Reward Your Erotica Readers
Make a habit with your readers, an unspoken agreement. That way every time you put out a new story, they know they’re going to be rewarded for reading. Here are a few of my rewards I like to give my readers.
Pique their curiosity
Give them a story, a relationship, something beyond just sex. Oh, don’t get me wrong, in erotic writing, sex is damn important. But consider a serial reader, someone that’s consuming a dozen erotic shorts when they have some free time. Everything starts blurring together in a swirl of limbs and sweat and the same old hookup. Give them something that’s going to make them stop and smile, or remember you the next time. Hook them with a plot point or a really amazing character. Give them a new world that can be seen in the background of all that grinding.
Just because there are a million erotic shorts out there that all seem to look the same, doesn’t mean you need to bow to the masses. That stuff is already written. Contribute something new and be remembered because of it. Just because you’re writing smut doesn’t mean you’re not creating something of value. Write something that you’ll value and you’ll find the readers that will as well.
When your characters are invested, your reader is as well. It might surprise to hear I do this given I don’t indulge in a lot of sickly sweet romance bullshit writing. But I still try to write an attachment to my characters even if they manage to be able to breathe without their lover holding their hand twenty-four seven. (I may have issues with a lot of unrealistic romance XD) I feel this helps fuel the passion in a story and gives the reader more investment when they see the characters are invested. My erotic relationships may not be normal, or really healthy by any means in a lot of stories, but when a character still craves the affection and feels satisfied by it, the reader picks up on it and mirrors it as well.
This is why I don’t write sex scenes where the characters are actually disinterested in the sex. I’ve read a few straight to gay novels where the ‘straight’ character has a sexual encounter and doesn’t feel a thing. And hey, maybe it’s ‘realistic’ or some shit, but it was also boring as fuck to have them go through the motions and not want to be there. It made me not want to be there reading. It’s like reading about someone going to work, doing work things without any emotional interest at all. Why would I pay to read that, like, ever? I don’t want to go through that. I’d rather read about them bitching then being bored.
Keep the tension going
Keep your reader engaged. This can be done easily with either the tension in the plot (yes, there can be a plot in erotica) or the emotional tension between characters. When stories are too easy, people get bored. They already know the answer to if the characters are going to end up together—it’s usually expected that it’s going to happen in erotica—so what’s going to keep them reading after they just read the same setup and fuck in ten other short erotic fics?
Don’t make it easy for your characters. Put some very good walls up when it comes to them getting together, be it from physical conflicts to emotional ones. Make your reader wonder if even though those characters might have just had great sex, they still don’t know if they’re going to want to actually move in together. Give them a reason to keep reading to the end of the story.
Go big, bold, dramatic
Give them something epic that they can’t get in their own bedroom. This goes for what the sex consists of to the emotions and circumstances that go with it. There’s a reason alpha male and billionaire are big buzz words for many of these stories. Big sexual drives and big money. It’s like Cinderella but with hardcore sex. This is about creating a fantasy of sex, something that gets people beyond hot, not just lukewarm. So don’t be afraid to exaggerate beyond what normal hot blooded horny people can reach. It’s not a commentary on the idea that everyday, normal sex is boring and dull. It’s delving into a fantasy where your reader is allowed to indulge in what they’re probably never going to get in real life (unless there are werewolves and vamps out there I’ve yet to discover >_> )
Tie up the ending with relationship and plot conclusions
This not only satisfies your reader on a completely different level but it also just helps you end your story with ease. The question of if that sexual interaction is going to end, begin, cement a relationship should be answered, or at least insinuated at. Is your character scarred for life after their hypnosis and screwing? Did the planet survive the alien invasion? Your readers might be interested to know that life goes on beyond the peek into the scene. You don’t need to spell out all the details but you could if you’re floundering for a way to end your story.
I’m a fan of a happy ending—Yup, even with all the dubcon I write. I can read some really dark erotica just so long as I know the characters care about each other on some level. Some readers may not be so picky but they might still be curious. Satisfy their curiosity.
Fuel their fire
Sex it up. Why skimp? Make a habit of giving your reader plenty to indulge in when it comes to sweaty moments. If you’re not comfortable in writing elaborate sex scenes, I suggest doing the next best thing, which is building that sexual tension through the story. Foreplay—for the love of fuck, use it! XD Literal foreplay can build your reader up to your big scene so that once your characters are screwing, it feels a lot more epic than just another smut fic. The push and pull of the characters ‘should they,’ ‘shouldn’t they,’ can do a lot for a simple little story.
End it with sex
Give your reader a reason to read it all. If you really want people to read to the end of your story, let them know you’re going to follow through with something steamy and satisfying. I love sex at the end of a story. Even a taste is better than reading to the end and then feeling let down. It’s erotica. It’s a sexy story. There’s an unspoken expectation that a happy ending in this type of story is a bit more happier than other books if you get my drift. *eyebrow waggle* So give it up already. Don’t end with the loving couple driving off into the sunset, go a little further till they hit that honeymoon suite and start getting it on.
