Making money from fiction – erotica

I’m pulling together the final elements for the five-week course starting on 28 February. It prompted me to go and have a look a the contribution that erotica made to my income last year, but I’m going to keep you hanging (possibly in a dungeon, with guttering candles, a faint scent of patchouli and a velvet scarf tied over your eyes) for a few minutes, before revealing the answer.

Erotica is important to me. It certainly helps pay the bills, but it’s also part of the process that I use to keep myself sane and happy as a full time writer. There’s a famous quotation, attributed to Red Smith: Writing is easy. You just sit down at the typewriter and open a vein – which is something that a lot of us feel, especially when we’re writing complex literary fiction or struggling along 60,000 words into a novel we’ve come to loath. And to me, erotica is the sweet tea and biscuit (or as I discovered recently, the orange juice and fruit cake) offered by the transfusion service when you give blood – it’s the thing that puts back what the lit fic takes out!

Erotica is important to me as a reader because good erotica is one of the loveliest things in the world to read – Colette, for example, wrote gorgeous prose, whether it was ‘Cheri’ or an account of her mother’s life and her erotic writing is certainly infused with that gorgeous, elegiac beauty.

And erotica is empowering. One of the real changes of the past fifteen years has been the proliferation of titles publishing erotic fiction for the LGBT community – and it’s no longer horrible tortured prose about the awfulness of being a pervert (or, as it was put in the 1920s, an ‘invert’ which always makes me think of people stood on their heads), it’s funny, warm, sometimes heartbreaking, sexy, accomplished and often gritty fiction.

So if you’d like to work on writing better erotica – whether to earn more fiction-writing income, or to build sex scenes into your novel, or just because you’d like to write naughty stories for your loved one … join us! Thursdays 28 Feb, 6, 13 & 27 March and 3 April – £85 for New Writing South members, £125 for non-members (do what I teach you and you’ll earn back those fees within a year, I promise!) More information at:

Workshops with New Writing South

And how much did I earn in the past 12 months from erotica …?

Guess …

Go on – guess!

Actually it was … £3,272.00!


  1. Maven of Marketing
    15th February 2008

    Thanks for the comment on my blog! I’d love to take your class on Erotica, if only I were in the area!

  2. Kay Sexton
    15th February 2008

    I wish you were closer, you’d be a real ornament to the group!

  3. Roger Morris
    17th February 2008

    Congratulations on a successful year, Kay.

    Writing erotica must in some ways be a little bit like writing comic fiction – in that you are writing to provoke a physiological reaction. Very hard to do, so kudos to you!

    I’m starting a collection of writers’ dreams, by the way – it may turn into an article, or it may just be for the hell of it. If you ever have any writing-related dreams, whether to do with writing erotica or not!, it’d be lovely to hear from you. Just pop over to my blog and leave your dream in the dream depository (comment section).


  4. Admitments
    18th February 2008

    Wish I could attend, unfortunately too far away.

  5. SallyQ
    19th February 2008

    I’m very impressed, Kay. I managed to earn about £150 from writing erotica last year, but it was the first year I’d tried. I was amazed I didn’t get laughed at.

    I wish I could attend your workshop too. Good luck with it.

  6. Kay Sexton
    20th February 2008

    Roger …. hmmm …. that’s a provocative comment if ever I read one!

    Admitments – I wish you could be with us too.

    Sally, you’re living proof that a good writer can take up erotica and have a ball (and an income!) – good for you, girl!

  7. SallyQ
    20th February 2008

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. Martin
    3rd June 2008

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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