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On making money from sex blogging

When your sex blog grows beyond a certain point, you’ll get people asking questions like “how much money do you make from blogging?” and “have you given up your day job yet?”

The answer is that blogging is no more likely to make me a millionaire than my philosophy degree would have made me Descartes. However, I do now have a sponsor [Edited to add – my sponsor can change at any time – at this time it was the lovely Bondara], a super-varied, inclusive sex toy company that sells many things I have used and loved in the past. I am completely delighted to be working with them, not least because they don’t want to change or influence the content of my blog – just be here in relevant places, so that if the mood strikes you and you want to buy some awesome stuff, they’re only a click away.

But the launch of their sponsorship gives me a great excuse to write about something I’ve wanted to mention for a while now – making money from sex blogging, and writing online. So forgive the slight indulgence while I get a bit meta – here’s a post about writing for money.

No more working for free

I get emails all the time from companies asking me to write content for them. “It’s great exposure!” they tell me, and I run off to Tesco to explain that I don’t have any cash right now, but I’ve got enough exposure to buy at least a bag of carrots.

Here’s the thing: sometimes writing is great exposure. Sometimes doing an article or guest blog for someone – especially if they have a huge and high-traffic site – can help boost your own blog, sell your book, or whatever. I’ve written free content for people in the past, and in some cases it’s proven really valuable. I wouldn’t have the stats I have today if it weren’t. If you want to write free content for people, I won’t judge you or kick off.

However, after a fair few years and a hell of a lot of emails explaining to companies that I do, occasionally, need to eat, I’ve come up with a new rule for me:

If they make money, I should make money.

Which means that while I’ll happily write a guest blog for a fellow blogger for free (if I have time!), or for a very early start-up magazine or blog which I want to support until they can become profitable, great. But I won’t be writing for anyone who makes a profit unless they give me some of that profit.

It doesn’t have to be a huge amount, but it does have to be something. Just as you wouldn’t ask a plumber to fix your boiler in exchange for a Yelp review, you shouldn’t expect a writer to provide you with blog content that’ll boost your profits in exchange for a link and the promise of unspecified ‘exposure.’

In fact, I’d go a bit further: a large number of requests for content come not from the company itself but from an SEO or marketing agency, so I think some people need to seriously re-examine their priorities. You have no budget to pay writers, you say? And yet you have a budget to pay a company to email writers and ask them to write for free? Your money’s going to the wrong place.

No hard feelings if this is you – everyone makes mistakes, and I appreciate that this has been a standard procedure for a long time. If you do have a budget (even if it’s a tiny one) and you want great content, you can probably get a much better return by paying bloggers a proportion of what you’d pay the agency to persuade them to work for free. Oh, and of course if you do want some great content and you’re willing to pay me, drop me an email.

Paying guest bloggers

“But Girl on the Net!” the savvy ones will cry. “You use guest bloggers, and you don’t pay them a penny! You stinking, miserable hypocrite!”

To which I’d reply: calm down. I’m not a twat. Now that I’m making a bit of cash from the blog, everyone who writes a guest blog from now on will be paid. Not much (because I’m not making millions here) but a share of what I’m making.

If I publish one guest blog each week I can afford to give a tenner to whoever is writing it. If I make more money, the amount will go up (and it will also go up if I find I’m publishing fewer guest blogs than I anticipated). I was going to limit guest blogs to two per month so I could pay £20 for each of them, but I get a fair few requests even without paying, so I thought it was only fair to open it to more people if possible. The money will of course go up if I start making more. If you’d like to write a guest blog, check out the shiny new guest blog page, and thank my sponsor for the fact that I can now share a bit of love.

Support your favourite sex bloggers by buying and sharing their stuff!

Thanks for your patience in reading this, what has to be the least sexy thing I have ever written on the site. But I hope you get what I’m trying to do, and I hope you can see why I am so delighted to be able to say that I now have a fantastic sponsor, and am doing some freelance writing (my favourite right now being the blogs I’m writing for Dreams of Spanking – getting paid to watch hot porn and write about it? Hell yes). And I’m really, phenomenally happy that I can do that.

