For a while now I’ve been running two small online businesses. Ok, that makes them sound grand, I basically have some Etsy shops and I sell knitting patterns on Ravelry. It all adds up, ok?
Recently a third venture was added to this list, and it’s this one I’d like to talk about first. So without further ado, first up it’s writing and selling eBooks for Amazon Kindle.
I first discovered the joys of self-publishing over the Summer, when a friend of mine finished and self-published her first novel. Shortly afterwards, Boyfriend came across a subreddit full of people who were making decent money writing short stories. Now, you might know where I’m going with this but for those of you who don’t, brace yourselves.
The people who we were reading about were making their money writing erotica. We wanted in.
Just about three months later we’ve learned a lot about self-publishing, written a lot of terrible erotica, and made around $700 between us which translates into about £455. Not a life-changing amount, especially spread over three months, but not to be sniffed at either. A lot of what we’ve learned applies to self-publishing in general, not just erotica, so I’ve started branching out into how-to books on knitting and other crafts.
Now, disclaimer: I haven’t yet tried to sell eBooks anywhere other than Amazon. There’s a whole world of other sites out there, but I wanted to keep things simple for myself for learning purposes. So for now, I can’t give any insight into selling elsewhere.
Writing books at home and publishing them on the internet is definitely a job that fits the criteria on my social anxiety jobs checklist. But is it worth it?
The short answer is: potentially yes. Read on for the longer answer.
Earning potential: 5/5
Being a newbie at this, I’ve not (yet) had amazing success. But given the small amount of effort being put into it (at least after that first month, when we went briefly mad for writing) it’s giving us a good return. Whether I can bring myself to double, triple, quadruple my current writing output is another question entirely but in theory if I could this could get very profitable very fast.
Passive income potential: 1/5
Writing is surprisingly very hard, and in the business of erotica shorts you have to keep publishing constantly to stay relevant. As I explore non-fiction writing, this score may change, but based on erotica there’s not much passive about this at all. Yeah, you’ll get sales while you sleep, but every waking moment will be spent trying to think up a new way to describe an orgasm.
Social anxiety-friendly: 12/12
Based on the list of criteria in my previous post. Since these things are super-important to me, each of the three essentials on that list is worth 4 points.
Writing is a type of creative that I’m personally not used to being, and it feels a lot more like work to me than, say, drawing something. But that’s a subjective opinion, and I’m aware that many people will have the exact opposite experience. If nothing else, it’s certainly flexing some of my lesser-used creative muscles.
I hinted at this above, but seriously. In erotica, the trick is to find a subject (a “kink”) that gives you good results and then just keep writing about the same thing over and over again. I’m fine with repetitive tasks, but something this repetitive that also requires you find new ways of describing things to avoid boring your readers is a fresh kind of hell. Again, perhaps in non-fiction this will be lessened somewhat. We’ll see.
Self-publishing on Amazon total score: 24 / 32
All in all, it costs nothing to get started in self-publishing and is definitely worth a punt. Starting out with short stories allows you to test the waters and learn a lot by making mistakes on books that took you an afternoon to write rather than five years, considerably lessening the blow.
It’s definitely not passive income, at least for me currently, but you never know when you’ll get a hit. Cross your fingers my hit comes soon.