by Arnold Snyder
My professional writing career began in 1972 when Greenleaf Classics, a big-time smut publisher, rejected a crazy sex story I’d submitted but put me in contact with an agent who provided me with Greenleaf’s formula sheets, which described the stories the editors would accept.
Unlike the manuscript I’d submitted, the accepted formulas were humorless, predictable, and repetitious, with little wiggle room for creative fun. But although commercial smut wasn’t artistically rewarding, it paid well. My wife and I could churn out a 40,000-word manuscript in a week and it paid $510 (after our agent took his 15% off the top). That was decent pay for a week’s work in the early 70s, especially considering the loose working conditions. For perspective: Our two-bedroom apartment in Berkeley was $190/mo.
I have no way of measuring what our hourly pay might have been. How do you measure your work hours when both of you are working all day, every day, until you finish cranking out the required word count? But during this time you are laying around in your underwear with the radio tuned to jazz or acid rock, chain-drinking coffee, chain smoking, taking breaks to get high and ponder the universe, yakking about who knows what, and f*cking like crazy?
There was a fun factor to writing smut together, even horrible, trite, repetitious smut . . . I wrote about this period of my life in “The Lost Meat Spear Manuscript.” Continue reading Smut4Nerds: Dirty Books on My Terms