What are Obscene Ideas and 31 Days of Erotic Fiction
Molly and I launched Obscene Ideas, our newest business venture on October 5, 2020. In fact, we launched a preorder sale, with the real launch happening on October 12, 2020. You can listen to our podcast episode here to hear us talk about it: Obscene Ideas reveal episode.
For those who prefer to read or anyone who got lost in the chaos of that episode (there was more than our usual share of asides, memory lapses (my bad!), and squeals/giggles of delight), the details are below.
It Started as a Fever Dream
This was the fever dream we talked about in episode 99 of the Smutlancers podcast. We genuinely believed, for about a week, that we could map out a 14-part project and have it fully released within a few months. No, we don’t know what we were thinking, either. You can listen to the episode to hear all the details, but basically, we came to our senses mutually and then didn’t talk about this idea for another six months or so.
Thanks to an identity crisis in the middle of a pandemic, I found myself ready to revisit it — mostly because I wanted to do something that pushed me closer to my smutlancer goals — in late spring/early summer. Thankfully, Molly was ready to come back to it, too. At that point, we were ready to get serious about Obscene Ideas and make our dream a reality.
What is Obscene Ideas?
Obscene Ideas is an attempt to answer the one question we get most from sex writers: What do I do when I don’t have any ideas or inspiration?
Our answer: We’ll provide writing prompts that focus on sex. We intend to answer this question multiple times with multiple releases (though not all at once). Every few months, we’ll have a new one to tell you about.
The first book focuses on erotic fiction: 31 Days of Erotic Fiction. Future releases will focus on specific sex-related topics like masturbation, kink, and whatever else we can think of. (We have a Google Drive folder of more than a dozen ideas already.) In a conversation with the Smutlancers community (because they got access to the news early), we discussed the possibility of other delivery methods, but for right now, we’re releasing each book as a PDF.
Answering one question invariably leads to other questions. In feedback from our beta readers, there was a suggestion that we also answer the very common question: How do I become a better writer? We have ideas, but that answer will come later. Obscene Ideas exists (for right now) to answer the one question: What do I write about?
Why 31 Days of Erotic Fiction
Why did we start with erotic fiction? Because we have a Google Drive folder filled with ideas, and we needed to start somewhere. In looking at when we thought we could reasonably release our book, we remembered that November is NaNoWriMo. Book authors use this month to write the rough draft of a novel We know many bloggers and writers who want to participate but feel like they can’t because a novel isn’t their goal. We thought maybe our erotic fiction prompts could help them.
But that doesn’t mean this is a prompt book just for one month. We intend for sex writers and bloggers to use it throughout the year whenever they need an idea for a sexy story. That connection is what helped us pick from multiple topics and a release timeframe. Whenever you start a new thing, you have to start somewhere.
What You Get with 31 Days of Erotic Fiction
Okay, but what do you actually get? This digital download prompt workbook features 31 unique writing ideas. While you can do them in any order you want (pick whatever appeals to you when you need an idea), we ordered them intentionally to help you exercise different writing muscles on different days. In some cases, we give you the first line and ask you to start the story with it. Sometimes we tell you to write first-person or third-person. Some prompts ask a question or two.
We kept the prompts as gender-neutral as possible. In the relatively few instances that we use a pronoun, we don’t specify anything about who that person is. “He” can be whoever you want him to be, in whatever way you write characters. We also mention sex toys in at least one prompt but make no supposition about the genitals or sexuality of the people who might use those toys.
Our goal is to give you a bit of inspiration and let your imagination and writing do the rest to craft stories that you want to write.
We don’t give word limits to any of our prompts. Write 300, 1000, or 5000 words for any prompt. In each book, you get a little space to jot notes (if you decide to print it out — more on that below). But the book simply holds the ideas, as well as information and ideas on how to use the book, a few definitions for writing terms you may see, and even an area to reflect on your experience when you finish all the prompts.
We give you 31 prompts but that doesn’t mean you have to write every day. Use your prompt book when you’ve run out of ideas. Pick a prompt a week instead of each day. Work the prompts into your writing schedule to create consistency for yourself. There are no rules on how to use our obscene ideas. Some people may like the challenge of daily writing, but we know that’s not realistic for everyone.
