Today is Trans Day of Visibility—#TDOV—which is kind of a big deal in the Trans community, for obvious reasons. The flag on the post header is the Trans flag by the way, which a lot of people don’t recognize as they’re more used to the Rainbow flag of the Pride community, so perhaps you’ve learned some new sexual vexillology today.
Anyhow, there are far wiser people than I talking about the overall visibility thing and why it’s important. Instead I’ll talk about something I know at least a little bit about, which is written, commercial Erotica. First of all, it’s good that Amazon’s Kindle even has a section for LGBT erotica and even goes so far as to include a Transgender subcategory in the LGBT category. So give ‘em credit for that.
But what do we find in there? On a day when we’re talking about Transgender Visibility, it’s kind of sad to navigate to:
Kindle Store: Kindle eBooks : Literature & Fiction : Erotica : LGBT : Transgender
…and finding on the first ten pages or so a bunch of over-bundled story collections featuring swapping wives, ‘Too Big To Fit’, Older Men & Younger Women, and a whole ass-load of other grossly miscategorized work.
To find anything remotely like actual Transgender erotica, you have to choose the ‘Publication Date’ drop-down and start scrolling through there. Now you’ll find a lot of stuff there—Futanari stories, Transformation stories, Transvestite stories, Sissy stories—most of which loosely fall under the label Transgender category, though some are better fits than others.
I’ll admit I’m as guilty as anyone else as packing those types of stories into this category too, because, you know, I’m not running a charity here. I need food. My one story that features a reasonably realistic Transgender protagonist—Candy’s Halloween—is also my least successful work to date. So that sort of tells you what the market is after, and it’s not transgender points of view.
Not that Candy’s story delves into TG angst—it’s written about as light-hearted and sex positive as I could make it, with a lot of kinky and frankly ridiculous sexual situations.
Here’s the horribly sexist, stereotyping, and objectifying premise:
Candy is packing extra trick or treats in her panties–she’s a transgender freshman, spending her first year in the dorms. She loves getting together with Kelly, another woman like her. But she also longs for her first time with a natural-born female…
Sappho is Candy’s roommate. She’s a busty redhead and a self-proclaimed lesbian with a girlfriend named Jellybean. She finds Candy and Kelly to be perverted and disgusting…but she likes to watch. And perform experiments for her sexology class. Strictly for educational purposes, of course!
Yes the Lesbian is actually named Sappho, although there’s a reason behind that and it’s not what you’d expect. Yes, there’s a plot!
Even the ad campaign was terrible:
But to be fair, it was only my second book on Amazon and I barely knew what I was doing. I still don’t, but that’s all right.
Anyway, since this book is such a failure, I’m going to be cleaning it up a bit and using it as a my first freebie-promo offer in the near future–so follow me on Twitter, this blog, Facebook, or on my Amazon page for your chance to read it for free. I’ll also be changing the tagline from ‘transsexual’ to ‘transgender’ as neither Candy nor Kelly have actually had or are planning to have complete sex change operations–and neither keyword seems to have any commercial value at all.
Where are the Transgender Stock Photos?
One last point about Trans visibility—there are literally no stock photographs of Transpeople anywhere, in any of the stock photo sites that erotica and romance authors use to license photographs for their covers. Literally none.
Keep in mind most erotica authors make less money than gold farmers in WoW, so we can’t pay more than $1-$20 for a cover, depending on the source and if we use a freelance designer or not. So we can’tapproach well known photographers of TG erotica like Tara Emory or Matthew Terhune, and say, ‘Hey, I’d like a non-exclusive license to use your pic on a book and by the way, I can only pay $5 and it’s not worth my time making a contract, so forget I even asked.’
What these photographers should do is put some of their CLOTHED photographs on stock photo sites such as those on this list where they could be used. This is a great way to earn a tiny bit of supplemental income off of milder photographs. Seriously, if you search Transgender, Transsexual, etc. on those sites, you will ONLY find pictures of Gay Pride parades, if anything at all. And no offense to Pride Parades, but those photos don’t sell books.
So what do we do? We all use genetic females as cover models, as shown below. That’s Candy on the left, Kelly on the right. So much for visibility.
Ah well, back to work. I just finished a 13,000 word epic of Lesbian erotica set in Victorian England and with a cameo by Mr. Sherlock Holmes himself. Next up is UFO Sex, a femdom sci-fi epic! I also have two stories already lined up for release and available for pre-order: From Juan to Juanita, a story of sissy transformation, and Hot Water: Wet Lesbian Gold, which should need no explanation.