I self-published erotica to make ends meet. Could I follow in Anaïs Nin’s footsteps or was I doomed to churn out filth?

Sam Mills in Aeon:

The pack: that’s what they called it. A secret guide, discreetly passed to literary authors in need of money to sustain their ‘real’ art. Compiled by such an author, happy to share their experience of publishing erotica on Amazon, it offered advice to avant-garde writers keen to turn their hand to this lucrative genre. According to the pack, popular topics included:

ABDL /diaper stuff – if you’ve got the stomach for it, I would recommend writing things in this genre for immediate gratifying sales.

Gender swap/mind swap/transformation/etc – these are kind of like a teenage boy’s fantasy. Usually a man waking up in a woman’s body. These do really well.

Shifters – sort of the same as above, but more about people changing into bears/werewolves/etc – these do very well, but are quite story-led and you’d probably need to do a series to start getting some good sales.

Billionaire stuff – a dominant ridiculous billionaire and a trembling submissive hero or heroine.


Historical – these sell like hot cakes! A strict baron or Lord, disciplining a servant girl or stable-hand.

The list was both reassuring and nerve-wracking. Which genre should I pick? I weighed up my own predilections versus the need to sell as many, as quickly, as I could. People tend to think authors are either loaded (with J K Rowling as the norm) or very poor. My income had been a rollercoaster over the years; now, in summer 2019, having enjoyed a luxurious view, I was zooming downwards, winds of warning hissing through me, stomach lurching with fear of the future.

More here.