On a Porno-Literary Tip | Probably not the most popular fiction category — well, not yet!

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On a Porno-Literary Tip

I used to love that expression, but as I move forward—and mature—I like it less. I’m not even sure I understand what it means. I get the impulse behind it. If you’ve read my books they aren’t your typical smut. The Book of Real and Imaginary Girlfriends has moments of real feeling and depth that more akin to literature than smut. However, there’s no lack of straight porn. Thus I merged the two but it still doesn’t really explain much and it’s a completely useless expression to the Amazon algorithm. If I could get the bots to bite on the expression then we’d have something. I’d be #1 up and down amazon, from A to motherfucking Z. As it is, I’m nowhere but confused by my own oxymoron.

The desire to try and categorize our work is good. I mean how do readers know what the hell they will get from a guy called Moctezuma Johnson. “Johnson? Give me a break, what a fake name!” But it’s real. Well, real in the sense of used for many years. Why? Because my original last name, which happens to be dirtier—it means “Holy Water” in Italian (I’m Mexican-Italian-American for those paisanos who care) which has a secondary meaning of jizz–is very hard to pronounce for some Americans and my dad got sick of repeating the gorgeous name to these lazy-tongued euphony-butchers and would just say, “it’s johnson, damnit, johnson” and it stuck. I’d imagine there are a cumload of Americans with fake last names due to similar tales of ineptitude and frustration. I like it because my father went on to legally change his name and got a powerful government job. I wonder how much of his success was sparked by the name change. Anyway, Johnson or not people hardly know what they’re getting when they see an author’s name so a category can be quite helpful. I remember the jacket of a Tom Robbins book saying, “trying to describe a Robbins book is like looking at a snowflake and trying to explain Olympic slalom skiing.” I think that holds true for all fiction. Now with Amazon trying to treat the book world like the non-greasy pain relieving gel world, authors seem to have no choice but pledge allegiance to a category or two and hope for the best. My advice is choose a category that exists. Don’t go my route and dominate a category that doesn’t really exist.

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