Edit: Thanks for the wonderful AMA, everyone! Both I and my designer greatly enjoyed it. I will probably come back a while later and finish answering any questions that may pop up, but for now I'm going to go write some hot smut and then eat some lunch.

I'm Dalia Daudelin, author of many titles sold on all of the major ebook stores. I've also self published physical copies on Amazon via Createspace. I have only ever been self published, so I won't be able to answer any questions about traditional publishing past my opinions.

Proof

I'm hoping to answer any questions you all might have about self publishing or erotica / romance (but of course I'll answer all other questions). I don't claim to have all the answers, but I have been at this a long time. I invite other erotica authors to offer their input if they happen to pop in. In my time in various self publishing communities, I've really come to value the hard work and all the help you can get when you surround yourself with other authors.

You can find my book, How to Really Self-Publish Erotica: The Truth About Kinks, Covers, Advertising and More!, on the following sites:

  1. Amazon
  2. Kobo
  3. Smashwords
  4. Barnes and Noble

But of course I'm more than willing to give you the answers to your questions for free. Should you still have questions after this AMA is finished you can also email me at [email protected]

My designer will also be answering questions on any questions related to his work.

Thank you for your interest!

Comments: 656 • Responses: 80  • Date: 

Explain_on_Fingers83 karma

80 books! That's a lot for any amount of years, but did you mean 15 or 1.5 years? It's astounding for 1.5 years.

What audience do you write for? Men, women, both, or yourself? How did you get started?

daliadaudelin101 karma

One and one half! They are all short stories, of course, so it's not as amazing as it would be were they novels!

I write for middle-aged women, the sort that buy Fifty Shades of Grey. I got started when I stumbled upon a now-defunct thread on Something Awful by the wonderful author Delilah Fawkes. She gave us all the information we needed to begin, and those of us who followed her advice now have a nice community going.

I link to the community in the back of my book, but they prefer to remain private. They're behind a paywall now and I don't want to flood them with new people, so I won't link to them. There are other groups, like /r/smutwriters for example!

Explain_on_Fingers17 karma

That is very interesting. What would be a first step?

daliadaudelin57 karma

The first step is to write a story. 3000 to 5000 words, more if you prefer. I generally do 2000 words of story and 1000 words of sex, though you might prefer a different ratio.

A different first step could include research by reading a few other erotic shorts and figuring out what you'd like to write!

aryst0krat183 karma

The fact that there is a sex-words guideline is somehow hilarious.

Deezl-Vegas28 karma

Laying out the elements and length of your story is important when writing for pay of any kind. It keeps the writer from being inefficient.

daliadaudelin12 karma

This, exactly.

smpx9 karma

How much do you usually make for a 2000 word story, compared to a 5000 word story? (In a year's timeframe, that is).

daliadaudelin16 karma

Amazon is cracking down on stories with fewer than 2500 words. My longer stories don't really sell any better than the shorter ones, and their themes tend to matter more than wordcount.

RuafaolGaiscioch5 karma

I notice that that is way low for "book word count"...are most erotica books that short?

daliadaudelin11 karma

There are longer ones. I just don't tend to write them. I like short stories.

threeLetterMeyhem11 karma

Hey! I remember that thread and used to spend a lot of time in bfc. Small world?

daliadaudelin12 karma

Small world, indeed! Always nice to find other goons out and about.

Graphitetshirt9 karma

Who can I PM to be invited to join r/smutwriters? Happy to submit samples if needed

daliadaudelin16 karma

People who are reading this, you can message the mods by addressing PMs to /r/smutwriters. If we get flooded it might take us a few days, 'cuz there's like three of us and holidays and all.

EstherHarshom3 karma

I second this question.

daliadaudelin5 karma

People who are reading this, you can message the mods by addressing PMs to /r/smutwriters. If we get flooded it might take us a few days, 'cuz there's like three of us and holidays and all.

