Although the market for erotic writing is smaller than that of many other freelance writing specialties, there are still ways to supplement your income by writing erotic stories.
Erotica is a subset of the romance writing genre. While romantic fiction may contain a few sexy scenes, they are only a small part of the overall plot of the story. In erotica, however, the plot centers heavily around sexual encounters and the depictions are much more detailed.
Often confused with pornography, there are important distinctions between the pronography and erotic writing. Pornography is graphic, while erotica is suggestive. Many people feel pornography is exploitative, while erotica is more respectful of women and their roles within the sexual relationship.
However, interpretations of what is appropriate continue to evolve over time. Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence was considered pornography when it was first published in 1928 because of its vivid depiction of the relationship between an aristocratic woman and a working-class man. Today, the book is considered a classic work of literature and often assigned as required reading in many college courses.
Making Money from Erotic Writing
As a freelance writer, your goal is to be able to make a living from your written work. While it's unlikely you'll be able to piece together a full-time income from selling erotic stories, this can be a good way to earn money in between working on projects such as web content articles and technical writing for software development companies.
Many writers market their erotica independently through their own websites or by self publishing through Amazon.com. If you would like to take a more traditional approach to earning money from your work, Romance Wiki has a listing of 28 different erotica publishers that includes publishers of e-books as well as trade paperbacks. You can also find information about magazines and anthologies seeking erotic stories on the Erotica Readers website.
When searching for erotica writing jobs, keep in mind that pay varies widely for this type of work. Many small websites offer no payment at all, but there are a few markets that will pay as much as $1 per word. Read the writer's guidelines for a publication carefully before you submit your stories in order to make sure you're being compensated appropriately.
Obviously, an erotica writer needs to be comfortable with discussions involving sexuality and the human body. Unfortunately, you may discover that not everyone is as open to this type of writing as you are.
One important issue to consider when writing erotica is whether or not you wish to remain anonymous when your work is published. Even if you're only writing for an obscure e-zine, your work is going to be around on the internet for many years to come. Thanks to online archives, syndication agreements, and the unethical behavior of online plagiarists, there is no way to predict who will eventually see your erotic stories. Once you're published online, you give up almost all control over who sees your work.
If you have private freelance writing clients in traditional fields such as banking or insurance or a mother with curious children at home, you may not want a Google search for your name to turn up your sexy stories. Consider using a pen name to protect your privacy.
Pick a pen name based on a nickname or some variation of your real name, although this is by no means necessary. A quick Google search for "pen names" brings up several pen name generator sites.
Writing Erotica for a Living
If you're open to the idea of adding erotica writing to your repertoire, it could prove to be a great addition to your writing income. There are even some writers making a full-time living self-publishing their erotic stories. Just remember to keep an open mind.