Tuesday, August 04, 2015

The Accidental Pornographer, Part 4: Can't Win For Losing

Henry Hill always wanted to be a gangster.

Me, I always wanted to be a writer.

The usual inspirations of a guy my age, I guess. Comic books, Stephen King, The Hardy Boys. Imagine me plucking away at a manual typewriter as a 12 year old. Real paper and liquid paper. Hard work, man. Paper cuts and carpal tunnel.

Now, obviously anybody can write anything they want and put it on the internet, and hundreds, thousands, or millions of people will see it. (Or dozens, or none.)

It's getting paid for it that's the hard part.


I've been making money as a writer of independently-published e-books and paperbacks since 2011. I made money from my books about English teaching, but then I doubled that number with a some "erotica" short stories.

The Accidental Pornographer Part 1

The number got as high as $1500 a month a couple times in 2012, but by 2013 it had leveled off back down to about $500 a month, and by 2014 my enthusiasm for it had waned after tangling with Amazon's censors.

The Accidental Pornographer Part 2

The Accidental Pornographer Part 3

After my humiliating difficulties getting a job this spring, I decided to buckle down and get my writing money up to $2000 a month. TEFL doesn't want me? Fine. I got OPTIONS, dude!


Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program allows readers to "rent" as many books as they like, and the author get paid a percentage of the total "fund" from the number of people who paid $9.99 to join. This was since 2013 averaging out to about $1.30 per unit.

Short porn was a big moneymaker there. They people that read it, read a lot of it.

All you had to do was write about gross shit like enemas, age play, pseudo-incest, and so forth. get your keywords accurately figured, get your cover and description past Amazon's censors, and the money would generally flow in. There were stories of people making $8000 a month, and 6 figures a year. 

I rented a place in Budapest in May and devoted myself to writing.

I had a three-pronged plan. I would continue to write my "dark erotica" -- basically just crime / horror novels with a lot of fucking in them -- with some actual attention to detail and content. But at the same time, I would write fast, short, keyword-based profit-spinners about whatever keywords were trending.

And then, I would, as possible, take stuff I'd already written and flip the pronouns and make it gay.

I worked, man.


I'd get up at 9:00 am, usually, and check my email and deal with administrative matters and have breakfast and a lot of coffee. Then I'd exercise, and go for a long walk and enjoy the glorious city of Budapest. Often I'd have lunch outside in a park or square, and then I'd go back and write for 4 or 5 hours. I'd have another walk and then dinner, and then after dinner go back home and edit stuff I'd written and make covers, or research various issues, usually related to the fairly dark sexual fetishes that tend to be the best sellers on Amazon and the history of exploitation film and literature.

Then I'd go to bed around midnight, where my sleep was usually troubled.

After a month of that, my brain was pretty much reduced to a colorful mush.

I was masturbating constantly, and watching a lot of porn for inspiration. I tried to go out to bars or whatever occasionally in the evening, but I was usually too busy worrying about my writing to have any fun. I didn't talk to anybody -- what was I going to say? Ask them if they'd seen The Taming of Rebecca? If they knew that some people get turned on by popping balloons?

Plus, I found it hard to write when drinking or hungover. (Although I am aware that many famous writers wrote while utterly fucking plastered.)

I should say that my age -- recently turned 46 -- probably affected how I felt about all this. If I'd been 28 I probably would have thought it a fabulous life.

But the money went up, steadily. $1300. $1700. And finally, my goal - $2000.

But my brain felt wrecked. I was lonely and felt gross and alienated.


Then in July Amazon completely changed its payment system.

Authors in the Kindle Unlimited program will now be paid by the page read, not the unit rented. (Yes, Amazon knows how many pages you have read.) This change was probably made to specifically punish people writing very short and very low quality keyword based crap.

The actual amount they will pay is still unknown but it will probably be something like a half-cent per page. So whereas a twenty page story would get you $1.30 before, now it will get you 10 cents.

So I decided to re-intensify my efforts to get an English teaching job. Which I have done -- more about that soon.

I'm not done with porn novels, I don't think -- but it's better as a part time job, for the sake of one's socialization and sanity.

Soul-sucking can take many forms, after all.


Anonymous said...

I don't get it... I'm sure you have a stash... why not just go to Japan, Thailand or Vietnam to teach? Get a little gig and ride it out until you have a plan on what you're doing next...

englishteacherx said...

I'll explain in the next few entries. Short teaser of an answer: The TEFLpocalypse is ongoing.

englishteacherx said...

Oh, in addition I had a holiday to Mallorca in late June with the girlfriend so I didn't want to get a job before that time.

Anonymous said...

Hasnt this all fucked with your ability to get off 'normally'?

Jug Jugette said...

Sorry to hear about the onset of early impotence, X.

Traditional remedies like a diverting job away from distracting distaffs can help. Or what about starting one of those ring-giving, celibacy-pledging societies that used to be popular amongst young Mormons a few years ago, but for middle-aged men rather than callow teens? You could be Activities Director.

Ken said...

Hey X is there a problem with your website?

I often try access it and it says warning attack site or some shizzle of that nature.

Sometimes it doesn't even load at all requiring 5-10 refreshes before it appears.

Ken said...

To Anon#1

I don't get it... I'm sure you have a stash... why not just go to Japan, Thailand or Vietnam to teach? Get a little gig and ride it out until you have a plan on what you're doing next...

Japanese economy isn't doing well. The Yen is devaluing rapidly meaning the comparatively poor pay is getting worse while costs increase. I mean hell Eikawas like GABA who used to take anybody on are being picky about who they hire these days.

Thailand/Vietnam is getting a bit saturated because of the China situation.

In China the economy is in trouble so much so some proper international schools are closing their doors. In an effort to deflect attention away from the bad economy China is doing the usual shit and cracking down on foreigners. You can see this on Chinese websites and articles which talk badly about black (black as in unqualified not as in black skin) teachers and how they ought to be deported. These articles are a useful barometer of how the economy is doing. ETX interviewed somebody who pretty much said a whole load of British people were booted out as they couldn't get the criminal record checks. 2014 had a massive booting of illegals. I saw many of them in Hong Kong.

With static wages everybody got the idea of lets go somewhere else. Meaning you're getting lots and lots of teachers entering an already super saturated market of Vietnam and Thailand.

englishteacherx said...

I don't know what's wrong with Blogspot, actually, I keep getting "bad gateway" announcments.

As for the rest of the English teaching world, just wait for the next entry, which will be an eye-opener.

Anonymous said...

So, other than the angst of writing, how was Budapest? Any sense of the longer-term livability for an expat? I've been through twice and though I found the city beautiful, I found it somewhat "tired" - perhaps from the onslaught of tourists. Not particularly friendly either, but my experience was very limited.

englishteacherx said...

Oh I loved budapest. The girls don't seem to give a particular crap about foreigners though, and less tourists than Prague, for what that's worth.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried drop shipping or Internet/Affiliate marketing? I hear there's a whole tribe of digital nomads in Chiang Mai and throughout SEA doing those things.

englishteacherx said...

Never tried drop shipping, but I had a long talk with Robert from 30 Days to X down in Peru last year and I could see that affiliate marketing was not all it was cracked up to be, either. Take a look at his recent entry in which he describes yet another affiliate link fraud:


englishteacherx said...

His original post about affiliate marketing fraud: http://30daystox.com/affiliate-marketing-poor-form-passive-income/