It’s not Writer’s Block…it’s Pubber’s Block

Okay, sure, most of my energy lately has gone into the audiobook, so there’s that. But, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything, or even researched anything. I was going to do Colum V, and I got some research done, but then… bweh. I’ve been reading the most fantastic book, Future Crimes, which has been a total Plot Bunny Farm for Marc and Jesse, so it’s made me excited about the next story in that series, in the abstract. But when I think about starting to write that… bweh.

It’s not writer’s block. Hell, if ideas were sperm, my motility is so high that I could retire on the earnings from my “donations” to the Creative Fertility Clinic. It’s pubber’s block. The realization that what I’m writing isn’t selling, a combination of market forces that include Amazon’s ever more fucked-up KU system (see here, and see this preposterous MM book in KU, padded out with…BBW romances; I can’t even bother to keep up with fresh posts on this…) and my increasing departure from “trope” fiction (rock star, football player) into my own more personally satisfying pastures like cyberthrillers.

I sent the Wired guy the review copy of Strength on Monday, and five days is a geologic age in Internet time, so I should probably stop checking the proverbial mailbox. Busy people are busy and things go on to do lists and so on… God, it would have been so nice to finally have a Miracle Day.

For me, the Miracle Day, the “Calgon, Take Me Away!” moment, isn’t rescue from work. It’s not easy money for nothing. I love my job. I fuckin’ love writing. I hate promotion. I hate getting out there every day and singing, “Monorail…Monorail…MONORAIL!” I love doing interviews…if someone else sets them up. I would love to do a book tour (meatspace)…if someone else did the logistics. But I don’t want to be spammin’ 70 Facebook groups a day and keeping a spreadsheet of who reviewed my book last time so I can sub the next one and buying Facebook ads when I probably don’t really know what the fuck I’m doing there anyway…

No, the Miracle Day, the I Won The Lottery Day, is the day that I don’t have to shout to be heard anymore. The Miracle Day comes when I can “just write.” When I’m getting enough attention that my work can get serious financial traction, that I can find an audience big enough to keep the wolf from the door.

I know. Every really successful self-pubber will sniff and say, “That’s not the job.” But let’s be super honest. The most successful self-pubbers are actually marketing geniuses who turned to fiction as an income stream, who write to trope and trend (or, more recently, just put a bunch of shit up to game KU).

I’m one of the writers who turned to self-pubbing as an alternative to my manuscript becoming yet another motion in the case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce, quietly decomposing at the bottom of some overstacked hoarder hell of an agent’s office.

It’s the overwhelming sense of fatigue I get when I think of publishing again, of the all singing, all dancing days, and for what? A handful of nickels?

My rescue fantasy is simple. Just, you know, a Gizmodo post that says, “This Gay Romance Novel is the Best Cyberthriller You’ll Read This Year.” Or some such. My fantasy life is full of headlines I’m ready to supply to any willing journalist.

Anyway. Thanks for letting me bitch! For now, all my Miracle Day chips have been moved across the table to the audiobook…cross your fingers…and toes…

2 Comments on It’s not Writer’s Block…it’s Pubber’s Block

  1. I have too many opinions on this and not enough experience to really comment, yet. But I’m thinking, from following your posts, that if you focus on making money to live on from your editing work, that’d be a start. Stop trying to conform to genres and selling to an audience of idiots that you don’t really want reading your work anyway. If you enjoy writing cyberthrillers, and they happen to include a gay romance, fu¢k it, label it as Thriller Fiction, period. See what happens. OMG, a reviewer is appalled to find a M/M storyline within! He blogs about it, or writes a scolding review, which drums up publicity. Without any marketing effort from you. (Then maybe someone out there will see that the existing genre classifications suck donkey d¡¢k, and change needs to happen). Maybe another reader reads it and is GLAD to find a gay romance within a cyberthriller, tells his friends and writes a glowing review, which drums up publicity. Without any marketing efforts from you. Can’t you do an experiment like this: write what you want, period? Audience be damned. Tropes be damned. Trends that fade in a week and date your material be damned. Put your work-for-yourself book up on Amazon et al. List in the description what the book is about, that it includes a gay romance, and whatever else it includes. Sit back, so to speak, and work on your editing jobs to pay the bills. See what happens. How many copies sell, marketed in the traditional way, in a month? How many reviews resulted? What happened the second month? If no copies sell, then you can always hop back on the marketing campaign chores. Would it really hurt to offer the book for sale “quietly” for a month or two, as you continue with your editing jobs? THAT is an experiment I’d love to see the results of. Just like the KU experiment; it’d be worth the learning experience I would think. Like how they say to dance like nobody is watching; write like no one is reading. Write like you have no intention of marketing, no intention of becoming a best-selling author from it. You just may be pleasantly surprised.

    • Good ideas! Yeah I’ve had my outlet as Adam Vance, science fiction writer, for a while, with no promo and no expectations… It’s allowed me to do something I love purely for pleasure. I’ve boxed myself in by quitting my day job to be an MM writer for profit… Which at the time was a good idea! Now, you’re right, I’m at a point where if MM isn’t selling for me, why not move to another genre that won’t sell either, but… Has a much bigger potential upside down the reload. The chasm between those is the need to keep the cats fed etc. during the transition. Editing helps, but the rates you can charge at a self pub level aren’t sustainable unless all your time and energy goes into it, which leaves little for writing. So yeah, right now I’m bouncing around the box in my head…

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