What Is Erotica, and Where Can I Publish My Erotic Fiction?

Erotica is a genre of literature that includes sexually explicit details as a primary feature. Though the distinction might be blurred in modern works, erotica traditionally contains more sexual details than romance novels. In my article "Writing about Sex vs. Writing Erotica" I go into more detail about the difference between writing literary fiction that includes sex, as opposed to writing fiction that is considered erotica.

Erotica is also known as erotic literature. There are a number of erotic sub-genres that fit beneath the "Erotica" heading. A few of these include:

BDSM: (bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism).These stories focus on characters inflicting or receiving pain, and in return, receiving pleasure.

Fantasy: Similar to straight fantasy, erotic fantasy brings the reader into "other" worlds, and characters in these stories can have magical powers.

GLBT: These stories involve gay, lesbian, bisexual, and/or transgendered characters.

Erotic writing can ultimately be combined with any genre (think Erotic Western! Steampunk! Sci-Fi/Horror!).


Although your erotic writing might feel personal, there are many writers who are sharing their work. And a pen name is always an option if you want to remain anonymous and still get published...

If you aren't shy, why not get your name out there? There are many literary magazines (both online and in print) that are looking to publish erotic fiction.

There are online communities interested in sharing erotic work. Check out these (some of them even pay!):

Nerve.com, dedicated to "literate smut" is a great place to find erotic fiction from traditionally literary authors. Writers including Mary Gaitskill, Sam Lipsyte, Lena Dunham, Tao Lin, Norman Mailer have published on the site (and in the now-defunct print magazine), which began in 1997.

Nerve also has a "Writers Network" in which anyone can apply to join. If you are selected to contribute, and your fiction receives 40,000 unique viewers, you will be paid $300! Who says you can't get paid for writing dirty?!

Bust Magazine also accepts erotic fiction, for what they call their "one-handed read." They are looking for submissions that are 1500 words. Your stories can be sent to submissions@bust.com.

Another intriguing publication that accepts erotic fiction is Headmaster, "the biannual print magazine for the sophisticated man-lover who appreciates smart writing and thought-provoking art." It is not available online, and submissions are based on "assignments" given by the editors. If you are interested in writing for them, email headmastermagazine@gmail.com.

Little Raven, a company publishing erotic fiction, is currently looking for short stories for their fourth anthology. They are accepting stories up to 4000 words, and they are "interested in work that is original, sexy and features strong characters. No throbbing members!" To submit, email your manuscript to submissions@littleravenpublishing.com.