A couple of weeks ago, I was on an Authors’ panel at TESFest with Dan and Dawn. Not only was it fun to connect with people, and to share actual physical space with Dan and Dawn, but I also was inspired into several new ideas and a possible collaboration or three with my co-panelists.
And one of the audience asked us a question.
One that I want to share with you.
“Do you ever feel bad about charging for your books?”
And I’m glad that question was asked.
Because I think it needs to be answered.
I hate selling. I’m shite at it. I don’t want to sell things.
But I also want to live. And that takes money.
And kink is my passion.
It’s also my chosen career.
So, I sell. Not well, though. And not enough. And frankly, I’ve made a commitment to myself to do better at that. Because I want to live well, and contribute financially to the life I have with my partner in more ways than I do.
Actually, I’d love for him to be able to comfortably retire and live on what I make soon.
AND, I believe that what I offer has tremendous value, so selling better would improve many countless lives and relationships in kink.
But regardless of that:
Do I feel bad about selling my books about kink?
Why should I?
Do you ask Tantus if they feel bad about selling their sex toys? Do you question why movies cost money to attend? Do you ask the grocery stores you frequent why they don’t just give away the food?
Then, why ask authors?
To write a book takes a lot out of a person. Over a hundred hours of researching and writing and organizing — not to mention editing, formatting, creating a cover, putting it online, creating the page to sell it, etc.
I have employees to pay. I have servers to run. I have software to maintain. What I do takes time and money.
AND, what I write, the education I bring to the world of kink, the connections I make to make these things happen for you and for others — they can save YOU time and money. My nearly 30 years of experience in kink can help you with a single book understand something better than you might have even after years of struggling on your own.
Is that not worth the $9.99 (or whatever)?
I have always thought it was worth it, which is what I buy books and music, and support artists and small businesses.
Because I believe in value.
And frankly, one thing I’ve noticed in kink — versus the swinging world or nearly any other passion/hobby communities I’ve been in — kinksters as a whole do not believe the value of kink.
Swinger parties are often $50/couple, $75 for a single man (no, I’m not going to discuss how shitty the gendered pricing is right now), and can rake in over $4000 in a single night.
Kinky parties charging $20/person get comments like:
- Why do you have to charge so much?
- Shouldn’t you do it for the love of your community?
- Where does the money go?
- Can I get a discount?
- You’re just in it for the money.
- Getting rich off kinky people is unethical.
If I were “in it for the money,” I’d be in something else. I’d be in swinging, for example. LOL!
Dan said to me, as we continued the conversation later between the three of us (who have all run events, venues, traveled to teach, etc.), that he had a simple equation when running events that eventually led him to stop.
Here’s what I took from that chat: Does the money I make cover…
- My expenses
- My time (for example, what is the hourly wage I actually make?)
- The bullshit I have to put up with by daring to sell a book that took over 100 hours of time to create, or charging for an event that requires set up and tear down and renting a space and food and safety equipment and volunteers and insurance and…and…
And that is why there are so few public spaces for kink. And so few events. And why so many people burn out when they try to make these things happen.
I give a lot back.
I don’t just sell. I give back.
I travel and teach free within my home state and kink communities.
I have been around the world teaching kink. Often free. Nearly every single time I don’t make enough to actually cover my expenses and my effort — days off working, gas or flights, restaurant expenses, hotel stays…
I produce 12–16 FREE online educational events every month. Free to everyone in the world who can attend live.
I write and share content every weekday on FetLife and my blog and other sites, with nearly 1,400 writings up and available with no paywall.
I run and organize local events free of charge, or at minimal charge where I am renting space.
I spend my personal time helping people.
YES, some people can manage to do all of that and have a regular 9-to-5 which pays them. I’m glad that they do. And I would never ask them, “Do you feel bad requiring a salary to…[wait tables, design video games, engineer safe structures, manufacture widgets]?”
Because they deserve to earn a living, too.
I do all this because I love what I do.
Because it’s important.
Because it’s my passion.
And yes, luckily, I also sell books. And classes. And memberships on my site.
Because otherwise, I could not give as much away. I could not do so much as I do.
If I may…
I’d like to ask you for two things today:
- Go buy something from a kinky small business. From me is great. From another is also wonderful. Spend a bit of money to support people who do things that matter to you.
- Comment here with your favorite book authors, video content creators, toy makers, educators, kinky conventions, pro kinksters, whatever — and if you can, please tag them or share a link so others can find them and learn about what amazing things they do for the world of kink.
It’s a small thing to help our kinky community grow. To make sure the resources you want and need continue being created are there for the people coming into this new and fresh and wanting to grow and learn and explore.
What are your thoughts?
Tell me that there’s value in kinky education, toys, art, and events, and that people deserve to get paid.
Or, tell me I’m wrong. Tell me why you believe that kinky creators are somehow “less valid” if they make money from their kink. Tell me why kinky businesses and makers and workers, unlike every other kind of laborers, do not deserve to be compensated for their years of experience, for their time, for their materials and costs, and then, if you really believe that, kindly fuck off.