Making money from fiction – erotica

I’m pulling together the final elements for the five-week course starting on 28 February. It prompted me to go and have a look a the contribution that erotica made to my income last year, but I’m going to keep you hanging (possibly in a dungeon, with guttering candles, a faint scent of patchouli and a velvet scarf tied over your eyes) for a few minutes, before revealing the answer.

Erotica is important to me. It certainly helps pay the bills, but it’s also part of the process that I use to keep myself sane and happy as a full time writer. There’s a famous quotation, attributed to Red Smith: Writing is easy. You just sit down at the typewriter and open a vein – which is something that a lot of us feel, especially when we’re writing complex literary fiction or struggling along 60,000 words into a novel we’ve come to loath. And to me, erotica is the sweet tea and biscuit (or as I discovered recently, the orange juice and fruit cake) offered by the transfusion service when you give blood – it’s the thing that puts back what the lit fic takes out!

Erotica is important to me as a reader because good erotica is one of the loveliest things in the world to read – Colette, for example, wrote gorgeous prose, whether it was ‘Cheri’ or an account of her mother’s life and her erotic writing is certainly infused with that gorgeous, elegiac beauty.

And erotica is empowering. One of the real changes of the past fifteen years has been the proliferation of titles publishing erotic fiction for the LGBT community – and it’s no longer horrible tortured prose about the awfulness of being a pervert (or, as it was put in the 1920s, an ‘invert’ which always makes me think of people stood on their heads), it’s funny, warm, sometimes heartbreaking, sexy, accomplished and often gritty fiction.

So if you’d like to work on writing better erotica – whether to earn more fiction-writing income, or to build sex scenes into your novel, or just because you’d like to write naughty stories for your loved one … join us! Thursdays 28 Feb, 6, 13 & 27 March and 3 April - £85 for New Writing South members, £125 for non-members (do what I teach you and you’ll earn back those fees within a year, I promise!) More information at:

Workshops with New Writing South

And how much did I earn in the past 12 months from erotica …?

Guess …

Go on – guess!

Actually it was … £3,272.00!

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