Making Connections on Twitter Under a Pen Name

I’ve made no bones about this – my real name is not Amy Temple. Amy Temple is the name under which I write erotica, plan to publish erotica and tweet and blog about aforesaid writing and publishing of erotica. I say I ‘write’ under the name, which sounds odd since no one needs to know your name when you’re writing something, but I use the name ‘Amy Temple’ to switch my brain into Erotica Writing Mode. Doing so represents a great financial saving on alcohol, obnoxiously musky scented candles and Barry White mp3s, which otherwise might be needed to affect the necessary mental reboot (Christ, you’re going to think my book is total balls now).Add text

I have also been tempted to think of Amy Temple as an entirely different person to the regular me, especially as I’m keen to keep the disconnect between my real self and Amy as complete as possible. Sometimes I’ll go to Twitter to post a tweet about something and then I’ll think ‘if anyone I know reads this, they will instantly know that Amy is me, because I am the only person they know who can bang on about Prosecco, Formula One, and the utter ridiculousness of the Dublin property market in the same sentence.’

But I don’t want to write in a vacuum. I want to connect with other writers and with readers – and not just because the ‘OMG use Twitter to sell books!’ brigade told me to (I don’t happen to believe that Twitter, or any other social media platform, sells books in any way except by letting readers know they exist – and believe me, if there are any books out there about Prosecco, Formula One and the utter ridiculousness of the Dublin property market I will find them, with or without Twitter). I don’t think I’m going to be much of an erotica writer if I secrete myself away in my writing cave in Dublin, emerging only to replenish my tea supplies. I will only get better if I’m learning from other people, readers and writers, who are passionate about the genre.

So how do you connect with people, when you aren’t technically being you?

When creating Amy, I’ve created her mostly by omitting things about myself. I haven’t disclosed some things – innocuous things, like habits, preferences and my regular Starbucks order – that would instantly telegraph who I am to anyone who knew me in person.

But I don’t make stuff up. I really do love Tiffany Reisz‘s books, and she really did inspire me to become an erotica author. I really do follow Catherine Ryan Howard’s blog and I love her self-publishing advice. I drink Prosecco. I live in south Dublin and I bang on about the property market and Formula One rather more than I should.

I also don’t fake my responses (as an erotica author, seriously, what the fuck would I be doing faking it?). If I think a Tweet is interesting, I retweet it or reply to it. I don’t tweet things like ‘Wow, I love my home so much, I am so privileged to live at 121 Fake Street,’ but if I got a sudden urge to tweet about how nice it is to live in a friendly community in a big city, I’d do it.

I’m keeping my responses real, even if I am concealing certain facts. Connection isn’t about facts. It’s about responses. I recently found out that a friend of mine loves an obscure 90s music act that I also love – it’s the shared love that made us connect in a new way, not the prosaic reality of matching tapes on our shelves (I’m old enough for tapes, just so you know, and I romanticise the shit out of them).

I will tell you this, though. I’m a Starbucks junkie, and my new signature drink was created especially for me by a helpful barista, and I now spend half of my life (or at least half of the portion of my life spent in Starbucks, which is like a quarter of my life) explaining to the staff that it really isn’t gross.

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Why blog about my journey as a self-published erotica writer?

I used to believe that blogging sold books. During the Great Oh My God You Must Have A Blog Rush of 2007, I watched half the world get book deals ‘on the back of their blog’. I don’t believe that anymore, since I have bought less than ten books on the strength of blog posts myself (and I read a lot, so for me that is a mere drop in the ocean). I’m not here to shift copies of my upcoming first novel, Lights Out, but if you fancy buying one on the strength of my ramblings here, please go right ahead and make me happy 🙂

The erotica writer who most inspired me is Tiffany Reisz. She writes smart, sexy books with rounded characters, high stakes and a deep mythology. She is agented and traditionally published, so while she’s on entirely different path to me, I find her inspiring as an artist.

Still, I’m going to use Tiffany Reisz as an example, since her name comes to mind and she has a particularly good author bio. Here it is:

 Tiffany Reisz lives in Lexington, Kentucky with her boyfriend and two cats (one that may or may not be the Anti-Christ). She graduated with a B.A. in English from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky and is making both her parents and her professors proud by writing erotica under her real name.

