Friday, 17 October 2014

Disappointment and the Erotica Reader Survey

Smut writer - and marketing researcher - Amelia Bryant has a bitch about the closure of the Erotica Reader Survey and the lack of community spirit from fellow authors. You've been warned: this post bites! 

After what seems an eternity being open, I’ve finally closed the Erotica Reader Survey. I’ve got mixed feelings about this.

Firstly, I’m extremely grateful for the time spent and opinions offered by respondents. You’ve given me some numbers to play with. Thank you – you know who you are. Thank you also to the respondents who did their level best to get fellow smut readers participating. Your efforts are appreciated for sure.

That said, I’m saddened by the lack of enthusiasm shared by the general erotica writing fraternity. This includes smut book forum admins shunting the thread to some obscure part of their empire, as if they didn’t actually want to be involved in it. It also includes smut authors themselves. So much for community spirit.

Now to anyone jumping at the wrong conclusion that Yours Truly is being a spoilt little so-and-so, STOP.

As I’ve near-constantly maintained in forum postings, Twitter, blog posts regarding the Survey, and (if memory serves me correct) the intro and outro survey text, the main findings would be published. That’s right: a professionally designed marketing research survey created, programmed, and analysed for the world (or at least the smut writing / reading community) to see.

Just out of interest, do you know the price tag that would come with that if commissioning this work to an agency or consultant? Well over £5k. So to any detractors out there thinking of taking a pot-shot, forget it.

You’d think that forum matriarchs would have figured it out that there was an intrinsic benefit in promoting the survey. The results would offer a multitude of discussion threads and interaction among members. What’s not to like about that?

Similarly, erotica authors should have realised that by helping promote survey participation, they would have also reaped the benefits of someone – me -  doing the hard work and furnishing juicy data and insight for them to capitalise on. It truly was potentially win-win for everyone in a number of ways.

But it wasn’t to be.

The survey was never going to be ‘representative’. Afterall, nobody really knows the market size for smut stories, and secondly, convenience sampling was used. That said, it was hoped that the survey would generate several hundred responses (one thousand or more would have been wonderful) so that whilst not necessarily indicative of the smut reading universe, the number of responses would at least offer good insight on a sizable bunch of smut readers in its own right. That seems to have flown over the heads of authors and forum Mother Hens alike. Dumb Clucks indeed.

Given that erotica authors face many challenges I’d have thought that something which could have helped us all, would have been enthusiastically supported. But there again, if we can’t even help each other, what hope do we have as a community trying to forward the sector and profession? The words ‘piss up’ and ‘brewery’ spring to mind.

It was also costing me money to keep the survey in its full entirety open, to the tune of £25 per month. Since launching it in early 2013 you can do the arithmetic and work out how much that tots up to. Have there been sufficient response numbers to justify this expense? Definitely not.


So what now?

Well, I’ve always promised there’d be findings generated and disseminated. The respondents deserve that at the very least, even if the numbers aren’t great. So look out for some graphs, charts, and words of wisdom in the coming weeks.

The authors can perhaps take a look at the data and ruefully consider whether what they see could have been even more beneficial with more responses. Hindsight’s a bitch, isn’t it? You had your chances over the last 18 or so months.

Once again, thanks to the respondents and to the small number of authors (you know who you are – big kiss to you all) who got involved in it.

Keep saucy.


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Amelia Bryant's Top 10 Tips For Aspiring Erotica Writers - part 1

The self-styled Queen of London Erotica, Amelia Bryant, provides aspiring erotica writers with some sage advice. Her war wounds are still healing in this first of three parts.

1. Be realistic
Reckon you’re going to strike it rich with your first uploaded smut story? Good for you. Your optimism is oozing out of each pore. Unfortunately your naivety is equally plentiful. The chances of you making your fortune writing erotica are slim to say the least. Everyone and their Granny has had the thought “Ooh, I can write a few books and be like that EL James woman and make a mint.”

Before you type your first sentence of your debut smut story, this means you’ve got a shed load of competition. Then, consider that your main distribution platforms such as Amazon KDP or Smashwords have varying degrees of transparency concerning what you can and can’t write, and also the level of visibility afforded to erotica titles in their vast inventories.

