April 28, 2012

No such thing as a free read - or why I write this blog

Free stuff - it's great, but it can be difficult to find stories that are really good (or in some cases, even striving towards adequate). So if you've read a good femdom story on literotica, bdsmlibrary, or similar, please share it in the comments. Yep, I mean you. Just keep scrolling to the comments at the bottom of the page. Don't hang around here. There's nothing to see in the rest of the post except a load of pontificating.

That was a bit blunt wasn't it? Sorry about that. This post has been through numerous incarnations - I was finding it difficult to get down what I wanted to say. That first paragraph was what I really meant, without ifs and buts and ands.

I tend to read ebooks from major retailers, but I've been wondering about that recently. Essentially there are two categories of online reading: There are various sites which allow users to share stories that they've written, from literotica to fanfic sites, and they're almost always free. Then there are 'books', often procured through that well known online retailer and almost always paid for. There is also obviously some crossover: ebook retailers often have some books available free for a short period of time to gain exposure and reviews; the extensively discussed 50 Shades of Grey started off as free online fan fiction and is now a paid book bestseller. So there's a sort of continuum between paid/not paid.

When I started reading books online, I never paid for them - ever. Several things changed that.  My financial situation eased, I began to get fed up of searching through dross to find something good to read and my tastes in fiction became more specific and so 'free' became an untenable criteria. But I appreciate that many people will still be in the situation I used to be in, especially that first one. So, given that reviews should help people find good stuff to read, should I review freebies?

I tend to think no. If someone has been kind and brave enough to put their work up for free, I think they deserve to not have it picked over by fussy people like me. If you're looking for money for it, I think that's different, because an exchange of money has an implied contract about the quality of the goods. I think that also goes for books which are briefly free but normally paid, from ebook retailers, because the intention is for the freebies to generate paid sales.

So I'm not willing to review free reads but I still I want to know what the good free reads are. Why? Because it isn't just money that you invest in books or stories. There's the time that you spend reading synopses, samples, the first few paragraphs. Then there's the emotional investment that you input when you're engaged with a character's welfare or the outcome of the story, the anticipation that you think you've found a new author that you'll like. And if you're like me, you'll analyse a book extensively afterwards.

So there are different costs involved with free books. When you read the first few paragraphs of a sample of a paid book, you get return: you know whether you like the author's style or writing and whether you're likely to enjoy the book. From the investment of a few paragraphs, you might well get a return of 200k words of enjoyable reading. The short stories available free online by comparison, usually need the same amount of time reading to establish the same facts, but are often only 1-2k long. That is to say, for the same investment of time, you get a much poorer return of enjoyment for free reads.

So how do people discover new stuff to read? If you're representative of book readers in general, mainly it is through word of mouth. But that's frequently not an option. (I can just imagine me asking my vanilla friends if they can recommend a good book where the heroine pegs the hero and he loves it. That'd be an awkward silence.... ) So with real life recommendations not an option, that leaves online reviews and recommendations - from retailers, blogs etc. On ebook retailer sites, I find reviews to be inconsistent in their veracity. Sometimes, the reviews are as a fictional as the novel. Ditto with starred recommendation systems like goodreads - they're easily manipulated. The reviews of femdom books I found on blogs tended to be sincere but from M/f bdsm reviewers, who obviously have their own take on femdom which doesn't really work for me.

Ultimately, I couldn't find a reliable source of reviews or recommendations for femdom books or free stories and that's why I set up this blog. I hoped that people who wanted similar things out of their fiction would stumble across this blog and let me know what they've read that they liked.

So I'm asking. Please. Tell me what you read - free, paid, whatever. If it was good, share it. To get started, here are some literotica stories that I've enjoyed:

The Third Way by AAkasha  A Mistress pup-naps her submissive and non (ish) consentually rapes him. Three ways. A delicious female first person pov piece.

The Shower by ExoticNeurotic  Quite a subtle short story of a shy submissive. Written as the domme speaking directly to her nervous new sub.

The Executive by Bootfrau  A violent but nicely written non-consent kidnap story.

All the above comes down to this. I don't think that it's appropriate or worthwhile to review free short stories, but I do think it would be useful to create a list of recommendations. If you would help me with that last, I would be very grateful.


  1. You know, I've considered asking my readers for recommendations as well, since I spend more time searching for something good than it takes to read it, often I've settled for stories with a female submissive because good stories of male submissive that don't focus on the same unappealing themes are few and far between.

    I haven't been that much more satisfied by paid erotica either, I've read some decent stuff, but it's never been quite hot enough for my taste.

    That said, there are two stories I really liked, and kept record of:

    "Cheating Life" is ok, a little macabre, and I feel is almost certainly a case of author as protagonist, but otherwise it's cool.

    "Mary's Boy" hit most of my buttons and had some very sweet moments, but it does feature some play I'm not a fan of, and flashback to the beginnings of the couples relationship which started before they were eighteen.

    Then there is "Tales of MU", which I've written about here. Basically reads kind of like a dirty/kinky harry potter (in college)set in a DnD -esque universe, and I've quite enjoyed it, and there is a lot there to read.

    1. "I spend more time searching for something good than it takes to read it"

      That's it isn't it? (Aside - I spend a whole blog post not sure what I want to say and Peroxide sums it up in half a sentence. *sigh*)

      Thanks for the recommendations - I will check them out.

    2. If you do, let me know I don't want to keep recommending these if I'm the only person they work for.

    3. Sorry this has taken forever to reply. For the record, I think that 'Cheating Life' is well written but too macabre and twisted for my tastes.
      Mary's Boy is nice play on the classic 'girl goes to big city and comes back to her small hometown for her girlhood crush' story. I squick quite badly on age issues and and not a fan of yellow watersports but I basically enjoyed this story.
      Tales of MU I didn't get very far with as I'm not really a fan of college-esque stuff.

      They all are well written imo and so I'd definitely keep them on any recommendation list.

  2. She's on Top: Erotic Stories of Female Dominance and Male Submission by Rachel Kramer Bussel. I really like the short stories she chooses. Saves me the trouble of sorting through the not so good to find jewels like these.

    1. She's on Top been on my TBR list for a while, but I've been holding off in case I'm disappointed compared to Yes Ma'am.

      Thanks for the recommendation - it's much appreciated.