My short bio: I work as a ghost writer to support my own writing. I have been branching out into erotica lately, so when I saw a job listing that said Erotic Writing I went for it. Turns out, what they actually wanted was descriptions written for 500 porn films. Describing, and seeing, that much porn was a very weird experience. AMA!

My Proof:

Comments: 163 • Responses: 49  • Date: 

Indominablesnowplow153 karma

What's the benefit of being a ghost writer and not just publishing in your own name?

No-name erotic fiction authors that self-publish on Amazon seem to be able to make a decent living

FarleighChill141 karma

Yeah, I've wondered that myself at times. For the most part it's taking writing gigs that already have some groundwork established so that I'm not doing it all myself. Also, as I'm working on a novel I'd like to keep my own name separate for publishing that.

Indominablesnowplow39 karma

That makes sense.

But those erotica novels, they could always be published under a pen name. Is it because it's vastly more time/resource consuming to work out plot details than simply writing according to an provided outline?

FarleighChill46 karma

Exactly, yeah. Plotting and character design can be such rabbit holes and actually lead me to a place where I'm too invested in the story.

Indominablesnowplow14 karma

Ah ok.

Last question: How do you price your work when it's something as intangible as the quality of what you've written?

FarleighChill48 karma

Thanks for all your questions! That's actually something I've been struggling with as well, because so many jobs are listed at such exploitative (way below minimum wage for the time required) rates.

I recently received some good advice to charge an hourly rate (mine is £15/hr) and be fastidious about documenting the hours worked, or specify a fixed price based on how many hours you think it will take but be generous because it will always take more time that you expect.

Not everyone responds well to these higher rates, but they are probably not worth your time if they won't pay you for the work you're actually doing.

LOLmouseLOL11 karma

Sorry if this dumb, but how do you go about establishing a rate? How do people accept that your writing is worth that?

FarleighChill25 karma

No, it's a fair question, I just state the rate that I want and risk losing out on the job to someone who can afford to do it for less. I hope that my writing samples speak to the quality I can provide, but it can be a hard thing to demonstrate, especially if the client isn't willing to read much before choosing. If there's nothing better on offer, I sometimes have to take work that is paid less than what I would like. If it's a project that really interest me and it's not too large, I don't mind that much. Also, I support the more interesting jobs with more straight forward copy writing as well.

kaos701a37 karma

That's pretty interesting. what was the first in the batch?

FarleighChill67 karma

All kinds of things. It was largely catering to a straight market so a lot of usual suspects with bleached hair and big fake breasts, but there were plenty of things that I wasn't expecting as well. On the positive side, There were quite a few trans people or intersex people represented, and on the negative there was a lot of incest fantasies and videos about having sex with sleeping people.

zimzamzoom255 karma

and on the negative there was a lot of incest fantasies

This is now considered 'mainstream porn' these days!

Do you normally view porn in your personal time or was this a unique venture?

FarleighChill49 karma

This whole incest thing was a real surprise. I ended up making all of my descriptions about how they were step-siblings that didn't see each other much, or other excuses like that.

I watch porn from time to time, it's not like I'm against it, or like it's a hobby, but the volume I had to witness as a part of this was on a whole other level. It became really overwhelming and I became really desensitised.

FarleighChill9 karma

This whole incest thing was a real surprise. I ended up making all of my descriptions about how they were step-siblings that didn't see each other much, or other excuses like that.

I watch porn from time to time, it's not like I'm against it, or like it's a hobby, but the volume I had to witness as a part of this was on a whole other level. It became really overwhelming and I became really desensitised.

SudaneseWarlord34 karma

Are you sick of porn?

Did you rub one or many out during your viewings?

Are you female or male?

Was there any good acting or story in one of them?

FarleighChill65 karma

I'm male. I didn't have to watch them all, because for each there was a selection of thumbnails provided, but I would watch the videos when the thumbnails were confusing or didn't provide me with enough information to meet the required word count for the description.

In some cases the introductory sections were actually quite well acted yeah, but for the most part it was dreadful and the stories were often very problematic. There were a lot of plots involving blackmailing people into sex because they had been caught doing something illegal.

Seeing that many naked bodies did get arousing at times, but the sheer quantity of it was quite unsettling. It became so commonplace to see outrageous things and I think a lot of the novelty was lost for me. By the end of a day's writing. I was so sick of it.

fzstarion6 karma

are you Australian

FarleighChill10 karma

Urrm, no. why?

llawne28 karma

What is the strangest sentence you have ever wrote?

