Confessions of a Failed Tentacle Porn Writer

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I’m in trouble. I’m a writer who doesn’t write. Not really. Not enough. I’m too distracted by the rickety, creaking carnival ride of life that has me gripping the broken safety bar. I’m white knuckled and sweaty because things are at a weird and scary juncture right now. It’s a dicey, unstable situation, and I’m a few bad months away from living in someone’s garage.

But here’s the real problem: I shuffle back and forth between “writing for the love” mode, and “writing for an elephant’s diaper load of money” mode. Mostly because I love writing but I’m also terrified of being broke. REALLY broke. It’s a hobgoblin that wakes me at 2am when I realize, simultaneously, I’m middle aged, my rent is due in a week, I’ve got four hundred dollars in the bank, three days of work on the books, and two dozen promising but half-finished stories in my queue. To compound the misery, there’s an article on Huffpost about authors who make a hundred grand selling tentacle porn or some other weird kink on Amazon for ninety nine cents a pop.

I’m ashamed to admit there is more than one story in my idea zoo that was started in the midst of one of these awful, awful nights. I’ve never completed them, let alone published them, because the truth is I just…can’t. The same applies to straying into any genre out of fear and greed. It just so happens that erotica sings a louder siren song than most. Now I don’t judge those who DO write the stuff. Heck, I love a raunchy novel. I’m not coy about that and anyone who wants to take me to the mat about my taste in literature is welcome to try. Fair warning, though. You’d better have read some David Foster Wallace or Ted Chiang or some other brain-dense shit like that before you step up to me.

But I digress. Half a chapter into writing one of these works of fiction and my soul starts to writhe. It bellows like a chained beast and threatens to abandon me and return to the white-hot sea of stars from whence it came. When your soul starts screaming at you like that, you better listen up or bad things happen.

There’s plenty of talented, successful self-pubbed authors who truly love writing erotica. I’m just not one of them. There’s also plenty of writers who do it strictly because it’s the single most, best selling genre of literature. I’m not one of those writers, either.

Sigh. I wish I could be, frankly. It could solve a lot of problems for me. Financial and otherwise. The ones it would create, however, are far scarier to me than the status of my bank account. It makes me feel like I’ve lost my way; like every good thing I hope to bring into the world will be born solely for the purpose of making up for the fact that I wrote “Her Secret Kraken Lover” or “The Naughty Alien Next Door”. It just isn’t an option.

So that leaves me where I sit today. Same place as I was yesterday. Struggling. Scared. Still compulsively worried about literature and commerce, and how to make the two intersect in my favor. I’m sick of it, frankly, so I’m going to fix it. I’m taking the idea of writing for profit (kid lit, in particular) completely off the table for the rest of the year.

Not that there was much danger of that happening. Profit, that is.

*Snort*

Whatever. The point is, I have to take money out of the equation, at least for now, or I will be screwed. And not in the erotic, tickly, tentacly kind of way.

Worse still, I will continue to not write.

So I have an idea. Better yet, a plan. I’m going to write stuff as well and as prolifically as I can. Anything and everything I deem worthy of publication is going to go up on a website of my creation (details to come if you’re interested) and will be accessible to anyone who wants it. Short stores. Novels. Poems. Whatever. It all goes on the site and will be downloadable to any bored or book-hungry kid who wants them. For free. No strings. No selling of anything to anyone.

Now, there is a practical side to all this. This website will also serve as my practice lab where I’ll learn through trial and error the ins and outs of SEO which, as anyone in marketing will tell you, is really really important if you ever want to sell stuff online. Which I do. Eventually. But for now, it’s on the house. As I learn, I’ll share what I know with other artists who are struggling to find purchase in the digital realm.

Someday if I’m lucky I’ll put the year’s lessons to work, carve out a sweet, profitable little niche for myself, and create an ongoing source of income from my fiction. But today is not that day. Not for me. ‘Til then, the goal is just to put as much (hopefully) great literature in the hands of as many cool kids as humanly possible.

And who knows…maybe I’ll even find my way.

PS I can’t promise to never write the words “heaving bosom” or “eager, hungry mouths”, but I can promise that any tentacle porn I do happen to write will be written because it makes me happy. Not because I wanna buy a better brand of toilet paper.

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2 responses

  1. Yeah, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not actually *possible* to sell out. Stuff that looks “easy” and commercial to me isn’t as easy as I think it is–or at least, it wouldn’t be easy in *my* hands, because the love has to be there. If you don’t love yeti erotica, it’s going to show. Your yeti-erotica won’t have that special something that makes the yeti-lovers sigh. (Paradoxically, I *do* believe that some roads are easier than others, but that’s neither here nor there. The only road I can walk is my road. Someone else’s easy road can’t be my easy road.)

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