The number “30” has an urban legend vibe in the erotica writing community. Imagine a graveyard, filled with mist, and in the middle of a headstone cluster there are two letters: 3 and 0. Just like big Sesame Street letters. Lighting strikes the ground nearby. This is how mystical the number 30 is.
The legend states that once you reach either 30 shorts or 30 reviews, your sales jump up from a few weak dollars a month to hundreds of happy dollars in your account. I’ve heard both variations, and I’ve also read posts from other authors who have experienced this magic, sometimes referred to as “The Dirty Thirty.”
As a side note, this is specifically about short erotic stories on Amazon. I don’t know what kind of legends or graveyard tales there are for other genres of writing. The genre as a whole lives and breathes short content delivered en masse to readers looking for a tiny turn on when they pick up their Kindle. (The timeframe of consumption is probably directly related to the wetness of the reader, but that’s a theory for another blog).
So is it 30 stories?
I’m paraphrasing, but one account I’ve heard mentions that once they reached 30 shorts on Amazon, their sales went from $2.50 a month to $250. A similar account exists in a book about writing and selling erotica from Jade K. Smith, which I wrote about in a past blog. In this case, I feel like the volume is like stretching a wider and wider net around diverse audiences each time you publish. The more you publish, the better chance you have to succeed in a popular tag or genre. The Dirty 30 may just be a high number that indicates people are active writers, not necessarily because “30” is a magic number.
Or is it 30 reviews?
My BFF Tracey DeSanto has heard that 30 reviews on Amazon may have something to do with an author’s success, and that the search function of the site shines favorably on stories with so many reviews. I don’t understand the site’s search algorithm at all, but this makes a lot of sense. If you have 30 reviews across all of your stories, you’re probably already getting a good readership and thus your work will show up more often in the search for the specific tag. Again, not sure if the number “30” is important, or just the fact that the more reviews you have, the more you are likely to be seen.
What’s the truth?
Personally, I doubt. I think that more reviews and more shorts will help, but my climb has been slow and extremely steady as I’ve added shorts into my collection. I am a Bigfoot doubter, a Loch Ness critic, an Agnostic stink bug. But there is something so delicious about the idea of a magic number, if only to give myself a mental goal. I planned on writing 20 shorts for the entire year, and then bundling them into several different collections. Wouldn’t it be lovely if the day I hit 30, a rainbow appears over my house? And then gold likewise appears in my empty pot?
Have you heard of The Dirty 30? Any true tales or legends you’ve heard? Comment below!