It’s been a while since the blog was updated–too many deadlines and side projects, but I hope to be more active here soon. In the meantime, I am VERY active on my @SexWriterInfo Twitter account and would be thrilled to have you join the conversation there.
Sex writers, do you ever wonder about taking deductions for your work? Do you wonder what the threshold is for declaring your income as a self-employed person on your tax forms? I’m NOT a tax expert, but I can tell you what I’ve learned over the years.
First, don’t compartmentalize your writing. If you write other kinds of articles AND “moonlight” as a sex writer under an assumed name, for example, you can still take tax deductions for your sex writing work expenses the same as with any other kind of writing. Just because you write under a different name doesn’t mean you can’t take the deduction but it also means you can’t pretend you didn’t make any money just because it’s under a name other than your own.
If you’re writing part time, and it’s not a full-time income, you may need to check with an accountant or tax preparer to determine whether you have what the IRS considers a self employment situation or if what you do is considered a hobby. Why?
You can’t take deductions for hobby income expenses.
It’s bad to assume when it comes to the tax man. Make sure you go to IRS.gov and look up self employment topics and read up on what your current responsibilities are. Don’t make the mistake of assuming based on what you’ve heard or even what you read on the Internet.
When I was 15 and started dating, I would get all gussied up. In those days, girls wore girdles on dates and only the pointiest bra would do. I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup, but I would try to sculpt my eyebrows within an inch of their lives. Basically, I presented the best version of myself I could create.
This same philosophy should be applied to your sex writing career. When you try to get gigs, you need to present your best self. From clips to cover letter to resume, you need to have everything in tip-top shape—unless you plan to self-publish, but that’s another story.
Here’s a handy guide to help you apply for sex writing gigs. Most of these points can be used when you cold email as well:
1. Have a clear vision of what your potential employer wants and how you can fulfill those wants. If they want a fetish writer and the only fetish you’ve written about involves ‘doing it doggy style’ then you, my dear, are not a fetish writer. Don’t assume you can do things you have not done.
2. Understand why you are perfect for the job and tell them. Don’t just state that your sex toy descriptions are the best in the biz, tell them why. Use quantifiable statements, “My description of the Marvel vibrator increased sales by X% in x weeks.”
3. Don’t write an informal and dirty cover letter. Editors and website owners are business people, and those in the sex business have heard it all. Your overtly sexual letter appealing to them for a job is not going to impress them. That being said, a compelling letter with some sophisticated touches of double entendre can work to your advantage. Also, sophisticated double entendre does not include anything like this:
I found this article by Jennifer Armstrong about sex writing and women, and I started wondering about women’s liberation. At one time, I used to look at our exercised right to write about sex as a benefit of the liberation, but Ms. Armstrong’s article made me stop and wonder–is sex writing just another way in which women are objectified, controlled and put to work exactly where men want them? Is it some kind of successful reverse psychology that has men in back rooms somewhere laughing at us?
Male sex writers might look at this and say, “No, of course not.” But as far as I’m concerned, no man will ever understand the experience of being a woman. To be constantly assessed as “doable” or not, to be continuously objectified, to be absurdly protected by political correctness, to be seen as walking pussy first and productive human last–trying to be seen as a human rather than a chick is like clawing your way up from quicksand over and over…and over.
So what does that mean for female sex writers? Are we playing right into the collective male hands? Are we rebelling against the very thing that wants us to do what we do? Or, are we redefining the role of our gender and taking control?
Here’s a story I haven’t heard anything about on NPR; Good Vibes, the legendary pro-sex and pro-woman sex toy outlet has been sold to a “mainstream porn” group. That according to Violet Blue’s blog, which links to an SF Chronicle article by Phil Bronstein reporting the sale (which actually happened in 2007) and the differences of opinion regarding changes in attitude and quality of the chain overall since it changed hands.
Is Good Vibes still a shop for women? Is it shifting to a more degraded sleaze-bag porn store mentality? You be the judge.
Regardless of how you feel about the sale of Good Vibes itself, what impresses me here is the quality of the reportage. This story is treated well, it’s given a fair and balanced treatment, and there are actual human feelings evident. That’s something that wouldn’t be possible in the hands of a lesser writer, smirking about a sex toy shop controversy.
