Can YOU Write Erotic Sex Stories?

I’ve reworked some of these covers for my erotica books over and over before Amazon approved and removed me from the ‘dungeon’!

There are millions of people out there who are considering writing sex stories for income. Writing erotica for a living. In April, I decided to start writing stories again to see what happened. I have some results I’ll share at another page here — Is it WORTH IT to Write Erotica?

9 Essential Criteria You Need to Write Sex Stories Successfully

You can choose to write erotic stories on Amazon or Smashwords for fun, or you can write to make money. This post is about writing erotica to make money. If you are just writing for your own amusement, disregard everything below and go about it as you wish.

1–Know Your Language to a HIGH DEGREE

Write in your own language. If you’re writing sex stories in English, English should definitely be your FIRST language. I cannot tell you how many people from India are writing me email to ask me if I like their erotic stories. I have to be honest. No, I don’t like them. Nobody who grew up in a country where English is their first language will like your stories. I have yet to see an erotic sex story from anyone in India that will be successful in the English market.

Write in your own language. It is not child’s play to write a book in English. It’s difficult even for those of us who grew up in the USA and who have been educated. I have a master’s degree and I still have some trouble writing well enough for people to accept my books. If you’re writing English as your second language, 99.9x% of you should just stop and focus on your own language.

Sex story readers are forgiving. That’s a given. Even so, they will not put up with anything like bad grammar or spelling, or wrong word use. Please just stop and re-write your stories in your own native language and sell them for people who speak that language. Please. This is the best piece of advice I could give you. I will save many of you hundreds of hours of wasted time!

2–Read Erotic Sex Stories and See What Interests You

More than likely you will write stories about topics you are interested in. You won’t know what you’re interested in until you start reading other authors’ books. Get the Kindle Unlimited subscription at Amazon.com and read books at a reduced cost. They’re free, but of course you’re paying for the subscription.

To be honest, there isn’t anything in the erotica section at Amazon that interests me much. That sucks because that means I need to write in genres that I don’t care about, and that I wouldn’t read myself. It makes writing as a career in the erotica space not as fun and much less likely that I’ll continue. What I did was I wrote in the genres I liked. I wrote 22 stories within a month, with an average of around 9,000 words each. I made an extra $500+ dollars over the course of two months of sales, so it wasn’t a total loss, but I just couldn’t see myself writing more and not making that much more money. Instead, I’ve switched to Romance, like nearly all motivated writers of erotica do eventually.

Choose the genre you think you can write consistently in. You will need to write scores of books to start to build some sort of name for yourself. Forty books will get you started. I don’t mean forty novel-length books, but you’ll need to look at the genre you want to write in and see what is the average number of words per book? Write the same number of words for your books.

3–From Which Perspective Will You Write? (Female first person)

Just get it in your head now that if you want to be successful writing erotica or romance, I mean REALLY successful, you’ll write in first person perspective of the female protagonist in your story.

Why would you, as a man, write as a woman? Because readers of erotic literature are predominantly, overwhelmingly, women. Women readers want to feel like the protagonist is THEM in the story. They want to experience it from a first-person perspective.

Of course, if you’re writing male on male gay scenes, you’ll write as one of the male characters. If you’re writing with any female character in your story, she should almost surely be the main character.

4–Plot Your Story (Outline) According to this Simple Format

Use the following outline to plot out your book and make it interesting. Most online erotic story readers are looking for stories that conform to a certain style of writing. Sure, it’s possible to ignore this completely, and you can do that later, but for now you’ll ensure your success to the greatest degree possible by writing your story using this simple outline.

A. Intro. Write a short intro where the characters are described and they somehow meet.

B. First sex (short). They have some sort of sexual interaction that leaves something to be desired. Maybe they get caught kissing or feeling each other up in a theater and cannot go further. There’s tension about the next sex scene.

C. Build that tension. Ramp it up so the characters are ready to rip each others clothes off, even if they’re in a church parking lot.

D. Second sex. The grand finale where everyone cums and all stops are pulled out. Remember, this is a short story, and it’s likely not in series, so let the characters run wild. Personally, this sex scene for me is at least 1,500 words.

That’s it. I usually leave it at that, they clean up and marvel at the sex and their new relationship.

