Harper Collins launching erotica for women, sniggering men-children

Speaking as one who largely operates outside the realm of publishing, this past week of book news has demonstrated one thing quite clearly: you all need to take a cold shower and calm the muck down (unrelated aside: a search of the rhyming dictionary for an appropriately assonant non-sweary potential pun turned up the phrase ‘icing the puck‘, which, if it isn’t already a euphemism in wide circulation, definitely should be. Tweet me your definitions).

Following on from Felice’s piece earlier in the week about the heavy-breathing success of 50 Shades of Grey – success that continued to swell in a totally not symbolic fashion yesterday with news that Century has paid a six figure sum for the rights to the entire trilogy – comes word that Harper Collins is launching Mischief, an e-book imprint devoted exclusively to the dissemination (pause for Beavis and Butthead snigger) of ‘erotica and erotic romance’.

It will enter the market as part of HC’s Avon imprint, gently at first, with the seductive come-on of 13 original titles on 27 March, but will increase the intensity of its thrusts into the public consciousness, adding four new releases month on month until it has achieved complete penetration of the field. The full experience of a novel will set readers back £3.99, but anyone just desperate for a release who’s low on cash can claim books of short stories and novellas for £1.99 apiece. It’s not quite the same, admittedly, but you’ll get some degree of satisfaction from it, and that should hold you over until you can afford the good stuff. I am definitely still talking about books here.

Mischief publisher Caroline Redding says of the current trend towards erotica: ‘The juggernaut of romance blended with the paranormal and the erotic is driven almost exclusively by female readers today… We’re publishing a pioneering major series right into the heart of this vast digital erotica and erotic romance market and its enormous global online constituency, with one of the freshest, most exciting and innovative lists in years.’

So, basically, ‘this is for women who spent the entire Twilight series hoping it would end with Jacob plunging his stake into Edward but were too scared to Google that kind of slash fiction’ (and for those of you who were previously unaware of this phenomenon, allow me to answer your most pressing questions: yes, yes and no, not even for curiosity’s sake.) Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s someone at the door: I ordered a pizza, and my TV needs fixing. I foresee an uneventful afternoon ahead.