When it comes to “How to Guides” for writing erotica there’s a lot of useless information out there. Plenty of blogs and articles claim to be written by people who make thousands of dollars a month can be found but very few offer useful information. I want to give a top 5 list of practical steps to help improve the writing of erotica.
1) Make a list of Characters and their Physical Characteristics:
I’ll be the first one to acknowledge I learned this one the hard way. There are so many articles that mention how easy it is to make money writing erotica. Truthfully, it can be easy but one has to respect their audience. If in paragraph one a character is introduced as tall and skinny with blonde hair and blue eyes make sure to keep that description throughout the story. Nothing will frustrate a reader more than developing a mental image of one of the characters only to have the author confuse the eye or hair color later in the story. It might be erotica but readers will notice that a character started out with blue eyes and the story ended with them having green eyes. I like to keep myself on track by writing out just a very basic physical description. I do that before I ever start writing the actual story.
2) The kinks have it.
This may come as no surprise but Erotica readers like a story that revolves around a good kink. No one and I repeat no one wants to read Erotica about basic vanilla sex. On the opposite end of the spectrum don’t try to throw every kink known to man into one story. A story needs one major kink and then maybe one or two complimentary kinks to go along with it. As an example an author may want to write a story that revolves around BDSM. This is a very broad subject matter to explore so within the realm of BDSM an author may choose to explore the kinks of denial and humiliation. These kinks are compatible with each other. One note of caution, BDSM doesn’t have to be dark with dungeons, whips, and chains. It’s ok to write about light or soft BDSM as well. There are also plenty of kinks that don’t include any aspects of BDSM.
3) If it turns you on it’s likely to turn someone else on too.
Everyone is interested in their own sorts of sex. An author is well served finding something they enjoy writing. One thing to remember is that if the author isn’t having fun writing the story the reader likely won’t enjoy reading it. It can take a while to gain a following or to be well known for representing a certain kink or topic. However, in my experience Erotica readers are fiercely loyal when they find an author whose work they enjoy. However, if the author hates what they're writing it's likely to come through to the reader.
4) Write, Write, Write,
This leads me into number 4 which is to just keep writing. I said earlier that Erotica readers tend to be loyal and this is true. However, the people who read Erotica also tend to bore easily. It’s important to get on a writing schedule. I try to work on a 2, 1, 2 schedule. Simply put this means one week I try to self publish 2 novellas, then 1 novella, then back to 2. No one can keep up a super human pace so it’s nice to throw a light week in between two busy weeks. On the weeks when I commit to only publishing one novella I dedicate extra time to coming up with new ideas. I write basic novella concepts so that I’ll have something to write the next week. Ideally, an Erotica author should try to put something out every week if they’re writing short novellas (100 pages or less), or every two weeks if they’re writing longer novellas (150-300 pages). It’s best not to take extended periods of time off. An author who keeps giving their readers what they like will gain a valuable following.
5) Edit, edit, edit..
This one should go without saying but if I’m honest I struggled with this starting out. My natural inclination is to be a skimmer and I would later find that my work would be sloppy in some places. When I say edit, I mean reading line by line. For me, I find it beneficial to read my works line by line before I ever start the process of self publishing the piece. I have been saved from making simple mistakes many times by reading the works out loud. That being said, maybe make sure no one else is home while reading aloud.
Since number 5 is short I’m throwing in another basic. Correctly pricing a work can be the difference between selling one copy and fifty copies of something. It’s Erotica, so by nature it should be easy to read, sexy, and no longer than necessary. Absolutely no one is going to pay $9 for a 100 page Erotica novella. It doesn’t matter how hot the sex scenes are or how compelling the characters if the piece is over priced no one is going to buy it. Especially, as a new author it will be more beneficial to begin with low prices. Once a following is established playing with higher price points will be more acceptable.
*That’s it my 6 point list to starting a new side hustle as an Erotica writer. Remember to stay freaky my Friends.