You also need to be aware that many people who love smut don’t want to pay for it. Why should they bother? There’s a plethora of free erotica websites out there. Many authors offer a free story or two along with their priced titles. On an individual basis, you can’t fault the authors, who are trying to earn a crust. When you have a lot of smut writers doing this however, cheapskate readers are kept happy for a long time. At your expense.

Anyone can write a few words of dubious quality, chuck in some tits n’ ass (and other bodily particles), slap on a truly awful cover then hit ‘Publish’. Voila: another independent self-published smut author is born. And it’s getting tougher by the day for the good stuff to be found amongst the cack.

Making money from erotica is not easy. Making enough money from erotica to quit the day job and write full time is very hard indeed (I should probably say 'nearly impossible' but I live in hope that some folks will achieve this, so don't want to be completely dismissive). Becoming filthy rich from writing smut is the stuff of dreams. By all means keep your mind in the gutter, so you can conceive wonderfully sexy stories that melt Kindles. But keep your feet well and truly on the ground.

2. Don’t give up the day job.
The previous point will have now primed you for this one. I could spend a fair few hundred words lamenting on the fact that giving up the day job to be a smut writer is a REALLY STUPID THING TO DO. Giving up your day job to be merely a NON-SMUT writer is pretty thick as well given the current state of affairs. 

How the hell do you think your mind is going to be chock-full of images of torrid rumpy-pumpy and saucy plots, when you’re instead worrying about how you’re going to pay the gas bill, and your credit card balance. That’s not conducive to successful smut scribbling. Need further convincing? I’ll digress, and instead let you read this

Feel free to cry into your peppermint tea, beer, red wine, or whatever your poison of choice is.

In short, you can quit the day job once you have made a shed load of cash and can see this being maintained for the foreseeable future. Don’t even consider this otherwise.

3. Don’t tweet: WRITE!
You’d think that with all that tweeting you’re doing, all the links you’re including, the hashtags you’re remembering to insert, and getting the ratio of chit-chat, promo, and engagement right, that you’d see a decent return for your investment.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but it doesn’t. Even when you’re doing all the right things, it still won’t make any real difference. Trust me on this – been there, done that, bought the damn chocolates to boot.

It sucks. Big time.

There was a time when I’d open up Tweetdeck and schedule my tweets for the following day. I’d have some excerpt tweets, some link tweets to Amazon, some to the blog, some to my followers, some general updates, some conversation starters. There’d be those tweets, and the ad-hoc ones through the day which were more conversational with followers and friends etc.

There was consistency, and the ratios were pretty good in terms of chit chat and fun versus blatant plugging. And the results? Not worth typing about. Really, I mean it.

Once upon a time there existed a sense of karma, equilibrium, call it what you want. A sense of mutual back-scratching. In Twitter this equates to plugging other worth people's offerings. or their latest blog post if it's something relevant that would benefit from other people contributing to it. For some people, who you have established a good and respectful connection with, you think nothing of it. You're keen to help them out. I know, I have a few of these and I wish them all the success they can get so I'm genuinely happy to retweet them. 

Then there are others you might retweet in the hope that one good turn deserves another. Experience to date however shows that this is rarely reciprocated. Many a Friday I'd spend half an hour tweeting #FF 's  ('Follow Friday', for the Twitter uninitiated) in the hope of the favour being returned somewhere down the line.

Save your time: the results are genuinely disappointing. 

Tweet every now and again. Tweet if you want to find yourself some sexy followers and engage in some flirty banter. Or if you want to find yourself some smutty photos that will give you ideas for your next scene or story you’re writing. Twitter is FAB for that if you know who to follow. I say knowingly… nudge nudge.

But for the love of God, do not fall into the trap of thinking that you have to incessantly be on Twitter in order to succeed as a smut writer. No! No! No! 

Blog regularly on your site to tell people what you’re up to. Wax lyrical on a multitude of things. At the very least it will help your SEO rankings provided you don’t be an idiot about it. Or hey, here’s a novel (groan…) idea: write more stories!

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Learn from mine so you can avoid the same mistake. Enjoy Twitter for what it is, but do not see it as the marketing wonderkid that will catapult you to smut writing stardom. 

