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Promoting Erotic Fiction, Quietly

Updated on September 8, 2014
Just don't tell anyone...
Just don't tell anyone... | Source

You’ve written your erotic masterpiece and had it published, either by a professional company or you’ve self-published. Now what? You need to spread the message to as many people as you can think of, and get them in turn to tell their friends and colleagues. There’s just one snag – you haven’t actually told them what you’ve been writing. It’s your big secret. And on reflection, knowing the smut you’ve put in there, getting your characters to perform acts you’ve possibly neither tried nor would ever dream of trying yourself – do you really want this to change? How then, can you even hope to make any money from your work?


The traditional first stop – who better to promote your work than your trusted friends and family? Only your Facebook ‘friends’ include your boss, your mum, your old teacher, the couple whose children you used to babysit, your bank manager and your twelve year old nephew. Oops.

Of course the chances are you haven’t published under your proper name, but you’ve chosen a nom de plume, such as Fifi L’Amour. Great – so just open up a new account under that name. Only who’s going to find you there, all alone with nothing but a saucy book cover for company? How are you going to get any friends or followers? After all, who’s going to friend a complete stranger? And what exactly is Fifi going to do there? What kind of status updates can she write or photos can she post without you compromising yourself and potentially revealing your identity?

Love the discreet cover
Love the discreet cover | Source

Start A Blog

Ho hum, yet more work, yet more writing – and about what? Do you really want to wax lyrical about your cats when you really should be writing your next masterpiece? And who seriously is going to bother to read you? In a recent article in Mslexia, the excellent magazine for women writers (if you fall into that category and don’t already subscribe, I urge you to do so) the author’s conclusion was that while tweeting, blogging and facebooking might bring you closer to your readers (the implication being you’ve got some already), they’re really not going to sell any more books.

Free Giveaways

What does work, however, is giving your book away for free on Amazon. It's easy to do and you can choose up to five days in any 90 day KDP Select term. But once you've done that, how do you let anyone know? I am indebted to hubber Rachel K Burke for her hub: Best Websites for Marketing Your Amazon KDP Select Ebook Free Days. In it she lists over forty sites where you can submit your book details. It's a laborious task but well worth the effort!

Hub Pages

Dear Hub Pages – how I appreciate you! Such a wonderful vehicle for coming into contact with fellow writers, readers and generally decent, intelligent and supportive human beings. It also offers the chance to write about more interesting subjects than what you had for breakfast (muesli, if you’re interested) and that terribly funny thing that happened during your last holiday. Pick subjects that fit in with the theme of your work, and write articles about them – the research is invariably interesting and the whole process of putting a hub together is, I find, thoroughly enjoyable. I’ve noticed that, while I haven’t got many followers, my pages are getting plenty of hits. You see my problem? No-one wants to associate with an old smut merchant like me!

Or you could try this...

Good Reads

This might be my salvation. Not only is it quite fun ranking other people’s books, Good Reads has a terrific author program where you can add your author bio and pic (imagine!), excerpts of your books and even a link to that blog of yours. It will also enable you to promote giveaways, seek reviews, join panel discussions and track interest in your book. In her excellent hub on ebook marketing, author Rachel Burke writes of the dramatic increase in ratings and reviews her novel got once she’d signed up.

Amazon Reviews

This is another tricky one. Just as people like to show off Man Booker prizewinners on their bookshelves and hide the Nora Roberts away in the back room, nobody really wants to admit to having enjoyed Saucy Spanking III enough to merit giving it a review and outing themselves as a fan of erotica on their Amazon profile. If a reader’s reviews mostly focus on in-depth critical analysis of international prize-winners, they’re hardly going to want to admit to having enjoyed something less – how to put this politely? – intellectually challenging. You’re their dirty secret (if you’re lucky) – something they download late at night once the wine’s all drunk to read furtively on their commute the next day. Anonymity is the joy of e-readers, why would anyone blow it by posting a review?


Which brings us on to the next thought. You might have more luck getting the help from what’s known as ‘advocates’ – people who are willing to tweet, blog or update their Facebook statuses mentioning your work. So you’d better just accept that you’ve got to send out as many freebies as you can to people – probably strangers – who might just get the word out. But how to find them? Cruise blogs and use your imagination! I’ve now sent copies of my serialisation The Sexual Misadventures of Primmie Darling to celebrities, politicians and journalists – the very people I spoof in the stories. I figure I might as well post any replies I get on a blog and see the funny side of any disgust, rejection, or law suits.

