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THE SEX FILES: Erotic Publisher Anna Sky discusses Sexy Little Pages

Sexy Little PagesStarting out as a web developer (and still managing a healthy portfolio of websites) Anna Sky is also the CEO/editor/publisher of the U.K. based erotica and erotic romance small press Sexy Little Pages. With the support of her partner, “the long-suffering Mr. Sky,” Anna began her publishing endeavor in 2015 and has since produced anthologies and single-author collections of very hot stuff indeed. I had the pleasure to speak to her from “across the pond” about erotic lit and where it is presently.

How and why does one start an erotica & erotic romance small press publishing house?

I started Sexy Little Pages as I saw that most erotica tends to be white, cis-gendered and heteronormative. There was relatively little mention of characters who didn’t meet the ‘norm’ unless used as a sidekick or plot device. As someone with CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), an invisible illness, I wanted to re-address the balance to be more reflective of people out there. If people see themselves in stories, they know they’re not the only one and can then be part of a shared experience. And it’s easy enough to complain about something, so I pulled out my finger and did it!

What is your definition of erotica, and erotic romance?

This is a really tricky question as erotica, erotic romance and romance itself is all on a spectrum. However, I think the easiest way to look at it is, if you take out the sex, what’s left of the story? If you can see a happily ever after or happy for now happening between the characters after the story ends, it’s romance. It’s by no means a perfect definition and I’m sure a lot of people will argue differently.

Are you a writer yourself? Editor? Fan…all three? None?

I started out writing for fun and sent off some short stories that were accepted for publication. My comfort zone when writing is very much on the shorter side and I think erotica lends itself very well to short form and I enjoy writing it. I’d still hesitate to call myself a ‘writer’ though and through the publishing, I’ve read over a million words in the genre now, so tend not to write very much as I don’t have the headspace for my own words.

I do some editing, but it’s more on a level of picking out typos, grammar suggestions, and consistency checking, so it’s relatively basic. I do enjoy it and plan to edit more anthologies in addition to the two I’ve already done, our “Inked” and “Silence is Golden” books.

As a fan and with my time and health limitations, my preferred reading is short stories. I LOVE multi-author anthologies, loosely based on a theme. I have ruined reading for pleasure for myself though, as I now read on several levels at the same time – I look at layout, in print, spot typos far more easily and clunky phrasing and too much passive tense drives me nuts.

Are you open to submissions all the time? And if so, give us some of your guidelines…or just some soft likes and dislikes of what you are looking for.

I do accept unsolicited submissions, but as I do everything myself: from contracts, royalty payments, formatting, marketing, etc., my waitlist is growing and I work on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis. My biggest indicators are (1) does it turn me on and (2) do I like the writing? That makes it subjective but I have to start somewhere.

Is there a trend in erotic lit that has been happening recently that you like…or don’t like?

I’m not personally a fan of billionaire fantasy, such as Fifty Shades; I think there’s much more interesting work out there for me. And I have issues with consent. Some of the best books I’ve read play with consent but it’s always there as a framework. One of the biggest sellers currently in the erotica market is even less consensual than 50 Shades and it’s the first time I’ve ever not finished a book AND thrown it in the bin. But that escapism is important to some readers and we’ve seen it right from the early days of Mills & Boon and if you look at Greek mythology, I guess it’s there too, so that storyline is as old as humanity.

My other bugbear is the trilogy/multi-part trend. I know that it’s a marketing device to make the first one free to pick up new readers and if the series genuinely needs to be a multi-part work, then so be it. But I’ve seen so many stories forced into too many words or broken into too many parts just for sales and marketing. It doesn’t do the writer, reader or industry any favors.

You offer your books in various formats, what is the percentage in this very digital downloading age that you still see your books selling in print versions?

A lot more people buy digital for sure, but I’m a bibliophile and don’t think you can beat holding a real book in your hands.

In deciphering your buying population, do you notice a larger percentage of books being bought by people of any country over any other?

The biggest market is definitely the US, followed by the UK but that’s a reflection of the English-reading, book-buying market as a whole and not a surprise. I do sell some copies in Europe and I’d love to know (but never will), the native language of those purchasers… are they Brits living in Germany, for example or are they German speaking hoping to improve their English erotic vocabulary?

What’s coming for the future of Sexy Little Pages?

I’m setting up Resonance Press, which I describe as the ‘non-fiction sibling’ of SLP. I want to make more sex-positive, body diverse literature available. and as always, there’s an open submission call and lots of anthologies planned. So give us a shot!

You can give Anna and SLP a look see (and a shot) here: https://www.sexylittlepages.com/.

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