FarleighChill157 karma

There's quite a few to choose from, because you really run out of things to say very quickly when it's just endless variations of two people fucking. I ended up getting as weird as I could to entertain myself. One of my favourites was this:

As a testament to just how important the couch is to pornography as an art form, these two have taken their leather couch to the top of a cliff where they butt fuck in its honour.

appollocreedjigclown52 karma

Might I suggest: "A ball bursting sextravaganza."

FarleighChill94 karma

Hahah, I can put you in touch if you want some work ;).

One of my favourites that I wrote along those lines (I went through a phase of seeing how many Bs I could get into one description): Bedazzling Busty Blonde Busts Black Balls Brilliantly Being Brutally Boned from Behind.

Batchet3 karma

I've been interested in a writing job for a long time. I wouldn't mind getting in touch with someone if you could help me out.

I'm not sure where to start, I think I can do erotic fiction, but I haven't really gotten my feet wet in it. The last times I've tried, I would lose interest in the story once I've gotten off.

Any suggestions on how to stick to it?

FarleighChill10 karma

If you sign up with Upwork there's a lot of jobs in this kind of area. I'd warn you that a lot of it is terribly paid, though, but if you're just finding your way in the genre it could be good to be paid something for that.

As for sticking with it, as with all writing it's a case of doing instead of thinking about doing. You just gotta keep at it and it becomes easier.

TheQueefburglar698 karma

Oh my god. I'm crying. This is truly beautiful. Where can I find some stuff you wrote?

FarleighChill32 karma

Haha, thanks. If you're asking for a link to the site I wrote it for I did it through a portal that they made so I don't know what the actual site's address is.

I'll post a couple more of my personal favourites though:

More kitchen action in this video than an entire series of Masterchef, and far less of Gregg Wallace's bald head. Sorry to make you picture him while you're jacking it.

She's got gadgets and gizmos aplenty. She's got whosits and wotsits galore. You want thingamabobs? She's got twenty. But who cares? She wants more! She wants to show all her dildos off. She wants to see, wants to see you wanking.

They were gonna go camping, ride out to the sequoia forests along the coast, feel the sea air on their faces, reaffirm why they're really here and what matters in life. Then the tequila came out.

LouQuacious11 karma

Sequoia don't grow on the coast FYI. Those are redwoods.

FarleighChill10 karma


TheQueefburglar695 karma

Man, i'm on the bus home and now everyone is looking at me funny. I was inquiring on any old stuff you might have written I could read. Wonderful witty way of writing words.

FarleighChill6 karma

Hahaha, oh sorry! If you look on my reddit account there's a few writing prompts I've responded to there.

And here's a pretty weird short story I had published recently:

Kirapuro1 karma

While these are extremely amusing here on reddit; I can't imagine stumbling upon this and it having an arousing impact.

Did your employer ever state conditions for your descriptions? Did you have to rewrite some?

FarleighChill8 karma

I don't think they were ever explicitly stated as having to be arousing, the quantity I had to produce in a short time frame makes me think they're not being vetted at all, but there were a few times when a video I had already done would recur. I don't know whether these were duplicates or ones that had failed vetting and come back to me.

CommodoreKrusty16 karma

Any of it any good?

FarleighChill27 karma

Haha, I think that's probably a matter of personal taste. A lot of it was full length watermarked movies from other sites so it was content that would have been behind a paywall in other places. Probably makes what my client was doing very illegal although I'm not too sure about where the law stands on distribution of porn.

victalac10 karma

Did you use a Thesaurus?

How many variations of "Hot!" can there be?

FarleighChill50 karma

Oh my god, this!

It was a real struggle coming up with new ways of saying things. Same for the various ways of saying "has sex with" (which there are luckily a lot), but yeah I would find myself using the weirdest words. I quite often came out with the word "steamy", which I've never used to refer to anything arousing.

As a feminist, I also made a point to avoid using words like "bitch", or "slut", and to generally try and frame things in a way that was sex positive and emphasised shared enjoyment and consent. In the case of some videos that meant I had absolutely nothing to say and so talked about the couches. I described couches a lot.

Couch-related side note: you are playing with fire filming an anal scene on a white couch. (But it happens a surprising amount)

CttCJim7 karma

I write smutty novels, and the struggle here is real. It's bad enough trying not to re-use an adjective within a scene but you also have to make sure the whole book stays fresh, never re-using acts and positions... it's hard difficult!

