Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I'm returning to writing good books

I am often confronted with my lack of success as an author. Just the other day I learned that at least 3 more of my fellow erotica authors are making over $200k a year. And they don't earn their money the way I do it, with business sense and smarts. They just write books that readers want to read. Man, if I had to rely on that, I'd probably still be an office assistant.

But every so often I get a review that confuses me. Ok, I've accepted that I'm not that great of a writer. I get that I lack that instinctual understanding of what a reader wants to read. I understand that I am not a woman and that it truly takes a woman to know what a woman wants. I get all of that. But some times I get reviews that make me think that I don't understand what I don't understand.

I'll probably sell about 40,000 books this year, but relatively speaking, my readership is small. But yes, with that many books sold, I certainly have fans. But I can't understand why my fans like my books when so many others reject it so clearly.

A couple of days ago I had a fan write me and say:  "I have read one of you books before and STEAMY and GOOD was an understatement." Seriously? If that's true, why do I struggle to sell more than 100 of any of my books in English on Amazon? Another fan wrote: "Pen Name, please keep writing these wonderful stories that give us that ever beautiful glimpse into another life and time." Come on, really?

How can these people feel this way? How could they like these stories so much when so many others won't even give me the time of day? If they were to get a glimpse of my $200k friend's stories would they be gone like yesterday's trash? Do they only like my stuff because they haven't found the really good stuff yet? Because I tell you that my retention of readers after reading one of my free books isn't as high as the most successful writers on my forum.

Anyway, that's what I have been thinking about for a while; my ineptitude as a writer. And those constant thoughts of inadequacy have not made it easy for me to get back to writing. But I am getting back to writing. My last story, which was my first story in almost a year, is not selling well. It is doing as well as the last one that I wrote before that. Both have not performed well.

But in spite of all of that, I am actually going to return to writing. And not short story writing that has given me my living for the past 2 years, but real writing. It probably won't be very steamy, or sexy. But it will have interesting characters with clearly drawn goals. Every chapter will end with a cliff hanger, and I'm going to try and make the reader cry. 

The story is going to mean something to me like the first erotica story that I ever wrote. I thought that story was good back then, and I still think it is. I'm hoping that I will feel the same way about this new one. I don't know how good of a writer I am, but I'm going to give it my all.

Ya know, writing is a funny thing. I've hit #1 in my categories 4 different times in three different countries, yet it couldn't be clearer to me how inadequate my writing is. And I'm sure that people reading this will say, "you've had four #1's? Doesn't that mean that you're a good writer?" But the answer is, no it doesn't. There are a number of people that make a lot of money on my forum. I am not one of them. Readers let you know how they feel about your work with their dollars. And clearly I'm just not that good. I try, but I'm just not. 

But maybe the next book though. Maybe with this next book series English speakers will say to me,  "We like your stuff. And we like it so much that we've told our friends and they bought it too." I don't know. Maybe it's too much to ask. But maybe.

I just came back from watching the movie 'Ender's Game'. I read the book. The movie isn't good. It's like cliff notes from the book. The bigoted author of Ender's Game really understands how to tell a story. Thinking about that is what brought this on. I guess that i just lack that story structure instinct. I can recognize it, but I just can't get myself to replicate it... And that kind of sucks.

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