Last week, I asked the question - who are you writing for? I'm in the "write for the audience" group, but even if you're not, there's another level to such a deceptively simple question. The next level is to identify your priorities - in your online space - as an erotic author or sex blogger.
It's easy to believe that the number of views you get or the total books you sell is the most important, but really you have only two major priorities:
- The quality of your content
- Respect for your audience
Yes, you can sell some books or start a blog without caring about either, but you won't last long, and you won't build a loyal following. Get those two right, and eventually, the rest will follow.
What in the hell do I mean by that?
The Quality of Your Content
This one sounds simple and anyone who writes knows it's not: write as well as you can.
Anyone starting out, let me give you a reality check. The writing you do today and the first few months is going to be crap compared to what you write six months, a year, three years, or 10 years from now, especially 10 years from now. But the only way to get to the time when your writing is better than today is to start writing and do the best you can.
A lot of writers and bloggers know when something isn't as good as we want it to be. The question, though, to ask yourself is this: Is it as good as I can make it right now and still actually publish the damn thing?
If the answer is yes, hit publish and move on.
For many of us, authors and bloggers alike, when we're new, people will forgive an awkward sentence, a typo, a misspelled word. Usually what draws people to your blog and to you has nothing to do with the mechanics and technique of what you're writing. It's all about the story you tell. Hell, even when we've been doing this a while, we'll be forgiven an error or two as long as the content is good.
So when I say "write your best," know that even though today's writing isn't as good as you want it to be, if it's the best you can do, you'll only get better from there.
Respect For Your Audience
Why didn't I say respect "of" your audience? Because, in my experience, that comes with time. They respect the effort, they respect the story, they respect your commitment to what you do - eventually. When they first find you, they don't know you. They've got a billion and one other websites that could have their attention.
Whatever it is they're looking for - kinky information, smut to wank off to, something to excite, something to shock, whatever - is going to lead them to you. What keeps them on your site and (hopefully) helps them become an audience member is how you write for them.
Don't plagiarize and steal other people's words and thoughts. They might not know it at first, but people will figure it out. I once had people I don't even know call out a kinkster on Fetlife who'd found a post of mine somewhere else and re-posted it in its entirety without my name attached. They were not happy. The person who did it was an honest person, and when she was given my name, she contacted me. But it was a lesson for me (and you) - we don't know who's in our audience most of the time, and when they catch us using material that's not ours, they are often pissed about it.
Don't sell, sell, sell all the time. For bloggers this can mean promoting an affiliate product non-stop or your Patreon or other crowdfunding request. For authors, you know what this means. Remember, you're trying to not only attract new audience members but keep the ones you've got. Add content that doesn't revolve around selling your book.
Be authentic. This is going to mean something different for everyone. Sex bloggers, if your thing is to talk about sex toys, that's cool. Give honest reviews. Don't try to make a living on the backs of your readers by giving glowing reviews for things that are crap. Authors - be yourself. Many people who buy your books aren't going to care that you love Renaissance Fairs and eating peanut butter out of the jar, but you don't need everyone to care. All you need is a core group that loves you, wants to read as much from as you as possible, and wants to feel like they know you on some level. That core group will be your best ambassadors to attract more sales and readers.
We live in this crazy online world, and the more time we spend online, the savvier we become. No one has time to check out every site that might interest them, so we make snap judgments about whether we like a book, like a person, like their writing style, or hell, just like the layout of their website. If someone takes the time to investigate you past the top header of your site, give them a reason to stick around. Combine the best content you create with a healthy respect for your audience, and in time, you may be surprised at who's following you, reading your stuff, and helping you become a better blogger or writer.