FarleighChill2 karma

hahah yeah I guess there's only so many ways any pair of human bodies can lock together that will result in pleasure for at least one of them.

throwaway4anger7 karma

various ways of saying "has sex with

Did you ever fit "squishin' pissers" anywhere into a description?

FarleighChill3 karma

Ahahah now I wish I had!

HillelSlovak-21 karma

I'm supportive of you not using bitch or slut but you're a male profiting off the porn industry - you shouldn't really make much of a big deal about being a feminist.

FarleighChill19 karma

Yeah that is a legitimate criticism. I don't think it's something I'd do again. It felt hypocritical to be apart of it. I told myself in some ways I might be able, to help might be able to turn it around in a way that is a little less damaging, but it's not like anyone is going to read the things I wrote anyway.

popepouri8 karma

So what do you do know for pleasure? Do you just go home unbuckle your belt an masturbate to the Sound of the microwave or has your porn thirst not yet been satisfied

FarleighChill40 karma

Hahahaha, the microwave has always been the most erotic appliance to me. Sadly, I recently moved house and don't actually have a microwave in my new apartment so I have to masturbate to compilations of microwave dings on youtube.

No, honestly I haven't had the desire to look at porn since I finished (that was only two days ago, don't panic) but I'll definitely make a point to look out for the descriptions next time I do.

itsmyotherface6 karma

Porn Hub, or some large porn site, used to put these up on Amazon Mechanical Turk. They were titles, not full descriptions.

I earned quite a bit of money titling porn.

Did it feel monotonous to you? I found that a lot of my titles went something like "Busty blonde sucks him off".

FarleighChill8 karma

Oh definitely. You end up with the same phrases popping up again and again. It becomes its own weird language: Horny Blonde Railed, Busty Brunette Loves Anal, Sleepy Step-sister Gets Sexy Surprise.

I'm not sure I could keep doing it...

itsmyotherface4 karma

Oh man, you were lucky. We had a whole list of terms we couldn't use. Definitely couldn't have used "anal". The whole thing had to be very euphemistic.

FarleighChill4 karma

Oh damn, that sounds like a real challenge. I had the most fun with the euphemistic titles but they definitely required a lot more thought

Hope_Burns_Bright6 karma

Would you recommend the job to people?

FarleighChill12 karma

Not really, no. I don't think it worked out as minimum wage compared to the time I had to put in to doing it. It was demoralising work and it felt largely pointless. It was novel at first, but writing descriptions that kept it amusing soon became a chore in itself just because of the sheer quantity of videos to get through.

zimzamzoom25 karma

Were these movies that are ~60+ minutes or were they individual scenes of ~20-40mins?

Were the videos from one website/studio? E.g bangbros, or were they from a number of studios?

FarleighChill5 karma

Most were around 30 mins, with some much shorter and some approaching feature length. They were from all over, but a lot of the big names came up and most of the videos were watermarked.

FatFriend_Customs4 karma

Are you married or have a SO? If so, what was their stance on the job and has them knowing about it created any turmoil in your relationship?

Also, have you submitted that job to one of those "jobs you didn't know you could get" lists that get published all over the place?

FarleighChill12 karma

I've been in a relationship for years and she just found it quite funny. She was annoyed that it wasn't that well paid but I couldn't really back out once I started and I didn't expect it to take as much time as it did. She liked hearing the funnier descriptions I wrote, although felt a bit weird when I would send them to her when she was in the office. Personally, I found it weird being exposed to sexual content for my entire working day and it definitely did strange things to my libido, but she was understanding of that and I feel like I'm back to normal now.

I was thinking of submitting to one of those, or seeing if there were any sites interested in an article about the process/some of the weirder descriptions I came up with. Thought I'd do this AMA to see what people were interested in about the whole business first.

GodOfAllAtheists4 karma

What type of ghost writing do you do? Fiction? What is the typical length?

FarleighChill7 karma

I've done a mixture of fiction and non-fiction but my preference is fiction. Normally I write pieces around 2000 words, but if the money is good I'll go higher. I avoid the jobs that want to pay something ridiculous like $500 for an entire novel.

GodOfAllAtheists4 karma

I would love to try that. What do people do with the stories you write? It doesn't seem like they would be profitable.

FarleighChill8 karma

You should! There's plenty of work on places like Upwork and PeoplePerHour. I don't think it is massively profitable, which is why a lot of it is very poorly paid, but there is a growing market for eBooks that seems to be all about quantity not quality. A lot of the things I've written have gone into collections for Kindle.

