Saturday, August 29, 2009

For Love Or Money

by Nobilis Reed

I'll start with this:

If for some strange reason, you're in this fiction-writing game (and it is a game) for the money, get out now. There are fields much more lucrative than this where your words will almost certainly earn you a better return on your investment.

Begging on streetcorners, for example.

But you've heard that before, I'll wager. You've heard that it takes ten years of largely uncompensated and mostly thankless work to become a 'successful' author, and even if you manage to get a nice contract, you still won't be able to quit your day job, so I won't natter at you any more on that score.

The answer, ultimately, must be "love."

You have to love writing to be a writer. It can be a fulfilling Ozzie-and-Harriet kind of love, or a co-dependent Archie-and-Edith kind of love, or a self-destructive Romeo-and-Juliet kind of love, but it has to be love. You have to do it because something deep inside you is simply bursting to achieve expression.

That's not to say that there aren't perks. Even just seeing your name (whether it's the one you're born with or not) on the cover of a book feels marvelous. After finishing the first draft of my novel, "Scouts", I felt an enormous surge of pride.

And then there's nothing like the feeling of having a reader tell you they like your work. I never get tired of it. It doesn't matter if it's a fan like Margaret or a fellow author like Tee or a casual reader who I don't know from Adam. It's always a big boost.

Of course, money is very nice too.

Every sale, to me, is someone giving me the same kind of compliment, plus a little money behind it to make it that much more real. That's someone saying, "I want to read your work so much I'll pay you for it." That's a pretty high compliment. That's why some of my work is for sale rather than free-because I want people to have the opportunity to do that. I don't feel like I have a right to that money, or even that any author does. I think the doomsayers who wail that without a way to "properly compensate" authors (whatever that means) they'll stop writing are full of shit. See above.

On the other hand, I don't have just myself to consider.

Publishing is a business, even something as small and experimental as e-publishing. When one of my works gets accepted and published, it is with the expectation that I will do my part to sell the books to as many people as I can. These days it's the author's job, largely, to promote his work, and I take that job seriously. When my writing earns money, it shows that I take that relationship seriously. Making money for my publishers is my way of showing them I respect our relationship.

So in several weird circular ways, money is love.

Ultimately, there's no either-or, at least not for me. My goal is for people to read my stories, enjoy them, and tell me so. They can tell me any way they like, and money is one of them. So are kudos, compliments, and thanks. All are gratefully accepted.


Author's bio:

A few years ago Nobilis Reed decided to start sharing the naughty little stories he scribbled out in hidden notebooks. To his surprise, people actually liked them! Now, he can't stop. The poor man is addicted. His wife, teenage children, and even the cats just look on this wretch of a man, hunched over his computer keyboard, and shake their heads. Clearly, there is no hope for him. The best that can be hoped for is to just make him as comfortable as his condition will allow.

Excerpt from "Magical Clothes" available at

She had to find out what it felt like. She had to know.

She stood at the side door of their house, heart pounding in her chest. Her nightclothes were bundled on the bench next to the door where she'd be able to get to them quickly when she came back in. Slowly, she lifted the latch and pulled the door open a crack.

The alley was deserted, of course. The only people who would be out and about at this time of night were the night watchmen, whose hourly calls of "All's well!" comforted insomniacs and put fear in Verity's heart. If one of them saw her, recognized her, caught her-who knows what the penalty would be. At the very least she'd be mortified to be brought home, especially given the hardship her mother endured.

Night watchmen, or else... those the night watchmen kept watch for.

Thieves plied their trade at night. Thieves, and burglars, and all sorts of dangerous men. Being caught by one of those... that would be even worse than being caught by a night watchman. Who knows what a burglar might do if he came upon a young lady of quality, creeping about in the altogether. She shuddered at the thought.

Verity craned her neck to look up towards the street. The streetlights, with their dancing little flames, made pools of light, but left deep pools of darkness in the alleyways. "Just up to the corner of the house," she whispered to herself. "That's far enough." She crept from the door, careful to close it slowly to make the least possible noise.

Black slippers protected her feet from the cobblestones. She didn't want dirty feet to give away her secret foray, even after the fact. A lady of her class was never supposed to have dirty feet. Aside from that, she wore nothing. Her hair stood on end from excitement rather than cold, for the weather in Blindestadt was always warm, by order of the Emperor.

