Fifty Shades Of Vanilla
Back in 2011, E L James’ first novel ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ had housewives in supermarket aisles, in search of something wank-worthy, satiated and wanting more in equal measure. The unexpected success of the book changed perceptions on self-publishing. Suddenly, an unknown author was raking in a fortune using a method perceived by the traditional publishing world as pissing into the wind. Of course, that sparked a new tide of titles in the same genre: the profitable-porn bandwagon was well and truly rolling.
However, another writer was already casting her beady eye over a different hole that needed filling. Virginia Wade (her pen name), a stay-at-home mum from Colorado, had always wanted to be a writer, but it wasn’t until her eldest daughter was graduating from high school that she found success. She had written erotic fiction previously: both her titles ‘Jennifer’s Anal Seduction’ and ‘Stacy and the Boys’ performed well in erotic fiction charts, enticing her into what she recognized was a profitable market.
Paving The Way For Bigfoot
Wade was one step ahead of her counterparts, however, when she came up with the idea for ‘Cum For Bigfoot’: a teen-horror tale laced with inter-species porn, involving a hairy protagonist fond of hand-jobs. The novel proved to be a best-seller in the genre of ‘Monster Porn’ (less of a mouthful than ‘cryptozoological erotica), leading the author to develop a series of sixteen books following the continued story of the Bigfoots and their sexual encounters with humans. She decided that if indeed the market was there, she was sure as hell going to write for it – and write for it she did: “From within the tufts of matted hair, the creature released a huge pale cock that defied logic.”
Such was Wade’s workload in coping with the demand, she had to employ members of her family to help whilst she churned out the books: her English teacher father edited the stories and her mother translated them into other languages. It was her family that benefitted too, with profits from Cum For Bigfoot paying for her daughter’s college education. Wade’s recognition of the need for this sub-genre of erotica, following on from the explosion of Fifty Shades of Grey’s success, proved to be more lucrative than she could ever imagine. During an interview, she revealed to Business Insider magazine that ‘Cum For Bigfoot’ regularly netted her $30,000 per month publishing with Amazon Kindle. Yet it was Amazon that was to prove a sudden and unimagined obstacle that would put a temporary halt to her writing success. The online magazine The Kernel published a piece about the huge volume of porn available on Amazon: books that openly included tales of incest, child abuse, graphic bestiality and rape fantasy. The subsequent furore lead to Amazon withdrawing more than half of Wade’s titles from the site and other e-book websites followed suit. Of course, it could be argued that erotica involving fantasy creatures is harmless and merely an escape for readers. It allows them to separate their fantasies cleanly from reality whilst exploring the darkest corners of their psyche, but without putting themselves at risk of infections or harm from other people in the ‘real’ world of extreme sexual exploration. This kind of sexual fantasy can only remain on a ‘mental’ level as the participants simply don’t exist.
What’s In A Word?
Amazon weren’t seeing it that way, however. Cue the savvy author renaming her successful series – the launch of the new name ‘Moan For Bigfoot’ saw her bigfoot-banging titles filtering back onto the online giant’s pages. Even though only found with a specific search for the novel title, the series would safely remain on Amazon. As with regular online pornography, sheer volume and availability make it almost impossible to regulate access to titles such as these.
Is this sub-genre of erotica really that strange? Some writing critics studying the genre draw parallels with Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the tale of King Kong, detailing a sexual subtext within both stories. Whatever the reasoning, there are no real limits when including explicit language and niche sexual content in erotic fiction, particularly in the world of self-publishing. Virginia Wade is living proof that as long as there are readers out there wanting to turn the pages of a monstrous fuck-fest, there will be numerous writers happy to deliver not just one, but a whole series. It’s simply a case of supply and demand.