I want to embark on a career as an author of mediocre erotica. Do you think Aubergine Rococo would be a good nom-de-plume? Do you have any suggestions?

I think you’re picking the best possible moment to get into the bad-to-mediocre erotic writing game. Any kind of Internet porn, as you probably know, is going to make people sit up and take notice. And unlike most everything else on the web, users are willing to pay for content. In fact, erotica can be considered one of the rising stars of the pornography genre. For one thing, women can sometimes be tricked into liking it, if you happen to insert coy details about someone listening to things they have to say. For another, now that hack writers can line jump the middleman and put anything they want directly into the market (via websites or even unedited “ebook editions”), there is no stopping us. I myself always prefer to work with an editor, but these days there is no real reason to feel ashamed about egregious typos or difficult-to-understand text. With erotica, most readers will generally be skimming anyway so there is no need to worry about quality or clarity.

Just make sure to read up the field and not get too clinical when discussing body parts. That is the main handicap I bring to erotic writing, so I have not done a lot of work in the field. I did once ghost write a self published sex manual put together by some friends, but that would almost be considered charity work on my part. They posed for all the photos. I’m not sure they actually made a lot of money off the project, but it was fun for all of us. You can still find it on eBay sometimes.

I will say that Aubergine Rococo is a charming pen name, but something more direct and sexy might draw people in a bit more. To be honest, it has a bit of a literary “precious” feel to it. You might get some sex-starved PhD candidates flocking to you, but those people don’t want to pay for anything.

Do you ever get writer’s block? 

I’m going to go ahead and answer your question with a question: Are you in a position to just stop going to work whenever you feel like it? If so, good for you; I recommend you retire somewhere nice like Southern France or Miami. If not, then you have answered your own question. It’s almost as if you’re a Zen koan or something! Anyway, I have bills to pay, an ex-husband to support, and an online poker habit that has gotten shockingly expensive of late. All these forces keep me at the computer seven days a week. Honestly, I have taken so much on that I project doing 100+ hours of work through the end of the year — unless the world ends in October. I actually have three articles about the Mayan calendar due by 6 p.m. Pacific time today, so I need to go.