Aspiring sex writers, read and take notes. This is one to aspire to.
Aspiring sex writers take note–if you’re a new writer (and not just a new sex writer) it’s great to have a niche to pursue, but don’t limit yourself to just sex writing if you are looking for published clips.
I always encourage new writers to try a variety of topics to make sure they don’t miss any other part of their expertise or skill sets they can write about for money. I totally get those who want to specialize in sex writing only–but niche writing of any kind can be challenging to break into, and you might just have other marketable writing topics that can help you get by in the meantime.
The key is to take your skills, give them a good, long examination and try to find the specialties you can write about most effectively. Writers with no clips are at a serious disadvantage, so try to build your portfolio while you hone your sex writing skills at the same time.
The best way to start sharpening your sex writing skills is–no duh–to start a blog that’s all about the kind of sex writing you want to do. You’ll build a nice little network of like-minded friends and colleagues if you offer guest blog posts and do guest blog posts on other blogs.
The part of this advice that’s not so “no duh”? Try to make your guest blog posts upwardly mobile…try to guest post on a site slightly better than yours and offer guest blog post slots to the writers you really want to emulate. You can also do interviews with your favorite sex writers and build a bit of clout that way. Market yourself without appearing to do so, just by offering some decent space on your site for your favorite sex blogger or author.
As a new sex writer, hell–as a new writer period, you’ve got to put your name and your work out there and make yourself a known quantity.
You read that right, SexWriter.info is hiring. Specifically, we’re looking for a reasonably priced designer to overhaul the look and feel of the site and add a few bells & whistles besides.
Know someone who has sexy design skills and some free time? We’re not looking for freebies here, but we do have a budget, so a decent rate would be a must. Send resumes, links to online portfolios but NO ATTACHMENTS EVER to:
Also, while we aren’t hiring any new writers at the moment (Eunie is doing a great job and we’re loving her work!) we are always interested in having guest bloggers, so if you want some face time on what could damn well be the only sex writer-centric career advice blog on the planet (prove me wrong, PLEASE!) then drop me a line at the same address as above.
Let’s face it, it’s much easier to write positively or sexily about a position, toy or fetish that you enjoy than one you don’t. Whether you like or dislike that Dirty Sanchez you have to write about, you need to find a way to make it sexy. Here are a couple of tips:
1. Write about something similar that you do find sexy. Once you are done, change the position, fetish or toy you wrote about to the one you’ve been asked to write about. Make sure all the information is accurate and realistic.
2. Get turned on by the fact that your audience will be turned on. Okay, so you aren’t writing about something that turns you on–you are still going to get your readers turned on and that, my dears, is a turn on. Focus on the joy you bring and it makes it easier to write.
3. Explore the psychology or physiology behind the subject. If you have a better understanding of why your audience gets turned on by or enjoys this particular subject, you will have an easier time writing about it.You can do this by researching online or visiting online groups dedicated to the subject you are writing about.
4. Refer the gig to another sex writer. If you really can’t get past your hang-ups, send the work to a writer who can.
So admittedly I have a new favorite blog about once a week, but that doesn’t lessen the impact of the fascinating And The Strangest Things Suddenly Seem Routine. The thing I like about this blog best? It’s written by an “ex-missionary”.
Since this blog is about rope bondage and related pleasures, it makes for an intriguing introduction to the writings of Monk, the rope-meister.
For me to say this blog is “about” bondage is probably a bit misleading. There is discussion of the rope-making business Monk runs, a bit of sex writing here and there, but this is one of those pleasantly surprising blogs that doesn’t obsess solely over the sex aspect–there’s plenty of personal writing here (my favorite kind) and Monk’s style is EXACTLY what we strive to communicate at SexWriter–there should be no stigma whatsoever about your sexual writing, leanings, pastimes, etc.
Of all the blogs I’ve seen lately, this is one of the most well-rounded. Loving it! And if you have a need for some pretty rope for your binding and fasting needs (as in, making something fast as opposed to religious fasting) check out Monk’s rope retail site, TwistedMonk.com which includes some very helpful instructional videos!