Massive thanks to everyone who has helped me get this far – to those who bought my book, shared my posts, recommended me on Twitter and Facebook etc. Whether you were there are the beginning for my very first post, have only just arrived, or dip in and out occasionally. And, yes, even if you came here once via reddit and left a comment about what a horrible slag I am. Please do continue to support your favourite sex bloggers by buying our books, picking up products from our sponsors, and sharing our posts on social networks (if you’re not worried about your boss or mum seeing them).

Now I’ll shut up and get on with filthy stories, feminist rants, and lists of what I find incredibly hot. If I have the time I might even write another book…

22 Comments

  • “If they make money, I should make money.”

    Seconded! Thirded! Fourthed! Tenthed! Fiftieth-ed!

    IME, companies / organisations who want you to write for nowt always have the following mindset, “Why should I have to pay this bint to type words? Anyone can type, it only takes a few minutes to bash something out…”

    Fine, if it’s that easy, take “a few minutes” and bash out your own stuff.

  • seaside slut says:

    many congrats in general, and also on not immediately being banned from reddit, which happened to me after about 3 posts there. :-|

    • Girl on the net says:

      Thank you! I don’t actually have a reddit account myself (I know they frown on self-promotion!) but I do get linked from there from time to time, and it’s always interesting to see who comes through!

    • Ms. Quote says:

      I’ve been pretty much banned from Reddit, too. Basically the boards are policed by moderators that don’t readily welcome people that come to play in their sandboxes.

      I get a lot of traffic from StumbleUpon. Do you use it?/

      • Girl on the net says:

        I don’t use it but I’ll have a look – I’m aware of it but I don’t get that much traffic from it atm. The vast majority of my traffic comes from search, with a hefty chunk coming direct, and a fair bit from Twitter. I find it’s always tricky balancing writing with self-promotion – I’m not a huge fan of doing the self-promotion stuff, and Twitter comes far more naturally to me than other social networks.

        I was really interested in what you said about the company that spends $140k on PPC – do you know how to estimate that, or is that insider info? Totally agree that it’s crap of them not to pay you for content if they’re willing to pay that much for advertising. I think it’s a bit of a shame that so few companies are willing to pay for decent content. No names mentioned, but I see a lot of adult industry blogs that seem to just be populated with ‘filler’ content – nothing people can respond to, chat about, or really get interested in. If more companies were willing to pay good writers they’d see a much better return on having a blog in the first place, but the problem is that it requires investment over time, whereas PPC is instant.

  • Ms. Quote says:

    I’ve been lucky that I’ve been approached by commercial adult sites to write and pay me to write sponsored posts on my site or pay me to write content on their sites. It’s not my main source of income, but I’m paid a fair market price for my work.

    However, I take offense when commercial sites approach me to write a guest post for their sites or ask me to write sponsored posts on my site for a low or no fee. I wish they would be honest about their intentions. They’re not giving me an opportunity to expand my reader base; they’re looking for opportunities to expand their reach to a target market (especially the one company that recently approached me and spends $140K a year on pay-per-click ads). After all, they’ve looked at my website and social media analytics before approaching me.

    I’ve recently started a subsite on online marketing in the adult industry. I hope you’ll check it out.

    http://sexsellsdetroit.wordpress.com/

  • Oooh, you said that you ‘might even write another book’. You do realise that’s tantamount to a cast-in-stone promise when posted on t’Internet, right? You’ll have people reminding you of this and complaining that it’s taken too long, probably within three months.

  • Tom Striker says:

    Please. Write another book. I’ll buy it just like I did the 1st.

    Pretty please?