To conclude, consider these rather thought-provoking points:-

1. Nearly three quarters (71%) of Tweets are IGNORED.

2. Twitter itself has been around since 2006 yet its own financial position is far from rosy

Thinking rather ruefully regarding the last point...If Twitter itself can't perform admirably with its marketing clout then what chance does a smut writer with next to no budget have? 

Write more. Don’t tweet more.

That's enough for now.  Keep checking for the next installment. 

Oh, nearly forgot. A few days ago I started on my next story. Yay!  
See, there's no way I could have finished the blog post on such a downer.  

Until next time, smut lovers! 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Yes I'm alive...

Miss me? It’s been a while. I don’t blame you for thinking (like a few of my Twitter buddies) that I’d disappeared from the face of the planet.

Not quite.

I'm still here. Weary and wounded perhaps, but still with a pulse and some brain cells left. How western civilization must be quaking, lol.

There's a few posts coming your way in the near future. 

Be afraid. Be VERY afraid.


Wednesday, 30 October 2013

STORY: "Kings Cross St. Pancras: Officers But Are They Gentlemen?"

One hot shot woman + Two hot shot pilots = Threesome fun.

The eagerly awaited fourth title in the London Lovers’ Ground series is set in the bustling Kings Cross and neighbouring St. Pancras station area. Trying to shake off its notorious vice hotspot label, a number of high-end hotels and restaurants have opened around the stations. All rather convenient for our sassy vixen Lisa Thornton to have her wicked way with the two young officers!

When Lisa retires after dinner to the swanky Kings Cross hotel lounge that she’s staying in, herself and her friend Jill meet two dashing young RAF helicopter pilots enjoying their last weekend of leave before deploying to Afghanistan. Within minutes, they’re enthralled as the young pilots reveal the realities of combat rescue missions and life in a war zone. 

With Jill rushing to catch her last train home, Lisa and the two pilots continue talking but it becomes evident that Lisa is interested in more than mere conversation. Things heat up so much in the lounge, that Lisa’s smouldering attraction for both officers takes them to her hotel room where their all-out lust explodes! With Lisa’s train to Paris leaving in a matter of hours, there’s no other option. She orders her hot shot pilots to go full-throttle on their time-critical mission: HER!

With all three of them determined to make each moment count, the trio use everything in their arsenals to make it a night to remember. With charm, champagne, and a chaise longue all being used to full effect – not to mention a king-sized bed – Lisa, Thom and Andy make sure all are put to good use before Lisa heads to the station to begin her journey.

This 10,500 (approx.) word adult erotic story includes threesome sex, fellatio, cunnilingus, lingerie, and some wickedly fun dialogue, as befits Lisa’s sass and cheeky humour. And there’s a provocative and unexpected twist at the end for good measure!


