Thursday, April 19, 2007

Putting On My Big-Girl Panties, One Leg At A Time

Recently I was flattered by receiving a comment from Naked Confessions author Shel Israel. He complimented me on my review of the book and expressed concerns regarding what he thought was my anonymity. I emailed him regarding his concern and proffered an interview opportunity. (A sincere wish as I really love the book and wanted to present some questions based on my experiences, including in the adult industry.)

But Shel wasn't interested, saying, "...I think I'll pass on the interview. I've been reducing the interviews I do anyway as I get into writing my new book. But more than that, I just don't see much potential business for me with your target audience."


I really expected more from Shel. I expected him to understand that business is business. I expected him to understand that credibility ~ or lack thereof ~ is a huge part of this business and to relish the opportunity to discuss how the adult industry is more often than not about promoting naked people rather than getting naked themselves. If Shel can't see how vital transparency is to this business, who can?

But he didn't.

I can complain and whine all I want ~ and some days, believe me, I do ~ but in the end, I have to get dressed and face the day like any other professional. So be they lacy, frilly, or slut-red, I put on my panties one leg at a time; just like those good old boys do with their tidy-whiteies. And so it is with the business of marketing.

Despite what I believe to be intelligent discourse here (this certainly isn't some pandering smarmy sex blog), and in the area of business and marketing which his book(s) are targeted at, Shel thinks we adult business folks are too... too, what? Sexy to have legit concerns? To absorbed in sex to have any brain matter left over for business matters? Whatever his reasoning, he has dismissed us as a book-buying-consumers.

Israel's not alone in this attitude. Lots of folks dismiss our business. And they write us off as "being sex" rather than being in the business of sex. This is exactly what and why I'd like to discuss Naked Conversations here at this blog; we have an image problem and we'd like to resolve it.

I urge all of you who purchased Naked Confessions, or those who are thinking of buying the authors' books, to contact them and tell them that you are more than sex, more than frilly panties or thong briefs, and that you are in fact, their audience.

Tell 'em that you have brains in your heads, money in your pocket, and that you'd love to have them interviewed by The Whore. Tell them to stop putting us in the Pink Ghetto.

Contact information is found at each author's blog:

Shel Israel's Blog

Robert Scoble's Bog

** UPDATE: 04/20/07

It seems, based on emails and some comments that many of you are missing the point regarding who Shel Israel is &/or what the book, Naked Conversations, is about. Please read this post with the book's review ~ or at least note that this is a book about blogs and how companies can/must use them. (It is not erotica or sex; it's a business book.)

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Anonymous Amanda said...

Like most people in the "real" world, I’m sure he doesn’t take anyone involved in the adult industry, in any way, seriously. I’ve run into this wall again and again. The reactions are as old and tiring as getting catcalled while walking down the street.

These people fail to realize how huge and pervasive the adult industry is, or they may not want to recognize it. It simply means our job is not yet done. They see more than sex and money; they see degradation, criminals, drugs, murder, rape and every other stereotype featured in Hollywood movies.

On the other hand, since he couldn’t even find your name on your blog, it’s not surprising that he took the blog’s name at face value and didn’t bother to find out more about it. He probably thinks you write a hooker blog and doesn’t see many book sales there.

April 19, 2007 7:22 AM  
Blogger Emily Veinglory said...

This reminds me of a talk I went to where a woman said "it is important that what you say it consistent with any visual aids you employ" -- while behind her a powerpoint slide said something completely different.

This was a book about business, blogging and communicating with the market, right? I detect a distinct failure to walk the walk that makes me far from likely to buy the book.

April 19, 2007 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anastasia said...

I don't think it right to target an author this way, any author. If they don't want to be interviewed, that's their choice as well.

Authors do spend hours and hours working on their craft, to produce a book, and there are so many non paying 'bloggers' out there who pose as entrepreneurs of some kind, who offer so many things 'exposure, interviews' etc, and they like. I've learned this in two years of writing erotic fiction, and writing my blog. Where erotica or sex is concerned, there are more people on the Internet that try to take advantage, and he's right when he doesn't want to waste his time.

