All the weight of the world on a woman’s back: managing two businesses while having a secret, spicy, shadowy erotica-writing career 😉
So, I’ve managed to publish only one book during all this time, which is not entirely due to slow writing per se, mind you.
I’ve been working part time on erotica, as I actually have two “formal”, “legit” businesses to maintain (one tourism online company, one business consulting gig).
So think of me as having three jobs, being erotica writing the most fun, but also the least “official” of the three —therefore, the one with the least amount of time (and resources) devoted to it.
Everything considered, I shouldn’t actually have expected a crazy high erotica output during this time. Still, this doesn’t even scratch the surface of my actual mistake.
Okay, now for real: my biggest, silliest mistake as an erotica writer
As it happens, I shouldn’t have published just one book during all this time; even with the writing I already had, I could have easily published three, four, even five books, keeping my brand afloat for longer on the eyes of the public.
Because my biggest mistake in erotica was not writing slowly, but publishing wrongly.
Here’s my mistake: I published a really long book!
Here’s the solution: I should have published three or four books instead!
Looking in retrospect, I feel even silly for missing out this crucial detail. My book is worth three or four erotica short stories of content, but the general audiences perceived it as only one!
Actually, one potential buyer even pointed this out to me:
“Hey, Gigi, I like your book, but is really this big? Seems long.
Do you write short stories? Do you publish them online for free?”
It was not a lone opinion. As it turns out, people prefer buying short stories rather than traditional-length novels in the field of erotica.
It might not seem like much of a surprise to you, but to me it was a mind-blow.
I had written four books worth of content and published them as a single volume, therefore losing three books worth of buyers and buzz.
Silly mistake, I know. But, hey, I guess it’s not too bad when you’re an absolute beginner in the field, right?
The counterintuitive principles of the erotica market
The world of erotica is a fascinating one; many things I thought common sense in my field of expertise are actually counterproductive here.
If you are an aspiring erotica author or is just really interested on how things work around the biz, then let me share you a few nuggets of knowledge I learned (and am still learning) along my way.
Erotica Lesson 101: Short stories beat long books…
…even if the long books contain much more sexual content than the short story.
Actually, even if the long book is the undeniable BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK, most readers will still buy the shorter stories.
It’s something of common sense in the industry, which has been ingrained on readers themselves: “if the author wrote three great short stories, she will naturally publish them as three books”.
After all, why waste money and effort publishing the trio of stories in a single volume?
I was honestly clueless about that. My reasoning was: “well, if I pack my stories within a single, larger volume, and sell it for the same price as a short story, that will undeniably be the best option for the consumer, right?”
WRONG! This is actually underselling yourself!
This banging article here helped me understand what I was doing wrong: ‘How To Write Erotica… to Make Money.’
And so did this article: ‘How to Make Money Writing Kindle Erotica’ (I like Vice, btw. They have tons of useful content for digital entrepreneurs / venturers).
I actually recommend you to go and read them both, as they’re great sources for understanding the ins-and-outs of this industry. Super well-written and informative. I approve them big time!
My biggest (core) mistake: I didn’t actually know there were multiple books worth of content inside my big, badass volume!
Yep, that sums it up perfectly: as I wrote, edited and prepared my book for publishing, at no point I realized that I was actually shipping three books into one.
I honestly though it was the bare minimum amount of pages readers wanted to see!
My book is this one. Super cute, don’t you agree?
It has nearly 200 pages worth of sexiness; half of them are vivid, pussy-drenching sex scenes, and other half is made of unbearably-highsexual tension scenes.
Like, scenes that leave you FOAMING after you read them. Scenes that leave you MAD with LUST and make you want to get SOME F*CKING RELEASE at all cost!
I’m going to be economic on modesty here: the book is really fucking good! It’s such a good deal I’m amazed I offered it up for SO FREAKING CHEAP!
It’s so cheap, actually… most readers avoided it.
They all had the same thought you are having now: “well, if it is so good, WHY is it offered for so cheap?”
That’s too good to be true, right?
Actually, their complete, standard thought is really this one: “this book is too long! Shouldn’t be over 50 pages, tops. Must be too much ‘fooling around’ without any ‘action’. I want to cum, not to be bored to death!”
Ignorance and miscommunication!
These are the two problems at the heart of my Big Mistake: I was ignorant of the state of the industry, therefore I miscommunicated my product to its potential buyers.
