Essay–A question of popularity

There are quite a few of you who discovered me via The Street series. Most of you found me via Tattoo or Closet Treats. Some of you love Garaaga’s Children and that’s your favorite series of mine. Others? Tony Downs.

Writers like my nemesis Jake Bible actually hold “elections” to see what he’ll write next. He put out a bunch of general descriptions of stories and asked his readers to vote on which they’d like him to write next. Interesting idea to be sure.

When I announced I was working on Flames, another Fiends tale, a number of you messaged me or left comments you were glad to see I was wrapping up The Street and moving on to the kinds of stories I started with. A few readers will no doubt hem and haw about the fact I’m actually moving away from The Street. Basically? I can’t please everyone; and I know this.

I don’t have a publisher. That means I don’t have an editor breathing down my neck to write another story that’s selling. The idea is laughable anyway because my sales are so bad. Yes, that’s a marketing problem and yes, it’s taking longer to fix than I’d like.

So how do I choose what I want to write next? Simple–the story that’s alive in my brain is the next one chosen. I have at least 60k words you haven’t seen before. And these tales are “done” with the exception of editing and artwork. So why haven’t I released them?

Basically, I’m waiting. I’m waiting to have the new covers. I’m waiting on the branding. And most importantly, I’m waiting for the right time.

I have three universes besides “The Street.” These series will intersect and have already begun to do so (if you’re paying attention). I’m fighting with the idea of releasing some modern stories that dovetail with some of the ancient history I’ve written, but I’m hesitant about doing so for a couple of reasons.

First, those tales would lock my timeline. Second, the stories that take place between modern times and the advent of Christianity haven’t yet been written. So I’m loathe to get them out there. Those of you that listened to “Marker” have an idea of what’s coming. Or at least you think you do. But I have a long way to go before I get to where I need to be.

Flames is a transitional story in the Fiends series. When it’s published and podcasted, you’ll have a better idea of what I mean. Once I write Track 9 later this year and perhaps Crusaders, the timelines will start to hammer themselves out. Once that’s done, then I can focus on getting those shorter novelettes ready for your reading pleasure (or horror).

I have said again and again that I want to become a real publishing company. Once Flames is released, its reception and sales will dictate some of the moves I make. Right now, since my sales have flatlined, I’m not certain what’s most likely to make an impact. Hopefully Flames will live up to my expectations, as well as yours.

So what happens if Flames takes off and sells like crazy? Do I bust my ass to get more tales from the Fiends universe out there? Do I crank out some new short stories for another collection? Or do I regroup and try and push Garaaga’s Children to the top of the stack? Questions, questions, questions.

These are the kinds of issues I have to think about. The “popularity” of a series has a strong pull to move a writer in what tale they craft next. At the same time, I have to write what’s speaking to me. I feel the pull from Garaaga. The ancient deity is alive and well in my skull and I can’t wait to incorporate the ideas that the void has been sending me. Crusaders will be a much more complex book than I’m used to writing. It will be a challenge and a gamble. The fact it will piss off anyone who has their faith invested in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is just one of the dangers of writing the book.

Fiends is low risk. The genre of supernatural horror is alive and well. Mystery mixed with the supernatural thriller? GOLD. If I do it right, market it right, then even Closet Treats should start to sell.

I’ve loved working in The Street universe because the stories are so easy to write. But I have different characters, different plots, and different genres that call to me. And I need to get busy putting them out there. So please indulge my 180° spin.

I’m spending quite a bit of money and time putting Oscar’s stories together for you. Why? Because my readers and listeners said they wanted it. It’s my gift to y’all for supporting me and the podcast and all the other stories you helped make popular in the podosphere. And even if it doesn’t sell all that well, it’s okay. It’s something I want to put out there to reward your support.

Regardless of sales, I’ll keep writing. I’ll keep working in my worlds with my characters. They’ll either succeed or they’ll fail. But they’re my creations. I’ll do my best to make them as perfect as I can and entertain my readers. But they are talking to me. And I’m listening.

3 thoughts on “Essay–A question of popularity”

  1. While having fans vote for my next novel was an interesting idea, it was also a failure. I’ll admit it. It garnered a lot of attention, and people voted for sure, but (as a few more experienced writers warned me would happen) when it came time to fund the novel- it tanked. Reality is what reality is. That’s why i am with two publishers now and listen to their advice. Could they be wrong? You bet! But time will tell. Publishing is all a great mystery that no one has a handle on. Always has been, always will be. We as writers just have to go where we are pulled, shoved, moved, directed, devined. And try not to go too crazy while doing it. 😉

  2. Yes, I think I see what’s coming. BUT I trust your vile and twisted as it may be. That means I trust you to write good books. Do I have a favorite: YES. Do I enjoy the other books you’ve written: YES!
    My taste is eclectic. I’m ready for new material. I’ll trust you to pick it and write it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.