Saturday, 30 November 2013

Guest Post - How to Juggle an Erotica-Writing Granny with Smelly Trolls



How to Juggle an Erotica-Writing Granny with Smelly Trolls
Rosen Trevithick discusses writing for both children and adults

I began my career as a writer for grown ups with some cheeky adult humour, but two years in, I decided to also write books for children. When the blurb of my latest adult story needed to contain the phrase ‘butt plug’, I began to appreciate the need to carefully manage my market.

My books for adults often have mature themes, for example my latest novella, My Granny Writes Erotica, is a comedy that deals with a sixty-five year old woman’s cluelessness when she comes face to face with a variety of sex toys in her efforts to make a quick buck selling erotic fiction. ‘Mummy, what’s a nipple clamp?’ is not a question I wish to inspire. Other topics in my adult fiction include suicide and serious mental illness. So it’s fair to say that a child reading one of my books intended for adults would be a bad thing to happen.

My first thought was to choose a different pen name for my children’s books – something similar to Rosen Trevithick, like Rosie Tree for example. That way adults might draw the connection but children wouldn’t be taken straight from one to the other. However, I had already established a reputation as Rosen and feared that my books for children would lose that benefit if I added an extra level of reasoning to make the connection.

David Walliams wrote incredibly adult sketches for Little Britain and then released books for children under the same name. Roald Dahl, Nick Spalding, Lynda Wilcox … the list of writers who use the same name for both audience is endless.

I realised I would have to take other measures to ensure that my child readers, typically aged six to ten, were not exposed to adult material.

The first thing I did was edit the blurbs for my adult books, to include a brief note highlighting the fact that they are aimed at adults. Having spent considerable time tidying up blurbs for Indie Book Bargains, I know that some authors feel the need to make statements like ‘WARNING: CONTAINS MATERIAL UNSUITABLE FOR UNDER 18s’ at the very beginning of their blurb, before the synopsis. In my personal opinion, such declarations look unprofessional and should be avoided. If your cover and blurb don’t tell potential readers who your book is for, then you’re doing something wrong. Having said that, there’s no harm reiterating your message for the benefit of buyers who merely skim synopses, but keep it modest.

My next step was to create a new website for my child readers. www.SmellyTrolls.co.uk doesn’t contain any new content as such, but provides a filtered view of my general blog, www.RosenTrevithick.co.uk with the content for adults removed. Also, my Facebook page contains a note directing children to the dedicated website.

Katie W. Stewart illustrates my children’s books. Even though she is talented at a variety of styles including covers for adult books, I decided not to work with her on my books for adults, to further the distinction.

I have two different cover styles. My typical cover for adults has a white background with a wispy design, a photograph and my pen name written in calligraphy. Whereas my typical cover for kids has a bright coloured background, an illustration and my pen name written in a handwriting font. This distinguishes them at first glance.

My final point on marketing is that, whilst I’ve taken precautions to separate my children’s books from my catalogue for adults wherever possible, it’s the parents’ responsibility to make sure that children aren’t browsing the internet unsupervised. I recommend that parents read webpages before loading them for their children and turn off shopping facilities when children are using eReaders.

Today I have launched three new books: Seesaw - Volume II, Trolls on Ice and The First Trollogy. I’m hoping that the steps I’ve taken to brand my books appropriately will help readers easily distinguish the short story collection for adults from the two Smelly Troll books for children.

I interspersed writing the short stories for adults with writing troll chapter books. Switching between styles did cause a few problems, the biggest being that trolls say ‘yarb’ instead of ‘yes’. It can sap all the punch from a serious drama if a man slowly approaches his friend, puts a hand on her arms and breathes, “You’re thinking about dying again, aren’t you?” if the sister replies, “Yarb.”

In summary, the process of writing for two different audiences has been fairly painless, but provided a new challenge when it came to marketing. However, the steps I’ve taken to separate my material have almost certainly been lighter work than setting up a new identity and having to re-establish myself from the beginning.

 You can buy Rosen's three new books now from Amazon:

6 comments:

  1. I really enjoy reading Rosen's books. I do not profess to be a writing critic but I love her style. I find Rosen's book just naturally funny, if that makes sense. No pretension, just humorous, I often find myself just chuckling as I read. My daughter, Isobel, has just striated reading the Troll Trap and loves it. My only concern is how I am going to answer her English teacher's question, at the next parent/teacher consultation, as to why she has started saying Yarb instead of Yes! Any ideas...?! :)

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    1. Say it with a posh accent :-)

      Agreed on Rosen's books, I've read a few now and I've enjoyed all of them, especially the smelly trolls series. Although My Granny Writes Erotica is my favourite story so far.

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    2. Sounds like a plan... :) Half way through My Granny Writes Erotica, but my daughter keeps stealing my iPad, that's why I need to win the Kindle. Nice harp picture!!

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    3. Heh - the perils of one to many at wedding :-)

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