View Full Version : Public privacy

04-14-2005, 04:27 AM
I am a lurker who finally joined up. My erotic writing has all been private journal house cleaning of a very cluttered psyche. An exercise of moral courage in just spilling it out in words. Sexual autobiography. Then tearing up the print-out into tiny pieces. Which brings me to point of post.

Who among you are closet erotic writers that submit work and have it published? Is the pen name alone sufficient comfort zone? The perfect analogy is the bi-sexual or nonouted gay/lesbian who definitely does not want anyone outside the circle knowing what they do.

All comments, guidelines, experiences, secret agent modus operandi tips are solicited.


04-14-2005, 12:01 PM
I only submitted my erotic work when I was prepared to deal with eventual 'discovery'. I still don't want people in my everyday job running out to read it and discuss it with me, but it is far from impossible to connect me to my pen-name and I am sure some of them know about my little sidelines in spicy writing.

04-14-2005, 05:12 PM

Far from is exactly what I wonder about. It implies the possibility of discovery is far from astronomical. And just what wrinkles facilitate the discovery is what I'm fishing for. If anyone has first hand knowledge. Not sure how I would prepare myself for eventual discovery. Short of a literary masterpiece that goes hard print and sells five million copies and is reviewed in the New York Times. (My handle was chosen by deliberation.:cool: ) Maybe the analogy of "coming out" says it all.

04-14-2005, 05:29 PM
My advice based on what I did wrong:

--Choose a penname that does not relate to any existing hobby, nickname etc.
--Associate this penname with its own email address, domain name and post-box.
--Never leave any contracts or other documents that contain both names lying around (d'oh).

04-14-2005, 05:51 PM
I write tons of erotica and I use my own name, as well as post it on my own site.

Some friends and family have read and enjoyed it.

There were a few who stated to me "How can you write that" "Did you do that" or even the dreaded "You are nasty!"

But I feel that as a writer, what makes me a good writer is that my imagination can go where my body has never been and make a believable story that will convince someone I experienced it.

04-14-2005, 06:52 PM
My advice based on what I did wrong:

--Choose a penname that does not relate to any existing hobby, nickname etc.
--Associate this penname with its own email address, domain name and post-box.
--Never leave any contracts or other documents that contain both names lying around (d'oh).Not only do I follow veinglory's advice, but I offer a small addition. If you write different kinds of erotica, like I do, consider one persona for each branch. My gay-male stuff is under a male pen name, my 'ordinary' erotica under a female pen name, and a bit of fetish material appears under a third gender-neutral pen name.

Works for me! Just make sure the publisher knows what name to put on the check.


04-14-2005, 06:58 PM
I've only once ended up with the wrong name on the cheque -- and it was their mistake. That side of it has never been a problem....

I do think their is a difference between being ashamed of your work and realising that there will be pragmatic issues with writing porn and being, for example, a teacher or nanny. People will add 2 + 2 and get 5 every time.

04-15-2005, 09:35 AM
Thanks all. This is exactly what I'm looking for. Veinglory's note of pragmatic issues defines my concerns. Although I'm not employed to guard the welfare of children, those issues are many and mine have iron clad importance to me, and to a few others here I presume. Maybe my caution is unique to me.

One pragmatic/industrial matter...from the linkage I've done so far (and I've barely scratched the surface) it seems the majoriety of pen names are female sounding no matter what the content meat. Also, I'm beginning to suspect the majoriety (a newbie idea don't forget) of erotica epublishing is controled by women marketing to women. Would there be pragmatic/commercial wisdom in me (male) adopting a female sounding pen name? How about a name of a single word that looks exhotic but designates nothing? Use it to describe every sexual activity in the stew pot.

04-15-2005, 12:00 PM
A lot of what you will find online is romance eroitca which is almost exclusively written and read by women. So if you are writing that a female d=name might help -- but then female readers will be intrigued to see a male writier in a genre and it might be a selling point. Other common areas like genre or fetish are pretty evenly split. Straight out porn (sex, little plot) still seems to be written mainly by men -- it is still a very big market but much more traditional in term sof publishing and harder to break into.

04-16-2005, 06:11 PM
To get over the male/female name issue, I use two initials and a last name, like J.D. Salinger or H.P. Lovecraft. or e.e. cummings (not those, though; those are just examples. Duh.). It is, however, my own initials and last name. I've told my family what I do, and my husband's dad found out by accident while doing geaneology research on the 'Net (then went into denial) so the worst is over. My parents are happy that I can make money with my writing; beyond that, they aren't bothered.

Someone is going to find out sooner or later. You just have to think about whether you want it to be on your terms or by accidnet. I told my parents one night over dinner when we'd all had a couple martinis, and my dad's reaction was, "So these are sites/books that no one under eighteen can buy, right?" and I said, "Well, not supposed to buy," and they understood. We didn't need to go into any more detail. Now I can share all my successes with them and not have to keep it under the table. All my friends know as well, but I live in a really artsy neighborhood, so everybody just thinks its really cool.

Good luck with your own work!

04-16-2005, 06:14 PM
I agree that discovery is pretty much inevitable but I favour accident. It means they know but they don't discuss it with me ;)

04-16-2005, 08:50 PM
There's some excellent advice here. I also worried initially about fear of discovery, mainly because, even though LOTS of people read erotica, not many would admit to reading it, much less writing it. After all, people who write smut, even smut that has a good plot, are oversexed and depraved, right? Hah!

All people have sexual fantasies - writers of erotica just tend to expand on them, turn them into a great story and sell them.

With that in mind, I've stopped being so worried about people finding out what I write. I continue to write under a pen name, but I figure that most people who would find what I write would also have to admit to having read erotica. So there!

04-17-2005, 11:23 PM
Interesting and instructive comments all. Thank you. The answer for me is my own web site. Something simple to transact with publishers. Maybe something as simple as a blog. Can you imagine that a month ago I had never seen the word? Now I need to find a friendly computer geek. But maybe personal sites are not all that simple, or secure either. I wouldn't be selling anything or soliciting anything. It would be a mail box only. Is that innocent thinking? Any warries I should beware?

P.S. I came back to read this and it makes no sense at all. Imagine a primitive in the Amazon jungle having an understanding of the Electron Theory by flipping a light switch. That's the extent of my understanding of the internet.