[EDIT TO ADD 19.07.2014] I did it! I’m offering IM-only so far, but as I get used to the idea I’m planning to nudge towards cam work (face-to-face rather than performing to start with, although who knows how confident I might get eventually). I even found out there’s a web-based “Lite” version of the camming software so I can use the Mac after all!
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So I’ve been looking at AdultWork.com, after seeing Nimue Allen tweet about her services there (links NSFW, in case that needs explaining), wandering around, enjoying some free previews, finding out what the site does and what it offers on a “Seeking Services” account.
In a move that is not directly related (but also not completely unrelated) to the fact that my building society is cutting my current account agreed overdraft limit soon, my motive is not just an interest in perusing online “adult” material and services, but wondering what, if anything, I myself could offer and expect to get paid for.
There’s a section for erotic stories, so with some editing I could probably earn a few quid for my writing. It would require some focus to create material suitable for a commercial site instead of just whatever kinks and extremes fuel my inner fantasies, but then, I’m kind of doing that anyway when I write sex scenes for my novel, or write things with a “real life” theme. The tricky part is going to be the editing. It’s going to require some ideas of what top write about as well.
I dearly wish I believed my body was beautiful enough for webcamming. As discussed with regards to body hair, I am not at all happy that I can’t shave my back or arse, and until I have significant sums rolling in I cannot afford “back, sack and crack” waxing (even assuming my pain threshold would make it seem worthwhile for the business). There are also various scars, marks and blemishes over various parts of my body, relics of illness, injury and so on. Perhaps strangely, I could imagine being in porn with this body more than I could imagine being a successful pro webcam performer. (For one thing, I imagine there would be a market for watching a guy/male-bodied genderqueer undergo the torture of a waxing, which would kill two birds with one stone, so to speak). And, yes, there is the worry that no one wants to look at a lardarse like me twerking or whatever. (I do think my shaved moobs are pretty sexy-looking, but not sure that’s enough to pull in the punters and keep ’em hooked if that’s all there is to the private show!)
However, the webcam system at AdultWork includes a text-only “Instant Messaging” service option. Now, that’s something I have some experience with in terms of online BDSM roleplay, scening and “cybersex” with romantic partners. I like to think I have some talent for it, and a certain flair for creativity. There don’t seem to be many men offering this service, which either means there isn’t a big enough market to support more, or that the market is relatively untapped, with low competition. This could be my niche.
Unfortunately, their third-party software for running paid-for webcam/webtext is only available for Windows. My main PC is a Mac, and since XP support ended, I switched my netbook over to Ubuntu (which I like very muchly). As it happens, I made a dual boot install on the netbook, so in theory I could still log in with the XP boot and run web software. It’s far from ideal, given the lack of support for XP nowadays, but equally, I haven’t heard any major news stories about it (apart from that one thing where Microsoft released a patch after the support had ended). A little bit of research reveals that there are some who use the “book in advance” options and offer IM via Skype or Yahoo IM to provide the service, so I could do that as well.
What I don’t know, and have no real way of guessing, is how long you have to be online to get a client. How long would the average chat session last? What’s the likely maximum? Overall, how much time a day/week would I need to spend “available” to make it worthwhile? Some of the IM roleplay/scene/cybersex sessions I’ve done in the past lasted for 2 or 3 hours (although there was often non-cybersex talk included in that). Would clients want that, and pay for it? Would they want something more direct? How much time do client & provider typically take over negotiating the online scene?
I think this is doable. The idea excites me as a way of using the skills I have to do something people value (and getting paid for it is pretty important, too). Am I brave enough to do it? I know I’m not confident enough, which is why I need to be brave. So many questions, so many doubts, about how to make it work for me, whether I really have the skills I believe I do, whether anyone would really want to pay for them.
I’m going to sit with this. My heart is telling me that I will do it, or at least, put myself out there to try. So if I give it enough time, then something will happen.
Then I might just have to change “Valery North – Writer” to “Naughty Val – Sexworker”.