A while back I weighed in on the proliferation of erotic stories featuring dinosaurs – a genre that exploded after Amazon’s self-publishing program took off. At the time Christie Sims was the undisputed master of dinosaur porn, but more recently that title has shifted to Montana author Chuck Tingle. I didn’t have a good explanation about why dinosaurs were featured in so many erotic stories. Turns out the online publication Vice found an answer, and it is, well, odd.
In “How to Make Money Writing Kindle Erotica,” journalist Livia Gershon spoke with several writers who pen self-published erotica through Amazon. Basically to be successful in the business, authors need to be able to produce a lot of copy and write about a wide range of sexual fetishes, even if they don’t find many of them appealing. Most writers quickly burn out, but a few have found writing erotica to be more financially rewarding than writing “serious” fiction.
Amazon provides a great vehicle for self-published authors, but the site has rules about what stories it will and won’t accept. Randy Johnson, the (obvious) pen name for a moderator of a popular erotic author subreddit, says Amazon bans stories featuring bestiality, but only for living species. Stories about sex with extinct and make-believe animals are okay as far as the company is concerned. That’s why you will never see “Pounded by the Panda” on Amazon. On the other hand, “Gaygent Brontosaurs: The Butt is Not Enough” is perfectly acceptable.
Just don’t expect to make a fortune with your brilliant mash-up of Jurassic Park and Fifty Shades of Grey. Despite the media attention such works get, Johnson told Gershon that dinosaur erotica doesn’t sell well:
“The vast majority of sales (which are very few) [for dinosaur erotica] are people interested in the novelty of it,” he said. “If you don’t get some media scandalmongering about it, you’ll probably get close to zero sales.”
My advice to any would-be dinosaur erotica authors? Don’t get discouraged. Maybe you won’t make much money, but you may still win a Hugo award.