Wow - I think you are a writer after my own heart: your question is as long as my answers usually are! LOL!
I've been writing erotica since the 1970s, and Happily Ever After aka HEA didn't start showing up in erotic fiction until the past 5 or 6 years. Old school erotica was more about "hook-ups" and "one-timers" or "being titillated" by fetishes, with no expectations for future romance. I've been in the erotica industry 35 years and no one, readers or writers, ever expected HEA in erotica, not until after Ellora's Cave came out with the Romantica line in about 2007. And the whole HEA in erotica didn't really kick off until after 50 Shades of Grey went viral (Is 50 Shades actually a HEA?, that women seems awfully depressed and desperate to me, and Gray’s a freak - seriously she can do better than him, can’t she?)
Yeah, I think a majority of today's erotic reader wants the HEA, but remember if you don't like writing HEAs than there are going to be readers who don't like reading HEAs, because you are not alone, no matter what you write, there is somebody out there who wants to read it. It may mean your book doesn't get published mainstream and will just be a small niche, but that's okay.
I think it falls under "knowing your readers". Who are your readers? Are they the new breed of HEA seekers or are the the old schooler who just want to read about sex with no strings attached? Know your target audience and write for them.
Me? My readers know not to expect a HEA. I don't write them. Of course I'm also writing erotic horror so my readers expect one or even both the MCs to be laying dead in a pool of blood at the end anyways. Nope, no HEAs in my stories, but my readers don't expect HEAs either. So, figure out what type of erotic reader you want, and write for them. You can't please every reader, so don't try.
No, you have NOT reached the end of this article! What you have reached is the end of what it currently online. The rest is coming, hopefully it'll be on here in a day or three so keep checking back. I will remove this message at the same time I put the rest of it online.
As my long time readers will already
know a server crash took down most of the old free-hosted site on June
4, 2013 (which was online since 1997 and had reached 6,000+ pages).
Thankfully everything was saved on a separate hard-drive and the site is
being rebuilt with a new host and for the first time on it's own
I am currently moving all 6,000 questions&answer articles to this site one page at a time, at a rate of about 4 to 7 new pages being added each day, so be patient. Not all links are yet clickable. This process started on September 2, 2013 and will be ongoing at least through to January 2014. (And it may be well into 2017 before all 6,000 pages will be back online if I continue at this rate of 5 a day.)
Most of the articles I write in response to reader questions are genre specific, making the genre section of this web site the largest section.
My areas of expertise are:
#1 Horror and all of it's subgenres esp Gorn, Tales of the Macabre (Poe style) and Gothic Romance.
#2 "Dark" (BDSM) Medieval Historical Erotica, esp gay M/M.
#3 Alternate reality speculative/weird/bizarre science fiction
#4 Dark/Gory/Slasher retellings of folklore, nursery rhymes, and fairy tales
On occasion I also write Westerns, WWII War Stories, and Dark Fantasy.
Everything I write tends to have predominately non-human characters, usually alien races of my own invention that are trapped on Earth, along side Fae races (usually Phookas, FarDarrig, and MerFolk) and monster races (Vampires and their kin.)
I do not write happy endings, villains tend to win, good guys usually die at the end, and most everything I write falls under heavy "Dark Gallows" satire focusing on taboo topics. Everything I write, even my children's fiction, walks on the Dark Side. Most of my non-children's books are M-rated for adults 21 and older. About 90% of my books have been banned and most book stores refuse to carry them.
My stories are often short, rarely longer than 35,000 words (7,000 to 13,000 word average). I write nearly as many stage plays as I do short stories. I also write children's books (early readers, why tales, bed time stories, picture books, and quick classroom play scripts.)
I do not write novels (novels are books of 90,000 or more words, most being in the 120,000 to 240,000 word range), so questions specifically regarding novels are going to be answered in reference to my novellas (a novella being a story 25,000 to 90,000 words).
I rarely write articles about any specific genre other than those listed in the link headings above, because the genres above are the genres I write.
Keep these facts in mind when asking advice from me, about your own writing career. I will gladly try to help you out, but my knowledge of writing is limited to what I know and write in my own career.
If you are looking for advice on Westerns, War Fiction (other than WWII), Fantasy, Contemporary Romance, Mystery, Action, Adventure, Suspense, Chick Lit, Romantic Comedy, Humor, HEA, etc I'm probably not the best person to be asking your questions to. You can certainly ask and I will try to answer, but I don't write these genres so they are not my area of expertise.
Recommended Books for Genre Writers:
Below are books I use as reference when writing my own books, articles, and short-stories. A quick heads up, these are not linking to pages where I review each book, here on my website! I have a list of those review pages elsewhere . Each of the books shown below are linked directly to the site/book seller which carries it for sale, so clicking on any of the books below will take you away from my website.