You should view your first 20 books as an experiment.
Don’t worry about choosing the perfect pen name. Don’t bother setting up an author’s profile, a twitter account, blog etc. You should focus on writing and writing only. And don’t just write the stories you want to write either. You should write in as many genres as possible.
Find Your Niche
Making money as an erotic author is a balance between writing original stories but also finding a niche that works for you.
If your thinking about starting a career writing erotica I suggest you go to Amazon’s Erotica’s Best Seller’s List, especially the URBAN section. Take a look and see what some of the popular niches are. Start writing in those niches. Write a cuckolding, BDSM, or shifter story. Explore some of the more obscures niches like femdom. Combine different niches to together.
Eventually, you will find a niche that works for you. This may take you 5 stories it may take you 30. You’ll know you found it when your sales increase dramatically.
Once you find it run with it. Now you can set up a main pen name, author’s page, and mailing list if you wish. You can use your main pen name to publish stories in your niche and use your first pen name to test of stories until you find another profitable niche.
Being original. I can’t stress that enough. Don’t be the hack that rewrites a popular story in your own words. The story of the sadistic dominant millionaire who takes interest in the shy mousy girl has been done to death. After E.L. James’ success with 50 Shades Of Gray, hundreds of erotic authors wrote the same story in their own words. It may have worked for some, but eventually the market becomes saturated with millionaire stories.
Don’t jump on the bandwagon. When you try to recreate the success of another author you will always be a few steps behind. Not only will you be competing with original author for sales, but hundreds of other bandwagon authors.
When starting out in erotica don’t worry about sales. Just write. Write in as many different genres as possible. Try new things. Eventually you will find things that work.
The formula for success in erotica is: right niche + original story = lots of sales.
P.S. If you would like to learn more about writing erotica that sells I suggest grabbing a copy of Confessions Of An Erotic Author: How To Write Smut That Sells.
I wrote this guide a few months back under the pen name Adriana Dogood.