What I was saying was: “hey, look! This book is worth a lot of sex and orgasms for a literal bargain! What are you waiting for?”
But readers were getting: “this book is long, so it must be boring. If it’s not boring, why is it being offered for so cheap? In any case, I pass. There may be better stuff elsewhere”.
Big f*cking problem! By publishing one book instead of three, four, even five, I mislead customers and lost great amounts of free advertisement.
Yes, free advertisement and buzz, because the second major rule or erotica that I’ve learned —and one that’s intrinsically linked to this first one— is…
Erotica Lesson 102: Publish fast, publish frequently
To put it bluntly, you should aim at publishing a new book every week.
Yep, that’s right: one week, one book, nonstop —especially if you are a beginner and need to leave your mark on the field.
Doesn’t need to be a big book. Actually, it must NOT be big; a 5,000 word short story will do just fine.
Yep, you’ve heard me right: 5,000 words of good, sexy content is all you need to have a sex story worth buying!
OMG, if I only knew that back then! My actual booked ended up having 35,000 words!!
Pretty dumb, right? Well, there’s a big silver lining after this painful learning: once you get used to this reality, you realize you can publish 3-5 books a month where you previously thought you could only get one book every one or two months.
Turns out that people are way hornier that what I had predicted —and I am pretty horny myself!
When it comes to erotica, people don’t want to much blah-blah-blah until they get to get good stuff.
They want fucking. Pure, raw, animalistic, passionate fucking. The rest is of secondary importance —if that much!
Are there differences on writing erotica for female and male audiences?
As far as I have researched (which is not much, I confess), there is little difference in terms of “horniness” between female and male audiences.
They both want intense, relentless, nonstop sex scenes, with differences arising only on the types of sex and (mildly) the writing style of the author.
Below are some hypotheses of mine regarding gender differences in erotica audiences. Again, I’m still learning the nuances of the market, so I might be wrong.
- Men are more ‘kinky’ and ‘exaggerated’ in their preferences for sex. We all know that a little: men dream up with ‘monster cocks’ of 11in+ and honestly think that ramming their meat clubs up on our twats is a pleasant experience (as I’ve previously discussed on this blog: it is NOT).
Men are more likely to prefer scenes of extreme, even implausible sexual feats, like making a girl cum five times in a row in little over twenty minutes or (*giggles*) nutting over a liter of cum on hour faces.
Yeah, yeah. Men really are some primitive cavepeople.
- Women, on the other hand, are a little bit more down to Earth in their expectations for sex. Still, they’re still “extreme” for the standards of real life.
Women can find 11 or 12in cocks ridiculous, but they will love reading about 8 or 9in ones, which are still far from real-life standards.
Women might not want their partners to last 8 hours straight (Jesus f*cking Christ!), but they still want to cum MANY times in a period of 2-3 hours.
Christian Grey has made Anastasia Steel cum 5 times in over a 2-hour session of fucking. Turns out that not only is this feasible, but it’s also preferable for many women in terms on sex portrayals in erotica fiction.
And women also want their men to be tall, muscular, deep-talking, dominating sons of bitches with billions of dollars in their bank accounts and dozens of other ladies on their cellphone contacts.
Women dream up with Alpha men in a way that’s not too far off from the stereotypes men themselves have. Why do you think nearly ALL the covers of naughty books targeting female audiences show sexy, muscular men with their naked torsos on glorious display, huh?
Women are pretty horny on their own right. The only difference, really, is that we’re a tad bit more “complex” in our tastes for erotica.
That aside, however, our tastes and male’s are pretty much interchangeable; and we all want to cum as fast and as strongly as possible.
Hence the need of erotica novels to be shorter: people don’t want to wait a long time so they can get to the good stuff.
Make them cum quick and make them cum hard! This is the secret for success in a good erotica novel.
SIDE NOTE: women are indeed more likely than men to prefer sugary romances with little sex or just soft-core naughtiness. This, however, is not on the category of ‘erotica,’ but on ‘romance,’ which is another story altogether.
Okay, so I screwed up. How can I get back on my feet?
My first book had a pretty good run on free downloads (on my website) and managed to attract a good amount of clicks on its first week of publishing, but sales have been dead ever since.
I’ve simply done too many things wrong to captivate an audience. That, compounded by the fact that my marketing and social media presence is still pretty much non-existent, explains the virtual invisibility of my book in the eyes of potential customers.
