26 March 2015

What the Monster Erotica Crackdown 2 Years Ago Can Teach You

In 2013, this happened: MONSTER PORN: Amazon Cracks Down On America’s Latest Sex Fantasy

The article still offers much instruction for aspiring erotica authors about what to do and what not to do if you want to keep your smut selling nicely off of Amazon's virtual shelves.

You might expect such an article to be a witch hunt, but it's very fair and even-handed. What we find out is that it's not the contents of the books Amazon (and other sellers) object to. They're under no obligation to sell something just because you want to sell it through them. They're a private business and they can do what they want.

What does Amazon want?

Money. All your money. Everyone's money, for everything.

What does Amazon not want?

To divert expensive labor hours into dealing with complaints about such books by puritanical mouthbreathers with an overdeveloped self-righteous indignation gland. It doesn't want to be forced into spending extra labor dollars dealing with problems because erotica writers are being greedy and stupid. If you can't write a blurb for your book that isn't full of filth and trips every adult filter on the planet while still conveying what your story's about--and that it's erotic, you're not much of a writer, are you?

Why be crass when you can have class? Here's the most instructive point of the article:
Ebooks featuring incest and rape tend to share a singular defining feature: sexually explicit and poorly produced covers. The way for monster erotica to survive, she thinks, is to "dress it up like fantasy." No more trashy illustrations. "My covers are pretty classy," she says. "It's all a facade, of course. My plots are depraved. They're definitely not for kids or grandmothers. But I put it in a glossy package, so it doesn't offend anybody who's just searching through Amazon.
That right there, my pervy friends, is the magic formula. The key to remaining on the virtual shelves and selling books.

My stories feature futanri demons and angels. They are female but in addition to female genitalia, they also have male genitalia, which is usually ridiculously out of proportion to reality. Sometimes even with anatomy borrowed from our equine friends. A more delicate way to put that would be to say they have gigantic fucking horse cocks. Sometimes, more than one.

Hey, what would you expect from a demon, something cute and nice?

BUT HOLY SHIT I'M NOT GONNA PUT A PICTURE OF A DOUBLE HORSE-DICKED DEMON FUTA ON THE COVER.

Nor am I going to use those words in any of the series' book titles.

I hate shit that's not classy.

Put another way: I absolutely adore the combination of the classy with the deeply depraved. Love, love, love, love it. Stupid ugly raunchy book covers? Hate them. Ugly-ass websites with lame graphics tiled in the backgrounds? They burn my eyes.

The title of my first book isn't going to be I Fucked a Futanari Demon. It's Demon's Embrace. You know it's going to have demon lovin' in it but that title won't trip any adult filters. My blurbs will not be explicit, and neither will the covers. They'll be sexy like any good erotic romance or fantasy cover.

Quick cover mock up I made in Pixlr.

Does that look like horrifically filthy smut? Nope. It does have the word erotic in the series name, however. And of course by the title you know that some demons are going to be embraced. And you'd have to be dead at the wheel to not put those two things together to understand we're talking about a special kind of embrace. We don't need to insult the intelligence of our readers.

Note that this is a quick mockup I made in about five minutes using Pixlr Express (not even the full Photoshop clone app). Looking at it now I can see the lettering is off-center, but oh well. I don't have any rights to the artwork so this won't be the real cover. I made it as an example. Notice how there is no nudity or even skimpy clothing and nothing offensive in the cover text.

And yet, you know this is going to be erotica involving demons.

Mission accomplished.

Not that hard, is it?

Two years later, it seems the one real accomplishment of this crackdown was that it forced authors to up their quality. Looking over the major bookseller sites shows that out-there erotica is selling strong.

Notice that includes more than just Amazon. If you don't diversify your income, you could end up with your sales suddenly shut off. Only selling through Amazon is not a good idea if Amazon suddenly decides your book violates their content guidelines. As the old saying goes: don't put all your eggs in one basket. When you make your income from the internet, diversity is not an option, it's a necessity, because you never know when someone's going to try and fuck you over or a unfortunate development will affect you.


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