I don't even want to begin to discuss how many 'editors' of the less popular ezine publications offer me so many things, and never delivered. 'We'll add this in a anthology,' etc etc. I don't 'name names' because I"m not interested in doing that, but so far as I can see, this blog 'marketing whore' is just a blog, and even print publications like the New Yorker don't bitch about which author refuses interviews. If he was Dan Brown, you wouldn't be picking on him.

April 19, 2007 4:03 PM  
Blogger Marketing Whore said...

Anastasia, it's not that refused, but rather why he refused.

He stated that because we are in the adult indsutry we don't read marketing books... I just don't see that as a valid reason. He can say my blog's "too small in readership," or just "No, thank you," with no reason at all. But to dismiss 'us' as not being in his market is inaccurate.

Besides, both authors state in the book that blogging is for communication and feedback. So now they are getting some ;)

Emily, the sad thing is that this book is excellent.

Amanda, the email where he rejected my offer, he made comments which made it clear he had read my prof bio ~ perhaps that's what completely turned him off? ;)

But even so, my review, I think, shows that I understood his opinions & work, and he posted his comment on another post, so one gathers he read that one as well. Clearly this is not a 'how to get a hooker' blog :p

April 19, 2007 4:52 PM  
Blogger Kis Lee said...

The post isn't about "picking on" a particular author. It's about the reaction towards those in the adult industry.

He didn't just say: I'm too busy for interviews. He basically said: your market is not my market. Why? Because we're in the adult/sex business. The post doesn't say anything nasty about the man. It's a reaction to his particular comment. Since this is a marketing blog, it's a relevant topic to address here.

April 19, 2007 7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anastasia said...

Look, he won't be the first or the last person who doesn't want to be linked to, what is perceived to be, the adult industry. That's his preogative. Should he be persecuted for that? Today, I've seen at least two posts away from this blog, 'urging' readers to get behind this campaign of sorts.

I am surprised by how many adult bloggers or sex bloggers cannot concede (out of fear of ostracism?)that there are a lot of fraudulent practices out there, a lot of rip offs, and a lot of spam, and because of this I can appreciate the reason this when I think of those things, because I've experienced some of the bull out there. Out of ten 'adult' business concepts only two will be legitimate, and the remainder are like pyramid schemes, 'be my affiliate and earn cash,' and 'i'll do x, y and z,' for you, and many expect to get something without offering anything back on an equal level.

April 20, 2007 12:59 AM  
Anonymous Amanda said...


I’ve seen plenty of rip-offs and schemes, and experienced a lot of completely unprofessional behavior – now that I’m in the "real" world. I didn’t have to deal with this level of bull while I made my living in the adult industry. Maybe I wasn’t working in the right places. Maybe I just expect too much out of so-called professional people (like professional behavior). Don’t think the adult industry is any less reliable or safe than what is supposed to be the normal, mainstream world.

And if Mr. Israel did read Gracie’s bio and a bit of the blog, he must have understood what this blog was and wasn't about. Like Gracie said, a simple "No thanks" would have been fine.


April 20, 2007 7:35 AM  
Blogger Sara Winters said...

Anastasia, I'm gather you simply don't understand why gracie was offended. I would invite you to read one my many rants on perception of people in the adult industry, but I don't want to distract you from the main point.

Here is the story simplified. This is a marketing blog about, well, marketing your blog/site. The target audience is those in the adult industry, but anyone can use this advice. Gracie reviewed his book. At some point, Mr. Israel became aware of this review (through clicks to his site, perhaps?), visited, looked around, and commented. Anyone here for more than a few seconds can tell the purpose of this blog is marketing through (wait for it!) blogging. By no small coincidence, this directly coincides with the topic of the book in question.

So, it seems strange to her (and myself, and probably several others) that he does not wish to get even more exposure for his book by doing an interview. The only difference between her target audience and his is that Gracie's audience is more specific, but the principles discussed in the book should work for anyone. His target audience would be anyone using their blog to market a legit business, which should include all of the readers here.