GodOfAllAtheists2 karma

Ok. I've published a few short stories and a collection of shorts on Kindle (horror) with no real success, although the few I have sold have actually gotten positive reviews. How much do you charge for the typical 2000 page story?

FarleighChill2 karma

That's good you've had some positive feedback. I've not tried the Kindle market directly but I hear horror/thrillers and erotica are the ones that really sell.

I assume you mean 2000 words, not page, because I don't think I'd ever take on a 2000 page project. It would depend a bit on how much ground work had been done by the client in terms of research/character building, but if there was a decent amount of groundwork done I'd probably charge £50 and have it with them within two days.

bertybert124 karma

How difficult would you say being a writer is? I am interested in becoming a screenplay writer as a hobby, but I feel my grammar is sub-par. Is it normal to have co-workers/professionals in your field to have sub-par/average grammar?

Sorry it's not about the job, it sounds quite disturbing lmao. I don't have will power, I probably would have masturbated way too much, especially if it was pay-quality porn, I'm a free site, kinda guy.

FarleighChill1 karma

Thanks for the sympathy. It was an interesting experience so I can't really bemoan that.

Your grammar will improve with practice. Also read as much as you can and that will help. You don't have many coworkers as a ghost writer over the internet but I sometimes get sent other pieces that have been submitted to my clients as part of the safe project and some of it is shockingly bad in terms of both content and grammar.

the_drew3 karma

Where on earth were you looking for job listings that means you found this gig? Follow up question, did you have to submit proof of your writing before they contracted you or was it just a more straightforward "you agreed to do it at the rate they offered" type of thing?

FarleighChill3 karma

Upwork. They gave me a test one to do first. When they were happy with that they contracted me for another 500. I could have backed out after the test but I was not expecting it to take anywhere near as long as it did.

Nipx23 karma

Did you write any descriptions that you felt would appeal to straight women in pursuit of good looking/ actually visible above the waist dudes?

In a world where one would think anyone is 2 clicks from even the most niche fetish, it can be incredibly frustrating just to search for straight-hot-male-centric videos. Generally any of those types of key words will lead you to gay porn geared toward men, which is just not my thing. I have just had to learn to enjoy other things, but I would love tags/descriptions that could help me see an attractive man's face or full body or really anything other than the lower belly pouch and taint views!!

More of a rant than a question, but just wondering what your thoughts are here.

FarleighChill2 karma

I tried to write all of my descriptions from the perspective of all the people involved enjoying it. I would try and spend as much time describing the men involved as the women, but for the most part the men's faces were obscured and they tended to be either kinda chubby or overly ripped. Also so many of them kept their t shirts on and that's never a good look on any man.

There were, however, a few videos that did feature both actors heavily and where both actors were attractive. I tried to tag those videos as "for women" when I could, even though they were just generally more erotic videos.

wultz13 karma

Where does one get work like this? Not necessarily for erotic films but in general. I'm stuck in a foreign country with no money or options and need income desperately.

FarleighChill7 karma

Upwork or PeoplePerHour are the freelancing sites I use. You'll have to build a profile but you can find work quite quickly. Unskilled labour might be more profitable in your situation though? I guess that depends on the economy of the country you're stuck in.

wultz13 karma

I'm stuck in Ukraine and I don't speak Russian. Where the national currency is basically useless.

FarleighChill1 karma

Oh damn! How did you end up in that situation? In that case I think online writing work is a really good shout. Try Upwork or Peopleperhour

cjdabeast2 karma

Did you take the "Rick and Morty" approach? ( ___ In this Video, Broh)

FarleighChill2 karma

No! I should have. I mentioned ball fondlers at every opportunity though

Mudgeon2 karma

I have recently started really investigating the freelance writing scene. My profile on upwork is still very much a work in progress, you mention you do a bit of copywriting as well. Is copywriting really where the money is as so many things seem to suggest? If so why do you prefer ghost writing to copywriting?

FarleighChill1 karma

Oh yeah, I've been paid far more for copy writing than I have for ghost writing. I have been lucky and found a few well paid ghost writing gigs, but only a few. I prefer the ghost writing because it allows me to be more directly creative and to use the skills I have developed. Also the subject matter is generally much more interesting. I'd much refer to write a short story about a child and his granddad hunting a Sasquatch than I would to write about an Exciting New Solution to Male Pattern Baldness.

