Coffee heat rising

How Much Would One Have to Earn to Prosper in the Raunch Bidness?

So I continue to contemplate the possibility that one could make a living and then some (maybe a lot then-some) by self-publishing “spicey” literature. Note how cleverly we avoid the “p” word here by way of avoiding endless annoying spam.

Not that the site’s several spam-catchers don’t do fine in that department. But one supposes it wouldn’t be good to bring oneself to the attention of, oh, say, the NSA or some other black-helicopter set. 😀

Where were we? Yesh. Raunch.

Pour moi, I wouldn’t need to crank 30 grand a month. Far from it. Thirty grand a year would get me out from under having to teach freshman comp and also bring an end to the editing jobs.

To continue to live in my present crimped lifestyle, I would need to gross (not net) $2,440 a month, on top of Social Security.  This would pay the bills — all the bills — and keep food on the table most of the time.

It would be nice to see that income float in the door all through the rest of my life, not just while I still have enough ginger to churn out two or three unclean novelettes a week.

Our spy in this business tells us that he hires out some of the writing to freelances who will scribble 5,000 words of formulaic smυt for $100. Another source I’ve come across keeps the length to 3,000 words.  Even though I probably write more than 3,000 words every day, most of those words are undirected. Hiring “content providers” would guarantee that you could keep the business going into your dotage, assuming you could hire a trustworthy project manager…which I do believe I can.

So let’s consider what the business would have to gross to cover projected costs, per month:

$3,000: 30 novelettes at $100 apiece = $3000
$500: Contract business manager: + commission on revenues above a certain level
$300: Contract accountant/bookkeeper
$400: Editor/e-book template checker (make contract providers use template)
$500: Overseas artist to create cover art
$300: Marketing agent: + commission on revenues above a certain level
$2,450:  Payout to me

While that sounds like a lot, it’s not six figures. It really isn’t much more than I was earning at the Great Desert University, especially when you add in the side gigs I had going on at the time.

At the outset, expenses would be lower than those shown, because I can do my own formatting and I can write the “content” myself.

As the business grows, the manager and the marketer would be motivated to ramp up their efforts by commissions on revenues over, say, $8,000. So, supposing the business made $10,000 in a month and each of these worthies got a 10% commission on the $2,000, they’d each make $200 extra, adding up to $2,400 a  year apiece.  If the business actually did make 30 grand (why do I doubt it so?), then each of them would make $2,200 in that month ($30,000 – 8,000 x 10%).

And that would surely make their efforts worthwhile. Mine, too:  $30,000 – 8,000 – (2,200 x2) =  $17,600 of pure gravy.


Best not to eat that Thanksgiving dinner before the turkey’s hatched. But isn’t it fun to think about?

6 thoughts on “How Much Would One Have to Earn to Prosper in the Raunch Bidness?”

  1. What an interesting concept….But like you I have misgivings. I have been in business my whole life and my first thought is to know the customer. I wonder who would be purchasing the “spicey publications” and for how long? Will tell you in another life I owed an operated a convenience/country store and opted to expand my magazine offerings when I took over the biz. It amazed me that the same guy who would complain that coffee went up 10 cents would have no problem buying a “commemorative issue of Playboy” …for $5.95 PLUS tax…crazy…But as they say “sex sells”….The beauty of this from my stand point was I made about $1.25 on this sale, the product was guaranteed, had no expiration date and required no refrigeration or special care … Good Luck in your venture….

    • Well…Nothing ventured, nothing gained. What harm can be done by trying? Right now I’m sure as heck not getting rich in the writing biz.

      According to one author who claims to make six figures in this biz, you don’t even have to market the stuff…it markets itself. The trick, as in romance writing, is to churn the things out in volume, keep them short, and shuffle them through Kindle Unlimited in an efficient way. H/she says the best markets are at Amazon and B&N and the best price point is about $2.99, with a few giveaways as come-ons.

      I just find that amazing.

  2. Would you be writing total smut or “erotica”? And is there any chance it could be traced back to you, or would it go through your publishing company with various pseudonyms?

    Fun fact: I know someone whose first name is Randall and last name is Cox. Believe it or not, he prefers the diminutive “Randy.” Ahem.

    • Interesting. Well, that came under the heading of “too good to last.” However, the friend’s friend who claims to be cranking 30 grand a month never uses KU. He charges $2.99 for everything and collects $2.08 from Amazon.

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