April 23rd, 2015

bluebeard

EROTICA FACTS: Part 1!

Originally published at PeterCHayward.com/blog. You can comment here or there.

Sometimes I remember that other people don’t work professionally in the field of erotica. I’ve decided to start posting some fun erotica facts that you are probably not aware of (these are all true), because I just flat-out find it interesting.

GENERAL TRIGGER WARNING: These stories rarely prioritise consent. They’re not stories of violent rape, but a lot of the appeal for many will come from reluctance, people being forced into situations they’re not totally onboard with, and even minds being altered.

FACT #1: A common thing in free online erotica (i.e. people who write for fun, not money) is this idea of a “concept” that dozens (or sometimes hundreds) of people do their own take on. There are a few of these, but two big ones spring to mind:

1) “Naked in School”: The US government legalises public nudity, and to encourage people to be more comfortable with their body, institute a program where a small portion of the student population is forced to be totally nude for a week (or a month or whatever). If they refuse, they’re force-stripped, and as part of the program they MUST allow anyone access to their body. It’s such a weird idea but it was hugely popular for aaages. The protagonists invariably end up sexually fulfilled and happy that they were chosen to be in the program, and many of them become much more comfortable with their bodies as a result.

2) “Master PC”: Someone opens a file that they find on a floppy disk/download from a sketchy site, and it’s a program called “Master PC” that controls reality. You look anyone within 100 miles up and a 3D model of them rotates on your screen; you have sliders to adjust anything you can imagine (from “bladder size” to “toe hair denseness”) and you can type direct instructions in (“Sal now only speaks Chinese”). It’s basically a god machine – some people just use it for flat-out wish fulfillment, some people add enemies who also have access to the program so there’s at least some kind of conflict.

Here are some excerpts from the first chapter of the original “Naked in School”, to give you an idea of the tone:


This brochure explains a new program we have, where we will select a few students each week to attend school in the nude. You will not be permitted to wear any clothing this week during school hours, except shoes and socks if you wish. Could you please undress now?“

I blushed very hard. “You want me to… to take off my clothes…right here?”

“It’s a mandatory program for you, Miss Wagner. I can have a couple of gentlemen assist you if necessary to ensure your cooperation.” He glanced behind himself. There were a couple of burly men waiting there. “You have 2 minutes as of now.”


“We might as well use you at the front, since everyone is looking at you anyway. Face the class, please.”

I did so. God, it was humiliating!

“Does anyone have any suggestions of an algebra problem involving Miss Wagner?” he asked.

Half the class raised their hands, and Mr. Dennison had me write all of their suggestions on the white board.

Calculate the volume of my breasts, and percentage of my total body mass
Determine total mass of breasts among students in the school
Number of hands which could feel my breasts, buttocks and inner thighs at once
Coefficient of friction of my vagina
Equations calculating how long it would take me to have sex with every boy in my grade, and in the school, based on different assumptions to be entered as variables
Calculate distance from my lips to my throat, then based on statistics about penis sizes, determine how many boys in the school I could “deep throat”.


I found out there were 3 girls from each grade who were required to spend the week naked. The following week, a new group would be selected.

A couple of the girls were enjoying the attention quite a bit. One freshman girl, though, was even more freaked out than most of us, and had to be taken to the hospital. The word I head was that she’d have to complete the week like the rest of us, then serve another whole week later on. Wow…

(Later stories had guys participating as well.)

bluebeard

HOW TO MAKE A LIVING FROM SMUT: Part 0!

Originally published at PeterCHayward.com/blog. You can comment here or there.

Before I start going into the nuts and bolts of erotica-based income, I’m going to tell you my story – not (only) because I’m a raging egomaniac, but because the path I’ve gone down means I’m relatively out of the loop, and I think it’s only fair to let you know that before I start doling out advice.

I’ve been reading erotica since I was 15, and started writing it for fun and posting it online when I was 24 – I’m not the world’s greatest writer, but the standard of quality for free online smut is fairly low, and so I quickly built myself a bit of a fanbase. I started taking commissions (for which I woefully undercharged) but I never planned it to be anything but a hobby until June 2012 when I quit my job and was trying to find a way to live creatively.

SJ (my girlfriend at the time) found an AMA from someone who was making a few thousand dollars a month, with tips on how to get started. (Basically what I’m writing now!) The market was pretty different back then, but the fundamentals are the same. There was a link to a forum where everyone discussed it – I spent about a week or two reading through the collective wisdom of everyone involved, and then launched into it, writing new stories + taking my old stories and extending the sex scenes, paying SJ to make covers for me and publishing a bunch of stuff.