    • Girl on the net says:

      I’ll do my best! you have to promise to tell all your mates about it though – something’s got to pay the mortgage =)

  • Alex says:

    Speak of your book, which is excellent and brought me to your bog, there must be some monetary reward for having a book published? Admittedly, it is not a blog, it’s a book. However, it is hard to deciminate the influence of one from the other; your blog promotes your book and vice versa. Given your beautifully explained position on making money from writing, I think it warrants a mention. I would love you to write another one and will definitely buy two, one for me and one for my girlfriend. If I did that, how much of the cash would you receive? I’m guessing it’s not much, but multiply that over a few thousand sales…….To be clear, I am a fan and I am in agreement with you that you should be paid. However, to show a fair and balanced argument, I think you should address this point of how much you have made from book sales. However much it is, I think you have earned it.
    Can we have some filth next time please!

    xx

    • Girl on the net says:

      Heya, glad you like the blog and the book. Couple of things here: how much money I make from the book is basically irrelevant to my argument here, because that’s about writing on external websites.

      Here’s some book info though: I get between 40-50% of net receipts for the book. That works out at 30ish% of cover price. But the cover price changes depending on whether it’s on a deal, so I can’t give you an exact price per book. I’m not going to tell you how many it’s sold, because for some reason people in publishing usually keep figures quiet, so I assume there’s a good reason. But it’s LOADS more than I’d expected, and that’s been delightful. But it does not generate nearly the same amount of money as, say, having a real job or doing freelancing. By pounds per hour spent, I get more money writing copy, and most authors bar EL James or JK Rowling will say the same.

      Hmm. I’m struggling a bit with this because I don’t think I really want to go into detail on my personal finances. Basically my argument is: if you make money off words, you should pay for them. My publisher pays me a percentage of sales, companies generally pay per hour or per post. Hope that helps. X

  • H.H. says:

    I didn’t know you had a philosophy degree! Write to me and tell me more!

    • Girl on the net says:

      There’s not much more to tell, to be honest! I like philosophy, and when I went to Uni I had no idea what I wanted to do – I just loved studying it. I am incredibly rusty on it these days, though, so I’m not sure I could read any of my old books with anything like the comprehension I used to have!

  • Douglas says:

    Hey, I love reading your blog and check it daily! When you mentioned about your new sponsor, you said you’ve used many of their products. I would love to see a blog post from you reviewing the ones you’ve used and recommend. That would also bring more traffic to their site as I’m sure, after you’ve written about some of their products, everyone reading your post will then want to go and buy them!

    • Girl on the net says:

      Hi Douglas – thank you for being lovely about the blog! If you click through to the ‘sponsor’ page you can see a list of products that I recommend. I’m a bit unsure about doing straight-up toy reviews, where I mark things out of ten and describe them, etc, because lots of other bloggers already do that very well so I’m not sure how much I can add. I will be posting some hot stories that feature certain toys, though, because as I was going through the Bondara site there were loads of things that reminded me of stuff I’ve done that I haven’t told you all about yet. It’s handy to play that kind of sex toy association game =)

      • Douglas says:

        Yeh to be honest it was the stories of you using the toys that I was hoping to see! I love reading your stories!

  • This showed me a bit more about you, philosophy huh? :)

  • yes, please write another book, I already finished the first one! And yes, I think wordsmiths are probably way underpaid….hate to admit it, but I bought the kindle version of your book for 99 pence. I would much have preferred to buy you drinks all evening…we both would’ve been the richer for it! ; )

  • Arif says:

    I’m a professional entertainer and busker and we get requests like this all the time. The last (and most ridiculous) one being someone expecting me to pay to fly myself to India to perform for ‘exposure’.

    People can grasp the not working for free thing, but what they seem to struggle with is a concept that you touch (fnarr) upon – and that’s that a tenner is better than nothing.

    The gap between ‘something’ and ‘nothing’ is huge. It’s a recognition. People feel more embarrassed about offering costs only than they do about asking you to spend money to help them. It’s weird.

    Well done for saying it.

    PS – Watch Amanda Palmer’s TED talk. It’s about her starting life as a human statue. And it’s inspiring beyond belief.

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