By D.L. King (Guest Blogger)
I collect authors. When I find a good one, (or sometimes a good writing team, like Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child) I tend to read their entire backlist, everything I can get my hands on. In the recent past, I discovered Richelle Meade.
First, I read her Vampire Academy series—ate it like candy. I was absolutely astonished by her non-conformist plot lines and outcomes. Because, you see, the Vampire Academy books are really romances, but they’re unlike any romance I’ve come across. I can’t tell you why, in case you haven’t read them—wouldn’t want to spoil anything. And if you have read them, you know what I’m talking about.
Anyway, I finished the VA series and turned my eye to the Georgina Kincaid succubus series. I read all the available books and am currently awaiting the next book, due out next month. I’m also reading her Storm Born series and enjoying it very much. Now, why am I going off on such a tangent? Because of my newest anthology: I’m taking submissions now for an anthology of erotic succubus stories and the reason I’m doing a succubus book is directly related to my love for Richelle Mead’s succubus books.
I mean really, what lends itself better to erotica than a succubus? After all, this is a creature who has sex to live, right, a creature who steals her victims’ life force, if not their lives by fucking them. (Oh, but what a way to go, right boys?) I’m really looking forward to reading all the submissions. I’d like to follow the success of Carnal Machines with something equally as cool and I’m thinking this may just be it!
I thought you might like to know a little about the way I come up with a completed manuscript for a new anthology. (If you’re not interested in this part, just skip down to the last paragraph for upcoming release news…) When I get an idea for a new anthology, I run it by my publisher to see if they’re interested. Generally, that’s Cleis Press, although I did edit an anthology of spanking erotica for Logical Lust. If they like the idea, they send me a contract and I put out a call for submissions and wait for the stories to roll in.
I always wait until after the deadline to begin reading. I know some editors read as they get submissions and accept stories on a rolling basis, but I want to make my decisions from the whole—so I wait, sometimes quite impatiently. When I finally get the opportunity to begin reading, I do it with my trusty red gel pen. It isn’t that I’m a frustrated English teacher, but red shows up really well, and I need to see what I’ve done.
I actually edit the story as I read it through the first time. If it isn’t up to my standards within a page or two, I will put a “No” on it and move on to the next one. Sometimes, a story needs a lot of work but has so much potential I’m willing to put in the time. If that’s the case, I may work with the author to polish it. I might either put a “Maybe” on it or a “Yes.” Those are my three possibilities. Sometimes I write a note to myself on top of the story, to remind myself what I liked about it or the sexuality perspective; maybe a brief two sentences about the plot.
Unfortunately, I usually get more Yeses than I can use and so I never get to revisit the Maybes. I can only use 15 to 20 stories, depending on the length (my publisher has a very strict page limit) and sometimes some amazing stories don’t make it into a book. The decision process is always really hard.
I take all the Yeses and line them up in a grid on the floor and start putting them in order. When a story doesn’t seem to fit with the emerging theme of the book, I have to take it out. I keep doing that until I have the correct number of stories and then I begin putting them in the order I want them to appear. I stick numbers on them and keep moving them around to get the order just right.
I like to start off with something that will invite readers to continue with the book; something that sets the general tone and makes them want to keep reading. From there, I try to keep a flow going, letting the mood rise and fall from active to passive or sweet to dirty, finally ending with another strong story that will, hopefully, make the reader think, “Damn, that was a hell of a book,” or something to that effect.
All in all, it takes me about six months to put an anthology together from call to completed manuscript. I send it to the publisher and wait for the final decision and then notify the authors. There’s a little more to the process, but that’s it, in a nutshell. So now you know more than you ever wanted to know about D. L. King’s editing process… Like I said, you could have skipped down to the following paragraph.
The succubus book will be called Seductress: Succubi Erotica and is scheduled for a Halloween 2012 release. I know, it’s really far in the future. Don’t worry, I’ll remind everyone when we get a little closer! But before then, Daddy’s Little Girl: Butch/Femme Erotica will be coming out, although I’m not sure what the release date will be; this winter, maybe. There may also be a fem dom anthology in my future…
Bio: D. L. King spends an inordinate amount of time reading and writing smut in her New York City apartment and postage stamp sized garden. She is the editor of Carnal Machines: Steampunk Erotica, The Sweetest Kiss: Ravishing Vampire Erotica, Spank! and the Lambda Literary Award Finalist, Where the Girls Are: Urban Lesbian Erotica. She publishes and edits the erotica review site, Erotica Revealed, which has been referred to as the New York Times Book Review of Erotica. The author of dozens of short stories, her work can be found in various editions of Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica, The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica, among many others. She is the author of two novels of female domination and male submission, The Melinoe Project and The Art of Melinoe. Find out more at dlkingerotica.blogspot.com and dlkingerotica.com.