According to Rattusrattus.

beaherobeaman37 karma

What do you think the fundamental differences are between erotica targeted to males and erotica targeted to females? Is there any middle ground writing strategies/approaches?

daliadaudelin91 karma

The perspective in the story is different. I write first person, but even in third person you're going to be focusing on a main character. Most women want to read about a female character that is likable (not necessarily one that they can pretend is themselves). Most men want to read from a male perspective. That's really the only necessary difference, so long as you know what you're talking about when you write how their genitals work.

If you're a woman and you don't know how a penis feels, ask your boyfriend. I asked my fiance a lot of questions at first, and I still do.

The middle ground tends to be gay stories. Both gay men and straight women will read those.

Someone might tell you that women like gentler sex. This is not true. We want to read about fisting and BDSM as much as men do!

beaherobeaman10 karma

Thanks fir the answer! Not so much the content, as you mentioned at the end. The perspective and angles and thought process and voice. It's interesting you differentiate "from a male perspective" vs. "About a likable woman".

I asked because I teach university writing and rhetoric and am always looking for alternative perspectives on the writing process for my students.

daliadaudelin35 karma

Ah, very cool! Well, I don't normally write male main characters- my stories are about interesting women meeting interesting and powerful men who they then have sex with. The male character in the story tends to be a bit two dimensional, because what he can do with his penis is a bit more important than how exactly he came to be a werewolf or a billionaire.

kiseraitpa13 karma

Why not a werewolf billionaire?

daliadaudelin10 karma

Haha, there are werewolf billionaire stories out there!

CanadianSupremacy2 karma

We want to read about fisting and BDSM as much as men do!

Really? Fisting? A bit of man-handling is one thing but fisting? ಠ_ಠ

daliadaudelin6 karma

Hey, we at least like the thought of being stretched like that, even if we'd never do it!

13ig13oss26 karma

What do you think about 50 Shades of Grey?

daliadaudelin62 karma

Well... I think it's done great things for erotica authors. I think E L James was very smart to rewrite her fanfiction and then sell it. I also think it can't be all bad if so many women love it. It clearly gave them something they've been wanting but hadn't found yet.

It's not the best writing I've ever read, but I don't think every piece of fiction needs to be perfect to be enjoyable.

For_The_Fail40 karma

"She cocked her head" or "He cocked his head" is in it like, once per page.

daliadaudelin23 karma

Like I said, not the best writing. Just the first story like it to really catch the attention of the general public.

peepjynx13 karma

My mother is a huge fan of romance novels in general... she said that book was tame compared to other "under promoted" authors of the genre.

daliadaudelin19 karma

It definitely is tame, I'd agree with her. It's more romance than it is erotica.

DaliaDaudelinDesigne26 karma

I do the majority of cover and print design. In general, if someone fucked it up, it was probably me that fucked it up.

So if any pertinent stuff shows up I'll pop in as well.

blaspheminCapn5 karma

Wondering what you charge or what kind of arrangement you have for compensation? Original artwork, or photography?

daliadaudelin15 karma

To be clear: He's also my fiance.

dyingsubs20 karma

So your piece One Night With Tentacles, does it get into the life of a powerful business tentacle with a hectic stressful schedule and its chance encounter and eventual seduction of a fascinating creative woman?

I've had enough tentacle rape. I need tentacle romance.

daliadaudelin11 karma

My designer's answer isn't totally right. But if you're looking for a tentacle romance, I might suggest you read my Slenderman series! Here's the bundle of all 3 stories.

Cluster_Head18 karma

This is fascinating stuff. I've always wanted to make money from writing and I applaud your success. Did you have to do much self publicity to get recognition? There are so many titles for potential readers to choose from, how did you manage to stand out from the crowd?

DaliaDaudelinDesigne21 karma

We have walked a bit of a long road to get where we are. But here's the gist of the story.

We had another pen name, who we did literally no advertising on. She made money. I had my own pen name at one time, and that got erased from the annals of history but I made money doing no advertising at all. There may be cases where it's not true, or only true to a limited extent, but 'if you build it, they will come' has held very true for us.