She reached the corner of the house, and crouched in the darkness.

Her nipples were so hard they ached, and she felt an itch growing between her legs. "There," she thought, "I've done it. I'm as far as the edge of the street." She turned back into the alley, hurried to the door, and closed it behind her, letting out the breath she had hardly noticed she was holding.

Panting, Verity listened. The house remained silent, no sign that her mother had roused. She had done it. No one caught her. No one saw.

She was safe, and she never needed to do it again. Quickly, she threw her nightdress over her head and padded up the stairs to her bedroom.

She kicked off her slippers and flung herself under the sheet, but sleep would not come. Her body trembled, taut as a bowstring.

Her hands crept under the covers, running over the light fabric of her nightdress. In spite of the warmth of her bed, her nipples felt like pebbles, tight and hard. She stroked them, feeling them roll around under the palms of her hands. That moment, peering out of the dark alley into the street, burned in her mind like the fuse on a firework, threatening and full of promise. She couldn't keep her hands from wandering any more than she could control her desire to feel the outside air against her body. Arching her back, she pulled the nightdress up under her shoulders, and threw off the sheet.

Shamelessly, she caressed her body, eyes closed, imagining herself in the middle of the street, vulnerable in a dozen ways, brazen and wanton. Her fingers pushed past the fuzz and into her cleft, stroking the tender flesh. She imagined faceless people watching her, their shocked, curious faces unable to look away.

She was fooling herself, she knew it. The urge to go out in the street, out in public, would only grow stronger, and next time, she knew, she would go farther, take even greater risks. Her breath tightened, and she quickly pushed her pillow into her face, muffling her cries as spasms shot through her body like lighting. Her fingers grabbed and stroked her sodden snatch, right through the orgasm, until finally, she fell back down to the bed, spent.

Finally relaxed, she drifted off to sleep.

Visit Nobilis Reed's website at:

Also, check out the Nobilis Erotica podcast (weekly erotic stories in audio)

And listen The Write Threesome podcast, a monthly discussion of erotica featuring Nobilis, Helen E. H. Madden, and Ann Regentin -


  1. Thanks for joining us at the Grip today, Nobilis. Your thoughts are spot on, I think we all know we're writers because we love it, but deep down inside, the thought of hitting it big and making tons of cash is alluring!

    Your excerpt was wonderful and I wasn't aware of The Write Threesome podcast- I love the banner Helen has obviously made for you over there. I shall check it out!

    Have a lovely weekend,


  2. Hi Nobilis!

    It's Garce from ERWA, you know me. Its true what you say, for most of us we could make more money by standing on a street corner in mime makeup pretending to be trapped in a box.

    I think the thing that startled me a little when I got involved in trying to get published was that so much of the burden of promotion was on the writer. I'm a shy Minnesotan, and I was brought up to think that blowing your own horn was crass. Now I have to get used to it. I think in the past it was the publishers who tried to arrange all that stuff, but I guess times have changed. One thing about digital books, you don't have to sit at a lonely card table somewhere tryng to make eye contact.


  3. Hi Nobilis,

    I really enjoyed your post. It's good to know that I'm not the only one doing this as a labour of love :-)



  4. Hi Nobilis and welcome to the Grip. You're spot on with your comments. We must love this craft or we'd stop. There's certainly little joy in the work and often the rewards are few and far between.

    But, when we are rewarded, we're like slavish dogs, whining and whimpering around the master's leg. Oh, there's a story there... LOL

    Well said and that excerpt, yowsahs! Her craving for exhibitionism is a little like ours for the written word. Interesting.

    Thanks for joining us at the Grip!


  5. Thanks to all for your comments. I love the feeling of being part of this writing community.

  6. Hello, Nobilis,

    Let me add my welcome. I loved your post, especially your comment that putting serious effort into promotion is also a labor of love. I'm so used to thinking of it as a chore, something always hanging over me that I can never do enough of.

    Your excerpt is also wonderful. It's a fabulous example of my frequent claim that the most erotic events are those which occur in our minds.


  7. Huzzah! Thank you for the post, Nobilis. I said it when you sent it to me and I'll say it again. This was perfect. You know as well as anyone what writing means, both as a measure of saving the sanity and soul and as a means of potential income. Thank you for writing this for us!


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