An Erotica Pioneer Goes From Hero to Villain for Dozens of Writers
Under pressure from the authors, Blushing has offered more transparency, saying it is now offering monthly royalty payments, and since the first quarter of 2020, it has used an automated royalty tracking system to generate payments. has done.
A lawyer for Ms Wills said she believes “she has fulfilled her contractual duties to her writers and continues to do so” and “gets ahead of this small group of mischievous past writers and disgruntled past employees.” She wants to grow and channel her energy into it. Focusing on talented and passionate writers, she has been privileged to represent.”
The huge appetite for erotica, a nearly $1.5 billion industry, has created a feeding frenzy for new content among publishers. Romance sales exploded over the past 15 years, following the rise of e-books and self-publishing, and the commercial and cultural juggernaut “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which brought hard-core erotica from the fringes to the mainstream. Romance readers – most of them women – are voracious consumers who buy dozens of books a year. According to NPD Bookscan, romance accounts for about 20 percent of the total adult fiction market, attracting the largest audience of any genre. About 60,000 romance and erotica books were published in 2020, up from about 35,000 a decade ago, according to data from Bowker, which tracks publication trends.
On top of major companies such as Harlequin, Avon and Berkeley, which are owned by large multinational corporations, a group of smaller, independent romance publishers sometimes operate in a gray area between corporate publishers and Vanity Press, providing authors with charge for publishing their work. Freelance presses offer writers a small advance of four to five points, but a greater deduction in royalties, a portion of profits. Often, they attract writers, mostly women, who have little professional publishing experience and are not represented by lawyers or agents who can help them evaluate the contract.
“It is so easy to take advantage of writers who really want to get published, and there are more and more people to take advantage of,” said Mary Rasenberger, chief executive of the Authors Guild.
While there are horror stories about underpaid and exploited artists in every creative field, navigating the dynamics of the romance industry can be particularly difficult. Despite the rise of erotica, there is a long stigma attached to the genre, which is largely written by and for women, and is still sometimes dismissed as shameful or silly. Many romance writers publish under pen names and keep their professional and personal identities separate, and some write secretly for fear of writing about sex, and especially about women who enjoy sex. .
Ms Lapointe, 66, was disillusioned with blushing when she learned it had added clauses to her contracts without telling her. According to the contracts shared with The Times, the extras included claiming the rights to foreign editions, audiobooks, and film and television adaptations. Her royalty payments were uncertain—she said she sometimes made $3,000 a quarter, and at other times claimed blushing money owed the company for advances she didn’t make back in sales. She recently began self-publishing and is doing a lot on her own, but Blushing still owns the rights to 31 of her books.
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