I wrote a story. That is not an unusual thing in and of itself. I write a good number of stories, although it would probably behoove me to write a number of good stories instead. The idea came to me out of nowhere like they sometimes do and I cranked it out over a couple of hours. It's urban fantasy, but it has a fairly risque sex scene in it. It's not graphic or gratuitous (it's actually crucial to the plot) and believe me, I reined myself in, but I could see how it might make some readers uncomfortable. Hey, I'm okay with that. Writing should cause reactions in the reader. Unfortunately, I seem to be getting the wrong one.
The story has been rejected, numerous times. As per above - this is not an unusual thing in and of itself. I'm okay with the fact that as someone who writes for a hobby my three pro sales are dwarfed by the number of rejections I've garnered, and while I don't like being turned down any more than the next person I've learned to accept it as part of the game. Sometimes I write things that maybe aren't so good. I got over the delusion that it wasn't my writing but just needing to make the inner circle that was holding me back (for an excellent essay on that, read this by Scott Lynch: http://scott-lynch.livejournal.com/277060.html ). I can accept that a story simply isn't good enough. (What? Never!)
See, but that's the problem here. Of the reject slips this particular story has earned itself, over half have been of the personal type and borne praise such as 'well-written,' 'excellent writing,' 'interesting and a good read,' and so on. Nobody specifically mentioned that the sex squinked the story for them, so I'm left to wonder - is it the sex, or is it just that the story isn't good enough? Or perhaps I should peek behind Door #3 and ask if I'm submitting to the wrong market? Should I go back in with phaser set to SEXIFY and make it something that might (wait for it) find a fit in the erotic market? (Disclaimer: my wife/first reader made that suggestion after the first few rejections) This calls for research, to see if it's something that would be embraced by the romance genre (probably not) or only by the hard-core erotics, for which it might be too tame. All that takes is a little research. And if SOMEBODY has to go read so-called dirty stories, I suppose it can be me.