Inspiration by Kingsley Amis
I write for myself, and I’m all the happier for it. Writing gives me a sense of joy as I dream up the scenes my characters must navigate. Over the years, many have asked me how I can write such horrific stories where brutality rules. Honestly, I don’t know, except that I tend to get bored with stories that gloss over the human condition and only deal with those seeking to resolve the event.
Yes, I write for myself, and it makes me happy. The other day I stumbled upon the following quote. Instantly, just like one of my characters, I was captivated.
“If you can’t annoy somebody, there is little point in writing.” – Kingsley Amis
I love this quote. Why? I feel in tune with the sentiment. Anyone who has read my books knows that I don’t usually write feel-good stories and there is always a twist to them. They are not for everyone. Nor can I envision ever writing stories that appeal to everyone.
I learned a long time ago that you can’t please everyone. You’re lucky to please most people, which I define as 51% of the population. Fifty-one percent is usually just enough to get a bill passed by our legislature and signed into law. Even then, I don’t believe that most people are happy with the result but are resigned to accept it as it probably better than the alternatives.
So, I don’t write to please everyone. I write to please me, all the while knowing that many will not. Hopefully, others will like what I write, especially if lots of people like my stories.
So, the question begs, since I write for myself, how can I know whether someone likes my stories or not?
Sales help a lot. I sell lots on a regular basis. Do I foresee one of my books making the New York Times best seller list? How about some producer picking up the option to turn one of my books into a movie? Not anytime soon, I grant you. However, I am hopeful. In fact, I feel that at least one of my books might make the cut and get optioned. Of course, I’m probably wrong. I just need to get the story noticed by at least one producer.
How does that happen? Usually, it’s word of mouth. That and also an agent. I don’t have an agent. I don’t even know how to get one. I’ll work on that one day. In the meantime, it’s word of mouth, which I do use via various means, including advertising.
Besides sales, reviews and email are what I use to determine the direction of my writing. While I post all of my reviews, comments, and direct messages weight more heavily in my decisions on whether to continue a series or write something else.
Case in point, my ‘Her Client’ and ‘Consortium’ series.
‘Her Client Trilogy’ sells well, despite the horrific circumstances of the main character and protagonist. Jolene suffers terribly at the hands of her attackers and turns the tables in the end. Yet many of the comments sent to me by my readers ask the question, “What will Jolene do next?” or they just ask me to continue her story. I seriously considered extending her story, but at this time, I’m not going to. I have too many other stories in my head waiting to get out.
In the ‘Consortium,’ I originally wrote it as a stand-alone novel, not intending to write further books about Avril. Well, my audience has spoken in both sales and comments sent to me. There is an overwhelming interest to read more of Avril saga and what she can do to overcome her situation. My readers will be pleased when I release the sequel to ‘The Trafficking Consortium.’ I am well into writing the follow-up book, hoping to release it by spring 2018. Knock on wood. (Ouch)
I Write for Myself
Whether you like my stories or not, I write for myself first and my audience second. I suspect that with this mindset, I may not make my millions but I don’t care. I know many authors who write based on their audience. That may be the path to financial success.
I’ve considered changing my style, and I finally have an idea for a feel-good story, one the general public probably buy and enjoy. But first, I need to finish the ‘Consortium’ series. I have two more books outlined, and I’m too into Avril’s story to bow out. I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.
Stay tuned and find out how it goes.
This is Richard Verry, signing off for now, needing to get back to work. Have a great day and the happiest of new years.