“Training Christopher Blue” is DONE! And thoughts on potato chips…

ChristopherBlue1Sending it to press tonight or tomorrow a.m.  I.  Am.  A.  MACHINE!  But you know, it’s one of those things.  Success breeds success, not just in the marketplace but in your head.  If I know that what I put out there will sell, it makes it easier to put more out there – that obstacle, that monolith, in my head that says GOOD LUCK WITH THAT is just…gone.  The level of confidence at which I’m operating now, combined with the imminent and eternal departure from dayjobbin’ (I hope it’s eternal, anyway), have energized me.

I love doing shorts.  I had to stop because Amazon’s Porpocalypse of Smutblocking killed the market for them with the invisible, you-can’t-turn-it-off “adult filter.”  Now they’re back on the table with Kindle Unlimited creating a huge market once more (people don’t mind reading a short story if they’re not really “paying” for it).  My $tepfucker$ are gallivanting across Europe now, making my readers happier and happier with each episode.  And this one?  Well, we’ll see…but I think we’re all ready to see a billionaire or two put in his place, instead of always being the one on top, oui oui?

The greatest thing about this revival of shorts is the freedom it’s going to give me to experiment.  All smut and romance writers are looking for the “next big thing,” the trend that will make us all rich.  But unless someone goes out there first, and CREATES the next big thing, there’s no trend to follow… Writing a novel that tries to break new genre ground is a big risk of time and effort, whereas a story?  Well shit, if something that I knock out in a few days falls flat, so what?  It was worth the gamble.

I wish I could say it’s all cake and roses on the novel front, too.  It’s funny, but “Have a Little Faith in Me” is getting dinged by a lot of people, all for the exact same reason – the lack of a long courtship between Rocky and Dex after the backstories are complete.  This is the first time ever that I’ve gotten a bunch of 1 or 2 star reviews on a novel.  And it’s not that the book isn’t a quality product, no – it’s just because it didn’t adhere to the format that people expect.

Now, this is not a disparagement, but the facts as I see them:  There are two kinds of readers.  Kettle Chip readers and Pringles readers.  Kettle Chip readers like surprises, they like a good story, and they’re even willing to forgive what I call the “Goldfinch Error” – I suppose like Donna Tartt’s latest, I have a strong middle but (for some) I didn’t keep the wheels in motion through the ending.  But Kettle Chip readers are willing to forgive departures from the template, if the whole thing is a “good read,” a good experience.  Each chip doesn’t need to be perfect.

Pringles readers, however, want each Pringle to be exactly like the last.  They have a set of dramatic conventions and expectations that are almost Aristotelian in structure, and they can smell departure and they instantly don’t like it.  Regardless of any other qualities the novel may have, departure from that structure is a death sentence.

I can’t bend over backwards to please everyone.  There will always be backstory in my novels.  And there will always be people who think that’s “boring” no matter what.  So it goes!  But I do NOT want to see my next novel beat down in the rankings by a bunch of bad reviews.  So I will adjust.  Somewhat.  This is commercial art, baby, and it’s my full time job now.

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