Now, we do some advertising via facebook, but still spend very little money on the operation. In fact, we've only spent about $100 on advertising total in the entire history of our writing.

We try (I try, especially) to provide a professional-looking product, because I feel like people want to read a book that looks well-designed. That, I think, is the main way that we stand out from others.

therainsofdoom23 karma

'if you build it, they will come'

If you write it, they will cum. FTFY

daliadaudelin10 karma

I love smut puns. Best part of my job.

yuloforce17 karma

How do you still make a living with the existence of the Internet, aka 'All The Porn'?

daliadaudelin43 karma

The theory is that people think free=bad and paid=good. That's not always true, but people are willing to pay for something that might be well written. Our audience also tends to be middle aged women who might not know how to use a computer and just use the Kindle their sons bought them for Christmas 2 years ago.

Malinois7117 karma

Do you get horny writing these stories?

daliadaudelin37 karma

Not for all of them, but on some I do! Sometimes it makes it hard to write, but I know if I'm feeling horny from it then it has to be published.

gamefish16 karma

How many pages is your average title and how long do you spend per book writing? Is this your primary income?

daliadaudelin23 karma

My books take less than 8 hours to write, in general. Unless I'm being lazy! As for pages, that depends on the format, but they tend to be 3000-5000 words.

This is my only income!

gamefish13 karma

Interesting. I have a ton of short scifi stories, most of which met with publisher rejection. Is it easy to get up on amazon, etc.? Much upfront costs? The eBook market snuck up on me in the past few years when I put most of my energy towards a job I now detest.

daliadaudelin30 karma

It's totally free aside from cover images! You can get a subscription for as low as 60 dollars on some sites. Check out IngImage, Deposit Photos, and Bigtock. They seem to be pretty fair.

As for difficulty, it can be weird the first few times. At this point, though, I can basically do it with my eyes closed. Just take it slow the first time to make sure you don't miss anything and you'll be fine!

I recommend uploading to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and Kobo.

gamefish9 karma

Thank you very much for the links. I'm going to look into formatting my stories into little collections and get them online. This is much more exciting than the old vanity press model which just felt scammy.

daliadaudelin6 karma

Good for you! I agree, vanity presses are very scary and are without a doubt scammy. Self publishing allows for true freedom with very little cost.

10tothe24th6 karma

About those cover images. Any advice there? I definitely believe a great cover helps get people to pick it up. How much do they cost, and where should I look to find source material?

daliadaudelin5 karma

If you know you're going to write a few stories, I would buy a package on one of those sites. That'll be around 60 dollars, maybe 100, but you'll be able to download 5 or more images every day for a month, which makes the images very cheap.

What do you mean by "source material"?

iamsofunney9 karma

Are you making a decent living on your stories?

daliadaudelin36 karma

I make between $3000 and $5000 each month. It will probably be much higher during the holidays, since summer is the slow season for books.

I'd say that's pretty decent!

EstherHarshom12 karma

I can't tell you how glad I am that summer is a slow season. I've been doing it for about nine months, and I started making a decent living only to find my sales drop off DRAMATICALLY in July and August. I was starting to panic :p

When does it start to pick up again, in your experience?

daliadaudelin16 karma

As my designer (and fiance) said, it will pick up a bit in September and then really go wild from October through January.

EstherHarshom5 karma

I see. I started in November and I only hit ten books in April, so I've timed it just about as badly as is humanly possible :p

daliadaudelin10 karma

Haha! Well, you'll have a good catalog for when the holidays do hit! Just keep pushing through and you'll see better sales soon.

beener3 karma

Do you find advertising to be a big part?

daliadaudelin5 karma

Not at all. It's basically something I don't think about unless I have a story that I think will fit the audience of What To Read After Fifty Shades of Grey.

DaliaDaudelinDesigne8 karma

Well, we only started in about June of last year, but our sales... about doubled, maybe more, in mid-October.

daliadaudelin11 karma

May, not June.

EstherHarshom9 karma

Hello, fellow smut peddler!

