Eroticon 2014 Report: Write Sex Right Erotic Writing Conference
Report of the Eroticon 2014 Write Sex Right Erotic Writing Conference by Cara Sutra
It was with some trepidation that I opened my eyes far too early on Friday morning. 4am, to be precise. I was afraid of missing my alarm. My deranged mind decided to wake me approximately every twenty minutes until my chosen waking time actually rolled around.
Probably not the most sensual start to a weekend at an erotic writing conference, but there it is. I’ve attended several adult industry events now, but Eroticon 2014 is, was and always will be slightly different. Something of a bridge between trade and community, I have a foot in both worlds – and my nose firmly between the pages of an erotic book in between, just don’t think about where that leaves my ass – so Eroticon has been on my to-do list for some time.
The nerves came not from attending the event itself, but the sessions I had somewhat madly agreed to do just prior to Christmas last year. With months in which to write, plan and fully prepare the talks, I of course left them until a week before. Fortunately I felt very comfortable with my chosen subjects: Professional Copywriting in an Adult Arena, and The Management and Monetisation of Masturbation (ie, sex toy reviews).
Swallowing the nerves with the first coffee of the day, then facing the fear and getting up anyway, I prepared to leave my home in Lincolnshire UK and make my way along with minnie to Bristol where Eroticon 2014 was taking place. Along the way I had a delightful surprise in store (no, not the frequent coffee stops) when Hella Rude got in touch and suggested I visit her for a tea and a chat. I hadn’t realised Bath was so close to Bristol. Now, if only I could combine the visit to Hella on Friday afternoon with something else – get the most value out of my trip.
What else is there to do in Bath?
Lovehoney. As if you really needed telling!
After a quick email to Lucy, Cazz and the team a meet up was arranged. It was Hella’s for 2pm, Lovehoney for half three. All this before the Eroticon 2014 event even started. What a ram-packed schedule! As it happened Hella was able to come with me to Lovehoney so we enjoyed taking a wander around. It’s familiar territory for Hella of course but even so she did put some clothes on before her visit.
Poor minnie’s eyes almost popped out when she’d answered her door in her underwear. Kudos. If I looked half as stunning I would walk around in my undies too!
After Lovehoney, Hella and I made our way back to my hotel room where we got ready for the Eroticon 2014 meet and greet that evening at the Radisson Blu, Bristol. With two Dommes in the hotel room with him undressing and dressing up, doing hair and make up, and discussing sex, fetish, submissives and everything in between, you could tell minnie was really regretting this trip. 😉
Once ready we headed out for dinner at the Bristol wharf then slipped into the Radisson Blu fashionably late. We spent a great deal of time talking to the gentlemanly Dale Bradford, editor of ETO Magazine (oh and publisher Lee Schofield was there too 😉 ). A veritable gang of sex bloggers were crammed into the space we’d taken over in the Radisson lounge area, with stragglers spilling out into the bar area. I didn’t get much of a chance to talk in depth to people on Friday night as most seemed more comfortable talking to those in their own ‘clique’ – and I missed the presence of the erotic writers from the group, although I later learned that they’d been off having a wonderful meal and lost track of the time!
People I did receive a warm welcome from included the ever suave DomSigns and the incomparable Molly from MollysDailyKiss, as well as the effervescent RebelsNotes (I am going to run out of adjectives by the end of this post) and the stunning should-be-a-model SexwithRose. That was SOME dress.
Friday night saw me making an unusually sensible early(ish) journey back to the hotel for talk preparation and sleep before the start of Eroticon 2014.
On Saturday morning the nerves had returned somewhat but a read through of my notes had me prepared. After a hearty breakfast we travelled to the event at Armada House and caught up with Ruby (Ruby Kiddell, event organiser) and Molly Moore on the reception table. Not ON it. Manning it. Womanning it. You have to be careful what you say around here!
Receiving our lanyards we swapped ours out for my branded ones (ooh-er very swish m’lady) and we also picked up our complimentary goody bags along with a cute paddle – the ‘business card’ of Renee Rose.
A quick coffee from the refreshments room and a glance around to exchange rushed hellos with sponsors and trade friends, including Kerri from LELO and the wonderful Lily Harlem as well as the uber talented Janine Ashbless, then it was a hurried move to the larger conference room for the introduction by Ruby and the first session – about censorship in erotic writing.
