions, and many of them are found in erotic stories.  And yes, love can also be found in many erotic stories.


The market for erotic novels and stories has ballooned in the last couple of years.  It’s gone beyond fringe magazines and small press.  New York Publishers like Berkley, Kensington, Avon, Bantam and St.Martin’s press are now releasing erotic fiction in multiple styles, lengths, and sub-genres.  And that means there are plenty of options for readers … and writers in the erotic market.   


Just a reminder that if you comment on this post, you’re eligible to win a FREE BOOK.  And, be sure to come back tomorrow because Liz Scheier, senior editor for Ballantine/Del Rey will be blogging.


  1. I was glad to find this new style of writing..the old Harlequin books just got to be a little too sappy and sweet..I don’t know anyone who’s romance was sweet and without some trouble..keep up the great work

  2. I’m am so glad to see this genre and romance novels create a sort of hybrid….I think it leads to a more complete experience for the reader…

  3. It’s refreshing to see something that was once considered “taboo” so readily accepted. It’s also very nice to be able to read stories where the bedroom door is open. :-)

  4. Great post, Sasha. It is always interesting to me to look at the the sociology of trends. What I find interesting, also, is that YA has grown just as much and that adults are reading it too. At Barnes and Noble last year, I purchased an Eden Bradley and Stephenie Meyer book in the same trip.

  5. Hi Sasha, thanks for speaking up so articulately for strong, sexy, independent women! I always enjoy your posts and your writing as they connect with the realilty/
    wish to be like the woman you share with readers.

  6. Hi Lee, Thank you for the comment. I can remember reading Harlequin books when I was young. A teenager when Blaze (their sexy line) first came out, and before I hit 20 I was into erotica. I’ve always liked that while the sex sometimes seems unrelistic, the relationships and lifestyles are more true to life than most traditional romances.

    Jenny, I agree 100%. When I think about what movies I like best, or what are mots popular, they all have aspects of many genres in them. Including sexual relationships and romance. The two do not always have to go togther, but they are certainly not exclusive of each other either. In my opinion, blending them adds more dimension to the characters, and the stories.

    Hi Marissa. Things are a changing aren’t they? *grin* I, too, love to see it.

  7. Hi Gwen! Thanks for dropping by. I admit, I don’t read YA, but I’ve heard buzz for several YA books that I just might end up trying out. I’ve also heard that the YA market is growing and changing a bit, which might be why these two genres are calling out to so many readers. Society is changing, people are changing, and it’s reflected in the markets.

    Hi Alison, Thank you so much for the compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  8. Love your blog about erotic writing. I am a big fan of erotic and/or erotica reads. And plus I review them also. i get lose in your stories. and i have My Prerogative and my TBR list. Keep up the good writing

  9. I just graduated to reading “erotica” and you were the first author I read. I love your stories and your characters. Both are so real and exciting. I have always loved to read, but now I really looove to read. I cannot wait for a the next Sasha White read.

  10. Hi Toni, If you love reading erotic, I love you! *grin* I hope you enjoy My Prerogative. as a bartender myself, Kelsey is special to me.

    Darlene! Thanks for coming by and commenting. I’m honored to be the first erotica author you read, and thrilled that you liked it enough to keep reading. And MY PREROGATIVE, my next release is coming soon! *happy dance*

  11. I know, I’m impatiently waiting!

  12. Sasha –
    Great post!! After many years of not writing I have found this genre is where I enjoy it the most and have caught some flack from other romance writers for my choice — but I’m sticking with it ;-)
    I will be looking for your books as I am an avid reader as well.
    Thanks for being insightful and informative.

  13. Laurie, don’t let anything other people say keep you from writing (or reading) what you enjoy! In my opinion, if y ou enjoy what you write, it shines through and draws more readers to the stories. It’s an energy thing, and I believe in it.

    As for ignoring what people say…I know it’s easier said than done, but stick with it, and find yourself some places/people that will support you. Start hanging out here, and on my personal blog. *wink*

  14. Hey Laurie,

    If you haven’t already, go to Yahoo! and get in on the Wicked Writers group. Talk about fun people and writers that encourage each other and provide fans with some fun conversations.

  15. Darlene! That’s a great idea. WW is the perfect place for those interested both reading and writing hot and sexy to hang out. You can find the Wicked Writers here:

    and yes, I am one of them ! *grin*

  16. Enjoyed readig the comments you wrote. I like to read these kinds of stories so was glad to hear about the Heat line of books.

  17. Sasha, nice post! Morgan Hawke defined erotic romance as a new genre of women’s adventure stories and I love that description. No matter what you call it, today’s erotic fiction delivers entertainment and a wide range of emotion.

  18. As a long time romance reader I am happy to see real women, who have sex, love it, don’t feel guilt over it and know what they want and what they won’t accept. It has been a long time coming and I love that the genre as a whole is being celebrated, written and ACCEPTED as a genuine genre within the romance community

  19. I’ve been a romance reader all my adult life and love how the erotic romance market has taken off. Keep em coming, I am totally hooked.

  20. I am totally hooked on erotic romances.
    I am looking forward to your next release.

  21. Hi Sasha,
    I’ve only been reading erotic romances for about two years and I’m hooked. I really loved “Bound” and “Wicked.”

  22. Hi Joye, I hope you enjoy the books.

    Charlene – That’s a great description! Thanks for sharing it.

    Joy, Cathy, Estella and Jane, this genre is being accepted because of readers like you. Thank you.

