Another week or two and, finito! And, another look at the pic of my inspiration for Nikolas, well, just because… This book is good. It’s got gangsters, a wicked stepmother, a bad boy, gunfights, revolutions, and a royal wedding. If this doesn’t make any money? I’m at a complete and total loss to figure out what the fuck ever will.
And yes, like any of my books, it’s researched – the kingdoms are actually plausible nations sliced out of regions of Austria and Hungary, the cities in which the action takes place are real, right down to the street names and the layout of the grounds behind palaces, the action at Davos, including “translators,” is real. As always with semi-preposterous stories, if you make the rest of the story credible, the reader will suspend disbelief around the crazier bits.
Thinking on Marc and Jesse and Bitcoin/Crypto, I distilled the three phases of novelist research:
Phase I, you don’t know shit.
Phase II, you know enough shit to figure out when someone else doesn’t know shit, and you can point and laugh.
Phase III, you know enough shit that nobody can point and laugh. You’re not gonna get a degree in the subject, but you’ve got enough knowledge to invent something plausible.
Having watched that “Good Wife” episode on Bitcoin, I know I’m at Level II right now. And since the mechanics of this plot are entirely dependent on me not making a fool of myself, I need to get to Level III before I can really outline the book.
I’m actually pretty pleased that my Delusions of Affect are a bit under control with A Great Prince. Every single book I’ve ever written has been written under the influence of the certainty that This Time, For Sure, I’m going to get rich rich rich! Which is great when you’re writing it, because it keeps you fired up…not so great when the book tanks at the box office.
Ironically, the heteromance that really just may do that is the first time that I haven’t been sure of that. I guess I’ve been hit in the head enough times now to get the message. I’ve learned from Werewolves of Brooklyn not to do giveaway contests on blog tours – over a thousand people signed up for the giveaway, which means that’s 1,000 people who didn’t buy the book because they had a chance to get it for free. Four thousand people got it for free on the BookBub, which didn’t lead to a surge in sales. Yeah, overall? I’ve sold, maybe…five hundred copies of Werewolves. People who read it, love it, but…I can’t get enough people to read it.
And okay. Even though my delusions are in check, I DID think about what I would do if I DID get rich off a book. Would I still write books if I didn’t have to?
Of course. I mean, what else would I do with the rest of my life? But, I’d write what I want, with no worries, and no hurries. I’d write the Werewolves sequel entirely as backstory, all about Albeus joining his first “court” in the 1860s, how he met Duke Daniel, and to hell with saleability. I’d write a story with an English knight and a French knight, set in the Hundred Years War, knowing that nobody buys historicals…but that it didn’t matter. I’d write my Adam Vance science fiction series and never care if it made money.
Money is freedom, certainly in America where the social safety net is designed to do no more than kill you slowly. Money is freedom from fears about health care costs, freedom from constant worry about bills. In the abstract, sure, I can always have “perfect creative freedom” – I can get a job with health insurance and slog away in Cubicle City to pay the bills, and write what I want with no expectation of financial success.
But otherwise? I really need a hit record, man. This time for sure, I’m telling you, this is the one…