Reviews for Book 1: The Foundation
Review by J. Andrew
For any reader who has ever been curious or presumes to know about the adult industry, the author brings this facet of the business to the surface. Amanda Brooks clearly describes the fine line between an escort and a call girl and gives the reader the how-to on personal care and upkeep, health, your body and your peace of mind.
In the adult industry where the exploitation of women is common, The Internet Escort’s Handbook gives women the choice and the confidence to pursue this job as a professional businesswoman. The author explains the importance of escort work, not by means of obtaining a “fast buck” or a “wild ride,” but applying your people skills to work to your advantage.
Book 1: The Foundation is meant for mature, open-minded women over the age of 18 and the author insists that this profession is not for everyone. Amanda Brooks makes the reader think carefully about entering this line of work, providing a series of thought-provoking questions. She does not glorify this vocation but brings to light some of the shocking situations that can happen with a client and how to handle yourself. Derived from her own experiences and extensive research, the author reveals tips and strategies to reduce the hazards that may arise while on the job.
The author’s intent is not to encourage anyone to break the law or to promote working as an escort but to provide a well-written, informative guide to the profession. In the same way a secretary is provided with an office manual and a writer has a writer’s guide for reference, Amanda Brooks has brought to the market an intelligent, one-of-a-kind book that any woman working as an escort should not do without. It is written in a natural, honest manner and told in a no-nonsense attitude.
In the book, the author makes reference to two websites. TheInternetEscorts Handbook.com, which can only be viewed by readers over the age of 21, broadcasts the latest news, refers to specific links and reflects the contents of the book while giving the reader a peek into the future issues from books two to four. TexasGoldenGirl.com is the author’s personal Web site, detailing updates, blogs, links and a request for a personal interview.
What makes The Internet Escort’s Handbook desirable is that it is easy to read, understandable and does not sugarcoat the profession to urge any woman to succumb to it. This book is for the curious, the open-minded that wish to be entertained and an aid for current and future escorts.
Review by Dr. Todd Morrsion
Department of Psychology, National University of Ireland at Galway
The first in a series of handbooks devoted to outlining basic “mental, emotional, and physical considerations in escort work,” Brooks offers a provocative and well-written account of the myriad issues that need to be considered when contemplating involvement in this profession. The issues presented range from the serious (e.g., how to safeguard against sexually transmitted infections) to the more trivial (e.g., the importance of having soft skin, with an accompanying recipe for home-made body scrub, p. 75). However, from the vantage of the casual reader as well as those using the handbook as a “how-to” guide, even the seemingly trivial topics raised by Brooks are fascinating because they underscore the sheer number of elements that need to be considered when one works as an escort.
There are several strengths to the Handbook that warrant mention. First, Brooks is careful to frame the advice she offers within the parameters of her own experience and the escorts she has interviewed or known personally. She states this bias explicitly: “The scope of this series is limited. I’m speaking from the perspective of a female escort in the U.S. whose clientele is heterosexual men” (p. 5). Thus, faulty generalizations are avoided (i.e., what worked for Brooks may or may not work for the reader wishing to become an escort.) Second, Brooks has written the Handbook in a conversational style that is highly appealing; a style, one might add, that is difficult to implement effectively. The authorial tone used throughout is chatty, yet astute, and informative, without being dull. Third, as Brooks mentions in the Introduction, she is operating from the assumption that the reader has “only the barest idea of what [escorting] is all about” (pp. 5-6) and, thus, is careful to explain key terms and concepts. As a reader, I particularly valued the sections devoted to definitions (pp. 18-28; 119-132).
There are a few minor limitations that should be noted, ones the author may want to address in subsequent editions of the Handbook. First, the demonizing of “common” (i.e., street-based) prostitutes could have been avoided, without compromising the value of the book. For example, in relation to hairstyles, Brooks notes, “An escort with hair that looks anything like the hair on street prostitutes probably should think about a different style” (p. 74). Similarly, in relation to escorts being concerned that they may be hassled if they carry condoms in their purse or suitcase, Brooks remarks: “…start preaching…about safer sex, preparedness, and your power over your own body as an independent woman. That should shut them up. After all, you don’t look like a common prostitute, do you?” (p. 144). Second, the author’s comments about male clients serve to reinforce a rather traditional view of the sexes. Not all men are interested in the stats of pro athletes (p. 63) and, surely, there are some men who do not find women’s hair most appealing when it’s “spread on the pillow under [them]” (p. 72). Just as Brooks noted that her experiences may or may not be applicable to others so, too, should she provide similar qualifications on the part of clients.
Overall, I found the Internet Escort’s Handbook to be both informative and interesting. In addition to its targeted reader, I believe this book would serve as a useful resource for instructors in human sexuality and for those offering more specialized courses on the adult industry and/or women and work.
Review by Rachel McCrystal
appearing on FeministReview.org 4/19/07
Admit it, you’ve thought about it. After a long day at a desk job, struggling under a mountain of student loans and credit card debt, becoming an escort doesn’t seem like a bad idea. It is actually far more appealing than being a stripper. You can use your excellent interpersonal skills and table manners. You can make delightful cocktail party conversation. You have what they call “personality.” More importantly, you can avoid the pasties and cheesy music of the strip club.
Then you remember that the modus operandi of being an escort is having sex with clients. Technically, this isn’t a requirement, but a “choice,” so escorts can avoid prostitution charges. However, an escort who never sleeps with the clientele is probably not a very popular escort. If there are gals (or guys) out there who won’t mind the whole sex-with-strangers part of escorting, you may want to pick up a copy of Amanda Brooks’ The Internet Escort’s Handbook. This is Book 1 of the handbook and deals with the “foundation” of becoming a self-employed escort who advertises on the internet.