Tiffany has six piercings, one tattoo, and has been arrested twice. When not under arrest, Tiffany enjoys Latin Dance, Latin Men, and Latin Verbs. She dropped out of a conservative southern seminary in order to pursue her dream of becoming a smut peddler. Johnny Depp’s aunt was her fourth grade teacher. There is little to nothing interesting about her (emphasis mine – she has been arrested twice, has a tattoo and has six piercings. Remember that for a minute).

 

Let’s see what mine might look like:

 

Amy Temple lives in Dublin, Ireland with her husband and no pets, because their apartment building doesn’t allow them (ergo she is quite confident that no one in her home is the Anti-Christ). She graduated with a B.A. in English from UCD and is making both her parents and her professors embarrassed by refusing to write erotica under her real name.

Amy has two piercings (boringly, one per ear), no tattoos, and has been arrested never. When not under arrest (which represents 100% of her time), Amy enjoys Italian sparkling wine, one Irish man, and no verbs except eat, drink and write. She is too much a goody-two-shoes to drop out of anything. Johnny Depp’s aunt never taught her black nothin’. There is little to nothing interesting about her, but she means it when she says that.

 

I started blogging because I thought it might be fun for people to see what a girl with two piercings, no tattoos and a clean arrest record made of this whole erotica lark. Well, fun or funny. Either is good.

 

Why Did I Become an Erotica Writer?

In my last post I shared how I got to this point in my life. Today I’m going to talk about the why – what possessed a shy, sensible married lady in her early 30s to try her hand at launching a secret erotica career?

Two reasons. Money and fun.

  • I love to write. I’ve written professionally (on and off) for several years; I’ve written for the sheer love of it all my life.
  • I also live in one of the most expensive cities in Europe. I have a day job that I enjoy, but salaries in my city haven’t kept pace with a recent surge in house prices (hell, readers from everywhere, does this sound familiar?). The idea of pursuing a second income has started to look very appealing.
  • I began to think about what skills I could leverage into an income – and enjoy in the process, since this is strictly a free-time endeavour.

What else but writing is fun, lucrative and can be done without getting dressed?

Well, a couple of things, but you’d need to ask Kayla and Sally, my two main characters, about that. . .

 

How to Become an Erotica Writer

How to Become An Erotica Writer

 

  1. Write utterly scandalous and salacious fanfic throughout your teens, not knowing what fanfic is or that there are other teens doing the same thing.
  2. Abandon all things scandalous and salacious at the start of your university career, as you are a Serious Writer with Serious Things To Say.
  3. Stare at notebooks for hours in cafes on campus, wondering when writing stopped being fun.
  4. Graduate. Write for fun again, because writing for any other reason would be ridiculous, since you are now a grown-up who hates her day job.
  5. Toy with the idea of writing erotica, much as your main character might toy with the soft hair of her love interest, her long, elegant fingers tangling in the soft curls, her nails gently scratching her lover’s scalp. Ahem
  6. Delete that last sentence, for fuck’s sake.
  7. Write a thriller, a chick lit novel, a detective story, a children’s book, poetry, haiku and everything else you can think of that sounds more fun than your job.
  8. Somewhere along the line, find a day job you like.
  9. Discover JA Konrath’s blog. Seriously, discover it. I don’t always agree with him (I think traditional publishing is awesome and hope to live there someday) but he’s always entertaining, and he opens the mind.
  10. Discover Tiffany Reisz’s books and realise that erotica done well is absolutely kick-ass.
  11. Create a Twitter for your new erotic writer persona. Fancy yourself as Nora Sutherlin, Reisz’s main character (also an erotica author but so much more). Fancy yourself as the anti-Anastasia Steele.
  12. Become terrified at the idea of trying to rock as hard as Tiffany Reisz. Cower for a while.
  13. Write the bloody book. Pun intended, possibly. We’ll see. My characters are still being utter sweethearts to each other, which can’t last, but I can’t promise if there will be blood. Maybe in the sequel.
  14. Get an awesome cover designed. I love these guys.
  15. Self-publish the book.
  16. Write another book.

 

I am currently at Step 12, writing the bloody book. Fuelled by hot chocolate, Nanowrimo and cynicism, I am writing the bloody book. I wish there was a blog about there by an utterly clueless woman trying to write her first erotic novel to guide me on the way.

 

Here it is, I suppose. Hello world, and all that!