To some, this may be the worst advice that I have ever given. To everyone else, let me share with you a funny, yet depressing story. It’s not really depressing to anyone but my bank account and my ego, but I think you will get something out of it.
So, back in February. I had just finished publishing the first Season of Black Star Canyon and the first Shallow Giallo book. My two poetry books and the first two BLR Trilogy books were off with the editor. So I had a month where I could write a bunch of new stuff while still putting out releases through the month.
I was stoked. I was ahead of the game.
So I was about to write my new serial about the guy that used to be a cock roach and the guy that used to be a table. I was super ready. Then I noticed something that hurt my pride. Every time I told anyone about my new project, no one was excited about it. I didn’t understand it. This is a slam dunk I thought. But then I thought about from their point of view, it sounds kinda weird and has a huge possibility for being really fucking stupid.
I was kinda crushed. But I wasn’t gonna let that crap drag me down. I was a month ahead of the game. I would use this time wisely.
I looked back at everything I published the last six months. My Slasherton series that is a cartoon horror thing. Creepology, which is my weirdo, bizzaro stories. Black Star Canyon, my mystery serial. Girl with the Crystal Pubis, my giallo spoof.
I thought to myself, maybe I should write some more palatable, horror titles to try to expand my audience. So what I did was I went through my massive pile of notebooks and looked for anything thing I have thought up over the years to see if there was anything there that would work for me. I found two.
The first was my zombie story. Now I have made a few zombie films. The zombie sub-genre isn’t one of my favorites but I thought I had a new take with this story. I wanted to make it a movie but didn’t have the budget to make it right so I put it in a box. Now, since I’m writing books more, and have more leverage on my own writing, this would be prefect.
Zombie Alpha is about the first zombie. How he became a zombie and how it spread. I know I’m not the first to have this idea, but this is the first one like this.
I spent the next two weeks writing it and sent it off for editing. I then outlined the next three books. I was stoked that I had another series!
The second more palatable idea I had was an urban vampire epic called Black Market Blood Drive. I outlined it and again found that I had enough there for four books in total.
I planned out February and March and my plan was to release them on alternating weeks. One week would be Zombie Alpha the next week would be BMBD and so on and so on. It was a perfect plan.
I wrote half of the BMBD book before I said to myself, “What the hell am I doing?”
It’s not that I didn’t like writing it. In fact, it’s pretty good and my editor thinks it will be one of her favorites of mine (which is saying a lot, trust me). I just didn’t want to write a vampire book right then. So I went back to Zombie Alpha and I was going to work on the second book in that series.
By this time I was super burnt out on both. I looked at them like they were evil creatures that kept me away from my cock roach and coffee table. I began to resent them a little.
Meanwhile, Zombie Alpha was released and my worst launch to date! I couldn’t believe it. I thought for sure something like that would get eaten up (no pun) by my fans, by horror fans, and everything. Nope.
My whole three months plan was now shattered. What the hell do I do now. I wanted to scream.
What ended up happening was I went back to something that I knew I loved and that I knew would get my head on straight and get me excited about writing and publishing again. So I decided to start season 2 of Black Star Canyon.
Now without the pressure of gaining horror fans through my zombie and vampire books, I’m excited to write those again. I’ll do those at my leisure and I know once they get out there, and I do the funnel thing with making the first book in each series permafree, the fan base for those will grow and hopefully, it will grow with new readers who will like my ideas enough to read books I write about cock roaches and coffee tables who are now men that drive an ice cream truck.
The moral of this story, is write what you want to write, when you want to write. Don’t listen to trends or do what other people are doing. You are you. You are unique, you are an individual. Your fan base wants to read your greatest work, not half-ass copycat versions of other peoples things.
It’s fine to keep up with trends and find out what your readers want to read, but at the end of the day, if they are reading your books, it’s because your writing has hooked them. Keep that in mind. I don’t care what other writer’s say or what other podcasts or blogs say. You are you and your fans, even if you only have one right now, love what YOU do. So keep being you.
P.S. Since writing this, the sales of Zombie Alpha have finally started to go up. LOL.