A refreshingly innocent cover!
A refreshingly innocent cover! | Source

How to Send?

This brings us onto the next issue – if your masterpiece is in digital form only – how do you send it to anyone? PDF files look awful on Kindle – the fonts go all over the place and the text is usually way too small. Word documents, however, translate to Kindle very well, but if (like me) you’re using a pre-Word 2007 you don’t have the Read Only facility. The best way I’ve discovered is to go into Tools and hit Protect Document. If your recipient wants to add their own input to your masterpiece at least it’ll come out red and underlined.

If anyone’s got any better ideas, please let me know!

Can you Manipulate Sales?

This one just occurred to me the other day. If you’ve created your Amazon Author Central author page and fessed up to your own book, you cannot post a review (even a bad one…) So what next? What about buying, at different times, a copy of your book with the latest by, say, JK Rowling, thus forcing yours to appear under the ‘People who bought this also bought’ banner. It’ll cost you a bit but it might just do the trick, no?!

The Law of Attraction

Last but by no means least, why not let the Universe do all the work for you? I’m actually a big believer in having a positive attitude, in meditation and in creative visualisation. So think from the end, as Wayne Dyer would put it, and picture your book, either in piles on the front tables of bookshops or storming up the Amazon best seller list, while you practise your affirmations. Personally I also love tapping, or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) as it’s technically known. Here you tap on your pressure points while addressing a problem, be it mental, emotional or physical. The other day I tried something different and tapped while stating my affirmations, in an exciting new practice I’ve decided to call ‘tappirmations’.

You know something? Maybe that’s the book I should write to make my fortune?

Viva Jones' novel, The Summer of Aphrodite, is published by House of Erotica. Her ongoing satirical series The Sexual Misadventures of Primmie Darling is available on Amazon Kindle Direct.

A Bit About Tapping

How would you feel about telling the world you’ve written an erotic novel?

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    • Jake Flanders profile image

      Jake Flanders 3 years ago from Oxnard, California

      Also consider using scrivner for your writing. It's a little bit complicated but that comes along with being a complete tool.

    • Viva Jones profile image

      Viva Jones 3 years ago from UK

      Hi Keke, thanks for your comment, very useful!

    • profile image

      Keke 3 years ago

      Another good resource is Make Money Selling Erotic E books by Molina Storm. It's a very small book but it has lots of places to get erotic book covers, erotica book reviews and promo sites that allows you to promote your erotic books. The link is here

    • Viva Jones profile image

      Viva Jones 4 years ago from UK

      Hi Tolovaj, and thanks for your comment.

    • Tolovaj profile image

      Tolovaj 4 years ago

      Very useful for every genre, not just erotica fiction. I used to write love stories when I was a student. I used pen name and the helped me to pay the bills, but promotion was not my problem. Nowadays everything is about promotion. And there are many ways which may work. Thanks for explaining some of them. Good luck with your next projects!

    • Viva Jones profile image

      Viva Jones 4 years ago from UK

      Hi CroftRoan, thanks for your great comment!

      Hi MaeMG, I'm happy I made you laugh!

      Hi Ryan Smith, thank you for your comment. I haven't tried the amazon trick yet but it could be quite funny to see my own stuff lurking near the likes of JK Rowling and Dan Brown! Might as well exploit the high earners I say! :))

    • RyanSmith86 profile image

      RyanSmith86 4 years ago

      A lot of this was super informative, and can be used by anybody who has a book to market. I hadn't thought of the amazon trick. Buying your book and some other obscenely popular one to get the 'people who bought slot' is something every author should do, and do often!

    • MaeMG profile image

      MaeMG 4 years ago

      Lol I love the entire section on Amazon Reviews! It cracked me up but definitely the truth. Awesome information on promoting your work in general. Definitely will check out Good Reads when the times comes.

    • CroftRoan profile image

      Kate Rolands 4 years ago

      While I wouldn't hide what I write, it's hard to market a book by someone no one has ever heard of. These tricks are useful for more than just erotica. Great hub. I look forward to reading more by you.