Content note: this post contains frank discussion about money. If that’s likely to be upsetting to you, please feel enormously free to take care of yourself and skip this one.
I’m often getting asked questions about what I do, both from wannabe sex bloggers wondering how to get started and from curious friends and strangers. So I thought I’d pop the most common ones in one place for your handy reference.
New bloggers: if you want to ask anything that isn’t covered here, it’s always okay to email me!
How did you get into this?
By mistake. I’ve been a writer since I knew what words were, and sex has always fascinated me, so it’s kind of amazing it took me until the age of 26 to realise that sex blogging would be the perfect creative outlet for me. I used to write a lot of articles, think pieces and occasional erotica on Fetlife and they got a good amount of attention (even hitting the fabled ‘Kinky and Popular’ from time to time) so I thought, well, why not put them somewhere that more people could enjoy them? I grabbed a free WordPress domain, and Coffee & Kink was born.
So you didn’t intend to make money from it?
Not at first, no. At first I didn’t even really think anyone would read it! Blogging was a passion project first and foremost (and, frankly, it still is.) Don’t go into blogging solely or primarily to make money. Go into it because you love to write and have things to say, and consider making money a secondary goal. If you don’t love blogging, you’ll give up, because making money is not quick, easy or guaranteed.
How do I get started?
Buy a domain (more on that in a minute) and just write write write. You’re gonna need a tiny bit of technical know-how in order to learn your way around whatever content management plug-in you use (the WordPress one is by far the most common and best) but you can learn that as you go along and honestly, it’s not difficult! There are thousands of tutorials online and if you reach out to the community, one of us will usually be glad to help you.
But honestly, write. Write without worrying who’s reading it. Whatever’s in your heart, write it. Write like you’re running out of time.
(And if you don’t understand that last reference, go and educate yourself immediately. I’ll wait.)
Wait, buy a domain? But you said free!
Yep, I started off with a free WordPress site (those are the ones that are sitename.wordpress.com) but my single blogging regret is not going self-hosted sooner. Self-hosting, as long as you choose an adult friendly service provider (check before you buy!) gives you greater freedom over the look and feel of your site, gives you security against “WordPress suddenly decided they don’t like adult content and shut me down,” and allows you to make money from your site (you cannot monetise a free WordPress site.) To give you an idea of cost, my domain and hosting costs me about £40 a year.
If cost is an issue, by all means start with a free site and you can go self-hosted later on. Don’t let cost stop you from getting your words out there. Just don’t try to make money from a free site, they WILL shut you down.
So talk to me about making money…
I could do dozens of posts about this very thing. Thankfully I don’t have to, because The Smutlancer exists. Read and obey, friends – this is the single biggest and best resource on the web for those of us wanting to create content about sex and get paid for it.
Basically: it’s a slog. It takes work and it takes time to build up. But you CAN do it, if you want to and if you can write, and if you have realistic expectations.
So how much do you make?
Ah, the million dollar question (no, I do not make a million dollars, or I’d be writing this in a fancy little coffee shop in Italy, not on my sofa at Ungodly Early AM before running off to my day job.) At the current time I’m making an average of between £250 – £300 a month or a little over £3000 a year. It’s not enough to quit my day job and it’s certainly not enough to retire on, but it’s a VERY nice side income and enables me to do more of the things I want to do. My blogging income paid for a good chunk of our last holiday.
How Many Hours?
This income and the content you see me putting out comes from around 10 hours of work a week. Much of that work is writing content for my blog, but it’s also time spent answering emails, sending pitches, editing, plugging my affiliates around the web, curating my social media, and doing the necessary admin to keep my blog afloat. As always, the more you put in, the more you can expect to get out.
I’m currently trying to work out the Catch 22 between “I could make so much more money if I could do this full time” and “I can’t quit my day job to do this full time UNTIL I make more money!” It’s a complicated balancing act. For now, I’m enjoying the security of a regular job and the creative freedom to write what I want in my spare time.
Where do you make the money from?
I broke this down for you all and also for my own information, because it was interesting to see the numbers. They are not quite what I expected!
Very broadly speaking, I make about 50% of my blogging income from affiliate sales, 40% from commissioned writing including sponsored content on my site and guest posts for other sites, and the remaining 10% from everything else (Patreon, my Ko-Fi Virtual Coffees, very occasional sponsored reviews). I expect this is getting close to a tipping point where it will change, because my affiliate income is quite steady – not really growing or decreasing a huge amount – whereas my client work and commissioned writing is now growing quite fast.
Enough about finances… what’s the best thing about being a sex blogger?
The community. Hands down, the community. Sex writers and content creators are some of the kindest, most generous and supportive and brilliant people you could ever hope to meet.
When I’m feeling down and wondering why I do this, it’s so often my sex writer friends who pick me up. And have you ever experienced a night out on the town with three or more sex bloggers and a lot of wine? Because, um, I recommend it.
Apart from that, the best thing is the freedom to talk about the things I always want to talk about, having a place to express sexiness and vulnerability in equal measure and feel reasonably confident that I’ll receive a kind and positive response.
University taught me plotting and character and story structure and perfect grammar, but it’s not my degree that made me a writer. It’s this community and my readers.
And the worst?
The stigma. I don’t tell that many people in my real life what I do, and… well, let’s just say I’m not called Amy Norton at work. This is at least a pseudo-anonymous project. I do occasionally have flashes of panic about what would happen if my mother or my boss stumbled across it, but that is why I’ve taken extra, possibly over-cautious steps to hide my identity (preemptively blocking everyone in my family and at work on Twitter, anyone!?)
But talking about sex is how we smash stigma, so hopefully between us we can get this conversation to such a point that we really start to notice a difference.
What kinds of people sex blog?
All kinds! The vast majority of us tend to be women, non-binary folks or queer men. There are a small handful of cis-het men sex blogging, but relatively few by comparison. But literally anyone can do this. Your gender, age, race, orientation, background and unique life experiences combine to give you a perspective that no-one else can have, so please bring your voice to the table.
How can you be okay with putting your private thoughts, fantasies and sexual experiences out there for the world to see?
I’m a bit of an exhibitionist by nature. Thinking that people are reading about my amazing experiences and filthy fantasies and getting turned on… well, that turns me on too!
I also think that by the time it occurred to me that maybe people would expect me to feel shame at putting this stuff out there for the whole world, I was so far down the rabbit hole that I just couldn’t find a single fuck to give.
Basically, I believe that our words can change the world and that we only break our cultural silence around sex by talking openly about it.
Some people are intensely private and that’s entirely valid. I am not one of those people.
What does your partner think of what you do?
He oscillates between “thinking it’s hilarious when huge boxes of dildos show up for me” and “gently reminding me that I have to eat, sleep and do chores occasionally”.
But no, in all seriousness he’s extremely supportive. He gives me space to write when I need it, helps me test sex toys, and bounces ideas around with me – even though he’s not a writer himself, he’s really smart, really sex-positive and just an all round excellent human.
At this point, someone who isn’t okay with what I do just isn’t going to get to date me. There are enough great people who think this is awesome, life’s too short to bang people who don’t. My work is my other primary partner and I don’t jeopardise it for anyone.
What do YOU want to know about what I do? Comment or email me and I might do a follow-up to this at some point!