For those who are thinking of jumping into erotica because it seems to be making the money right now, you might want to read this post by Selena Kitt.

One Handed Writers

My brother-in-law says he wants to write an erotic book.

What he really means is: I want to get rich. 

Everyone is talking about erotica lately. The words “mommy-porn” are on everyone’s lips, from Dr. Phil to Dr. Oz to the ladies of The View. E.L. James’ “Shades” series has pushed erotica and erotic romance into the mainstream spotlight. Suddenly my “smut writing” isn’t such a shameful secret the family doesn’t want to talk about–oh no, not anymore–now it’s a lucrative career choice!

Everyone wants to ride that erotica gravy train, bay-bee!

My brother-in-law took a look at my current success in the genre and decided that he, too, could write about inserting tab A into slot B and make a million dollars.

And he’s not the only one.

I get a lot of letters asking me what amounts to: “How do I get rich writing erotica?”

It’s a hard…

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  1. There are always bandwagons to jump on. I admit, I jumped on the vampire bandwagon when it first started selling really big. Especially since I loved vampires anyway. One of my novellas made more money than I ever imagined it would in January & February of 2011. But I also realize that the vampire craze won’t last forever. It will probably end, then pick back up in a few years. The same thing will probably happen with erotica. There will always be a market for it, but it won’t be such a “craze” because people will move on to something else. That’s why I try to write different things, even a horror book for my last work. I think versatility is what will help us as authors. We need to be able and willing to step out of our comfort zones sometimes. Then we’ll be prepared for the “next big thing”.

    1. But at least you jumped on it because you liked writing about vampires, not because it was popular. I run into so many comments from authors who look down their nose at romance and erotica as smut and beneath their notice, and yet they say they should write it because it makes money. I think people should write what they love, because trends change.

    2. Good point on diversity. Plus, I think diversity in our writing keeps everything fresh since we don’t feel stuck in a rut.

  2. I love what she said at the end: “Writing about sex might seem titillating, but in the end, those books and stories that stand the test of time will be those written by authors who loved what they were writing about, and who conveyed that to their readers.The writing that will abide will have been written by authors who didn’t worry about bottom-lines and time-investment ratios, but rather let the story lead and the characters tell their tale.”

    I don’t think I could say it better, so I’ll let her quote stand as is. 😀

    1. She has a way with words. 😀

  3. Thanks for reposting it. She makes a lot of good points.

    1. She does. Which is why I thought any who read it might get something out of it. It’s not just fro erotica, but any genre. When horror is on it’s upward swing, everyone seems to jump on the train to get their share of the profit, etc.

  4. I think to start off, you have to love the genre you’re writing in to begin with, not because you’re on a bandwagon. With the vampire genre (which I don’t like, but thanks to that infernal Twilight franchise has been all the rage since then), well, it’s inspired so many others to write essentially the same story, but they’re going to find that the fad has gone out by the time they’re ready to self-publish. And if it’s set before then, it’s critical that they have their own unique take on the genre.

    My solo writing is actually in a genre that’s rather under-served at the moment. In the mainstream part of it, most of the well known authors have passed on, retired, or are well past their prime.

    1. I agree. If you aren’t writing in a genre you like, you’ll soon grow to hate what you do.

  5. I know I’ve already commented, but I just wanted to say one more thing. I mentioned jumping on the vampire craze bandwagon and selling lots of books, but that I loved vampires anyway. We have to find a happy medium between writing what we love and writing what will sell. I believe in being true to yourself, but not to the “starving artist” point. What I mean is, you have to decide if you’re going to write just because you love it (which is totally okay) or because you would love doing it as a business. Honestly, if I wasn’t making money at this, I would probably eventually stop publishing and try something else. I didn’t say I would stop writing…I just wouldn’t put it out there. For me, writing is a business…it just happens to be a business that I love. So I will make no apologies for jumping on a bandwagon as long as I don’t sacrifice quality to do it. 🙂

    1. I see comments are closed, but being a co-administrator, I thought this was a very good point and should be addressed. I’ll see if I can open up comments for another week on this post, but if not, I’ll ask Stephannie how to do it since it’s her post.

      You’re exactly right. While we want to write what we love, we have to be able to make writing and publishing our books worth it. I don’t believe in the starving artist thing either. It’s why I recently decided to not write contemporaries. No one is buying them. They are buying my historical westerns. I don’t know how the Regencies will do, but if they flop as badly as the contemporaries, I’ll stop writing those, too. It was a very hard decision to make because some of my readers wanted to read two contemporaries I had planned to write. I had to tell them (and I know I disappointed them) that I was going to transfer those plot ideas to historicals. Part of running the business side of writing is knowing what to focus your time on.

      I don’t know how it is for anyone else, but I got so used to feeling guilty for allowing money to be part of the equation that I worried it meant I was being greedy. I had this feeling as if I’m supposed to only write what I love and work on the plot that I totally love with no thought to money or else I’d be sacrificing real quality. But recently, I’ve come to accept that it’s okay to write what you love but also want to be paid for it. And that has meant letting go of some stories I’d love to tell as they are because not enough people want to buy them. I no longer think it’s greedy. I think it’s knowing your limitations (time) and focusing on what works to your advantage and to your readers’ advantage. I take it that if my historical westerns are selling better than the contemporaries it’s because more of my readers want this historical westerns. So if I write more historical westerns, I’m making more people happy. In a lot of ways, sales are a report card to let us know what we need to do more of or stop doing.

      That all being said, it was very hard to tell my readers I wasn’t going to write the contemporaries. I feel bad about it because I hate letting them down. But I also know I can’t keep working on something that isn’t making a profit. It’s not always an easy decision we have to make.

    2. @Lauralynn, Nothing wrong with loving vampires. 😀 I remember when they were really popular and then the craze died back to later re-emerge. I still think you have to love the genre you write in. I have a writer friend who jumped on the romance bandwagon thinking there was nothing she wanted more than to write romance and make money, only to later realize she wanted to write New Adult novels and chick lit more. I think jumping on a bandwagon for the sole sake of making money isn’t going to make anyone happy, becuase it’s not something you love and that will came through your writing.

      1. Exactly. That’s why I said you have to find a happy medium between writing what you love and writing what will sell. Emphasis on “happy”. LOL. I was just pointing out that we can’t make a living on something that won’t sell. I want to eventually do this for a living instead of part-time. If everyone’s reading tastes were as eclectic as mine, everything would sell. 🙂 I also said jumping on the bandwagon is ok if you don’t sacrifice quality. A miserable writer will make a miserable reader. If I’m writing something I don’t like for the sake of sales, I agree with you…it will show through. Hopefully, all of us can find a genre that we love AND we can sell. That’s the best of both worlds.

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