The resurgence of interest in erotic literature this past year, thanks mostly to E.L. James's Fifty Shades trilogy, is only the tip of the iceberg, as 2013 will see a big wave of new hyped-up sexy adult stories hit the market.
"I definitely don't see this phenomenon slowing down. It certainly hasn't yet," Beth Lockley, executive director of publicity and marketing for Penguin Group of Canada, told the Canadian Press recently. "It sort of seems almost hotter than ever in a way."
American author Sylvia Day, who has found immense success with her Crossfire series, will see her third book, Entwined with You, out in bookstores this spring. The previous book, Reflected in You, sold nearly 20,000 copies in Canada alone during its first week of release last October.
There's also quite a buzz surrounding a Canadian author writing under the pseudonym Sylvain Reynard, whose series Gabriel's Inferno also began as Twilight-inspired fan fiction, much like Fifty Shades of Grey. The story is more distinctly Canadian, however, based around a brilliant but mysterious professor at the University of Toronto who has a passionate affair with an intelligent but conflicted grad student.
The next big name in Canadian erotic fiction could be L.M. Adeline, whose novel S.E.C.R.E.T. hits bookstores in February. Published by Random House (which also published Fifty Shades), this story about a lonely widow who find herself immersed in a underground society in New Orleans devoted to exploring women's wildest sexual fantasies.
"It's a bit more about female empowerment than perhaps E. L. James, which was a bit more about a love story spiced with you know what," says Brad Martin, president and CEO of Random House of Canada.
Other romance authors leading the charge include Beth Kery and her Because You Are Mine series, and Jennifer Probst with her Marriage to a Billionaire books.
The commercial success of erotic literature has definitely helped the publishing industry through difficult times, and many authors in general have been supportive of the trend.
"I almost think we need those books so that publishers will have lots of money to be able to publish literary works," said Tamas Dobozy, who won the 2012 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize for Siege 13, his book of short stories linked to the siege of Budapest.
"I think that people who write those kinds of books are sort of like the mules that the publishers are harnessed to and they pull them along so that the rest of us can sit on the back of the wagon and have fun, you know?" Dobozy added with a laugh.
Russell Wangersky, a finalist for the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize for his short story collection Whirl Away, agreed.
"To have money coming into publishing houses, to have publishing houses find new work, it doesn't matter what the work is as long as people are reading and giving new material."
- With files from the Canadian Press