Every Book Offers a Community Aspect
Starting with 31 Days of Erotic Fiction, every prompt book we release will have a community aspect to it. This is us getting back to our sex blogger roots with a blog-meme link-up. You can hand write or write in a Word Doc no one ever sees, and that’s okay with us! But if you decide to use the prompts for blog content, we want to help you connect with writers and readers.
We offer a link-up page for each book. Follow the instructions to create a category link. Add the specially-made badge to each prompt-inspired blog post. Link up once you start using the prompts. We’ll be reading and sharing on social media as much as we can. At the same time, we’ll do our part to get more eyeballs on that page, so you get more clicks to your website.
As with every blog meme community, we ask participants to read and comment, too. It’s a great way to connect with writers and bloggers you’ve never met and discover just how big this community is.
Access to this page is part of the 31 Days experience, so there’s no additional cost to join. Once you buy your prompt book, you’re welcome to start linking up.
Buying 31 Days of Erotic Fiction
If you see this before October 12, you can preorder your copy of 31 Days of Erotic for $10. The regular retail price is $15 (so if you’re here on October 12, 2020, or later, that’s your price). When you buy, choose the full-color version or a black and white version. The black and white version is our “print-friendly” choice for anyone who wants to print it out and use the notes section.
Preorder timing is based on UK time. Pricing is US dollars. We might change that in the future, but based on how we’ve divided work tasks, this is the best option for us.
Pre-order begins October 5 and runs through October 11.
How Made Obscene Ideas
So…how did we go from fever dream to digital product? This is the simplified version but it highlights how we (currently) work together.
One: Have a ridiculous fever dream that will never happen.
Two: Avoid all thought or mention of the fever dream once you realize it’s too big.
Three: Come back to each other at some point in the future and say, “Can we do anything with this that’s realistic?” (Identity crisis not required.)
Four: Schedule lots of Skype calls. This included conversations about what we were doing and what we wanted to accomplish as well as planning meetings and talking through each idea, prompt, and line that we wrote.
Five: Divide tasks. I dealt with formatting the book. Molly dealt with the website with help from Michael Knight!
Six: Be willing to compromise on ideas. No idea was precious or perfect, and we were both willing to drop one when necessary to move the project along. What we wanted was a finished product we were both proud of. No single line of text was worth screwing that up.
Seven: Stand firm on your non-negotiables. We were in line with most of those, but the feedback from our beta readers almost derailed us into creating something else entirely. We had to have a firm conversation about what this project was and if those ideas could be given space later.
Eight: Get feedback. We sent our very rough draft to a few people we trusted as writers and as creators in other ways. We knew it wasn’t the best version, but we needed to know if we were on the right track.
Nine: Hire professionals and pay for tools whenever possible. We worked with Violet Fawkes on the logo, cover, and branding, and she is amazing! We also purchased access to tools to make the job easier like Designrr.io (an ebook formatting platform). Buffer and Canva (affiliate link) are platforms I already pay for, but we’ve definitely made heavy use of both. But free is still good, so we used the free trial of BookBrush to create specific book promo materials, too.
Ten: Repeat those steps with the next idea. Now that we’ve built the foundation, we hope each subsequent release happens faster. We’ve built repeatability into our process to make this possible. The book covers will change in color and title but not style. The format of each book will stay the same, only the content will change. And, best of all, the website is built, so we simply have to add new products to it.
Follow Obscene Ideas
We will talk about Obscene Ideas and new releases here on Smutlancers when it’s appropriate. It will also become another example of what we do as smutlancers and lessons we’ll learn. But we have plenty of other topics to talk about, too. So, if you want to keep up with Obscene Ideas, follow us!
Subscribe to our monthly newsletter. We’ll share posts from our blog which focus on writing and blogging (obviously); new releases and special offers; and maybe a free bonus prompt or two. When you sign up, you get a coupon to use on a purchase (not applicable on preorder pricing).