Monday, November 04, 2013

The Accidental Pornographer, Part One: The Pornographer Rises


In 2011, I compiled many of my English Teacher X blog entries and stories into e-book format and self-published them using Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing platform, as well as Smashwords, and Createspace. (I also eventually used Barnes and Noble and Kobo.)

Almost immediately, they sold more than I'd imagined; in the vicinity of 25 - 50 copies a month for the first few months and then as I added two more, in the neighborhood of 75 - 100 copies a month, on a few occasions closer to 200.

I was very pleased, of course.

I've always been a bit hesitant with English Teacher X as a product, though; I worried that if it sold too many copies, there would be some kind of blowback on my "real" English teacher identity. (I worried about this not just for my own life, but the lives of my friends and girlfriends as well.)

I considered what else the market might bear, and what else I'd written that I liked; I began posting the paranormal adventure satire short stories that I mentioned in the last post, and considered whether I had it in me to write a thriller or a horror novel.


One day in spring of 2012, shortly before I left my first posting in the Kingdom, I was surfing Amazon. I don't remember what I was looking for or why, but I ended up being directed to a Kindle short story of "erotica."

Its crude and amateurish cover and title struck me; I used the "look inside" feature and read the first few paragraphs, which were amazingly bad, with mangled grammar and spelling and a stupid, banal, cliched description of an older guy picking up a hot female hitch-hiker and banging her with an amazing lack of synonyms for cock and pussy.

The thing that really struck me though, was its sales ranking: it was something like 8500.

(And I'm talking on the normal Amazon rankings, not just the erotica rankings.)

The highest ranking any of the English Teacher X books has ever achieved is about 40,000.

This crude piece of shit was outselling me ... by orders of magnitude.


Now since relations with women in the Kingdom are pretty much impossible, I had been having a lot of chatroom sex. I used Skype with girls I know, of course, but I'm also talking old school; mIRC. Internet Relay Chat, serving your perverse text-only cybersex needs since the mid-90s.

I had had many such chats, in a variety of scenarios, so I took the log of one that I particularly liked and turned it into an "erotica" story. I made a cool cover and formatted it; it was about 5000 words and I put it up for availability on Kindle for 99 cents.

Almost immediately, it was selling hundreds of copies, and then ... THOUSANDS of copies.  (At that price, Amazon gives the author 33 cents per sale.)

It reached the top 50 in Amazon erotica and was in the top 1000 of Kindle sales in general.

I was making hundreds of dollars a month off something it took me maybe 4 or 5 hours to write up, format, and post.


I have no fucking idea! There was a big demand for porn at that time in the wake of the success of FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY, and people were discovering you could read porn on your Kindle even in public without embarrassing yourself with a tacky smutty cover. But at the same time, there's plenty of free written porn available online, so I have no idea why people were buying so much.

And why did they buy this story?

I don't know the answer to that, either. I suppose somebody must have linked it somewhere, but I never saw where.

It sold thousands of copies every month; I immediately wrote sequels to it, which sold hundreds of copies. Then I wrote other stories, trying to gauge what kind of fetishes an stories were popular.

They sold. Almost everything sold dozens or hundreds of copies a month.

My $500-a-month e-book empire became, in summer of 2012, a $1000 + a month ebook empire, with 20+ erotica stories for sale.


What are the titles?

Well, that, I'm not gonna tell. For various reasons. They ran a gamut of smut but tended, unsurprisingly to feature older men and younger women, teachers and barely-legal students, and of course bondage and spanking.

Actually, I'll go ahead and share one with you:

This was my attempt at super-hero / dominatrix porn; I think it's a pretty good story, but it didn't really sell.  BUY IT HERE ON AMAZON FOR 99 CENTS.


I threw myself into it with my customary intense obsessive zeal, and after I left my first job in the Kingdom, I devoted myself to ebooks full time.

So, fuck yeah, I became a smut merchant. Living large on the beaches of Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic (oh, okay, and my mother's attic sometimes) selling the hot wet stuff that dreams are made of.

Until it all came crashing down this year.



Dan said...

First, about the ebooks: Holy shit!

Second: Four days and no other comments? On this?

Maybe you've been slacking on your ETX duties to write porn and I'm the only reader you have left :-) Just kidding. Me and Pterodactyl Girl. See what I did there? ETX relevancy!!

Anyway, way to go man! When you told us that you had some business or project a while back, we should have guessed this but were probably all thinking a little too high and mighty. I thought you were selling blown up posters of Russian titties to Arabs. Or something. The real answer should have been obvious. Head slap!

Seriously, it's pretty cool. Think about revealing some more titles to your original fan base. We actually appreciate your writing to the point that we voluntarily come back fore more semi-regulalry. C'mon! Where's the OG love?

Btw, nice ebook covers, sincerely!

Last, 'Arvin' and 'Dahlia' are too funny to comment on, and anyway you definitely made them up in two seconds. Funny, though, nonetheless.

Dan said...

Oh, and by the way, as a fun fact, there are apparently a lot of professionals that think that Bundy was just fucking with Dobson in this interview - telling him exactly what he wanted to hear to manipulate his perspective on Bundy. Considering that he was going to die soon, he probably just did it to flex is sociopathic skill for a bit of fun. First, he's advocating an opinion that Dobson already holds, and keeps pounding it home for Dobson's listening pleasure. Listen to him bring up 'Church' and 'wonderful Christian home', feeding Dobson concepts with emotional weight for Dobson that haven't crossed Bundy's mind probably ever. Listen to how articulate he is! It's quite a show to behold. Now go and read about how fucking barbaric Bundy was. Wikipedia used to have a decent write-up. "Alcohol reduced my inhibitions"... Absolutely hilarious, and damn scary, the show he's putting on. Are those fucking tears at the end!!! LOL! That guy doesn't have a normal emotional response in his brain. No one would ever see a guy like Bundy coming. It's almost impossible unless you catch him on a day where things don't go as planned.

English Teacher X said...

Oh yeah, I mean really - if porn turned people into killers, Holland and Sweden would be the murder capitals of the world, right?

Anonymous said...

I think the reading gallery was simply gob-smacked into silence by this revealation. I second it, X, tell us more porn titles!

English Teacher X said...

Well, let's make a game of it -- there are a few connections to the porn titles hidden on the Amazon pages for my English Teacher X books. First person to e-mail me my other porn alias, gets a free porn novella.

Dan said...

Do the dutch and Swedes watch a lot of porn? Apparently Utah would be a bloodbath...

English Teacher X said...

well they used to sell / make a lot of it, most of the porn in Europe, and then I guess then it sort of moved to Czech Republic / Hungary.

To be fair, 70s porn could be pretty nasty. The rape scene was just as standard as the lesbian scene.

Teresa Lopez said...

Hi, there! Wow! That's a big amount of money. Congratulations on your book sales. I also have used Smashwords. But now you've revealed about Amazon Kindle. I'm thinking of switching. I'm selling my book for $6.99 and I'm seriously thinking of lowering down just to get more sales. Thanks for this post.