For the next year, I kept on publishing. I used to keep super detailed stats, so here is my exact income for my first 18 months of publishing erotica. In brackets are how many books I had published, followed by how many of them were bundles (collections of books rather than original content):

July 2012: $93.21 (7)
August 2012: $471.51 (14, 2)
September 2012: $493.90 (24, 4)
October 2012: $932.32 (31, 4)
November 2012: $1,479.07 (34, 5)
December 2012: $2,459.51 (48, 13)
January 2013: $3,234.78 (52, 14)
February 2013: $1,839.90 (57, 16)
March 2013: $4,308.40 (65, 16)
April 2013: $2,759.16 (70, 16)
May 2013: $3,011.06 (82, 16)
June 2013: $2,903.02 (91, 16)
July 2013: $5,711.41 (100, 19) –I remembered this being a $7k month. It was not!–
August 2013: $4,732.35 (115, 28)
September 2013: $3,002.24
November 2013: $1,391.18
December 2013: $1,133.83

So what happened in September 2013? Amazon started banning my books.

Heads-up: this is where it firmly enters TMI territory. See, I make the vast, vast majority of my money from incest erotica. Specifically, brother/sister incest mind control erotica. I’m the world’s best brother/sister incest mind control erotica writer, which is weird, but it’s also sort of fun to be the best in the world at something.

My family know about this and they don’t care, but it’s something I’ve never announced on facebook before (for obvious reasons). I have zero interest in real life sisters, mind control OR incest, but for some reason it’s the kink that works for me and – as a result – it’s what sells best for me*.

*I’m actually lucky in that regard. Some people find that their best writing is in a kink that they have NO interest in. That’s when it truly becomes a job – they have to spend each and every day writing about gay cowboys, despite being straight and more of a pirate guy.

Amazon are extremely reactive, and so when the religious right found out about people making a bunch of money from incest erotica, they kicked up a fuss and Amazon (with no warning) started banning incest from appearing in their stores.

Emphasis on APPEARING. You can still publish – and read – the exact same books on Amazon, but you can no longer mention incest or family members anywhere on the cover, in the blurb, or anywhere like that*.

*as a result, little hinty keywords have appeared – “taboo” is the biggest one, or “man of the house” meaning father/daughter stuff.

I spent a few months scared to upload anything (if Amazon have to tell you twice, they permanently and irrevocably ban your account) until the money from my $5.7k month ran out, and I started rewriting blurbs and re-titling books. “Brainwashing my Sister” became “Brainwashing the Cheerleader”. “Blowing My Big Brother” became “My First Blow-job”.

I’ll go into all this in more detail in future parts, but Amazon is one of a few different marketplaces. It’s by far the biggest, but it’s also the most fickle. My sales income was pretty low in 2014, and I learned to live on less money (and started taking more commissions to make up the difference):

Jan 2014: $1,328.26
Feb 2014: $1,282.22
Mar 2014: $1,382.70
Apr 2014: $1,889.48
May 2014: $1,319.88
(I stopped keeping track at this point, so I genuinely can’t give you any numbers from here.)

By August 2014, I had my entire catalogue back up…at which point, Amazon decided that mind control wasn’t okay, and took my catalogue down again.

So that was fun.

Now, I could have switched gears and stopped writing brother/sister mind control. And a more sensible man would have done that (my friend who makes $100-200k/month did). But I had gotten pretty used to:
a) Writing what I wanted to write (NOTE: Do not count on this! If you want to make a living from this, you gotta write what sells)
b) The regular feedback/fan-mail/commissions I get from posting my stuff online for free, which I was continuing to do the entire time I was selling my work on Amazon. I have received exactly one piece of fan-mail for my sold books, and close to a thousand pieces of fanmail for my stuff that’s online for free.

People who buy your stuff on Amazon are a whole different audience to those who read it online for free. (as a rule, the first category are mostly women while the second category are mostly men. Men don’t pay for erotica, women don’t pay for porn.)

And so to make up the difference, I started a Patreon (like an ongoing kickstarter, or an online tip jar) which you can find here.

Like I said, I had a fan-base, and I thought I might get a couple of hundred dollars from them each month in exchange for some little perks and rewards. To my surprise, after 6 months it’s hit $800/month and continued to grow. Add that to my fairly regular $1200 from Amazon/Barnes and Noble, and the extra thousand I get from Smashwords every three months (more on payment schedules in a future update) and I make a bit over $2k/month US, which is more than enough for me to live on (especially since I still take commissions, which I charge through the nose for).

So while I’m more than happy to talk everyone through the path of online publishing, I wanted you all to know mine is a VERY unusual tale. Firstly, I put almost no effort into Amazon, which is indisputably where the big, big bucks are. (the $363k month I talked about last time was from someone who exclusively publishes on Amazon, which is probably I’d recommend you do as well. Do as I say, not as I do.)

Secondly, I make my money off crowdfunding, which no one else in written erotica does (especially since Kickstarter doesn’t allow it). Thirdly, the majority of my writing is available online for free (now that you know the taboo topic and fairly dark nature of what I write, I’ll happily point you to it) and fourthly, I’m both stubborn and lazy, so I haven’t turned my writing to more profitable pastures.

TOMORROW: The stuff you really want to hear: how to get started! (spoiler: the first step is to read some successful erotica. Again, not mine. Mine is not successful, I just happen to write a particular niche quite well. Try the Amazon Top Hundred )

Any questions before we continue?