Paper Bag Erotica

Calling all erotica authors –  sorry – writers of smut. There’s a new publisher afoot.

Paper Bag Press has just founded itself with a four page website seeking submissions. The money quote:

We are seeking new or established authors for exclusive publication. We want writers who can craft a short story with a strong plot that revolves around sexual experience. The stories are not necessarily romantic — the sex is the focus. If the characters are in luuurv, that’s fine, as long as the sex is hot.

There are three length categories we are seeking:

  * Weekenders — 10,000-15,000 words
  * One-nighters — 4,000-8,500 words
  * One-handers — 1,000-3,500 words

Wow. Use of “one handers” inspires me. Not to mention the “luuurv.” As Longmire knows, it’s all about the luuurv.

Then there’s this part:

Other than that, we are an equal opportunity smut peddler. We know that you are taking a chance on us since we are new. Because of this, we are offering a 5% royalty bonus for the first 25 stories that are accepted for publication. This offer will extend through September 30, 2008, or until we get our first 25 accepted stories.

5% royalty bonus on top of what? Am I the only one who looks at a site like this and thinks, “That’s it? You want to do business and you have a four page site with about zero business content? WHY should I do business with you?”

Between the one-handers and the smut peddling, were I a writer of erotica, this would not be my bag.

Thanks to Esri Rose for the link.


The Link-O-Lator

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Jessa Slade says:

    I have to admit, the one-hander part made me giggle.  I’m trying to imagine a “strong plot” in 1000 words…  Does that even cover foreplay?

  2. 2
    JaneyD says:

    Someone left a posting on Absolute Write on this!

    Hmm—the word in my image box is “perform69.”

    :dies laughing:

  3. 3
    Liz says:

    It’s also rather classic that they’ve got a checkbox to say that you’ve read the submission guidelines, but there are no submission guidelines (unless they’re talking about their rules on the main page.)

  4. 4

    I think someone is trying, and failing, to be the “funny, quirky” erotica house.

    Do not pass go.  Do not collect your 5% royalties.

  5. 5

    5% royalties?  Am I the only one saddened to think there’s likely someone out there dumb enough to fall for this?

  6. 6
    MoJo says:

    5% royalties?  Am I the only one saddened to think there’s likely someone out there dumb enough to fall for this?

    The way I read it was 5% bonus on top of whatever their regular royalty rate is, e.g., 35% (normal royalty rate) + 5% (bonus) = 40%.

    Problem is, they don’t list the normal royalty rate so you don’t know what that 5% extra means.

  7. 7

    Thank you so much for the post!

    I am Amy, who runs the Paper Bag Press show. Things have happened quickly, and I need to have a talk with Web Guy, to solve some problems.

    The one problem with the submissions form has been fixed. I shrieked at him about that this morning.

    The other problem I can fix right now, and hopefully Web Guy can fix this evening:

    Our standard royalty will be 30%.  The first 25 stories published will be paid at 35%.

    I am going to flesh out the About page and see if I can inspire more confidence in the wonderful erotica writers out there. Thanks so much for the criticism—I am taking the advice to heart.


  8. 8

    Aha.  Thanks for the clarification, Amy.  And good luck with Web Guy.[g]

  9. 9
    Madeleine Oh says:

    I’ve written for umpteen publishers, some very new, others well established but I would never do business with a publisher who won’t reveal where they are on the planet.  I want to know where to find them if I need to.
    There is no way, from the web site of knowing where they are.  This is one fo my personal red flags.

    What sort of serious business concealsl their location?

  10. 10
    KE says:

    Amy, since you asked, as a writer myself, I would want to know who the owners are, who the editors are, where you are located and/or some kind of contact info beyond an email.  It would be nice to know *why* you started the press and what your goals might be…even if they are somewhat vague.

    When is the opening date? Where else will you be selling the books…resellers? or only on your site?  I have also seen one or two epubs post a link to their contract so that writers can look it over and see what it’s all about. Or least give the basic terms of the agreement…length, percentages, royalty payment structure, that kind of thing.

    I’m always interested in finding out about new epubs. You never know which ones might ‘make it.’  I wish you luck!

  11. 11
    Chrocs says:

    If I was a writer, I’d write something about Amy and Web Guy…

  12. 12
    RfP says:

    Between the one-handers and the smut peddling, were I a writer of erotica, this would not be my bag.

    Why not?  I don’t see anything wrong with those phrases or the slightlyl brash tone.  It’s erotica.  Why not be up front about writing, publishing, and reading it?

    As a reader, I’d rather the publisher be up front.  That is, as long as long as the actual writing matches the claims.  If it’s yet another case of the marketing not matching the book, well, no thank you.

