An exciting new digital publishing venture has launched this fall! The Pigeonhole showcases many different genres with mutli-week stories that are delivered directly to subscribers’ devices. What piqued my interest (beyond loving stories!) is their October 17 launch of Sex Staves! That’s right, erotica comes to The Pigeonhole in the form of an anthology of smutty work from new and established writers—a new story every week for 10 straight weeks.
I caught up with Anna Hughes, their erotica series campaign manager to poke my beak into the sexiness we can expect.
Was including erotica always in the plans for The Pigeonhole’s unique delivery method?
Erotica is a contentious literary issue these days and we’ve always felt that offering an opt-out serialisation subscription will really drive people to try genres they wouldn’t normally read.
The erotica market is full to bursting of 50 Shades and its rip-offs. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is an incredibly good thing, it brought sex to people who had never read it before. I was working at Cornerstone (Random House) when they published the series and we got an extraordinary number of letters from women thanking E.L.James for reinvigorating their sex lives. Some even mentioned James-related pregnancies. I love the idea of a gaggle of Christians and Anas running about. But there is a silly snobbery against it.
On the flip side is Anaïs Nin, Henry Miller and George Bertailles, but these literary bastions are mid-century. Sex Staves is the answer to this polarisation, they sit somewhere in the middle of literary and romp. Sex is the great leveller, practically everybody of an age has it in some from or another. Yet writing it is hard and in that sense this genre was a perfect launchpad for the Pigeonhole – it gave authors, both established and debut, the opportunity to try something different. All of the stories are utterly imaginative and beautifully written. A real signpost of what’s to come.
How does erotica, in particular, lend itself to success in this platform?
The platform is so dynamic and the Pigeon a bird of many talents. The beauty of having multi-media functionality means that everything we publish is enhanced by all the extra content we produce. In this instance it’s in the form of audio. We went out and found the most dulcet-toned actors we could and have produced awesome readings to go with each story – aural pleasure.
Also, there will always be the odd prude or prejudiced type out there, those that frown and sneer at you as if they’ve smelt something awful. The beauty of the Pigeonhole is that we offer all our readers the blank face of their phone, tablet or reader instead of a raunchy jacket – the nay-sayers will never know!
Was the collection being released curated specifically for The Pigeonhole?
I’ve commissioned and edited every story in the anthology. We’ve also decided to ask our readers for the last Stave, as we thought a competition would be a great way to get people involved in all aspects of the Pigeonhole. All we are asking is for 2,000 words of naughty by the 1st of December and the best 5 will be published on the 19th.
The only request we made on the writers was that they had to include a pigeon in there somewhere. The game during launch is to see who can post the first tweet with the pigeon from each story.
Do you think the readers will be more turned on by the written text or the aural sounds?
Ah, well, everyone is different. Apparently. I do know that each of these stories are wonderfully titillating in any medium, but for all different reasons. I spent much of the months whilst editing the collection with an enormous grin plastered across my face. My boyfriend will also attest to the fact that I was a changed woman whilst doing it, so…
Aurally, the actors have done such a bang-up job and the idea of our users bumbling about town with filth plugged into their ears makes me very happy.
What kinds of sexy stories can we look forward to in the future on The Pigeonhole?
We are looking to publish all genres of all kinds and we will certainly be doing another Erotic anthology at some point. For now we are on the hunt for some brilliant women’s fiction and sex is never remiss between those covers…