What importance do you put on social media and getting your name out there? I was told that the best way to do it is to let the books speak for themselves at the start, but I've just published my 22nd story so I'm wondering when I should start to branch out a bit.

Do you focus more on series and collections, or one shots? Is there a difference in how they're marketed for you, or how well they sell?

How many words do you write per week/month on average?

Thanks, and (continued) good luck!

daliadaudelin16 karma

The only social media I put any importance on at all are What To Read After Fifty Shades of Grey and Korner Kafe Exposed. These are Facebook pages that, when they advertise me, have led to a lot of sales.

Other than that? I don't really bother. I'm even here only to help other writers! Your best advertisement is another book, always. So if it's a choice between posting on Twitter or writing another paragraph, choose the paragraph. Always.

You also might want to look into a mailing list. I regret not starting mine sooner, because you basically get to send an advertisement to people who are actually your fans. It's both fun and leads to more sales.

I try to do series, but they're risky. They take time and if they don't sell then what's the point? So a lot of my work is written to be a one off that could be converted into a series if it's successful.

I do have to say, though, that my bundles sell very well. Probably better than any single story!

I write between 1500 and 3000 words a day, 5 days a week. That's at least 7500 words a week.

Good luck to you, as well! 30 books was about when I saw much better sales, so keep on writing!

EstherHarshom3 karma

Thank you kindly. I'm hoping to hit that by the end of September, so fingers crossed I'll be earning enough to do an AMA this time next year :p

daliadaudelin7 karma

I look forward to reading about your success!

samipk12348 karma

Have you ever tried any other niche of writing? and if yes then what was the result?

daliadaudelin12 karma

I have! I actually want to write a dystopia, but the right idea hasn't hit me yet. I write down every idea I have. It's sort of like the GTD system but instead of organizing my life I'm keeping my head empty so I can be more creative.

I'm also working on some nonfiction targeted to parents. Under a different pen name, of course! And my fiance has written some science fiction, as he said.

bigtallguy7 karma

Have you ever frequented online free erotica depositories, such as literotica or mcstories?

do you think some of the stories on these depositories could have been successful short stories such as yours?

daliadaudelin10 karma

When I was younger I read Literotica stories a lot! I still peek in and read up for some research, especially for tentacle stories.

Some of the stories on there are seriously well written, so they definitely could have succeeded!

whynot9877 karma

I went to you Amazon page and your books look awesome and very professional. Where do you get your cover pictures?

Also, regarding pricing, I noticed that some of your kindle books cost 2.99 while others cost 0.99, what's the reasoning behind it? Do you have a different pricing strategy when you first publish your books and later change them? Thanks!

daliadaudelin17 karma

I buy my stock from IngImage and Deposit Photos primarily, though I am a fan of this new site as well: http://eroticstockphotos.com/index.php

I don't like to price below 2.99 because I want to make 70% of the sale instead of 35%. 2.99 is the lowest a book can be priced for that. However, some stories I do price lower specifically because they help bring in new readers to a series that isn't selling as well.

daliadaudelin5 karma

Oh also, thank you for the compliment! We work very hard on the covers.

fishandchimps6 karma

This may have already been asked, but I wonder if its possible to be successful (both artistically and financially) while remaining anonymous. I draw from my own life heavily, and I wouldn't really want people I know to read or know what I am up to. However, I write a lot, and would love to have something published. Thoughts?

daliadaudelin7 karma

Use a pen name and no one will know.

gradylives6 karma

Thanks for doing this. What made you publish erotica? And who is your average customer?

daliadaudelin12 karma

Well, I was looking for some way to work from home because I have some social anxiety. I found a thread by Delilah Fawkes on Something Awful that gave me the confidence necessary to start. Erotica is rather easy to write, you can write it short (3000-5000 words), and there are people actively seeking it out. You can't say the same for really any other genre!

