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'10 Authors Insider Tips

Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
Have More Good Sex
I Can Do Better ...
Trying to Get the Feeling
Plotting and Planning
Character Profiles
Discovery Draft
Be Bad to Be Good
E-Book Revolution
Naked for Halloween
Sex With Pilgrims

by Louisa Burton
The Music of Words
The Balancing Act
Your Fictional World
Backstory & Foreshadowing

The Fine Art of Submission
by Shanna Germain
Nailing the Query Letter
Banish the Boring Bio
Becoming a Market Master
Become a Market Master, 2
Backstory & Foreshadowing
Enticing An Editor, Part 1
Enticing An Editor, Part 2
Contracts, Money & More

Serious about Smut
by Vincent Diamond
No More Horsing Around
Short Stuff
Selling Short Stories
Editors' Pet Peeves
Settings: Beyond Time & Place
Beating Up Your Scenes
Selling Your Books in Person
Staying in the Saddle

The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
Broken Rainbows
Talk the Talk
10 Commandments for Writing
Plotting to Avoid
Cover Story

'10 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
St Valentine's Day
Renaming Body Parts
Sex, Cigarettes & Erotic Fiction

Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
C. Sanchez-Garcia
Kathleen Bradean
Lucy Felthouse
Neve Black
PS Haven
Tracey Shellito
Tresart L. Sioux

Cracking Foxy
with Robert Buckley
Plenty of Miles Left
Don't Worry, Be Happy
Fly the Unfriendly Skies
Coffee Time
Castrated Words
Virtual vs. Actual Romance
The View from Gallows Hill

Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
The Fashion Industry
The Same Old Same Old
Writing Porn
About the Closet
... About Spirituality
Making Sense of Religion
Worked Up About Monogamy
What's Next
All Worked Up About Nature
Still All Worked Up...

Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Holiday Ghosts
Love and Romance
An "Interracial" Epic
Trying to Make It Go Away
Sexual Etiquette
Sex and Children
People Against Bad Things
Virtual Acceptance
His Cold Eyes, His Granite Jaw
A Flash of Northern Light

Serious about Smut

by Vincent Diamond

No More Horsing Around


Serious about Smut

Maybe you've made a New Year's Resolution: this year, I'm going to get serious about my writing. I'm going to get something published. Maybe you've sold a couple stories here and there, and want to know how to leverage those successes. Or maybe your Significant Other has told you, " This is really hot stuff! You should send it…somewhere!" If it's time for you to climb on the writing horse, well then, come on over to my barn, and let me help you get tacked up. This series of columns is designed to give you an overview of writing erotica/smut/porn (insert your term of choice here) for profit.

Whatever your motivation, getting serious about smut can be fun, frustrating, productive, provocative, and (somewhat) prosperous. In my ten-plus years of being a freelance writer and five years of being an editor, I've learned some valuable lessons about writing for pay, writing for specific markets, and how to work with an editor in a professional manner. I've seen writers work for years on their material—and then crash and burn. I've seen newbie writers hit it big with improbable stories. And I've seen what I thought were professional writers fall off the horse in a big way; it's harder to hide a Major Fuck-up these days. These columns will help you avoid those mistakes and help keep you securely in the saddle.

To start, take a look at your motivations and goals for writing. Is it a fun hobby for you, something to do as kick once in a while? If so, your commitment of time and energy will be different from a writer who is hoping to generate a solid income from sales. If this is a hobby, that's fine. You can always aim for higher fences later. If , however, you're aiming for professional markets right away, you'll want to make more time to study the business. When I give workshops to writers, the analogy I use is this: Becoming a professional writer is no different from changing to any other career.

Let me say that again, because it's important: Becoming a professional writer is no different from changing to any other career.

Say for example, that I completely lost my mind and decided to become an equine veterinarian. Well then, I'd start by researching vet schools, apply for one and be accepted, take classes in biology, chemistry, and equine management, buy textbooks, participate in workshops and clinics, sign up for internships and practicums, and observe working vets in action. It would probably take about five years at a minimum. Minimum.

