Amazon Puts the Kibosh On Self-Published Erotica

July Westhale’s Avatar Article by Blog Slixa Under Cover

The thoughtful advice and opinions of the author of this article are meant to be informative and entertaining and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Slixa.

Recently, Slixa’s own Jaeleen Bennis wrote an article series for Slixa Under Cover entitled Developing New Income Streams in Adult Entertainment (parts 1, 2, and 3, respectfully) The articles were brilliantly detailed discussions of how to pick up additional earnings as an adult entertainer. From phone sex operation to educational opportunities, money-making gigs were detailed in terms of difficulty level, required time investment, and skill set.

As an adult service provider (hello, cam girl/fetish video star/phone sex operator/sex writer!), I am accustomed to being a Jane-of-all-trades when it comes to garnering income. I’ve been in the business long enough to know that the rumor that adult entertainment is easy money is irreparably damaging and false, and that it takes time and effort to make money in an industry that is increasingly difficult to break in to. Being a provider takes skill, creativity, scrappiness, and determination, and I’m always on the lookout for how I can implement more ways of self-promotion and marketing, as well as new opportunities to create community and use my talents (particularly my writing chops! This MFA isn’t going to pay for itself!) for an economic and social good. After all, it is my belief that we live in a post-employment society, and that adult entertainers have been ahead of the trend of self-representation since the dawn of time.

Needless to say, Bennis’ article intrigued me, and my attention was caught when I read her #2 Income-Producing Idea: “Write and Sell Erotica on Amazon”. Well-versed in the art of erotica (as both a genre I enjoy, and as a book-reviewer for Cleis Press’ www.cleispress.com many lovingly-crafted titles), I was absolutely floored by the idea that I could couple my passion for erotica with my penchant for writing and voila! a new living would be mine!

Unfortunately, after doing further research into the prospect of selling self-published erotica for Amazon Kindle audiences, I found that Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other major booksellers have cracked down on digital erotica as recently as October of this year. Faced with the daunting task of monitoring erotic content, these companies chose to delete entire sections of their digital inventory rather than risk the possibility of accidently publishing illegal material (i.e.: rape, incest, bestiality, etc). Barnes & Noble released the following statement about their policy changes: “When there are violations to the content policy that are brought to our attention, either through our internal process or from a customer or external source, we have a rapid response team in place to appropriately categorize or remove the content in accordance with our policy.” As of right now, November 2013, booksellers who carry digital readers (such as Kindle, Nook, etc) are disallowing the sale of self-published erotic material until they can figure out a better system for moderation.

Though disappointed, I still felt as though this news couldn’t possibly squash the deep hope that Bennis’ article had instilled in me. I did some digging around, and found a few promising books for erotic ebook publishing (the legal way), including:

1) Making Money Writing Naughty – The ULTIMATE Romance and Erotica E-Book Self Publishing Guide, by Ava Bonde.

2) How to Really Self-Publish Erotica: The Truth About Kinks, Covers, Advertising, and More! , by Dalia Daudelin

3) The free blog, Self Publishing Erotica, curated by Selena Kitt.

Upon further research, as well as some outreach to the higher-ups at Cleis, I did uncover a few resources for sex-writing hopefuls who wish to generate erotic income the old fashioned way: through a publisher. Rachel Kramer Bussel, author of The Big Book of Orgasms teaches a course called Erotic Writing 101, and is touring the country as we speak, teaching newbies the art of sexy storytelling. Let’s also not forget Mitzi Szreto, who practically pioneered the art of writing erotica in the UK, and whose blog is also available free of charge.

So, my dear comrades in sin, despair not! Amazon and Barnes & Noble may have pulled the plug on one way of creatively generating income for adult service providers with a proclivity for the written word, but they haven’t shut down the whole industry. Traditional publishers, particularly publishers who specialize in erotic material and sex writing, are still alive and well and ready to be tapped into. You can still try all eighteen other ways our genius Jaeleen Bennis listed for bringing in extra cash—including writing your own erotic stories and then recording them as audio books! Remember, adult entertainment was built on the foundation of marketing and creativity, and for every will, there are infinite ways.

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