Average customer is women between 30-50 years old, I believe. Of course, I have customers of all ages and sexes. But in general, I try to write for a 35 year old housewife who really loved Fifty Shades of Grey.

melaniejn5 karma

I've written many erotica pieces for fun. Is there any way to ensure complete anonymity? I was looking into the publishing features of Amazon and a page requested my tax information. Does Amazon correspond via snail mail? I'd personally rather not run into an awkward housing situation.

daliadaudelin6 karma

You need to give tax info to Amazon, but your pen name should never show up on your mail and your real name should never show up on your books. I've never had a problem. The most you'll get is your tax documents every year.

mojoman9134 karma

Can you discuss your sales history and marketing efforts. For example, how many sales did you make when you had 1 story, 5, 10, etc? How long did it take for you to build your sales? Do you use any marketing strategies now, or have you in the past?
Also, I noticed you listed a gmail account as your email address, not an email associated with an author's website. Do you have a website, FB site, or other place where fans can contact you or follow your work?
Edit: Yeah, next time I'll just click on your website to answer my own question.

daliadaudelin15 karma

Our first month, I believe we made 30 dollars total. Then we made 80 dollars the next month. Then we made 300 dollars, and it stayed that way for a month or two. Then we shot up to 1000 dollars and it's only increased since then.

My only marketing efforts are sending out mailing list emails once a week or so, as well as posting to What To Read After Fifty Shades of Grey and Korner Kafe Exposed.

I do have a website, I simply prefer gmail! http://daliadaudelin.com/ is my website. I'm a bit of a slacker when it comes to keeping it updated, unfortunately.

DanTastic_4 karma

How many different words do you have for "penis"?

daliadaudelin8 karma

Manhood, cock, prick, and dick are my main synonyms!

egoisillusion4 karma

On average, how many hours a day do you spend writing, do you have a daily routine?

daliadaudelin5 karma

Well that's hard to say. What I do is write 500 words, then break for a half hour, and then repeat that until the story is done. It can take 6 to 8 hours of that cycle to finish it.

rMicrobeBrew4 karma

Wy do you go through all the trouble of going through a retailer when you could just upload PDFs to the Internet, or even easier just upload to Literotica.

daliadaudelin43 karma

Amazon is the largest ebook retailer in America. This is sort of like asking why someone would bother putting their books in physical Barnes and Noble stores when they can print them out and sell them from the trunk of their car.

Those retailers have a built in audience and Amazon actually does use their algorithms to help sell our books.

delirium_was_delight4 karma

HI there! Thanks for this AMA. I'm also a self-published author (YA Fantasy and Paranormal, but looking to start Paranormal Romance) and I have a few books out there now. From what I've read, I'm told the best way to generate sales and get your books to readers is by publishing more books. The more options you give, the better kind of thing. Do you agree with this and what else would you advise to generate visibility and increase readership? Thanks, again!!

daliadaudelin3 karma

I absolutely agree with this. I also think you should learn some SEO so your keywords do most of the work for you. Also, start a mailing list so you can tell your fans directly when you have more work available.

Friday93 karma

I'm also an erotica writer (though not published... yet) and I would love to hear what you have to think about non-self publishing erotica. There are some minor publishers out there who publish erotica stories in various forms, but not enough major publishing houses that do. Do you think this could become a possibility sometime in the next few years.

daliadaudelin8 karma

Hmm... I'd keep an eye out when the Fifty Shades movie is released. You might find some new publishing opportunities then, but in general you have Harlequin and then you have the small houses.

I also would never consider tradpub for erotica. You're going to get a terrible advance and you'll probably be abused by your publisher. There are some good publishers out there, but they are becoming harder to find.

looknow3 karma

Hi, I was actually just checking Reddit for a two-second break while finishing my first erotic story to be self-published on Amazon, so I feel like I should ask something! I feel that my story is badly-written (flat characters, etc), although the sex scenes are pretty hot; do you think this matters to readers, or they are mostly looking to get turned on?

Also, do you use any kind of formula for your writing? I see that you mentioned 2000 words of story to 1000 words of sex; could you give any more details?

daliadaudelin7 karma

Publish it anyway. Seriously, my first story was awful. Truly dreadful. It still sold and gave me the confidence to continue! And yes, readers mostly want to be turned on.

