Given I published GBM’s newest chapter to AFF, SOL, SS and Tablo this week, I thought I would unpack the process of publishing writing, at least from my perspective. Especially with the new revival of what was essentially a dead story for two whole years, staying relevant has to stay at the forefront of my mind when I’m in writer mode. The reason I updated you all with my (hopeful) April and May schedule in the last blog post was partially making sure I committed to the writing but as well making sure I have some sort of purpose, some reason for you all to come back here.
This site is sort of an extension of that. I publish stuff here every week to make sure that people who want as much as possible from me have some sort of access. I publish my works here a week ahead to further the idea that readers ‘should come here first.’ I made my Patreon partially to try my luck at making a living doing this sort of stuff, but also because there’s a slight bigger sense of professionalism when you see that hey, not only is your neighborhood erotica writer publishing online, but people pay for it. Woah. They must be one legitimate/serious writer. Of course, that can work in reverse too – when a Patreon account has very few or no patrons, it looks less serious or possibly even embarrassing that they put themselves out there to no effect like that.
Of course, I can’t just post to my own website and assume that people will come. I’ve got to accrue that kind of following, from posting to other sites. Plus, I want my stories to reach as wide an audience as possible – even if people will never come here, I’d still like them to read and enjoy my stories. That’s why I have a presence at Sexstories.com, AdultFanFiction, StoriesOnline, Tablo and to a smaller extent Lushstories. (If anyone has another favorite erotica site that I should know about, feel free to comment or email me!) Each site has its own unique flavor, as I mentioned with the Lushstories post.
Sexstories seems to be the most popular, but it has decidedly fallen from grace. I’m discouraged to see that a site which once allowed people to comment anonymously and post willy-nilly have removed such features. Don’t get me wrong, from a legal standpoint I totally get why the latter exists, and I guess in terms of the former, they wanted to get rid of spam. The unfortunate side effect of this is the loss of the community effect. Maybe I’m not the best to talk about this, since I never go on the forums and perhaps the forums are the best part of the website (I’m not gonna lie – forums as a medium just confuse me). Nevertheless, I remember in the past how stories would instantly become hotspots for viewers, with a new story getting comments, good and bad, within maybe an hour of it going up. However, at this point my story Panopticon, which enjoyed around 40k views, has about 4 non-me comments. Four. When I first published Being More Social chapter 1, I got more comments in its first hour of going live. On top of that, it seems to have the paranoid belief that I’ve noticed a lot of erotica sites have now where it gets rid of all URLs, including Patreon URLs, for fear of website visitors going to another website and leaving. I have to imagine that on top of the lack of anonymous comments, the registered accounts jumped ship seeing the site going down, especially with that temporary scandal where the site only took 18+ stories for a year or so. There still appears to be roughly half as many visitors as the ‘heyday’ period, which is better than I thought it would be.
Each site comes with its own benefits and weaknesses. AFF feels very friendly, but original stories aren’t really that popular there. StoriesOnline is also decently popular but it’s weakened by its clunky and outdated story admission system. Tablo isn’t inherently meant for erotica. Lushstories is rigorously run and doesn’t accept even hints of sexual attitude in characters under 16 (in the case of GBM, Lushstories wouldn’t accept my story because they didn’t like the fact that Daisy referenced sex in front of Aaron, even though it was to discourage him from thinking about it, they apparently just like to pretend that people never ever think of sex until they’re at least 16), but it has a friendly community and is on a whole a well-made site. Literotica is too confusing an interface to even post to, and Wattpad is overcluttered with professional books to the extent where and amateur like myself can’t compare.
I appear to have entered online erotica at a time where if one knew what they were doing and put their eggs in one basket, they could have made an actual living out of it. Clearly, I didn’t know what I was doing and decided to prioritize school. Now we’re past that period – though that’s not to say it’s too oversaturated and you can’t make a living. However, instead of a bunch of bumbling amateurs populating the system, we now have what capitalism and a free open network like this creates, as we saw with YouTube, Facebook, etc – we now have a system where some people who knew what they were doing took control and now the system is a bit harder to work to your advantage (less and less sites accept a URL to your site at the end of stories, harsher regulations mean virtually every site has legal requirements such as age minimums, there’s apparently drama on some websites and that turns viewers off, etc) if you’re a nobody trying to establish some kind of reputation.
Is online erotica over? Of course not. You still can post stories online for people to enjoy, my point here is that instead of fame and success dropping into your lap like it did for me, you now have to consciously work for it. Arguably the reason you’re reading this very blog post now is coincidence, and coincidence is a luxury happening to less and less people in this line of work. At this point, putting all your eggs in one basket is not an option if you want to try your hand at making something other than a hobby out of your erotica. Staying relevant is now a strategy, not the standard for any writer. I’m sure the fact that I publish only every few months at this point has something to do with it too, and I’m sure that I could chop up my 5000 word chapters into 1000 or 500 word chapters like I’ve seen others do but it feels like it’s not my style. I’d rather be true to my own style and enjoy giving you all my work than try to become a profitability machine and lose the reason I started doing all this in the process. Thank you all for sticking around, reading my work, and being part of that community by the way – I greatly appreciate it. I’ll talk to you all next week.