Yeah, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that, I could afford that Tesla I’ve been eyeing. (Who am I kidding? I could afford that Galactica full series DVD set I’ve been eyeing.) Seriously, it’s a lament that I’ve heard many times, from friends, family and potential customers. But when it came up on Facebook recently, I was recommended to check out Createspace to solve the printed book dilemma. I’ve decided to try it—but before I did, I had to do something important: Find a way to rationalize it.
The first six—for Verdant Skies, Sarcology, As the Mirror Cracks, Worldfarm One, Chasing the Light and The House of Jacquarelle—were relatively easy, as they lent themselves to nice, easily-presented blurbs. The others will require a bit more work, and possibly new art (as used for Sarcology), so they may take a bit longer to design and produce. You’ll be seeing them here, and on other sites that I frequent.
If you see one you like, feel free to share it with others; they look great on social media. Summer’s not over… someone you know must need some good books to read on vacation!
In my present attempt to find any promotional opportunities I’ve yet to pursue, one of the things I find myself returning to often is whether my initial failure was in writing books based on the science fiction I loved and wanted to read, as opposed to writing the sci-fi my potential audience wants to read.
“Give ’em what they want” is a regular mantra in entertainment, and most of the best entertainers seem to be great at giving the audience what they demand. Certainly movie blockbusters are based on this simple formula: If audiences want fast cars, sexy bodies, big explosions, loud rock music and incredibly simple plots, let’s stuff those things into a 2-hour movie and watch the greenbacks roll in. So far (though this movie season has demonstrated that even this formula may be running thin), the method has been successful for them. Other media have proven similarly successful at the formula, for instance, books based on familiar characters like Harry Potter, Jack Ryan, Bella Swan or Lisbeth Salander.
Many aspiring and independent writers have caught on to the formula, and have written series featuring recurring characters, because their readers want more stories with those characters. I’ve done it myself with the Kestral series, and it has been one of my most successful sets of books. But by the time I wrote the third book, and contemplated a fourth, I’d had to ask myself: Am I writing these stories because I want to… or because readers want me to? And why is that difference significant?