The same career-changing process works for writers. Just because someone passed high school or even college-level English classes doesn't make one a writer. Beginning writers will probably benefit from taking some classes, whether online or at a local community college Adult Ed course. Writers will quite naturally buy books about writing—and study them. At a certain point in your writing career, attending a workshop will be an eye-opening experience, and valuable for many reasons. Writers can also study in depth successful writers; doing a line-by-line analysis of another writer's work can be an enormously helpful exercise.

It will take at least five years. Minimum.

That's not to say that you won't sell a word for at least five years; you probably will. Particularly for the erotica market in which so much is dependent on the marketplace and its needs, I think it's actually a bit more open to new writers than say, literary fiction. Depending on how much time you can devote to your writing work, it may take five years to be selling regularly, to understand the different markets, and to get a feel for the publishing business, which is changing on a daily basis.

So, one way to get warmed up before you get in the saddle, is to set some goals for your writing. Goals have a specific definition here: a goal is something you can achieve, you can measure, it's under your control, and has a time frame attached. For example, I want to be a New York Times bestseller isn't a goal, it's a dream. A goal would be: I'll submit my novel to at least publishers by December 31, 2010. That's something you can achieve, measure, and control.

Here's a goal-setting worksheet for inspiration. Change it as you see fit, but put something down in writing! Writing it down makes it more real, and it will have more psychological impact for you than just verbalizing.

My Writing Goals

Today's Date:

My long-term (3 years) writing goal: _________________________________________________

Short-term (6 months) steps toward the long-term goal:
* I will set aside the following time for writing: ________________
* I will complete the following writing project(s) by:
________________________________________ (date)
________________________________________ (date)

To accomplish that, I will do the following. (Examples: specific research, character profile(s), plot outline, scene templates, first draft, submit short story, etc.)

1. _____________________________    Deadline: __________
2. _____________________________    Deadline: __________
3. _____________________________    Deadline: __________
*I will enhance my writing skills by doing the following: (Examples: attend courses/conferences, read how-to books/articles, join a critique group, read and analyze books. Be specific—how many? How much? What exactly? Be realistic.)

1. ________________________________   Deadline: ______
2. ________________________________   Deadline: ______
3. ________________________________   Deadline: ______

* I will learn more about markets for my writing by doing the following. (Examples: study market guides/newsletters, obtain publisher guidelines and catalogs, check new releases at bookstores and libraries.)

1. _______________________________    Deadline: _________
2. _______________________________    Deadline: _________
3. _______________________________    Deadline: _________
After committing to your goals on paper, it's much easier now to take these one step at a time and get to work! For some of you, finishing your first short story may be your first goal. For others, getting to a writer's conference should be your next step. For more advanced writers, having five short stories out on submission at all times, is a viable goal.

So, start warming up! Give some thought to what you want to do, what you can do, and what you're willing to commit to with your writing for this year.

Next month, my column will focus on short stories and why I think they're terrific. They're a challenging art form of  their own and good practice for writing longer material. And if you have any specific topics you'd like to see addressed in this column, please do email me, and I'll try to incorporate your suggestions in the future.

Thanks for joining in, and now, get up on that horse!

Vincent Diamond
February 2010

If you have comments or questions about this column, please send them to Vincent Diamond

Find more of Vincent's Serious about Smut in ERWA 2010 Archive.

"Serious about Smut" © 2010 Vincent Diamond. All rights reserved.

About the Author:  The alleged Vincent Diamond once drove from Tampa to Anchorage, Alaska in the days before the Alcan Highway was paved. (Hey, Vincent was young and there was this hunky Army lieutenant—nothing more need to be said.) Diamond gleefully buys smutty periodicals for “research materials” and lists them on a Schedule C every year. The IRS has yet to question this deduction.

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'10 Book Reviews


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Coming Together...C. Sanchez-Garcia
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Coming Together...M Christian
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Erotic Brits
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Like a Veil
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Peep Show
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Three In One Blow
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Erotic Novels

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I Spy a Wicked Sin
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