No worries, no problems. Turns out that the solution is pretty simple.
My book is worth 3-4 other books in content, right? So all I need to do is, you guessed it, re-release it weekly as three or four different volumes, with maybe a combined bundle at the end!
The previous book will be erased from Amazon and I might need to do some extensive rebranding first, but, as problems go, this one is nonetheless a very simple one to solve.
This is the part where I get a little bit “market-y” with my products, so you can skip to the next topic if you’re not very interested on my products… yet. 😉
What I will do with my first book… and why you should enjoy it before it’s TOO LATE!
Despite what the hiatus since my last book may imply, I have not stopped working on my erotica.
Actually, I’m about to wrap up five new stories, which will total 7-10 sexy books once this previous one is rebranded.
That’s 2-3 months worth of content, all bundles and special promotions considered.
I also have other 10-15 books on review stages, which will be ready for publishing once the last book of this first bunch is released.
All these “books”, of course, take into account the traditional 5,000-to-7,000-word length.
So, here’s what I’m going to do: I’ll begin rebranding and dividing up my first book once I finish this second batch, which might take just a couple more days.
I’ll have to pay a team of designers for covers and stuff, but that’s quick work.
By mid-March, I’ll probably begin publishing all of these books weekly —including the “re-release” of my previous book, now turned into 3-4 different ones.
I expect to have a weekly publishing schedule from then on, if my other careers allow me.
It’s pretty difficult to conciliate so many tasks at once, but I’m a pretty intense, badass workaholic maniac myself, so I actually LOVE working some 15+ hours a day.
I’m the kind of person who injects coffee on her veins just to keep going. Hahaha, hahahaaa!
When I get close to publishing my books, this means the current one available will be excluded from sales.
I’m still offering it up for $2.99, and this price will NOT come back once my new publishing scheme begins.
Which means that, basically, you all have 3-4 books worth of content packed in a beautiful bundle that costs the same as a single book!
Consider that my SPECIAL OFFER for the month: buy one, get four! Super sweet, right?
I don’t have an exact date for when the book will be unavailable, but it’s going to be soon. Maybe by the beginning of March I’ll have this book erased, so you should hurry before March 1st-10th, around this time.
I’m going to warn you when the book is close to coming down, but the window of time will be pretty narrow. Ideally, you shouldn’t wait for me to tell you when to buy.
Once you least expect it, poof!, the book might be gone, and you will have missed the opportunity of enjoying this super bundle.
The next time this same bundle comes up again, it’ll be 100-300% more expensive, so… yeah, you do the math. 😉
And that’s the end of my merchandising for the evening. Let’s wrap up all the lessons for today, okay?
Everything I’ve learned after self-publishing erotica for quite a while
- Readers won’t stick around for too long! Stories over 10,000 words are repellant to most buyers;
- Readers want frequent and predictable publishing schedules. One book per week is optimal;
- Readers are willing to pay more for erotica (i.e.: SEX!), even if the length is quite short;
- The standard price for a good erotica short story is $2.99. Prices different than that vary from case to case (and from business strategy to business strategy).
And some minor interesting discoveries or hypotheses I have:
- There’s not too big a difference between male and female audiences when the size or price of book is concerned;
- There are minor differences between males and females when it comes to the types of stories they consume: women are more “realistic”; men are more self-aggrandizing and exaggerated;
- Women tend to consume romance more often (if not even overwhelmingly so) than men;
- “Romance” here means, of course, watered-down erotica, with more emphasis on plot and a well-rounded dramatic arc.
My few questions for the journey ahead
Despite everything I have learned in the previous weeks, I still have some important questions that might fundamentally influence my erotica-writing career in the future.
I’d love to get some help or feedback on these questions, if any of you are experienced on the topic. 😉
My doubts basically are:
- Are there good alternatives for Amazon when it comes to selling erotica?
- Is erotica going to vanish or keep suffering massive sales drops on Amazon due to the website’s policy changes?
- What are the best social media sites for advertising erotica?
- And what are the best erotica communities / forums online?
- Which of these communities / forums are best for new authors?
I might learn the answer for these questions by myself in the near future, but it’s nonetheless great if any of you, more experienced writers, could lend me a helping hand here.
Every piece of info counts! I am honored for being your disciple. 😉