Now if you’re putting all your stories in the KDP program that doesn’t allow you to publish anywhere else while it’s enrolled, and where as a writer you just found out that one page of your book equates to less than ½ a penny, your 300 page book it took you how many months to write is only going to get you $1.50 if someone bothers to read it—and they have to read the whole thing. What better way to get someone to the end of your book than with something sexy lying in wait? This is the same for your short 50-page story you’re lucky to get 25 cents for even though you were so damn brilliant and had the best dialogue and took a week of your life to spend on. Give your reader a reason to want to read to the end.
Longer isn’t always better
How do you keep a reader interested; short refreshing bites or a long meal? Sometimes your reader is busy. Most of the time I am so freaking busy that even though I would love to indulge in some reading, I won’t even look at a novel no matter how good someone tells me it is because I don’t have the time to invest. I will give a short story a shot if it looks interesting and sexy enough, but if I’m ten pages in and nothing of curiosity or steam has occurred, I’m out. I was actually recently trying to get through a great sci-fi—no sex involved—the plot just seemed so damn amazing but the writing was so dry I couldn’t do it. I was genuinely upset that I couldn’t push through, but the author was writing through the eyes of a sixteen-year-old boy and sounded like he was fifty and boring as fuck. I couldn’t get to the plot because the style wasn’t engaging enough.
I won’t watch a video of a news article because I can read the damn thing faster. People are in a hurry. What the hell are you going to do to get them to stop and pay attention to you?
Sometimes you need to keep it short. I refuse to publish anything under 10,000 words—it’s just something I stick to. I feel like I need to give my reader a promise of substance even in my short stories. Still, I make sure those 10,000 words are jammed full of sexy and plot without dragging things out. We’re living in the world of television programs and web shorts. Most tv shows are designed so that people can get up or do chores while listening to them instead of giving them their full attention. I’ll be honest, I dumped the tv years ago. I watch Netflix on occasion, and I’m usually typing through the shows unless it’s something actually worth my time—Aka, British. And yes, I am at the point in my life when I feel like my time has actual value and I won’t waste it on half-assed plots and flat characters in a sitcom. I will make time to masturbate before wasting it on tv. My brain is important and I will rot it on some quality tv or nothing at all. My readers’ brains are just as important.
Now, you’ll get the occasional reader that will tell you that such a low word count isn’t worth the price. They’re probably used to reading long ass romance novels or for some reason they think what it takes to write something is the same as what it takes to read. It’s not, otherwise they would be writing that story they were looking for instead of quantifying a book by the number of pages instead of its content. $2.99 for a short story isn’t asking a lot—and as the writer, I don’t even get that, looking at more of $1-$2 after Amazon takes their cut. When you see a book for $0.99 you’re looking at someone that is either having a sale to gain viewers, someone that thinks they’re a terrible writer, or someone that doesn’t actually value their work. I don’t think you get over 30 cents when you sell your book that low. That would take 100 people buying your book just to make $30 bucks. Talk about crazy. Imagine getting 100 people interested enough to buy your book, only to make 30 bucks? Tragic.
Don’t undervalue your work just because some people can’t fathom 3 bucks for a short smutty story. Most people know that’s the normal price, and they’re more than happy to pay it, especially if you’re the type of writer that rewards their readers. (See what I did there? I went on a tangent and then brought you back to the title of the post… Oh, you got it… I wasn’t subtle… XD)
Love what you do!
Every story you put out there is, whether you realize it or not, is creating a relationship with your readers. That’s a huge thing because people are damn busy and we live in a world where it’s normal to jump from craze to craze without looking back. Being good to your readers gets you good things in return. If you’ve ever gotten a difficult critical review you’ll understand just how gratifying it is to have a loyal reader come along and dare to say how much they actually like your book. People may love to read about sex, but there are still a million shy people that can’t actually speak up about it. So in return, don’t half-ass your work.
If you want that awesome feeling of having a reader take the time to tell you how they really appreciate your different view on a smutty story, you need to put the work into it. I know there are plenty of people that are selling writing erotica as some quick fix get rich scheme, but I can’t imagine anyone writing every day while not loving what they’re doing. And really, as a reader myself, I can tell the difference. Authors that love what they’re doing have those really cool plot twists, they give their reader plenty of sex (because they freaking love sex!) and you can tell that their characters are more than just pawns in a scene, they’re living breathing people that are having experiences.
I’m drawn to authors that love what they’re doing and I think these are the writers that have the staying power to keep going. Because when shit gets tough, they still have that love for their craft, for the story they need to share and get out there. Don’t be afraid to love what you’re doing when you’re writing erotica. Don’t curb yourself for some market when you really want to write it differently. Being different in a sea of the same is a beautiful thing. Be beautiful.