Although this article relates to erotic gay writing the principals are the same for any genre.
I have been writing gay literature for over eight years now and currently enjoy the position of being able to work from home, write what I like to write and get paid for having my work published. In order to continually improve my work I read what other gay porn/erotic writers are up to. The quality of some of the material now available on-line is excellent, the quality of much is questionable and some material has no quality at all. I have identified three stages behind the successful use of erotic writing on-line, and by successful I mean financially successful. The three stages are:
1) Grabbing the attention of a surfer
2) Leading that surfer towards becoming a member
3) Keeping that member coming back for more
And behind all three stages is one thing: quality.
1) Grabbing the attention.
Why use words when a picture paints a thousand of them in a fraction of the time? Because using words allows a reader to use their imagination, which is why ‘the movie is never as good as the book’. There is a growing market for on-line and downloadable erotic/sex stories fuelled by the increasing use and availability of e-books, palm held readers and so on. The more popular it gets the more discerning potential readers will become. So how do you get them to look beyond the pictures and get involved in the writing? The following tips are obvious but work.
Write what they want to read
If you have a niche site keep the stories within that niche; avoid writing stories about ‘Big busty boobs’ if you’re attracting surfers to your ‘hot male jocks’ site.
Notice the title of this article? Throbbing members. A play on words but a simple two word title grabs the attention more than ‘Information on how you can attract members using the art of erotic writing…’ Grab with a title that sums up what the story is about. Titles are probably your biggest turn on so keep them snappy, to the point and tempting.
You want something that surfers can read and absorb while they are waiting for the left hand menu or tempting background image to download. If the text is really catchy they will want to read more so you only an extract for now. Save the full length text for when you have captured them. Most surfers who happen on a text by accident will do one of three things: 1) See it’s too long and not bother with it, 2) flick through for the first sex scene to see if it’s their kind of thing, 3) copy and paste it to look at later – by which time they’re off line and you’ve lost them. So, keep the public/free content brief.
You can differentiate between an amateur and a professional writer in a number of ways: The use of language (I prefer a ‘cock’ to a ‘throbbing love stick’ any day,) the accuracy of spelling and grammar and the use of style.
So, grab the attention with short, to the point, well written and snappy extracts.
2) Leading them in
But, for someone to actually pay to access and download stories you have to get them to the sign up page. I have found two ways to do this:
The Saturday morning movie device.
Basically this involves leaving them wanting more. A cliff-hanger, something really good is about to happen and the only way to find out is to click here – and there you are! Sign up now for $2.95 and download the whole set of stories… etc.
It’s tempting to stack up your member’s area with masses of general sex stories and then hope that they get on with your job for you, i.e. your member is still reading them all when their three day trial expires and they get re-billed. No. There are much more time consuming, subtle and successful ways of tempting in the reader.
The sites I run offer more than just stories and I tell surfers, during their tour, what else they will get when they sign up. Members of my sites can also access image galleries, on-going novels, e-books, writing advice, personal contact with authors and can even have their work published on line. There are also relative links, other resources and reader/writer information.
Consider offering extras to the stories, images that complement the texts without removing the need to use imagination, or create stories around an image set.
So, to draw them in offer irresistible and imaginative secondary content.
3) Keeping them there and keeping them coming back
Aside from the usual membership handling techniques, newsletters, welcome emails, regular updates and so on, consider some more imaginative use of stories. O.k. so you have an extensive library list for members to browse through where they promptly download the ones they want and then cancel their subscription. What else could you do to keep your members coming back and paying their subs?
Get them involved (1)
Why not invite them to suggest story, submit their own or even be in one? (This is a bookpuppy.co.uk technique where members submit their fantasy and one of the site writers writes the short story for them. This is o.k. if you have a team of good staff writers and a suitable ‘what we will not write about’ clause.)
Get them involved (2)
Interactive stories, like ‘Temptation’ currently being written by Jack Samson at bookpuppy.co.uk, offer members a chance to get involved in the creative process. The premise of the story is: six young virgin lads are invited to a creepy castle for a weekend of sex games. To win the $10,000,000 prize they must still be virgins at midnight on Sunday. At the end of each monthly chapter is a form giving members three options as to what happens next and an additional text box for their own ideas. Therefore members can direct the action and even have characters written out of the story (by getting them fucked, basically). The next chapter is then written according to what was the most popular vote. It’s a bit like a literary Big Brother, but with more sex.
Again using Temptation as an example: Extra features are attached to this on-going story and include image galleries of the ‘characters’ and the list of sex games the characters will have to play later the story. (Members can suggest new games and even try the Temptation Games out for themselves, presumably in the privacy of their own castle.)
It’s Saturday morning movie time again
On-going chapters from full, published novels also tempt members to stay with you, if only to find out what happens next month without having to buy the full book. To use this technique you need to have permission from the author or copyright owner of course, and you need to ensure you upload the next chapter regularly and on time. I would also suggest having more than one on-going novel so that members can identify with their favourite.
Once you have the reseller rights to e-books, or have your own anthologies, you can give away a new e-book or two and change the freebie on offer when you wish. This way members can eventually download the whole set and hopefully will hang around and come back to see what’s new and ‘free’ next month.
Quality, quality, quality
But running throughout all of this is the use of high quality, well written stories. I am often asked to write stories for webmasters that read like they were written first hand, by which I mean by a real site member. Even when writing an ‘actual’ account by (i.e.) Mario from the shanty-towns of Brazil complete with grammar mistakes, poor English and colloquialisms, I aim to keep the over-all quality of the story as high as possible.
So to keep members, be imaginative, professional and fresh
There are many editing and writing services available to webmasters and spending just a little time and money to have your site proof read improves your credibility, your chances of making and keeping members and therefore your income.
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