Anonymously publishing erotica on Amazon
April 25, 2016 9:33 PM   Subscribe

I'm a writer, I've written some erotica that's been well-received in small forums, and I'd like to self-publish it on Amazon. However, it doesn't fit with my "brand" of my more mainstream writing, so I'd like to do so under a pseudonym with a reasonable firewall. Can you give me advice or tips or direction on where to find more information?

I have neither delusions of fame nor fortune; I just enjoyed writing these as a side project from my main work, and I think others would enjoy reading them, and it itches at me to have good completed work and to NOT be sending it out to publishers or putting it out in the world. I have a handful of pieces completed that range in length from short stories to novels. They're generally in the form of "romance novel (i.e., they're character-driven and have a plot), but with more and dirtier sex." They're usually historicals. Some are more serial in fashion, with a frame story to set up a variety of sex; others are more unified stories.

Anyway, I'd like to publish them, and my mainstream publisher doesn't have a problem with it, but I'm strictly on my own and I need to keep it well-firewalled from my other published work. (It doesn't have to be totally perfect, it is not a crisis if someone finds out I write erotica on the side, but it is less complicated if I keep it private.) I'm sure this is not an uncommon problem for erotica writers, and I'm hoping you lovely mefites can point me towards resources for exactly this issue of managing a pseudonym for Amazon e-publishing. How private is it? Are there squads of pseudonym busters trolling the bottom ranks of erotica self-publishing to shame people, or is it just a regular pseudonymous ecosystem where nobody really cares? Especially curious about payment, and whether you link it to your main Amazon account or how that works.

Much appreciated!
posted by anonymous to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
This isn't a thing that I've done, but I've worked with and managed uploads, etc, for authors who have. I don't think that you have much to worry about. I know literally dozens of authors doing this, and no one's had a problem with anyone trying to out them or anything like that. Publishing is easy, and pseudonyms are set on a book-by-book basis. You log in with an Amazon account, but it seems that some people use their regular accounts and some people create a new account for this.

As for payment, you have to submit your tax info, etc, and then payments are done either by EFT/wire transfer into your bank account or by sending a check. You get an accounting statement at the end of each quarter, if I remember correctly, and I think a year-end tally-up as well.

I don't know of any resources for managing pseudonyms, because really, you don't have to do much? Amazon doesn't link your real name and your pseudonym(s) publicly, so as long as you don't tell people your real name, or your other pen names, and you should be fine.
posted by mishafletch at 12:07 AM on April 26, 2016

I am posting this on behalf of an anonymous commenter:

Sounds like you're completely green at selfpubbing through Amazon, and that's OK. I suggest checking into Dirty Discourse as a good place to start for romance/erom stuff. There's a paywall because they dislike spammers and people of poor behaviour. It's worth it. They also have areas for other genre fiction.

Pen names: your pen names will be as isolated as you choose to make them. I have several and none have ever cross-contaminated as far as I know. No pen name has ever been connected with my real identity. In general, no one gives enough of a shit about erom pens to bother with internet detective shenanigans. Amazon doesn't publicly link your pen name to your account holder name or anything else on the storefront, which is more than I can say for Apple.

Getting paid: it's by direct deposit, 60 days after the month ends. In other words, I'm getting paid this month for sales I made in January. If (like me) you're not American, there will be a 30% withholding unless there is a tax treaty in effect with your country and you have filed a w-8BEN with Amazon. I guess there is an option for a check, but I have never used it. Each country's storefront pays separately, so you get a whole whack of little payments from Spain and Brazil and Japan and then the big three which is usually USA/Canada/Great Britain.

Accounts: You can link your KDP account to your main Amazon account. I did. One caveat to remember is that you can have any number of Amazon accounts, but only one KDP account per person, per lifetime. If Amazon gets the idea that you have multiple KDP accounts, they will gladly ban you from publishing forever. There's no reason for multiple KDP accounts though, because you can have any number of pen names under the same KDP account. Author Central accounts are another beast and can only have three pen names per account, but you can have lots of those (I have four).
posted by vacapinta at 1:12 AM on April 26, 2016 [4 favorites]

Don't worry about it. When you're filling out the book's info page on Amazon, you just use a pseudonym. It really is that simple. Nobody is ever going to crack your pseudonym. Seriously, why would they even try?

That Chuck Tingle guy (link on Metafilter yesterday) has published a gazillion e-books and there have been a lot of articles speculating about him. Nobody knows who the heck he really is. If Chuck Tingle can stay anonymous, so can you.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:38 AM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

There's a subreddit all about how to do this, full of tips and excellent information. It's a nice and mostly supportive community, too:
posted by missmobtown at 6:14 AM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

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