Coming up for air, I looked into Andy’s eyes once more. I assumed the smile on my face was as wide as the Channel Tunnel itself. This was the sort of escapade hotels were designed for - or damn well should be.
As his hands moved under my short black jacket once more – I’m surprised he hadn’t taken it off before now – his fluid, almost effortless movements halted abruptly as the loud knock on the door came.
“Shit. Who the hell could that be?” I asked innocently, looking over Andy’s shoulder towards the door.
“I don’t know, but they bloody well chose the wrong time.”
“Don’t say a thing,” he whispered, “Maybe they’ll go away or realise they’ve got the wrong room or something.”
The second rat-a-tat against the door dispelled any notion that the interrupter had slunk off.
Andy looked at me. Was he awaiting orders like an obedient young officer?
“Well, I’m not answering the door with my hair like this,” I replied melodramatically, ignoring the fact that I was the one still fully clothed.
“You go. You can be my naked butler,” I winked.
“You’re going to pay for that,” Andy retorted conspiratorially. His well-timed squeeze of my derriere emphasised the point, before releasing his impressive grip on my arse and heading to the door. I sidestepped to get a clearer view of the door as Andy pulled it open.
“Hello Passion Pants!” exclaimed Thom.
“What the hell…”
“Hi there, Lisa. Flyboy reporting for duty,” announced Sutherland, nonchalantly planting a smacker on Andy’s cheek for good measure, chuckling loudly, as he brushed past his flying partner into my room. Placing the champagne, ice bucket and glasses onto the table, he turned around, grinning.
Andy’s face was something – a mix of surprise, shock, and possible disappointment too perhaps? It wasn’t that hard to imagine; he thought he had me all to his own. Poor boy. He had no idea that one flyboy wouldn’t be enough. Not by a long shot.
As if to rub it in, Thom waved the napkin I’d left on the table in front of Andy’s face, before handing it to him. Still laughing, he looked around the room, taking it all in. By the expression on his face, he liked the look of my large executive room. He wasn’t the only one: I’d found it a delightful base for my short stay.
Thom’s gaze eventually turned to me.
“Come over here Thom,” I beckoned. “Don’t you think you should catch up? Andy needs some time to acquaint himself with the mission.” Glancing at the mirror, I could see that despite them being kissed and sucked on intently for the last fifteen minutes, my vamped up red lips had not lost any of their colour: God bless modern cosmetics.
Andy meanwhile stayed rooted at the spot beside the door. Reading intently, he got up to speed. 
‘Hey Flyboy. Andy exfiltrated me to Room 241. Cum ‘Search and Rescue’ me! Full tank necessary. Clothes optional.’ 
I had to admit: my red lips made one hell of a signature at the bottom on the napkin.
“I’ll say one thing Lisa,” chuckled Andy, “you certainly have a way with words.”
“I’ve got a way with willies, as well.”

How does the story end?  Very messily and exhaustedly! And with a final surprise in store! 

Monday, 21 October 2013

Blog Hop: Tag! You're It!

A few weeks ago I was asked by the delightful Angel Gone Bad (watch out, she’s a handful!) if I’d be one of her victi…er I mean recipients of the baton so to speak of the ‘Blog Hop’ that’s been doing its rounds through the smut writing fraternity.

What’s a ‘blog hop’? 
A writer answers a few questions about their work, and in turn passes on the baton to not one, but three other smut writers to do the same for the following week. Their names are announced at the bottom of the blog post, thus priming the reader for what’s going to follow, and also plugging the writer along the way. Additional tweets help spread the word.

So without further ado, here are those questions and my responses; I hope you find them interesting.

What are you working on right now? 
It’s all systems go right now, with several things going on. After a hiatus of a few months (writing had to be put to one side whilst real life interfered with my plans for world smut domination), I finally got back to writing in the last week or two, and have just finished a story I’d originally started back in March. It’s another one of my saucy London Lovers’ Ground series that focuses on a particular locale / station in the city. This time it’s the one and only “Kings Cross St Pancras” – make of that what you will! More details will be coming out in the next few days so keep your eyes open for more details here.

There’s also some cover redesigns for the first three LLG stories coming up as well – to make them sexier and more alluring – you can’t go wrong with black, haha!

Finally, as there’s already three ‘green’ LLG stories available, I’m going to release them together in a juicy threesome offer, which will be priced more competitively than if buying them all singly.

So that’s what immediately is on my plate – needless to say, with the smut writing mojo back, there are a whole bunch of forthcoming LLG titles already conceived and will be getting fired out over the next few months. There’s also a few more Crash! Bang! Wallop! stories I want written at some point. Some are in response to reader feedback, such as Parts II and III of ‘Stuck At A Desk’  (you know who you are, haha!) and there’s a REALLY hardcore BDSM / humiliation tale coming up which may finish off the CBW series….who knows.

How does it differ from other work in its genre? 
Being a marketer as well as an erotica writer, this is where I have to put my money where my mouth is! Firstly in terms of the cover design, I wanted a very distinct and recognisable identity for both the LLG and CBW series. With the LLG, there are different coloured lines each dedicated to a particular naughty theme, so there are coloured sub-identities going on there as well. 

The same goes for font choice. Like any good brand building, there has to be consistency and the right fonts have to be chosen: different fonts have different ‘personalities’ and the wrong ones will do more damage than good. Unfortunately, from an overall category perspective, the majority of erotica writers appear to pay lip service to such things. I’m not saying my covers are fantastic – but they’re distinct and aren’t cringeworthy like the ‘cheap clip art and dodgy font’ covers that are commonplace. If the story is good, why let it down with a crap cover?!