5–Write Your Story

Shoot for at least 5,000 words. All of my short stories are at least 6,500. I just feel like I’m short-changing readers if I write any less than that. A huge sex scene at the end ensures I usually have 2,000-3,000 words wrapped up in the ending, so it’s easy to write 3,000 in the first half of the book.

My story-writing process. Write. Read. Add more description of characters and feelings that are building. Read. Add more. Read & edit spelling and grammar. Read again. Publish.

6–Edit Your Story

It won’t make sense to pay an editor to look over your work until you know you’re writing stories that sell. Keep your expenses down at first and later, when you’re smashing it, hire an editor to read through every book and fix your errors and give you feedback about whether the story is interesting, flows, and hits the proper beats. Use Grammarly, and the MS Word spell and grammar check tools.

7–Create Your Book Cover

Making a book cover is the one thing that may cost you some money upfront because it needs to be done RIGHT. Readers in the genre you’re writing in expect to see certain things in the cover and if they’re not there, that book gets passed over as they browse through dozens, or hundreds of books to find the right sort of book to buy.

If you are not already a graphic designer, do not attempt to make your own cover. It will suck. It definitely will suck. When I first published some sex stories on Amazon in 2008, I had nine years of experience working with graphics in Paint Shop Pro and Adobe PhotoShop applications. Back then when I made covers they were good enough. I had to keep learning over the years in order to know how to make covers in 2020.

If you want to send me your cover and get my opinion on it—feel free! I’ll give you an honest critique and let you know whether I would use that cover, or just pay for one.

Let me disclose here that I create book covers for authors. If you want me to create a cover for you, I can do it for very reasonable rates starting at just $30. For that rate, you’ll go with what I create and use it. You can pay more and get the opportunity to change the cover somewhat, but for $30 you’re going to get a cover that WILL WORK for the genre you’re writing in.

8–Upload Your Book to Amazon

Go to KDP.amazon.com. Sign up. Use your real name and tax information for everything as you sign up here. This is not the place to use your fake author name. Amazon needs to know who you are.

Once you’re signed up you can sign in and choose + Kindle eBook under the Create a New Title section as below.

You will need to know how to optimize all of the settings in this section and it is beyond the scope of this article. Here you can see a walk-through of how to choose your settings – KDP Settings Walk-through for Erotic Stories.

Once your story is uploaded with your cover, you’ll need to preview it and ensure that every page of your book is formatted correctly. There are many things that must be done right, but it isn’t that difficult. Once you do it the first time, you’ll have a good idea what to do for the next book and it becomes easy.

It probably doesn’t make much sense for you to worry about creating a paperback version of your sex story on Amazon. Wait to see if it sells first. If it sells like crazy, quickly make a print book, and if you made your own cover, pay for a cover that will bring even more sales.

9–What Next?

If you’ve only written one book in your genre, that isn’t going to be enough. I’ve never heard of anyone hitting it big on one erotic short story. You might be the lucky one, and if you are, I’d love to hear about it!

What happened with sales? Did you sell some? Often times people will sell just 5-10 books at $2.99. Your short should almost definitely be priced at $2.99.

You’ll need to write more. See how many stories you can write in a month. Can you write 5 short stories per month? More? The more, the better. Those who are making good money in the erotica section at Amazon have written over 200 stories under one pen name. Authors don’t tend to reveal their pen names, so the top writers probably write under more than one name. Can you build up to 50 stories? 80?

I have over twenty erotic sex stories written and published at Amazon. I have another fourteen books under my real name (fiction and non-fiction). This month so far, I’m making $170. It’s July 20th. Update: I’ve made over $380 from these short-stories and I’ll probably make $1,500 total over the next 20 months. Reasonable. Not a huge success, but then I had some major issues with publishing this time like my covers not showing up in Amazon for 2-3 weeks after publishing! Also bad was the fact that 9 books were dungeoned straight off because of my book covers. I showed too much ass. Amazon is extremely strict with covers! I think sales should have been around double what they were.

It’s not easy, is it? You’ll need perseverance if you hope to make $1,000 or more per month from your short stories.

I’m writing some fiction series books. Writing erotica or romance in a series is where the money is at.