When it comes to size, there are always two schools of thought. On one hand, there’s the “bigger is better crowd” and on the other is more concerned that you “just know how to use what you’ve got.” So the answer to the question “Does size matter?” seems to be a definite maybe. While there’s not much anyone can really do about the size of their equipment (despite what hundreds of junk emails tell you), the question never really goes away completely. As far as I can tell, it’s all mostly a matter of personal preference anyway. Judging from the array of toys hanging on the way at your local adult novelty shop, individual inclination runds the gambit from tiny to absurdly oversized.
If that’s true about silicone objects that people jam inside themselves, it only stands to reason that it’s also true for what they decide to read when they’re not busy playing with one of the array of toys available… or maybe while they’re using one of them. That’s the imagery I prefer, anyway.
I think it’s obvious by now that I tend to focus on telling short stories. For my purposes, I’ll define those as being between 10-20,000 words. If I’m lucky, three or four of them can be nested together to make up a longer story for those who want to spend a little more time with my characters. Some of them, of course, stand alone in their shortness. I have to believe there’s room for all shapes and sizes of story in the big tent that is erotic fiction.
Why do I believe this? Well, it’s because my current work in progress doesn’t feel like it’s going to get into the range of my “regular” shorts. It’s more likely to weigh in around 7,500 words by the time it’s all said and done. It’s a quick hit and I won’t make any apologies for that. I just don’t have a sense of what people expect when they pick up a dirty story from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. When you look at the sales charts, some stories that are <3,000 words sell like gangbusters. Some that are 75,000+ sell the same. The doesn't feel like any real "sweet spot" when it comes to word count. I won't lie though, it can be frustrating to pour out 14,000 words and then see a 2,500 word short selling what must be 20-30 copies a day while you're selling one or two. Authorial jealousy is an ugly thing, I know.
Maybe size matters, maybe it doesn't. I think the element that matters most to readers is that you tell a good story in the space you decide to use. Develop the characters, advance the plot, make it steamy, satisfy yourself that it's "good" copy, and let the readers decide if it carries its own weight or not. It's not a pretty process, but it's infinitely better than a formulaic response that everyone enjoys exactly the same thing at all times.
For my next trick I'll be delivering a short short story… we'll see if anyone likes the motion of the ocean.