January 12th, 2010



I was a bit curious, so I went looking for calls for submissions in the short-form erotica market—i.e., the terms under which one can sell smutty stories.

The top of the market appears to be Penthouse Variations, which pays a maximum of $400 for a ~3000-word story: i.e., if you got published in every issue, you would just cover the rent on a single room in a shared apartment in a bad neighborhood within commuting distance of Boston, with nothing left over for trivialities like food, heat, and the like.

I was under the impression that multiple people lived lower-middle-class or better lifestyles off this stuff, but at per-word rates like this, the only people who reasonably could would have to (a) be producing about six novels a year while (b) producing in the top few percentile of quality. Am I missing something, or is it really that bad?