I recently came across the term polarizing on one of the few television shows I watch. In the program, the main character mentioned that he was a polarizing figure. You either liked or disliked him. There was no middle ground, and that view of himself pleased him.
The way the character talked about his polarizing personality rang true with me. While I don’t consider myself to be polarizing, I know that my books and stories are. I know that they are not for everyone. They are not the feel-good stories that many prefer. Instead, they deal with uncomfortable situations and violence.
Writing my first two books, ‘The Taste of Honey’ and ‘Broken Steele,’ I didn’t consider my reader much. I wrote what felt like were good stories. While I kept my audience in mind, I loved the scenes and characters and needed to tell their stories. There isn’t that much violence in them, there is graphic sex but not much brutality.
When I was sure that writing was a vocation, I studied my potential audience. The primary issue was finding a niche market that had little competition. Sure, I can write feel-good stories, full of sexual situations and adult language. The trouble is that there are literally millions of books in that category with tens of thousands of authors writing in that field. I estimated my odds of breaking into the top ten of that list as nil to none. Not at least without an agent promoting me.
No, I needed to find a market where there weren’t too many competitors in my market. After a few months of research, I realized that there was a market for the kind of stories I wanted to write. I discovered that most of the author’s danced around the actual crime or violent action, using the story to imply what happened to the victims. Yet, I discovered that the audience in this field wanted to read about and feel the pain, brutality, and anguish suffered by the victims. ‘Hmmm,’ I wondered. Should this be where I concentrate my energies?
Testing my Hypothesis
That’s about the time I thought of a home invasion story and applied my theory to the marketplace. To test out my hypothesis, I wrote and published ‘Her Client’ and sat back to watch what happened. Much to my surprise, it was an instant hit. It was cheap to buy and an easy read, filled with more graphic violence and sex, rivaling many graphic novels. I decided I was onto something and wrote two more follow-up stories following the main character throughout her transformation from victim to vigilante.
As much as I like this trilogy, I knew it was still a polarizing series of books. Jolene, the main character in the stories, goes through a horrendous graphic assault which nearly kills her. It’s only through the intervention of her passed on best friend Julie that she finds her way back to the living and takes her pound of flesh from her tormentors. Jolene suffers throughout and becomes a changed person. As an avenging angel, she becomes the polar opposite of the person she was before her initial assault.
Now I had a trilogy which I could use as a launching board to free or low-cost options into my world. Continuing on, the writing bug strong within me, I wrote another book ‘The Breakup’ in the same tenor as ‘Her Client.’ Granted, it is more of a novella rather than a full novel and not all that successful, but it contains the same graphic violence as my previous stories. The reader will get the sense of what Ginny feels as she discovers just that her boyfriend means by dancing.
Once again, because of the subject matter, you will either like my stories or not. There will be no middle ground. My stories are polarizing, just as are my new series of books from the ‘Consortium’ series. You will love them or hate them. What I don’t want from you is indifference. Indifference will kill the career.
As I grow as a writer, my stories and characters are more complicated. Sure, if you love my stories, you’ll love the sex and violence. You’ll also read touching emotions such as caring and love. I’m instilling several new conflicts in the characters. Some are subtle, and others may be more in your face. Conflict makes for a good story, because without it, why read the book?
My books are of the type you love to hate or hate to love.
If you are interested in a feel-good romantic suspense thrillers, don’t read my stories.
But if you enjoy complex stories and characters you love, or love to hate, then by all means, read my stories. They are available on Amazon and at your favorite eBook retailer.