Doing it For Money

by | September 6, 2020 | General | 2 comments

by Ashley Lister

As I may have mentioned, I’ve been investigating the benefits of self-publishing. I’ve currently got three of my erotic titles for sale on Amazon (The BloodLust Chronicles, Faith; The BloodLust Chronicles Hope; The BloodLust Chronicles Charity). These are titles that were previously published by a small UK publisher but rights have since reverted to me. I’ve also published a book of my (very) rude poetry: Old People Sex and other highly offensive poems.

I’ll say now it’s an exciting experience. I’m getting to investigate aspects of publishing I had never previously had to consider. Cover design, formatting, layout etc are all areas of which I was vaguely aware. However, I’d never had the need or the motivation to trouble myself with such details.

Now I’m keen to hone my skills in all of these areas and more, and I wanted to share some of my observations.

One of the key areas that I think is of greatest importance is sales. If I’m not selling books then I’m not seeing profit. And, whilst I altruistically want to make the world a better place with the gift of my writing, I also like to eat every now and again and pay bills.

So far, I think the key to successful sales is a case of throwing promotional material to the broadest audiences possible and hoping some of it sticks. I appreciate this lacks the finesse of discussing algorithms and complex marketing strategies. But I also suspect algorithms and complex marketing strategies are simply synonyms for the approach of throwing promotional material to the broadest audiences and hoping some of that shit sticks.

There are other aspects that need to be addressed before reaching this stage. The product being sold needs to be of the highest standard. It needs to conform to customer expectations and it needs to be available in a quality format that merits the price being asked. There are also aspects of marketing that need to be considered to take full advantage of increased and I’ll probably discuss these details in future blog posts. But, today, I’m focussing on a single aspect of sales.

Volume of traffic is vital to success. On a simple mathematical level, if 2% of people visiting my website make a purchase, I am going to make more from 1,000 visitors than I would see from 100 visitors. Even if the volume of traffic forces my conversion percentage to fall by half, I’m still seeing more profit from 1,000 visitors at 1% than I would have gained from 100 visitors at 2%.

There are ways to draw more visitors, some of which are as simple as sharing a link in the middle of a blog post: Over the next few months, I’m hoping to share my thoughts as I learn more about the fascinating world of self-publishing.

Ashley Lister

Ashley Lister is a UK author responsible for more than two-dozen erotic novels written under a variety of pseudonyms. His most recent work, a non-fiction book recounting the exploits of UK swingers, is his second title published under his own name: Swingers: Female Confidential by Ashley Lister (Virgin Books; ISBN: 0753513439) Ashley’s non-fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines, including Forum, Chapter & Verse and The International Journal of Erotica. Nexus, Chimera and Silver Moon have published his full-length fiction, with shorter stories appearing in anthologies edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Rachel Kramer Bussel and Mitzi Szereto. He is very proud to be a regular contributor to ERWA.


  1. Lisabet Sarai

    If you crack the secret, Ash, let us know!

    Congratulations on your foray into self-publishing. It does feel great, doesn’t it, to have total control? To be free of the need to compromise with short-sighted publishers and editors?

    Not to mention getting a bigger slice of the pie from every sale!

    • Ashley Lister

      If I crack the secret you’ll be the first to know. i don’t think it’s going to be easy, but it really is quite satisfying to have so much control.

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