Mudgeon2 karma

Thanks for the reply, that makes a lot of sense. I am pretty much interested in doing it as a second source of income. So copywriting seems to be where that is mostly likely. Do you have much contact with other freelancers? What are some common pitfalls you or others you know have found with doing this kind of work?

FarleighChill1 karma

A few, my older brother has been freelance for many years so he has had a lot of good advice to offer. I'd say the trap I've fallen into most is not being clear on exactly what is being asked for before accepting a job, you can end up doing far more work than you expect for a lot less money than you would hope for.

one_day_atatime2 karma

I currently do some ghost writing for a content mill during the winter when my normal job slows down. I've sort of investigated Upwork before, but was put off by the fee they charge. Is PPH the same? How do you navigate that? Also, is it pitching yourself to clients? Or is there another way you're "picked" for an assignment?

FarleighChill1 karma

I've never worked with a content mill, how is it? Yeah there's a commission fee and you still have to apply for any jobs you want.

toaurdethtdes2 karma

Weirdest video you've had to write a description for?

FarleighChill5 karma

Probably the one where they were fucking on the top of a cliff above the ocean that would have been really epic if they hadn't brought a really trashy leather couch along with them to do it on.

RedditAlready123452 karma

What's with all the incest in the movie titles? I can't imagine the percentage of ppl looking for that is that high.

FarleighChill3 karma

I have no idea. There was so much of it. Seems like there's whole production companies dedicated to producing incest storylines now. They had names like "Sis luvs me" and "Curious MILFs" or something.

sarah_spaz2 karma

How did you break into ghost writing? Please feel free to ignore if someone asked and I'm being repetitive.

FarleighChill2 karma

I don't know if it's a case of "breaking into" it, or whether I've not actually broken into it yet. I barely make my rent, but I get paid to write. I am getting better paid gigs now, but at first I was signing up for a lot of exploitative stuff that wasn't really what they said it would be (like this job I just did for instance). I don't think it's the best path if you are looking for a way to support yourself while doing your own writing, though it does provide you with opportunities to practise skills you can use in your own work.

sarah_spaz2 karma

Thank you for answering, I appreciate this! Makes perfect sense. I'm honestly just wanting to make some extra cash now and then for doing something that's legal. lol Are there sites or anything you can recommend for work?

FarleighChill1 karma

I'd recommend PeoplePerHour. I got this job through Upwork, but generally the rates have been way better and the work more professional on PPH.

Edit: posted a link to my profile by accident.

Westenaxe2 karma

What's your wittiest description?

FarleighChill7 karma

wittiest? I've posted a few in replies to other people in this thread, and sadly with the way the site i was writing on works the ones that I didn't copy to send to friends are lost to the depths of the internet, but here's another that I did manage to save:

Like Eve coaxing Adam to bite from the forbidden apple, and experiencing a new world of mingled torment and pleasure and freedom, this man's step sister teaches him about squirting.

Westenaxe2 karma

It made me more than chuckle. Nice one.

FarleighChill2 karma

I'm glad, thanks!

UncleDan20171 karma

Do people really read descriptions of porn videos? I thought everyone just went to the free tube sites for porn?

FarleighChill2 karma

I really doubt anyone will read what I wrote there. That's why I mainly talked about couches. Still, it's nice to be able to share some of the more fun descriptions I wrote on here.

pm-me-foxes1 karma

How many videos did you have to go through? And how long did you take on average for each video?

FarleighChill2 karma

I tried to get one done every 5 minutes, but I could go faster at times. It depended a lot on what came up in the thumbnails because more unique content gave you a lot more to describe. If it was very generic porn there was only so much you could say about it: A white couple have sex on a cream sofa. The woman is blonde and she seems to be enjoying it quite a lot, though this is probably part of her role as a performer.

pm-me-foxes1 karma

That's... interesting...

What was the weirdest video you've seen in your batch?

FarleighChill4 karma

There wasn't anything too outlandish. No bestiality or anything crazy. I guess one that stood out to me because of it's sheer unexpected diversity was a threesome between a black man, a white cis woman, and a Latina trans woman. It's just hard to tell with the industry whether that diversity wasn't being exploited for novelty value.

mark02101 karma

Looking for a part time job myself to supplement my income (bills, wedding to save for, etc) - while I certainly can't do cam work, I've always had decent writing skills. Any tips on where to look for jobs like this one? Thanks!

FarleighChill1 karma

I'd say look for copy writing on People Per Hour