“Sorry, sir,” she replied as nonchalantly as possible, hoping to make it clear she wasn’t sorry. Her nerves continued their skitter jangle, but now she was in her element. She knew how to force a man to earn her respect. – Excerpt from Enslaved by Shoshanna Evers

Once upon a time, in the early 1950s, an up-and-coming business known as Harlequin Enterprises decided to add medical romances to their publication list. The rest, as they say, is history. Over the years, Harlequin has become synonymous with sizzling paperback novels. Bliss on a budget has made them wildly popular among young and old generations. However, in recent years, things have begun to change for yesterday’s smut mongers.

Many writers became disenchanted with Harlequin’s treatment of their authors and began to branch out on their own, forsaking serial novels in favor of single publications in their own right. With this migration away from a major source for over half the romance novels published in the world came a whole new ballgame whose key players were a new style of indie authors trying to make it on their own.

Then, there came the introduction of the e-reader. Relatively inexpensive, lightweight, and portable, you could carry an entire library around in the palm of your hand to read whenever and wherever you went. Along with this convenience came the ability to keep your reading choices more private. People no longer had to worry about hiding the titles of books they would prefer that the world not know they had purchased.

Suddenly, people were free to explore new genres they would not have dared to purchase off a retail shelf and carry around with them to read on the subway or train home. With this newfound freedom came the realization for authors that they no longer had to beg for scraps at the doorstep of those big publishing houses. They could work with smaller publishers or self-publish whatever they chose to write, and there were throngs of people to read it. The publishing world became a close collaboration between readers and the authors who counted on them.

A new kind of romance novel emerged in the soft light glowing from every Nook and Kindle on the planet. The erotic e-book was born. These were not your mother’s Harlequin Romance Novels. You’d be hard-pressed to find Fabio anywhere in the pages of these sexy reads. While this type of literature became increasingly popular, one writer shoved it into overdrive.

Whether you love or hate the 50 Shades Trilogy, there is one thing that holds little doubt. E.L. James put modern erotica right in the face of the world, making it okay to admit that we love reading stories that would melt our mother’s secret vibrator. James pushed our inner goddesses out of the closet and allowed us to recognize our love of semi-pornographic reading material without shame.

Most writers in the erotica genre are brazen females blazing their paths to immortality. Most modern erotica is written by women for women. It features young, independent, successful, and sexually adventurous women in a way that appeals to readers everywhere. Fueled by the possibilities, many female authors have followed the path of self-publishing books, hoping their popularity will rise through the ranks and put them on the map. Others have turned to smaller publishing houses that have embraced this new genre of eroticature.

Authors like Shoshanna Evers are among the wildly popular authors who create hot sexual fantasies featuring strong, empowered women exploring their sensual sides. Evers is a multi-published author with numerous e-books and books in print. 

Evers was happy to share some of her story with Scandalous!, saying that she has been telling stories since she was a child, and it evolved into a natural love of writing them as she grew older. Having written her first novel at nineteen, an admittedly poor attempt at literature, she moved on to write a much-improved story, having learned from her first attempt. After numerous rejections from publishing houses, she gave up on getting published, but not on writing. She continued to write for herself for another ten years, storing her work away. It was her husband who suggested she make another attempt to get published.

“My husband read one of my erotic stories and said, “You should really send this to that publisher you’re always buying books from.” He was talking about Ellora’s Cave, so I sent out the book, and lo and behold they wanted it, and it got published! That was Punishing the Art Thief in late 2010. Then I was able to take some of the books I’d already written and revise them, and sell those. As always I kept writing, which is why I have about thirty novels, novellas, and anthologies out now, after three years of being a published author.”

Evers also shared some advice for writers who are new to the publishing world:

“Self-publishing and traditional publishing are very different ways of reaching the same goal: having your book in a reader’s hands. But one way is not superior to another, in my opinion. They’re just different. I’m very happy to have my toes in both waters. I will continue to publish both on my own and with publishers, depending on the project. It’s thrilling that we have that option today.

If you’re thinking about self-publishing, above all, respect your readers. Give them a book that is just as good, if not better, than any book in a bookstore. Have your book edited, revise it until it’s perfect, and make sure the cover and the formatting are professional. There are a lot of great how-to books out there on how to put out a professional self-published book.”

There appears to be no end to the soaring popularity of these wild-writing women and their tawdry tales of wicked romance. Whether you read it in private on your e-reader or buy a copy in print for the world to see, the beauty is that these pioneering women have brought a new type of literature to the front of the bookstore to stand proudly among the classics. 

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