Tuesday, November 26, 2013

In France, I'm selling as many books as John Grisham

Holy Crap! Well, my intention for this blog was a lot different a few minutes ago. I will get back into what I was going to say, but just now I decided to find out the ranking of my lastest release in France so that I could reference it here.

Apparently my latest release has entered the top 100 at Amazon France. And I don't mean the top 100 erotica books, or the top 100 romance books. It has entered the top 100 best seller list on all of Amazon. My 30 page short story is just below John Girsham's latest 466 page, month old release and above Hunger Games... even with the latest Hunger Games movie just out. (Holy crap, did I just write that?) That's um... that's a new achievement for me.

That makes what I'm about to say even more tragic. A few days ago I decided to do something that I never do; I read a few pages by 2 of my bestselling colleagues. Both are stories that made it to the New York Times bestselling list. And you know what? I now understand why my stories don't make it to the bestselling lists in English. My stories lack something that I can't give them.

And you know what else is true, they lack something that I could never give them. I could probably write for another 10 years and never be able to give them what I read in those stories. Authors have styles and that style is outside of my capability... mostly because I'm not a woman.

But at least I understand it now. At least I get that I will never be great at what I do. I understand that I have the ability to do fine. After all, one of my short stories is one of the 100 most popular books in all of France. That's not nothing. But at the same time, that same story has only sold 13 copies in English this month. That certainly doesn't represent the beginnings of greatness.

But now that I have accepted my own lack of potential greatness, I feel a little bit more at ease with myself. I am barely more than ordinary. My writing is barely more than ordinary. Ok, fine. I accept it. And I think that I am reinforcing my ordinariness right now with the current story I'm writing.

It's interesting, with my new development team and their schedule, I have managed to return to the life that I had back in 2009 when I first started writing. I wake up in the morning and don't check my email until after I've completed my writing for the day. I'm not even writing that much, but it feels kinda good.

But what I am writing... Ok, a little background. I am in constant search of a hit in English. One of my bestselling friends told me that I should write a longer erotic romance with shape shifters in it. It is all the rage right now. I decided to do that. That is what I've been working on. But even as I'm writing it, I see its flaws.

It's not that the flaws are that I'm a poor story craftsman or that I'm not constructing great sentences. The problem is that my subject matter is not bestselling subject matter. I'm writing the equivalent of literary fiction for erotica, and lord knows nobody wants to read literary fiction.

But I can't help it. Either I can write erotica, or I can loosen my constraints and let loose what's in side of me. Does this current story have enough twists and turns? Yes. Am I filling it with enough real life experiences to round out its emotional breath? Yes. Does it hit the sub-genres that are popular? Yes.

But as I wrote the scene where the main girl is being beat up in the locker room by a group of thug girls and then is being bloodied by her mother, I wonder how I can expect anyone to want to read this. Granted, I'm writing a New Adult story and one of the defining characteristics of New Adult is that the main character is troubled, think Hunger Games. But the abuse that the characters usually experience doesn't appear on screen. Yet here I am putting the abuse front and center for all of my readers to squirm at. This is not good, but this is the story that is waiting to come out of me.

I can't stop writing it though. I can't just turn my attention to a sequel to the latest French bestseller because there is something deep inside of me telling me that writing this current story is a part of my greater path. For years now I've been planning on writing the story about the abused girl who in a moment of weakness abandons the only person who lovers her to explore the universe but then can't get back home. And in part, the erotic Werewolf story that I'm currently writing is practice for that.

My big future story is from the perspective of a young woman. I've had real hesitations about doing that considering I'm a man, and my current story is just that. I've hesitated because I didn't know how I would handle the fact that the girl is abused and in the current story I'm practicing handling that.

Of course, it's not like anyone will want to read my future story either. But I've been planning my future story for years. I am really trying to make those stories my legacy. I consider them my only real shot at immortality. The story line is grand enough to be loved, but there is no telling if I have the special something it takes to breath that unique flavor of life into it to make it wonderful.

There might not be anything I can do to make that series wonderful, but the story that I'm writing currently is at least an attempt to give my future project what it takes to thrive. I would like to think that by writing my current story, though it has no chance of success, I'm increasing the probability of future success.

You know what, after writing all of this, I'm actually feeling better about writing this Werewolf story that no one will read. I am not a great writer. I accept that. I need practice if I'm going to perhaps be better than I am right now. People usually spend money to attend school to become better at stuff. But not only do I have enough money coming in that I could afford to take this break, but there is a chance that I could make a few bucks when my current story is done. All of my stories make some money even if it's just $500.

So yeah, I actually feel good about what I'm doing now. The rest of this year I'm considering as time off to better my craft and better prepare myself for my shot at glory. And perhaps the software I'm creating will sustain my finances as my income dips due to lack of releases. Who knows. But hopefully when I end my current story, I will be a better writer because of it and my future story, the one that is supposed to make me immortal, will be better because of it as well. But, who knows.

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