    Jane, I’m glad you enjoyed “Bound” and “Wicked”. I hope you enjoy my other stories as well.

  23. Hi Sasha,

    I’m alittle new to reading erotica, so checked out your site. I enjoy a good read, so looking forward to reading one of your books soon. You have alot of enticing titles going on.

  24. You know, I didn’t read romance for years. I had always read other genres and it truly never occurred to me to try a romance. I had this idea in my head that they were all the way that people had stereotyped them for years.

    Then I discovered erotic romance in April of 2006. I was stunned. Beyond the titillation factor, I felt that this was something real, something I could identify with, even when the situations may be better suited to my fantasy sex-life than my real life one.

    The women in these stories embraced their sexuality, owned it. They gave as good as they got. The heroes treated them like women, not young girls. The situations and the language felt real. Gone was the ‘purple prose’ I had always heard people joke about.

    These books do more than entertain me, they tell me that my own desires, my own needs are OK. They tell me that there are other women who share my ideas about sex and relationships.

    Apparently, it is alright to call it a c*ck. It is alright for a woman to talk dirty to her man. There is nothing wrong with asking your lover for what you want in bed.

    And ultimately, I will carry these new perspectives into my next relationship. I think I’ll be more open and feel like I’m on more equal footing with a man. I can be myself.

    If I want to try a little sensual spanking, there is nothing wrong with that. If I am into voyeurism or exhibitionism, that works too.

    I know I’m rambling a lot here, and I hope that made some sense. But this is what I like about reading erotic romance. Oh, I like that titillation factor too… *grin*

  25. I haven’t read any of your books but I just bought one of your books, I think its great that its not just men getting into the act, it also puts alittle spark into a marriage or a relationship that needs to get a bit hotter. Thats one of the reasons I wanted to read your book for some hot ideas. Thanks, will see how things go.

  26. I got into reading books labeled explicit really young and for the longest time kept my reading tastes in the closet so to speak. I’m happy the popularity of authors like yourself has allowed me to come out of the closet. I’m eager to see what other boundaries authors and publishers will be breaking down in the future.

    Sasha have you had anything you’ve written censored/edited by your editor/publisher?

  27. Hey Sasha!

    Great post! I give thanks for your “salicious imagination” almost daily! Erotic romance simply wouldn’t be the same without your talents!

  28. Great post Sasha! Love your books!

  29. Hi Dina,
    Welcome to the world of erotic fiction. I hope you found some interesting things on my website, including the EXTRAS page, where there is some free reads. *grin*

    Jennifer, you made perfect sense. And yes, the titillation faction is pretty good too, isn’t it?

    Carole, every now and then I get an email from a man who’s wife has read/does read my books, saying “Thank -you.” LOL I hope you , and your husband, enjoy reading them.

    Sue, I’m blessed with a couple of editors who pretty much give me free reign. I’ve never been told I couldn’t do something I wanted, or that something I wrote was too out there. OKay, once, I was told something was too out there, but it wasn’t an erotic/ sex it doesn’t count in this conversation . LOL

    Thank you, Laurie. *hug*

  30. Thanks, Amy, Glad you enjoyed it!!

  31. Yes I did saw that Sasha, I’ve had problems trying to read downloads though, so not sure ifI’ll be able too, but I’ll try later. :)

  32. Sasha:

    Thanks for standing up and allowing erotic romance to be counted. Some of my friends can’t relate to what I read, but Jennifer worded it so eloquently when she stated, that there’s nothing wrong with asking for what we want and being excited about seeing it in print.

  33. Sasha,

    I like both reading and writing erotic romance and think it’s awesome that there’s something out there for everyone, no matter what our reading tastes. I’m also one of your fans and enjoy your books. Great post.

  34. i do like erotic romance, so all the power to u and the other authors

  35. Had to stop by and check out the site. I hope you have a great day.

  36. Hi, Sasha. Nice new site for me to feed my addiction with. I read mainly erotica because I like the “real” interaction between the characters. I outgrew Harlequin many years ago and stumbled upon this part of the romance genre with an Ellora’s Cave book. Wow! What an eye opener!!!

  37. Hi Sasha, I just read your book Bound, and found it so enticing, where do you get your inspiration from, are any characters from your real life? Is there really men out there like this? If you know any let me know!

  38. So many people still checking this post out. I’m so happy to see the interest in the erotic market continue to grow.

    Joanne, I’m so glad you enjpyed BOUND. MY PREROGATIVE, my Sept release, is very similar to BOUND. WHile all of my stories tend to have a good edge to them, and I strive to keep things real, MP is also first person, like BOUND. I get inspiration from people and real life. Which is maybe why I am often told my characters are so real. I’ve been a waitress/bartender for 20 years, and I’ve traveled all over the world, I’ve met alot of people, and I love talking to them…what I see and hear usually finds it’s way into my characters/stories.

    As for men like Joe, they are out ther, unfortunately, the ones like him I’ve met, are often already taken. LOL Good Luck finding your “Joe”

  39. Hi Sasha, finally in B&H we have a female erotic novelist and the first erotic novel called ‘Borim se sa strastima’ (‘Fighting against my passions’) by Sanela Dizdarevic. It’s the most provocative stuff I’ve ever read! It’s a shame that the West is not able to read it, since it’s written in Bosnian and there is no translation yet. In my country it’s very unusual when a girl says something that has to do with sex. Therefore, she has to have the guts to actually write the whole book about it. I would like to congratulate each and every woman who write erotic stories and novels on their bravery!