You spoke of affiliates and scammers and spam. While those are normally legitimate concerns, I'm going to say again that anyone who looks at this blog for more than a few seconds should recognize that only a professional interested in genuine business practices would take the time to read any or all of the posts here. None of Gracie's advice would work for some lazy joe with a cheap affiliate who wasn't putting genuine effort into his product/blog. Mr. Israel's argument that we are not his target audience simply does not make sense.

I made a few more comments about this on my blog at Adult Business vs. The "Real World" of Business. I hope you'll take the time to read them and understand why some of us might be upset.

In the meantime, I'm going to post this at an adult industry blog and see what the people there have to say.

April 20, 2007 3:59 PM  
Blogger Sara Winters said...

A little input from the Adult Insider Network.

April 21, 2007 4:18 PM  
Blogger Sage Vivant said...

Oh, the volumes I could write on this topic!

I operate Custom Erotica Source, and have since 1998. It is a *business* that just happens to provide writing of an erotic nature. Well, tell that to my bank (who wouldn't give me a merchant account), the Better Business Bureau (who wouldn't list my business), Amazon (who refused to carry my Amazon Short until I threatened to be a royal pain in the ass about their hypocritical stance on erotica), or most recently, (who wouldn't list me as a sex resource because, well, I dealt in sexually related matters).

But this isn't about me. This is about the ongoing, relentless marginalization of people and businesses engaged in what the "mainstream" is afraid of: sex.

Nobody disagrees that sex is a profitable business -- but they will always seem to feel that those who are making that money are tainted, dirty, twisted, and otherwise beneath them.

When I first started my business, my mother said, "Oh, you don't want to do that. You'll meet all the wrong people." I think that sums up how most of society views those whose work includes anything sexual.

I have gone to local entrepreneur meetings and been mistaken for a prostitute (which is pretty funny, considering I'm a former honor student, a middle-aged woman, and a damn tasteful dresser!). The average person cannot distinguish between prostitute and erotic writer. What does that tell you?

My fight to change people's views about sex being a valid business continues but I confess that I'm far less hopeful than I used to be.

In nearly ten years, I've waged many battles with the mainstream and lost more than half of them. The victories have been sweet but have taken their toll on me in terms of time and energy.

Shel is a victim of the society he lives in. I doubt there's any way he can be convinced that a sex business, sex blog, sex writer, or sex marketing professional has anything in common with the people he thinks he wants to reach.

But I guess all we can do is keep trying. Frankly, though, I'm getting really, really tired of having to explain that I don't give free blowjobs with my erotica.

April 21, 2007 7:33 PM  
Blogger The Daughter of Isis said...

It's kind of ridiculous that he would look down his nose or dismiss the potential audience you could bring on the basis of it being too "adult." I represent an organization - very liberal and controversial, but still "legit" so to speak - whose whole schtick is based largely around the principal that people like naked woman and are likely to lend their support to an organization that catches their attention by using them. Elements of the "adult" industry seep their way into the ordinary business world all the time, the business world has long figured out that adding a little sex means gaining a lot of $$. So why wouldn't the business of purely selling the idea of sex be just as legitimate a business as the ones that merely dabble?

April 22, 2007 10:20 AM  
Blogger Marketing Whore said...

You all have made good points ~ yes, that includes poor Anastasia! ~ and I hope you'll all continue to discuss this here. :)

And to those who have blogged/linked etc., you have my gratitide for your support!

April 23, 2007 2:56 AM  
Blogger Tom Paine said...

Reducing people to categories is useful, so that's why we do it. A woman is gay, straight or bisexual, and once in that pigeon hole, is no longer something we have to think about.

April 24, 2007 6:38 AM  
Blogger Marketing Whore said...

Mr Paine, you are correct ~ and in some respects, this categorization is part of why humans have survived as a species. However, when it becomes a stereotype or used to dismiss past pure logic, then it's to one's own detriment.

April 24, 2007 9:43 AM  

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