When I first decided to try my hand at this, I had no idea what I was doing other than writing smut. I can write smut! Hell, anyone can write smut. I had to put it to a story because that's just my personal preference, and then I looked up what was selling, what was attention grabbing, and what was interesting to me. BOOM. Dinosaur erotica! So, as I started to write, I kept reading and researching as well, learning what OK to put on Amazon, what you could put on covers, what was taboo, how to use keywords, and so on. One of these posts I read mentioned mirroring.
I had no idea what that was, so I looked it up. The basics of mirroring is taking a story you've written--let's say a male/female story--and changing the sex of one of the participants to make it a M/M or F/F version, or even both. I was shocked at that! I couldn't comprehend that people would pay you to plagiarize yourself! Not only that, but let's face it, just changing pronouns wasn't going to work as the mechanics of sex turning it from a hetero couple to a homo couple just... wasn't going to work, or vice versa.
So, out of curiosity, I did some digging on Amazon and sure enough, I found some mirrors. For instance, let's take Hunter Fox, of Billionaire Dinosaur Forced Me Gay fame. He wrote a story called Punished by the Dark Unicorn, which features m/m gay unicorn sex. Here's the summation:
After a major breakup with his ex-boyfriend, Adam takes a spur of the moment trip to Finland! On his surprise Nordic vacation, Adam goes kayaking through the labyrinth of lakes and discovers a beast he never knew existed! A Dark Unicorn! Something about this creature brings out his wildest and darkest fantasies which he wants to make a reality!
This is a 3,500 word hardcore gay erotic novel. It includes- horn sex, rough sex, anal, oral, cream pies and more!
Horn sex. Ouch. I hope they put a rubber cap on that because... ouch. Anyway, going forward with our search, we come across Dark Unicorn by Whitney Fox. The summation for that story is thus:
After a major breakup with her ex-boyfriend, Amy takes a spur of the moment trip to Finland! On her surprise Nordic vacation, Amy goes kayaking through the labyrinth of lakes and discovers a beast she never knew existed! A Dark Unicorn! Something about this creature brings out her wildest and darkest fantasies which he wants to make a reality!
This is a 3,500 word hardcore erotic novel. It includes rough sex, anal, oral, horn sex, cream pies and more!
Other than a name change, it's virtually an identical summation. This is a perfect example of a mirror. Also, damn, only 3500 words? Jeez. You're paying like twelve words a cent for that. (It's actually 11.7, but I rounded up) Even their backgrounds are the same, and obviously fake pictures. If I put a picture up, it'll be the same one I used here: a cartoon. Why? Haha, post real face... yeah, no. I also won't insult people by posting an obviously fake picture of some person as me either. Where was I?
Evidently, Amazon allows mirroring, so long as 30% of the story is different, and a more than a few erotica authors swear by it, because it can double or triple the amount of books you "write", and reach different target niches. I really think that's ripping people off. It's my own opinion, and I'm not a big expert on how to sell erotica and what you should do. I'm learning the process. Mirroring though... although Jotham says it would reach more audiences, I just can't. Even if I use another nom de plume, I just can't do that. I don't fucking copy from anyone, even myself! And if someone does read your story, let's say a m/m story, then happens to run across your mirrored m/f story and finds out it's practically identical, how are they going to feel for that second purchase? Fucking ripped off, that's how. They are not paying for new content: they are paying for rehashed old content. It's like getting a clip show from your favorite TV series. Who wants that? No one, that's who.
So, be careful when buying your erotica out there. Could be you've bought it before.