  13. 13
    rebyj says:

    the grumpy old lady part of me asks when will erotica get old? there are only so many ways part A can go into part B,C, or D.
    the avid reader in me wonders how much these stories are gonna cost LOL

  14. 14
    Madeleine Oh says:

    Rebyl: Erotica will get ‘old’ when humans get bored with sex

    Not sure we can claim Erotica is the oldest fiction genre, but I’d be willing to bet it’s pretty close,

  15. 15
    amy lane says:

    Uhm…well, that’s nice and all, but who’s willing to pay for a story that featured ‘In, out, repeat if necessary’ as a plot line?

  16. 16

    Uhm…well, that’s nice and all, but who’s willing to pay for a story that featured ‘In, out, repeat if necessary’ as a plot line?

    That’s not what erotica is about. That’s not even what sex is about, a lot of the time.

    You want a good sample of something good to try for free, go to Start with The Dinner Party and go from there. I’d pay more for that woman’s writing than for a lot of what’s big in romance these days.

    staff76? Not quite as apt as perform69, but…

  17. 17
    JaneyD says:

    Gentle readers, the posting on Absolute Write i mentioned above addresses some of your questions. The person behind it is located in Denver and has an e-business selling some very nifty hand-made soaps. I may order some! They look great!

    My take is they’re legit, just very inexperienced at publishing.

    Everyone has to start somewhere. Even Ellora’s Cave started at someone’s kitchen table. (Or maybe ON it!)

    This one may have started too soon. As noted on AW, it’s better to open a site when you have something to sell or at least some samples to display. It’s a newbie error.

    She’s not blowing her top in her replies—which is a good sign in my book, as she’s getting a beating from the general public.

    In the meantime, I’m looking at those cool soaps!

  18. 18
    black12 says:

    Well, looks like they accept incest stories, since they don’t mention them in their absolute No-Nos.

  19. 19

    Good heavens.

    No, we don’t accept stories about incest.  Nor necrophilia. Nor something else that someone will think of. That list will have to remain in draft form for a while, I think. Thanks for pointing it out.


  20. 20
    Deb Kinnard says:

    As I understand it, this is a call for submissions only, and not announcing any books for sale yet. I don’t think we should beat these people up about lack of output, ‘cause how do you open an e-pub for business before you have product?

  21. 21
    amy lane says:

    I was pretty snarky in my first reply—you all are right, we SHOULD encourage new endeavors in the publishing world.  (And I am the last person in a position to crap all over someone because they are not big…YET.)  I think the clarifications went a long way to making this publishing company more legit—but Goddess, do I hate word limits.  (Yes, Amy, shut up already…)  I’ve read a number of erotic short-shorts, and they always seem to leave me, uhm, unsatisfied.  Personal choice, I’m a-supposin’, and I wish Paper Bag all the best.

  22. 22

    As a writer of erotic romance (don’t do erotica, sorry!) I’d say the best of the genre is definitely not all about sex.
    Anyway, I’d need to know what publishing creds the owners have, how many people they have on staff, and do they realise that the usual rate for a starting point for royalties is 35%. Or is that just me? I doubt it.
    And most importantly, what kind of money they were going to put into promotion, or do they expect the author to do it all.

  23. 23
    Ms Manna says:

    Some day, I’m going to open an erotica e-pub, and my guidelines will read, ‘We will ONLY accept stories about necrophilia, bestiality, watersports and scat, rape and non-con, torture, incest, etc.’  And I will make my fortune from this under-served market :-)

  24. 24

    Manna, you would be the only person on the planet who could make those sound like fun :) (Well, you and Pam Nunn. Though I did read a necrophilia fic once which didn’t make me want to hurl.)

    spamword – top69. I think the software may be having a laugh.

  25. 25

    …and you won’t lack for subs, Manna. So you’ll have that going for you, which is nice ;)

  26. 26
    hosie says:

    Amy, I think you can probably winnow your list of stories you won’t accept down to “We will reject any submissions that involve sexual situations that are NOT between consenting adults. Human adults. Who are not related to each other by more than (insert whatever degree of separation you’re comfortable with). And no scat. Thank you.”

    Trying to present a comprehensive list of fetishes you won’t publish could get very tiresome. :-)

  27. 27

    Hosie, that writing sounds much better than my list. I do have a feeling, however, like I should be particularly clear at the outset about what I will and won’t accept, so as to avoid reading it, and to avoid wasting writers’ time wondering. Some things are against the law to possess, and I don’t want to see them at all. I appreciate that idea, however, and may use something similar in the future.


  28. 28

    Well, the website does look a bit prematurely launched, but my biggest problem with it is that 4 out of 4 couples depicted on it are straight, even though it’s not specifically a press for straight erotica. One couple is interracial, fine, but why no gays or lesbians or perhaps threesomes? The picture is not very likely to attract other than straight writers and readers, but perhaps that’s really the point…?

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