As for my formula, it's usually 1500 words of plot that explains who the main character is and why she wants to have sex. Or it explains how she gets into a bad situation, in the case of tentacle sex or rape fantasies. Then it's 1000 words of whatever sex comes with that kink, and then 500 words to bring the story to a close. Give or take a few hundred on each section, of course.

el___diablo3 karma

80 erotica books in 18 months tells me you have one seriously filthy mind.

Can I be your BF ?

daliadaudelin6 karma

Haha! Sadly, I am engaged.

Rokman20123 karma

I wanna know about money... You seem to have found a niche (good for you) and can work from home (my jealousy is kicking in)..

So?

Without posting your tax details (be as vague as you like).. Are you making 6 figures?

daliadaudelin8 karma

If we only make $3000 a month on average (which we definitely won't during the holidays!), we'll take home around $30,000. Taxes eat into that a lot since you have to account for nearly 30%, but it's still not bad.

Not 6 figures yet, but hopefully within the next 5 years!

Rokman20124 karma

Do you have to spam you readers to get them to come back for more? Or do the sites that list your titles update you fans, when there is a new release?

daliadaudelin8 karma

I have a mailing list that I use maybe once a week. Other than that, I barely use social media, my blog goes untouched for weeks at a time, and I just expect people to find my work on their own. They usually do!

The best advertising is to write the next book. It helps to know some SEO, though, so you're giving it the right keywords.

Amazon did recently start sending updates to people who subscribe to them, though!

Rokman20121 karma

You realise that this scenario comes off like the plot to a 'Jennifer Lopez' movie...

"Smart shy girl, can't find 'Mr. Right', but she can "write" him down.."

"Matthew McConahoney comes to fix the plumbing and sexy awkwardness ensues"

blah blah blah... Happily ever after ;)

I hope you bought your own rights from yourself already (I hope you gave you a good price)

Do you have a Uni degree in Lit.?. Or are you just creative and online? (I don't know why but I'm kinda hoping for the latter)

daliadaudelin1 karma

Haha! That is a great idea!

Just creative and online! I actually always thought I'd go into writing comics, but college just plain didn't work for me and I also started to despise my own drawings.

idiosyncrassy3 karma

Have you ever read the book Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood?

daliadaudelin3 karma

I have not. Would you recommend it?

idiosyncrassy9 karma

I totally would. You would probably get a kick out of it. It's about a woman who grew up with a weight problem and a domineering mother. Then she loses the weight, moves out of the house and country, and basically starts a new life. She gets married to a guy who promotes all sort of righteous causes and has made a name for himself in that community. (Think Greenpeace and the like.)

But the entire time, she secretly supports them both by writing and publishing erotica under a pen name.

Anyway, if you like Margaret Atwood's writing and haven't necessarily gone past The Handmaid's Tale, that's a good book to try.

daliadaudelin4 karma

Ah! That sounds very interesting, thanks so much for the recommendation! I'll pick it up this weekend.

sprintcanada2 karma

Someone once told me "You become what you write" but I've always thought "You write what you've become" to be more true.

What's your opinion? Do you bring about what you write about?

daliadaudelin5 karma

I mean you can't exactly start fucking werewolves. I do use some techniques that I write about on my fiance, though, and he appreciates it. I think it's a little bit of both. You learn from your writing, and your writing learns from you.

sorrykids2 karma

How do you prevent people from stealing what you write? Do you do any type of copyright searches? Conversely, do you ever find yourself lifting and changing other people's work to crank out the stories?

daliadaudelin5 karma

I don't think you were insinuating anything. I only search for my stuff up on torrent sites because I see it as a sign of success. Otherwise, I don't care. I don't put DRM on my books, and I know someone pirating my work isn't taking money from me.