In terms of the writing itself, I make sure there are no corny character names or dialogue spoken between them. I want the scenarios and the characters to be believable and realistic. The types of people you see on the tube or pass by on the streets of London are the same types you find in my books. I’m not knocking fantasy erotica writers – different strokes for different folks – but just like in porn, there’s a huge appeal for the realistic ‘boy/girl next door’ type of characters, rather than those from another world.

Finally, to date my books have all been set in London. I’m not sure (but open to correction) there are other writers who have focused on London - or any other city for that matter – in their writing.

Whilst each of these factors may not in themselves be unique, they combine to form a unique proposition. 

Why do you write what you do? 
This can be answered in different ways. Firstly, I write erotica to earn a living. Some people write erotica for the sheer pleasure of it. That’s wonderful, but I’m focused on both.

Regarding the types of story or themes included, this is a case of writing what interests / excites me. If you’re passionate about something, it makes it so much easier to work with. But I also don’t forget this is a revenue stream – and what I write has also got to excite others too. Understanding what readers want to read and are happy paying for is a key reason for me designing and launching the Erotica Reader Survey – I want to know what smut readers want in their stories. And as I’ve said before, the key findings will be posted on the blog for all and sundry to digest. From the responses so far I can breathe a sigh of relief: a lot of things that do it for me personally and in my writing, are shared by many others! 

How does your writing process work? 
I tend to have everything thought out before I start typing the first words. Locations, plot, characters, the sex acts, are all thought about and a clear direction identified. With that foundation set, I’m free to sprinkle some extra bits and bobs where appropriate as I write. In this respect I treat my erotica writing like I do my marketing reports or university essays from decades past. I know how the story is going to pan out, I know the ins and outs (stop sniggering!), I’ve got the character personas established, etc. I even have a spreadsheet containing a whole bunch of questions to help with character building. What do they like and dislike? What’s their profession? What kind of clothes would I expect them to be wearing? What kind of personality do they have? How do I think this person will react in a given situation? What turns them on?

To some it might sound a bit anal, but ‘knowing’ this much about my characters helps me enormously, particularly when it comes to dialogue and behaviour in the story. It also allows me to keep things fresh; I don’t want the main character in one story be identical to another – particularly when there are so many variables one can play with when creating good, believable, naughty characters.

Having these things already clear in my mind before I start writing the story is critical. In fact I can’t imagine writing any other way. Once I’ve got all that framework in place, the actual writing is easier: that’s the theory anyway! 

So, there you have it; a bit more of me revealed! If you enjoyed this and want a bit more of an insight into how I roll, then comment on it, and let’s see what happens. 

Now: who’s next on the Blog Hop, I hear you ask? My three naughty minded writers keeping the hop going are:-

Danielle Austen, author of “The Prophecy Girl Trilogy” stories 

Anita Bush, author of “The Erotic Musings of an Ordinary Girl”

And yes, I realise that's just TWO! I'm waiting on a response from my third target....

And of course thanks to Angel Gone Bad in the first place: catch more of her naughty antics at:


Thursday, 17 October 2013

New Book, New Look, New Offer!

Yay! After several months of real life intruding with neighbours being wankers, and other trials and tribulations causing my smut mojo to disappear…… we’re back, Baby!

At about 0315 hrs on Wednesday morning, I finally finished the story I’d been working on back in March. It’s a bit of a belter if I say so myself. But then I would say that, wouldn’t I ?

With about four edits already completed, and with a final look-over or two just remaining, I’ll shortly be giving it the rubber stamp and getting started on the Amazon upload process. That’s assuming Amazon by now haven’t started throwing their toys out of the pram with EVERYTHING erotica-related. If so, then we’re all really screwed, lol.

It’s another in the London Lovers’ Ground series of spicy stories set among London’s many different locales. Coming in at around 10,500 words, I think it’s my second longest story (after Hi-Jinks In Hull, from the Crash! Bang! Wallop! series). As per previous stories, it’ll have its own blog post; probably an ‘Extra Sauce’ post to keep it company as well. So I won’t wax lyrical about it right now. But if you’re a fan of multiple miscreants as well as multiple orgasms, then there’s a treat in store for you!