Brooks has a light, pithy voice and is very informative about subjects ranging from the pros and cons of client reviews on your website to safe oral sex. Along the way, she advocates some expert sexual practices like wrapping yourself in saran wrap to avoid stubble irritation “down there.” She also recommends that all escorts learn how to fake it. This book is published by Golden Girl Press, which was founded by Brooks. Maybe with self-publishing she is continuing to be self-managed: no big publishing house Madame for Brooks. The companion website, www.TheInternetEscortsHandbook.com, has some interesting resources for the curious. Brooks attempts to be as comprehensive as she can in the references and resources offered, which is commendable.
One wonders, however, how long Brooks intends to make a living in the industry. After working as a cocktail waitress, then a stripper, then an internet escort, Brooks is officially retired. But she is still raking in the cash writing about and publishing her sexual escapades. What will she be doing in 10, 15 or 20 years? How many books will she include in The Internet Escort’s Handbook? As one escort asked another, “How hard can it be?”
Review by Callie Sims
appearing in $pread Magazine Spring 2007
The Internet Escort’s Handbook is a delightful, well thought out look at modern-day escorting. Author Amanda Brooks has taken up the task of addressing every question about physical and mental health that a woman could ask before she becomes a sex worker who advertises through the Internet.
Brooks starts out by setting up out the mental health requirements and the personality type needed to work as an escort and says, “If you are not comfortable giving of yourself to others, or you are not mentally stable, this work is not for you because this job requires an intense exchange of energy between two people.”
She delves into an in-depth study of the industry, giving her reader all she needs to know about working for herself versus an agency, and talks about misconceptions of escorts (i.e. all escorts are stupid and have addictions). Brooks then moves into a technical assessment of physical appearance, sexually transmitted infection (STI) risks and safe sex practices and how to set personal boundaries through the services a woman offers. She concludes with coaching the new escort in how to set up an ad on a site like Eros Guide, what should go in the ad copy, selecting incall or outcall and how to choose the cities to work in.
The thing I love most is that Brooks wrote this book from the standpoint of a woman who wants to make professional companionship a lucrative business (hourly rates ranging $300-600 per hour), have a higher quality of life, and who will have money in the bank and a home to show for it when she leaves the business. The book wasn’t written from the perspective of a woman doing survival sex work who is struggling to meet her financial obligations. I a so respect Brooks for writing very candidly about the impact of body type, and weight, attitude, and ethnicity on an escort’s earning power. She constructively talks about issues that many find insulting or which can create mayhem on discussion boards.
The only disadvantage of this her book is that for the seasoned escort who runs a successful business, the material she covers can be a bit redundant. She explains in great detail simple things like condom use, how to conduct tours, industry definitions (i.e. hobbyist), types of lubrication, and taking mental time off. An established provider would have already learned this information long ago, and for her this book would serve as a refresher at best.
Brooks book really is written for a woman who is completely new to sex work and using the Internet to advertise and network, who has very little knowledge of the business she is working in, or who is looking for a “how-to book” to help her move up in this business in order to command a higher rate and better quality of life.
Review by Gwen Masters
appearing on The Gwen Masters Journal of This and That 8/8/07
When in my early twenties, I seriously considered becoming an escort. It seemed like my ideal job — lots of time with all sorts of different men, lots of sex, and getting paid well to make men happy! What’s not to love?
Now that I’ve read The Internet Escort’s Handbook by the smart, strong and undeniably sexy Amanda Brooks, I’m envious of those lucky women who can make a career out of escorting. I’m also glad I didn’t try it — I would have let my emotions get in the way of good business sense, and that’s no way to make a living!
Amanda covers everything in this book. She starts by telling a bit of her story, and then launches into the pros and cons of escorting. I like how thorough she is here — she asks very pointed questions about the reader’s intentions and expectations, and by the time you are finished with the second section of the book, you certainly know whether or not you can handle the demands of being an escort. If you don’t know, well…you should probably look for another job.
She doesn’t sugar-coat the emotional difficulties that can come about if you venture into escorting for all the wrong reasons. She addresses the myths about escorting, talks about the basics of the business, and details the physical risks, including how to protect yourself from STDs.
She discusses the emotional ramifications of escorting, not only for the client, but for the escort as well. One very clear lesson in the book is this: “You are not selling your body; you are selling blocks of your time.” It was interesting to learn that while a lot of clients do expect sex, just as many of them simply want some attention. Being a good listener is extremely important to being a good escort. It takes a hell of a lot more than a good body and blow-your-mind sexual techniques to keep those clients coming back for more.
The best part about this book is that it’s only the beginning. This is Book One: The Foundation. This book covers the mental, emotional and physical considerations. Other books are set to follow, where Amanda will eventually cover the entire spectrum of information about escorting.
If you’re thinking about escorting, don’t make any decisions until you read this thorough, helpful and informative book.
Review by Ann Andriani
appearing on AllSexReviews.com 11/15/07
My second favorite review, Ann did a great job of formatting and writing the review, which is why it won’t be posted here. It’s an in-depth tour through the book and a serious, considered review. Please enjoy it on its own site using the link above.
Review by Gracie Passette
appearing on Sex-Kitten.net 5/08
The most enthusiastic review (and my favorite). Gracie “gets it” and conveys the point of the book to the reader very clearly. A former escort herself, she feels Book 1: The Foundation is a complete foundation for escorts and a helpful look for the curious. Click the link above to read the review in its entirety.
Reader reviews on Amazon.