As for stealing from others, I try not to. But what are you gonna do? There's nothing new under the sun, so you just have to do what you can to make your work somehow different and interesting.

figure3372 karma

As a male I love literotica. What's your favorite part about what you do?

daliadaudelin9 karma

Hmm. My favorite part is probably thinking up the ideas! It's a thrill to let your mind wander like that and know that your ideas will make hundreds of readers happy.

i4c8e92 karma

How do you feel about http://www.fiftyshadesgenerator.com/ ? Do you ever use it for inspiration? If not, will you now?

daliadaudelin4 karma

Haha! I've seen that before, but never used it as inspiration! I actually have hundreds of story ideas written up on Evernote that I haven't even touched yet. Writing them down lets me forget about them so my mind is clear and ready for new ideas. I'm never really worried about what to write so much as how to write it!

idiosyncrassy2 karma

What would be a good resource for people who, frankly, need to ahem bone up on their grammar and sentence structure? Some of us haven't had a good writing class for an extremely long time.

daliadaudelin5 karma

Ah, good question. Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing has been recommended to me before, and might be worth checking out! And if you're ever unsure, the answer is always a Google search away.

MrCGrey2 karma

Okay, really, really last question: The image on your amazon seller page... is that you or a stock image? I'm interested to know because I'd like to get your take on the importance of using a fake identity. Does having that picture seem to matter (if it's not you). If it is you, why go to lengths to make a pen-name and then post a picture?

SO INTERESTING MY HEAD IS GOING TO EXPLODE

daliadaudelin3 karma

It's a stock image. I don't think the content of the author's identity is important until they get famous. Still, having some kind of identity is important.

InsectOverlord2 karma

I'm actually writing an erotic novel right now and am enjoying it. Without getting into specific figures, how much money do you make writing these novels (e.g. does it pay the bills, supplement your other income nicely, money is no longer a problem, etc...)? Thanks! Edit: wording

daliadaudelin3 karma

It pays the bills and everything else! This is our sole income for both myself and my fiance. Within 5 years I'm hoping to settle down, start a family and slow down my writing a bit. An early semi-retirement, I suppose.

Good luck with your work! Don't get discouraged if the first few don't do as well as you'd like.

GingersGotSoul2 karma

I don't know if you're still answering, but here's my question:

Okay, so you've got an erotica you've written(3,000-5,000 words, the proportion of which are sex to story is questionable), and now you would like money. What do you do? Where/who do you go to once you've got a polished piece?

daliadaudelin6 karma

Make the cover, write the blurb, then upload to Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo and Barnes and Noble. Don't overthink it. You can fix your mistakes as you learn more.

Derpina1billion2 karma

Do your books usually follow the plot of:
Bored Housewife
Guy shows up (plumber, electrician, etc)
They have sex
End story.
Or are they varied?

daliadaudelin11 karma

Nope! They're very varied. I write paranormal, billionaires, dickgirls, fantasy, BDSM etc and they all have different plots that come with them.

SomeRough2 karma

A couple of questions...

  • Legally, what is the deal with pen names? Do you have to register it, or something?

  • somewhat related - for taxes, what do you report? Can you be nonspecific?

Curious in general :) no matter what i was writing, i think i would prefer to use a pen name.

daliadaudelin5 karma

You don't have to register your pen name.

As for taxes, I now pay those monthly via EFTPS. I don't know much beyond that, since my yearly paperwork is done by someone who works for my family. All I know is I have to pay nearly 30% and it's absolutely brutal. So keep that in mind if you get into this!

Oh, and your tax person, if you have one or go to HR Block, doesn't need to know your pen name or what you write. It's all reported to your real name.

DaliaDaudelinDesigne4 karma

In terms of pen names, we are paid directly to our account by Amazon. I think they know Dalia's real name, but I'm not 100% any more, it's been so long since I dealt with that part of it.

For taxes, we report our bank statements, though we pay on a monthly basis, based on what we were paid during the course of that month.