With the new book, there’s also a new look revealed. The earlier LLG stories - Bayswater, Paddington, and Earl’s Court – will also be receiving respective cover re-designs. There’s nothing earth shattering about them, but they’re certainly more jazzed up and dare I say it, more enticing, than the previous ones: which in retrospect isn’t that hard to imagine!

Finally, for threesome fans, cough…ahem… - I mean books, you filthy muckers! - I’m going to be releasing the first three LLG stories – as a multi-pack book. Exact pricing still TBC, but I’m probably going to offer it for less than buying the three stories separately. Amn’t I nice?!

This is all going to be happening in the next week or two so if you want to stay in the loop, you can either keep checking my Tweets or to be on the safe side subscribe to my site here, and you’ll be automatically notified when there’s something said.

Thanks for reading – this and my smutty stories!  


Saturday, 28 September 2013

Erotica Writing Dilemmas

It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? Ooops. My bad. Well what can I say. I look back on my last blog post, full of noble thoughts. Then I ruefully ponder the accuracy of the saying ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’. Hmm. Then I consider that AC/DC wrote that belter of a song, “Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be”, so I guess at least I’m in fine company if it really hits the fan.

Anyway. In my last post I reckoned that my mojo was back. It wasn’t. It’s hard to get in the mood for writing smut when you’ve got a neighbour from hell: one that requires one’s guard to never be lowered, whilst his passive aggressive bullshit and borderline OCD for opening and closing doors has me thinking – and enjoying - violent thoughts rather than erotic ones.

I read an article recently that writers have it easy in one respect, in that when they’re struggling to get the words out on the keyboard, they can always cite “writer’s block”. Writers are the only breed who seem to get away with skipping work because they don’t ‘feel’ they’re able to – and it’s largely accepted.

Yet no other profession allows such a gratuitous cop-out. When did you last hear of an airline pilot turning up at the airport, looking up at a dark, rainy sky, shrugging his shoulders and saying to his co-pilot and his boss, “Nah, I don’t feel like flying today. I’m heading home.” Exactly. I could never imagine going up to my former bosses one day, telling them “I don’t feel I can work today. I’m perfectly fine, I’m not ill, but I just don’t feel the vibe.” I wouldn’t last long in that gig, that’s for sure. Neither would 99% of people.

But on the flip side, if writing erotica is a job – and I want it to be one, and therefore need to treat it AS one - then “writer’s block” has to be kicked to the kerb, surely? The obvious danger to this though is that one’s writing becomes deadline-driven and formulaic. There’s nothing wrong with a deadline; in fact I could seriously benefit from this.

But the risk of becoming formulaic is more worrying. Erotica guru Susie Bright warns of this – and quite rightly so. Maybe writing eight stories back to back burned me out. If this is the case – perish the thought – then it doesn’t bode well, when I have so many ideas for new stories. But if I’m to make a living being a professional smut-slinger, I need to be more productive, publishing more stories, selling more copies, and doing so regularly, week in, week out. No, there’s nothing formulaic about that, at all, is there? Gulp.

This is an overly simplistic view of things – it’s not quite as black and white as this. I love insight and research etc, and I can look at data tables, populate and interpret PowerPoint decks and present findings day after day. But it’s not something I have to get into a particular ‘vibe’ for. Yet this IS the case for erotica. To me it’s almost like Avatar, where the natives ‘plug’ their tails into the flying beasts’ thinghy and they’ve got this synergistic bond thing going on. In my case it’s my mind or fingers bonding with the laptop keyboard!

So in short, yes there needs to be regular output but writing erotica IS different from other professions. Like everything in life, there needs to be balance.

And as for my living arrangements, being so close to that cantankerous old twat affected my drive, focus, and enthusiasm regardless of whether I was writing smut or designing research surveys. Luckily, as you’ll have no doubt seen on Twitter, I’ve moved on and into a lovely new place. So that’s a major stressor now banished – now it’s just the usual ones to deal with! But I can safely say that the mojo HAS returned. It's good to be back. So watch out: there’s smut coming!