Almost every sex worker blog has some sort of post dedicated to those who come to the blogger asking for help on getting started as an escort. I got those emails as a non-blogging newbie escort years ago and rarely responded. Doing such things is a felony in the US and a huge deterrent to sisterhood with an anonymous stranger. So I wrote a couple books about escort work and put up a website showcasing those books. The question comes in several times a week now on that website, from both men and women. Sigh. (I still sometimes get that question posted to my escort email, but maybe once every couple of months.)
Back when I started, there really wasn’t information on being an Internet escort. I know, because I spent a lot of time on Google (did it exist at the end of 2001?). I wasn’t as Internet-savvy as I am now but I still understood the concept of operating a search engine. I knew how to scour Amazon (which I’d already been doing as a stripper). I spent a ton of time reading the public boards on ASPD.net, being anxious and offended in turns. I instinctively knew that taking the dubious advice of male hobbyists would not lead to satisfaction in my work (they certainly couldn’t answer my period questions!). Fortunately, I had a real-life friend and mentor. She was patient with me and very honest. I fully appreciate how much help she freely gave. Though she and I are different people and approach our work in different ways — her advice on keeping safe and being successful was spot-on.
I’ve finally gotten all my stuff out of storage. The greatest joy has been unpacking my books. Legal Tender was bought in Vegas a few months before I set off traveling. It sat in my “read” pile until it was boxed up. Now that I’m working through my unread books, here it is.
First, my disclaimer. I’m personally prejudiced against the whole idea of brothels as practiced in the US. Giving 50% of my money from every booking to someone just for the privilege of renting a one-star hotel room doesn’t sit well with me. Being told what to do doesn’t work for me either (ask any former boyfriend about that). I’m a control-freak about my working environment and brothels go out of their way to wrest control from the girls working there. Then there’s the whole being-an-employee-without-the-legal-benefits, i.e. Nevada brothel-style “independent-contractor” status that’s accorded to the working girls. If I’m going to work within a heavily-regulated legal system then I want my legal benefits retained. The book looks at a lockdown brothel, so that’s what I’m going to be discussing here.
Rebuttal to my disclaimer is that I personally know several girls who have worked as indies and in Nevada brothels who thoroughly enjoyed their brothel experiences (though most still dislike the flouting of legal employee status and most were in non-lockdown brothels). They were happy with the money they made, happy with their working environments, happy with the brothel customers and overall have a positive impression of working within the strict bounds of their chosen brothels. I do not know any who worked in the brothel I did and had a positive experience. There is that.
I picked up my copy of Legal Tender when I attended a presentation given by the author Laraine Russo Harper. I said nothing, clapped at the end and purchased my book. I disagreed with a lot of what she said but I hadn’t read her book yet. So now I have.
Tags: criminalization, free range chicken, independent escorts, internet escorts, Laraine Russo Harper, las vegas, legalizing prostitution, lockdown brothel, nevada brothel, pimps, privacy, sheri's ranch
This love letter to my readers was supposed to be written three months ago. My blogging is as timely as ever.
October 16, 2011 was a very special day for me. It marked five years since Book 1 came out. It’s never been a hot seller by mainstream publishing standards, but it has most certainly sold. It’s still selling at a steady rate and I do very little to publicize it (that’s changing as of this year). It inspired other people to write similar books or do similar things. I like to think it was a moment where people connected to the industry saw there was a need to take it seriously as a business and they could create business-related offerings without unnecessary justifications or the worry that there wasn’t a market.
Would I rewrite it? Oh yes. But I recently re-read it and it wasn’t quite as bad as I remembered it being. (This has nothing to do with what I think about its value to others, only what I — the author — thinks about my own writing from the perspective of self-criticism.)
A lot has happened to me in the last five years. A lot has happened to the economy in the last five years. Still, that book has helped male readers stand in an escort’s shoes and has helped many woman understand what escort work requires from them before they take their first client. That was the whole point of the book. I get feedback from readers almost every day. It’s always humbling, especially the positive ones (this doesn’t mean I’m a free-advice hotline, though I always want to help). You’re all very welcome.
– If you’re an escort struggling to uniquely express yourself online, maybe try Better Than Great by Arthur Plotnik.
– One could view The Prestige as a tragedy about stealing another’s idea.
– A good friend of mine is trying to rework her site. I really don’t know why she’s trying so hard. She could save so much time and energy by just finding a site she really likes and copying it. Everyone’s doing it!
– If you’re not convinced by the complaining about escort plagiarism you’ve read here, just Google the phrase “Intimacy and closeness are things I crave.” I don’t what poor girl wrote it first (Chelsy Heyden?), but I feel sorry for her.
– At least one escort explains in her FAQ that others steal her text and photos. Really wish IDoNotHaveaBrain was still around with their “Original Content” badge. Would be even easier for them to check with Copyscape. Sigh.
– Escorts should invoice plagiarists. According to the February 2010 issue of Writer’s Digest, freelance rates for webpage writing range from $40-$125/hr (or $0.21-$2.62 per word); email copywriting $64-$125/hr (or $300 per email!); online editing $25-$100/hr (or $3-$4/page). A pretty nice bill when you add up someone taking your entire ad-text and your website pages! Even better if they take some blog posts too — more billable work for you!
– Geisha Diaries made a post about this very topic the same day I did. They offered some good ideas on content-protection.
The escort world is rife with plagiarism. This is no secret among escorts. One of my naïve goals in writing Book 2 was to give escorts a way to learn how to write for themselves. There are new escorts who have read my books and taken the lessons to heart — the results are easy to see on their personality-driven sites and ads. There are others who took my examples a bit too literally and I have spotted them sprinkled over websites, much to my chagrin. And then there are those who just decided to go directly to the source (me) and lift whatever they feel like taking. How nice of me to do all the hard work for them!
I have a habit of this — I’ve changed escort-text everywhere I’ve worked. I’ve worked under different names and have found my writing appearing elsewhere (and obviously these girls had no clue whose text they stole). And people have seen fit to taken whatever they want from my book’s site too. I’m long past being amused, flattered or anything except completely and totally furious when I find my work stolen. Dragging around a truckload of others is very tiring work. I keep thinking that if I stop writing, they’ll have to go elsewhere for their ideas and words. It’s becoming the more tempting option, frankly.
It seems the issue is getting worse as more girls get online. Many seem to think that Internet = free for some reason. Some surely know better and yet still they steal.
In the online world, words entice, often more than pictures. Words = money to escorts. Copyright violations are violations on a serious level.