Monday, September 15, 2008

Finding f/f in the general Gay/Lesbian haystack- e-Pub reviews

One of the things that Kirsten and I have bitched lamented about is the way the Gay/Lesbian sections are organized on most ePublishers' websites. Because the books are shelved together, you have to scan through tons of m/m books to find the few (or no) f/f, f/f/m titles those publishers offer.

This has frustrated me to no end because, really, who has time to slog through all of that? Why is it that epubs can’t have separate sections--one for Gay and one for Lesbian and a third for ménage? And why do some ePubs even have a Gay/Lesbian section if they have no GLBT books to offer?

The fact is, f/f/, f/f/m is so hard to find that even if there were a larger audience for that type of content, those readers can't determine which authors and publishers are willing to put out this kind of material.

It’s true that currently m/m is much more appreciated or sought after in erotic romance by straight women. And I’d like to make it clear that I’m not knocking m/m in any way, shape or form, because I like reading it myself. However, the fact that f/f, f/f/m is very difficult to find could be one reason for the common opinion by authors and publishers that straight erotic romance readers don’t want f/f, f/f/m. Maybe it's not that they don't want to read it. Maybe it's just that they don't know this type of content is even out there.

We aren’t buying it because even when available, it’s often like pulling teeth just to find it.

The following is a list of some of the more well known and popular ePub sites and some of my impressions from my search for f/f, f/f/m.

I’ve also rated them according to the following criteria.

My criteria for ratings include:

  1. Ease of finding f/f, f/f/m content on the site.

  2. Amount of available content.

  3. Search option available. And if so, does the desired content show up. The search terms I used were: lesbian, bisexual, f/f, f/f/m, m/f/f.

  4. The site offers excerpts or not.
I’m NOT rating the quality of the stories available. Some sites offer better quality than others, but that’s not what I’m judging here. And I’m not grading on ease of purchase, which is a whole other issue.

1 lip - Needs work. Either has no f/f or it's very difficult to find.

3 lips- Has f/f or f/f/m and fairly easy to find.

5 lips- Great web site. Content is clearly labeled, easy to find and has a good selection.

All Romance e-Books- this site sells books from many ePubs, so there is a huge selection. Has Gay/Lesbian and ménage sections. Apparently there are at least 1048 books in this section but the first 3 pages yielded only m/m. This site does have a search option, but when typing in my search criteria, only a few m/m, m/f/m books come up. Plus, this site’s pages load up way too slowly for me. Excerpts- yes. So moving on to the next ePub.

Amber Allure –is the GLBT section of Amber Quill Press. What I like about this ePub site is that since it’s all GLBT, you can further choose a sub genre and know it too will be GLBT. While the lesbian section only had three books, the ménage section has many and the content is clearly labeled. So for those of us looking for the f/f/m, it’s easy to spot. They also have an excellent search option, which brings up every blurb on their site that includes that word. They have a very easy to understand set-up that gets you quickly to the content you want to read. Excerpts- yes. Kudos to these guys.

Aspen Mountain Press- Has no f/f, f/f/m that I could find. Has no lesbian section, just m/m. Aspen does have a search option but my search words yielded nothing. To be truthful, I didn’t really feel like spending a whole lot of time looking because that’s my point, content should be easy to find. Excerpts- no.

Changeling Press- Has Gay/Lesbian section, which yielded 9 pages. I went through all nine and there was one bisexual/lesbian book. It also has a bisexual section with 119 books, but the first few pages yielded all m/m/f. The Ménage section was the same, pages of m/m/f, or m/f/m. Changeling does have a search option, but only for authors or titles of books. So, I can’t be bothered to look further. Excerpts- yes.

Cobblestone Press- has Gay section link on the left, but when open it says Gay/Lesbian. However, there are no f/f books. It has Ménage section as well, but the same story, no f/f/m. Cobblestone has no search option that I could see. Excerpts- yes.

Ellora’s Cave- One of the biggest and most well known ePubs. Has Gay/Lesbian section but yields almost all m/m or m/m/f, with one or two f/f, f/f/m. And they aren’t labeled, so you really have to click on each book to find out what’s in them unless the cover shows what’s going on. The Ménage section is the same, almost all m/m/f, or m/f/m. EC also has no search option. Excerpts- yes.

*Personal note- while I have no first hand knowledge of this, I’ve heard/read that EC is not particularly open to f/f, f/f/m sexual situations so I don’t have hope that their f/f, f/f/m selection will improve much in the future.

eXtasy Books- One of my favorite sites. Has a Gay/Lesbian section and although they are not separated or labeled, the covers give a pretty clear idea of content. So it’s easy to scan through fairly quickly for that f/f book. They also have a pretty good selection as well, many more than the usual one or two books on most sites. Their ménage section doesn’t yield much though in f/f/m. But once again, the covers help a lot so you don’t have to click on each book.

eXtasy does have a search option, which is completely useless as far as I could tell. You can search an author after you enter the site, but “content” search yields nothing. The downside to this site is that pages load up very slow for me. Excerpts-yes.

Fictionwise- is another seller that offers books from many publishers- Has no Gay/Lesbian or Ménage section, but has an excellent search option. You still have to slog through the books if your search word is bisexual, or ménage and just at a glance, it’s mostly m/m or m/f/m. Excerpts- yes.