SomeRough3 karma

Alright, thanks for responding~~This is giving me hope as a writer :)

daliadaudelin3 karma

This is giving me hope as a writer

This is why I made this thread. If I can get more people into self publishing, I've done my job. Good luck!

daryllstrauss2 karma

You've done a lot of books, so it's a chance for some data analysis. What factors seem to make the biggest difference in your sales? Have you found that particular titles, covers, fonts, synopsis, etc. make either increase or decrease sales?

daliadaudelin6 karma

Longer titles with direct keywords help. Bright covers that are easy to understand in thumbnail form helps, too. If it's straight erotica, having a sexy woman on the cover is basically a must. The font just has to be something readable, really.

princessvapeypoo2 karma

How do you keep it short? I've tried a few times now to write the 3-5k erotica, and plot keeps getting in the way.

daliadaudelin4 karma

I think it's good if you can write longer. If you think it's too much, once you finish (but not before!) go through and edit it. Be harsh and cut out anything that doesn't advance the story somehow.

LadyPancake1 karma

So I've looked into this for myself, (although writing Sci-fi and not smut) but the one thing I'm confused about, at least in terms of Amazon, is that they say somewhere that for "billing purposes" you have to use your real name when publishing...but I know for a fact that people DO use pen names so maybe I'm just being dumb or whatever. Do you think you could clear that up?

daliadaudelin2 karma

While uploading you choose the pen name it goes to. You do need your legal name on your account for you to get paid.

naked_as_a_jaybird1 karma

Have you ever considered using your powers for good instead of evil? (Or, would you consider publishing anything outside of erotica?) Yeah, it sounds like a troll question, but I'm seriously curious. I'm all for capitalism. Make money when and where you can - good for you for doing what you do. Thanks for taking the time to do an AMA!

daliadaudelin6 karma

Happy cakeday, friend!

I'm actually working on getting out of erotica, hopefully before I have kids! But this work is enjoyable, and I know it makes a lot of people happy. I wouldn't call that evil!

MrCGrey1 karma

I have a billion questions, but I hate people that do that on AMAs so here's the important stuff: I've got to design an ebook cover in the near future and am hoping to do more. I'll obviously be googling it, but can /u/DaliaDaudelinDesigne/ give us a rundown of his process, since he's done so many?

For both of you, was there one site or collection of how-to information for your process of creating the products themselves? Do you spend a lot of time/budget on advertising?

Thanks so much for this, this in so interesting.

daliadaudelin1 karma

Most of my information came from a couple of threads on Something Awful. They're behind a paywall now, though. As for how much time and budget I spend on advertising? None at all, anymore. It's not worth it. I tried some advertising options and then never bothered with it again because they led to nothing.

The only advertising I do is send out mailing list emails and post to What To Read After Fifty Shades of Grey and Korner Kafe Exposed.

Zaldrizes1 karma

I'm unfamiliar with your work but it's interesting. Coming from a person who's never read your stories, are they all female POV, or a mixture?

Are there 'plots' as such to every story?

daliadaudelin1 karma

They're mostly female POV, with one exception being Hypnotized, Mind Controlled Sluts.

I do write plots for every story, depending on what kind it is. And a lot do have elements of my interests, such as MKULTRA, conspiracy theories, and the occult!

Carlos13th1 karma

How much do you actually earn on average a month from writing? Is it profitable enough alone or do you need to support yourself with a job as well.

daliadaudelin1 karma

This is my only job. I make between 3000 and 5000 dollars a month in general this year though we made more in January and then slipped a bit during the summer.

MrCGrey1 karma

I'm sorry this is such a gouache question, but I'd really like to know what kind of money there is in writing short stories like that. It's something I'd be very interested in doing. Thanks :)

daliadaudelin1 karma

There was a time when the woman who brought me into this made I think 80 thousand dollars.

In one month.

So yeah, the sky is the limit if you work hard and have some luck.

truly_foul1 karma

So, uh, weird question, but do you get aroused when you write your material? Or is it like tickling yourself, as in your work can't do it for you?

daliadaudelin2 karma

Sometimes it's super hot and it's hard not to bring my fiance into the room and reenact whatever scene I'm writing.

Other times, it's just work! I suppose it depends on what kink I'm writing.

[deleted]0 karma

[deleted]

daliadaudelin1 karma

No.