In a blur of information and notes the first sessions passed all too quickly, with the second I attended given by Emily Dubberly and Mia More from Cliterati. This one was about talking to the press and it was very interesting – especially in light of my recent post. Some fantastic points were raised and one of the good examples held up was Girl on the Net – who everyone was delighted and astonished to learn only after the session was actually in attendance!
My first talk came next – about professional copywriting in the adult industry. The room was quite busy – it seemed this was a popular topic. The session passed smoothly and I didn’t make too much of an ass of myself, and the questions afterwards were well thought out and I was able to answer them. Phew. My hearing did let me down quite a lot (I have a high frequency deafness) but people were very patient in having to repeat themselves for me. Sorry!
Over the course of the day we enjoyed a lovely lunch, I talked at length to my good friend Nigel from Give Lube, then listened to sessions about photography by Molly and traffic building strategies by DomSigns and Ruby Goodnight. The sessions were interesting and lively and I enjoyed getting involved asking questions and contributing – as well as listening to other peoples’ takes on the subjects.
On quite a high from the day, minnie and I went back to the hotel and started to get ready for the cocktail party that evening. It was set to be quite the ‘do’ – at the Elephant Bar in Bristol with a private room booked. Sponsored by Velvet Books it was also the launch do for ‘Southbank Seduction’, the Eroticon 2013 erotica anthology.
Dressed in black with heels made for stalking I entered the bar and was able to enjoy in-depth, fab catch-up chats with Leigh from We-Vibe, Dale from ETO Magazine, Will from Doxy Massager and Joe from Belle de Soir. I also spoke to Mia More and Emily Dubberley about various girl things (!) then headed upstairs to join the rest of the crew.
It was brilliant to finally connect with Ruby Kiddell as well as meeting some lovely sex bloggers and writers including Emma Whispers, Innocent Loverboy and Jilly Boyd. Upon turning around, who did I see but a table of erotic authors: the incredibly talented Lucy Felthouse along with the fantastic Blisse team – Victoria and Kev who of course are arranging all the ‘Smut’ events including Smut by the Sea which I am looking forward to attending.
I’d already had some snuggles with Kay Jaybee earlier in the day but it was great to catch up again, and of course it’s always a pleasure to see KD Grace and Zak Jane Keir.
Conversations flowed and so did the wine… it must have done because I found myself volunteering to experience one of DomSign’s now infamous misery sticks. A slender stick, it’s simply forced backwards and allowed to snap back painfully on the skin. It wasn’t as harsh as I’d been expecting, but it did leave immediate marks. The bruises are still on my arm three days later, which quite amuses me.
At some point during the evening I was cornered by Girl on the Net. By which I obviously mean I started bouncing around excitedly about meeting her again after the brief ‘hi’ at the event, and continued bouncing until she agreed to talk to me again if only so I’d stop bouncing quite so annoyingly. We talked. A LOT. In fact the talking with Girl on the Net and EA_Unadorned went on so long that they were still going on in his hotel room back at the Radisson. SexwithRose’s face when she came in and found ‘Girl on the Net’ and ‘Cara Sutra’ on her bed discussing all kinds of sexuality and philosophy topics was just, as they say, priceless.
Suddenly, it was Sunday morning. So I slept (briefly) then it was time for the second day of Eroticon 2014. My talk was in the morning once again, and we arrived in plenty of time. There were plenty of blurry eyes that morning! My talk about adult product reviews and drawing monies from them (without charging for them) will be expanded upon and published. There were, quite interestingly, questions from the trade as much as the reviewing community. How should a company deal with negative reviews? Should you ever threaten legal action? How do you find a community of sex toy reviewers? It was interesting discussing the fact that due to the beast that is social media, a company’s (as well as a reviewer’s) actions and comments can be made public with just one click, then be shared onwards to be seen by many people.
I was aware that I had a long drive homewards and by this time was missing family quite badly, so after my talk I stayed around long enough to say goodbye to those I could find, then slipped out with minnie to drive back northwards to Lincolnshire and my loves. I kept updated with what was going on for the rest of Eroticon 2014 through the hashtag on twitter and the readings and high tea sounded fabulous, I was sorry to miss it.
Anyway, I took some photos of the event as it happened for me; if you’d like to use any of these photos please just ask me first and retain the watermarks. There won’t be a UK Eroticon next year, but there will be erotic writing based events occurring; there will be an Eroticon USA happening though.
As always, you can find out any Eroticon based information through the Write Sex Right website and by contacting Ruby Kiddell. Thank you to everyone who made me feel welcome at my first Eroticon.
– Cara Sutra