Forbidden Publications- Has Gay/Lesbian section. It’s very small, but almost half are f/f. They don’t have a Ménage section. Has no search option. Excerpts-yes.

Liquid Silver books- Has no Gay/Lesbian section or Ménage. You’d have to click through all the books to find one f/f if it’s even in there. No search option. Excerpts-yes.

Literotica- this is a free site in which anyone can post what ever they want. It’s subdivided by content, so it’s easy to find what you want. There is a lesbian section, but no specific bi-sexual section. This site is a wild, wild, west free-for-all and you might have to skim through many stories to get something of any kind of quality. However, I’ve discovered some really well written stories on this site. Also, some major crap--okay, mostly major crap. But it’s free!

Loose Id- edited- Loose Id has changed their search system recently and if you type in f/f, or Lesbian quite a few books show up. When I first did this post they only had one or two f/f books, but now have quite a few. Kudos to them.

Lulu Is a self publishing site- Has a Gay/Lesbian section. Has a good search engine, but you have to slog through tons of crap to find f/f. And many of the books are way overpriced. If you click on Lesbian under the general Gay/Lesbian link, all m/m shows up. Excerpts- no.

Lyrical Press- Has Gay/Lesbian section. There were exactly 6 books in it but two were f/f, so I’ll give them that. No Ménage section. Has no search option. Excerpts- yes.

Phaze- Has a Gay/Lesbian section, which has further options that delineate between f/f, m/m or bisexual, which is very nice. There is quite a good selection of f/f of both lesbian and bisexual nature and they also have a good Ménage section. What I really like about Phaze is that all books are clearly labeled with content (m/f, f/f, m/m, f/f/m, m/fm…etc.) so you don’t even have to click on them. Has no search option. Excerpts-yes, but not on all books. They do have a link “excerpts,”on the side bar, which gets you to all the books with excerpts.

Red Rose- First you have to click on “Erotic Romance” then there is the option for GBLT. There are 9 books and all m/m. Has a Ménage section, with 7 books, no f/f/m. Has a search option, which yielded nothing from my search words. Excerpts- yes.

Red Sage- No Gay/Lesbian section. Has a Ménage section, with 5 books, most anthologies and no f/f/m. Has a search option. Excerpts- yes.

Samhain Publishing- One of the biggest and most well known ePubs out there and which has quality standards in writing. Has a Gay/Lesbian section, all m/m. Has no Ménage section. And they obviously don’t cross reference because none of Kirsten’s books show up in the Gay/Lesbian section. Nor does Michele de Lully’s La Bonne either. Samhain does have and excellent search engine though and it was easy to find those books through that. I'm hoping since they recently renovated their MBaM bookstore, their main website is next in line for a facelift. Excerpts- yes.

Torquere Press- Is a GLBT ePub. Has a separate section for Lesbian with a large selection of books. Has ménage section but no f/f/m offerings. What’s nice about an all GLGT press is that you can then choose the sub genre as well. Has a search option. Excerpts- yes.

Total E-Bound- Has Gay/Lesbian section, almost all m/m with a smattering of f/f. Has a Ménage section, also- only one f/f/m title. Has a good search engine. Excerpts- yes.

And for those who wish to know, many Black Lace Books that I’ve read have had some pretty hot, if minor non-lesbian scenes with f/f in them. If you’re curious you can look here.


shakspearchick said...

I posted a story on literotica and it is f/f. :) There is a lot of crap on that site, but sometimes you find a good one!

kirsten saell said...

Yup, sometimes you do. The nice thing about actual IRL publishers is they act as a buffer between you and the crap. Sometimes crap sneaks by, but most of the time the system works.

Is your literotica story under your shakspearchick moniker?

Madame Butterfly said...

What Kirsten said.

I'd love to read it. You can email me/us if you don't want to publicly say anything. I'm sure it's really good.

shakspearchick said...

I wouldn't say really good, it was my first stab at erotica and it was a story that popped into my head while I was showering. The shower is a magical think tank. Anywho it is the first chap. of that story and as soon as I write my damn synopsis for my newly finished ms, I will finish it. It is writen under shakspearchick and the story is called Once Upon a Fantasy. You can all read it, just don't laugh too hard at my feeble attempts. :)

Madame Butterfly said...

Shakspearchick- I read it and I really liked it. Very nice, and very hot. :)

shakspearchick said...

awwww...thanks. :) I am glad you enjoyed it. I probably shouldn't have said that I thought of that story in the shower, cause now you all know what I think about while I'm

Madame Butterfly said...

cause now you all know what I think about while I'm

You aren't alone in that. ;)

JenB said...

I love this list! I haven't read a whole lot of f/f outside of Black Lace, but the ones I have read were mostly from Torquere Press. Jodi Payne writes some good ones.

I've had my eye on one of the eXtasy titles for a while now. It takes place in the 60's between a girl and her best friend. Looks pretty good. :)

Madame Butterfly said...

JenB- Do you remember the name?

By the way, thanks to you for creating that extensive list with links on your blog of ePubs. I totally used it, which made doing this post a whole lot easier. :)