I'm currently getting started on one trailer, for 4:Play -- A contemporary cocktail of erotic short stories. The title's pretty long, but that's what it's all about.
I learned more quickly with this book (than with my first book), that the mainstream fiction genres are highly "commercially categorized". 4:Play is GLBT/trans*/alternative-friendly (which means it's "Queer Fiction") -- there's sex/ual encounters between straight people (which means it's "General Erotica") -- I take some "structural risks" as put by one editor (which means it's not Mainstreamy enough) -- there's an incubus and succubus (which means there are Urban Fantasy elements) and basically, this erotic collection doesn't fit neatly into any category (as with my debut blog novel, lol).
I deliberately wanted to cross multiple genres. I don't believe that a book should be *only* about gay fiction, or *only* about urban fantasy, etc. I'm all for diversity and open-mindedness (however one wishes to define that!).
I queried about 30-35 literary agents at the time I sent this out (April/May 2009).
Here's one reply I received from a publisher of erotic fiction (Cleis Press):
Thanks so much for submitting to us. We have not yet published any single author's collection of short stories. While what your are writing sounds very fun indeed, we must decline as it falls outside of what we publish. I wish you all the best!
Here's one reply I received from an agency (International Transactions). They were very nice:
After careful consideration, we are going to pass on 4-Play. As a writer, you will certainly go places. As an agency, we are not quite the right match to represent you, as much as I enjoyed your work. Your scope and style are fresh and interesting. Keep writing. You are sure to find the right niche with the right editor.
Here's one reply I got about Tongue-Tied, which involves a lesbian succubus. I'd sent in a condensed version of it for inclusion in an anthology:
...Here's something you might try. End the story after about page 9 (the first encounter, when the succubus goes away and thinks about it) and send it out. Rework the ending to be more mysterious. For one thing, it's a bit long as is, and I think it is a complete story in the first 9 pages.
The section after page 9, I thought, was what made the story different. There was that soul-searching element -- I'll let readers decide whether or not that part should have been removed ^^.
An indie author is what I am for the moment, I guess :P
I don't bother with the "stigma" of self-publishing, which still exists among the literary community to some degree (though it's changing). I'd rather focus on writing something good and getting it out on the market. That's all.