I've received a few email requests for erotic content similar to 50 Shades of Grey [GR | A | BN | S | K | ARe] and a few bazillion Google searches for '50 shades synopsis' and '50 shades review' and, my personal favorite, '50 shades free download.' Heh. Good luck with that last one.
This week at Kirkus I talked about the erotic romance that might appeal to those who enjoyed 50 Shades of Grey, from titles with BDSM to explicit sex (and strong heroines, hooray!) and shorter works of erotic fiction. People are still reading and finishing the book, and a few are looking for something like it.
The problem is, it can be difficult to figure out what it was about a book that contained so many major romance and erotica tropes that you liked specifically so you can go find more of it. Was it the BDSM? Was it the first person POV? Was it the sexual tension? It's probably a different answer for each reader. There are several great recommendation threads, including one at DearAuthor, but one email this past week caught my attention:
“I really liked 50 Shades, though I know you didn't, and I wanted to read more like it. But to be honest, I got tired of how long the book was – it went on forever! I know there are erotic novellas – can you recommend some for me?”
Erotic novellas – good idea. Let's build that. Short of time commitment, but long of story and depth.
Writing novellas is not easy – there has to be enough character depth to make the story seem both complete and yet served by the short format. When I read a novella, I want to feel as if I've read a complete story, not an introduction or an epilogue, and I want to experience the characters as vividly as I would in a full length novel. No small order, I know.
Some of the best erotic novellas I've read include Anne Calhoun's What She Needs (Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Sony | Kobo HQN | ARe), which was a Sizzling Book Club selection two summers ago. I also liked A Gentleman Seduced, a 2009 novella by Sharon Page (Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Sony | Kobo | All Romance eBooks), but at $5-$6.50, I rarely discuss or recommend it. That's too much money for the length of the book. Lorelei James, who I also mentioned at Kirkus, has novellas in her Rough Riders series, though they are extentions of prior books, or scenes involving characters that readers may already know.
There are novellas that feature sexual scenes, but I think this reader is looking for erotic novellas specifically. What do you recommend?