If you write erotica, you know how hard it is to promote your work. Bookstores shelve our stuff in the back aisles, and don't respond well to requests for readings. But there are a couple venues (I'd be glad to hear about more) that welcome erotica: the original In The Flesh series, hosted by Rachel Kramer Bussel in New York, and the west coast version, In the Flesh LA.
I've read at In The Flesh in New York. Held in the appropriately named Happy Ending Lounge, it's a great place to step up to the mike. Don't let anyone tell you New York is intimidating. The venue is comfortable, the audience enthusiastic, and Rachel is a great host. If you're going to be in New York, contact her about a reading.
Last Wednesday, I read Ashley Lister's review of Ultimate Burlesque from Erotica Revealed at In The Flesh LA. Cohosted by Stan Kent and Jolene Hui at Hustler West Hollywood, In The Flesh LA has a west coast vibe. The audience is a bit more laid back, but the venue is great for people watching, both inside the cafe and out the windows overlooking Sunset Boulevard. Stan and Jolene are actively seeking readers, so if you're in LA, or planning to be here, contact them through the In The Flesh LA blog. Don't be shy. This is a great way to reach out to your audience, meet some interesting people, and promote your book. Afterward, much of the audience follows Stan to a bar for drinks and chat about erotica.
But wait - you might be saying - sure, I have a novel or anthology coming out, and I'd love to read, but I simply can't travel. Not to worry. In The Flesh LA has a phone sex segment. Stan calls a writer and holds his mobile to a mike as the writer does a remote reading. Yes, you can phone it in! The audience loves it. You should love it too. No more excuses. Contact Stan. Really.
And BTW - if you're thinking, hmmm, but my story is gay/lesbian/something else that I don't think will fly at a Hustler store, let me assure you that I scanned their excellent book section (my local bookstore should be so well-stocked) and found plenty of gay and lesbian titles, both fiction and non-fiction. As the store motto goes - Relax. It's just sex.