So Damn Many People Write Erotica

Before I decided to try my hand at writing erotic fiction, I hadn’t realized just how many people had decided to do the same. Sure, I investigated the market. I tried to get a sense of what others were writing and (more importantly) reading. My investigation told me the market was vast, which I expected. I underestimated its vastness. Initially, I found its size to be encouraging. Now I find it to be overwhelming.

I figured with demand being so high, I’d have a solid chance of getting someone to take a chance on my writing. So many people seemed to be consuming such massive amounts erotica that I assumed some indiscriminate readers would buy my words. People spend more for a pack of gum than they do for an erotic story. What would be the harm in tossing a few cents my way? Someone is bound to take a look, right?

I made a few mistakes here. First, I assumed readers wouldn’t be particularly discerning. They are. Second, I forgot that every other writer is counting on the insatiable demand of readers. I’m not the only one who has seen an opportunity in smut. Third, I didn’t consider just how much better than me some of my competition would be. I knew some talented writers would get most of the attention, but I thought more writers would be of the clueless amateur variety. These mistakes have landed me in a lonely place.

Seeing the crowded sea of erotica authors disheartens me. It should inspire me to work on improving my craft. Instead, it makes me not want to bother. My hope of getting noticed amid the mass of smut mongers feels nil. Readers can be as picky as they wish to be. I’m not confident I can give them enough reason to pay attention to anything I write. In this, I defeat myself.

All moping aside, how are so many people doing this? Has the market always been this busy? Are any of these people actually making money, or are they writing on speculation? Are they just writing for the hell of it? Who, if anyone, is really reading all of this filth? My brief experience with this has left baffled rather than empowered. I’ve waded into something only to quickly find myself in over my head. From here, I’ll drag myself safely ashore, sink to the bottom, or discover my stroke and pass the breakers (how needlessly dramatic). Like a kid swimming at a Chinese beach, I doubt anyone will notice my struggle. Maybe some sadist will watch from the sand.

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7 thoughts on “So Damn Many People Write Erotica

  1. Given the success of “A Billionaire Dinosaur Forced Me Gay” it seems safe to say it isn’t about the writing. People know most of the smut they buy is going to be poorly written. While there definitely are a great many excellent erotic authors out there, it seems to me purchasers are scratching a different itch entirely; they buy to satisfy their curiosity. Something along the lines of, ‘I can’t believe that title, it can’t be real, what the hell, it’s only $2.99…”

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  2. Erotic romance has boomed over the last several years. Erotica, on the other hand, has always been more of a specialized niche, but people are taking more notice post “Fifty Shades…”, for better or worse.

    There are plenty of erotica writers who have made a reputable name for themselves and have grown a following from humble beginnings. Many have never written a full-length novel but get published in anthologies and write articles, etc. Many have won awards, get invited to speak at conferences…so it’s possible to make it happen.

    It doesn’t matter what genre or sub-genre you write. There will be competition, and you will have to keep your name out there.

    If you really want to do this, you have to keep at it. Most of the successful authors I know have all said that you need several titles published (usually around 5) before you start to notice an upswing.

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  3. Do what brings you joy. If you keep coming back to the idea of writing erotica then write it, regardless of whether it sells. There are lots of things to do for money. Question is, what are you going to do out of passion?? Those are the activities that give our lives true meaning, and it is so personal to each of us.

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    1. I don’t really do anything out of passion. I’m not that type of person. I write in my spare time when I feel enough energy to do so. It’s something to do other than staring at the floor.

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