Game Theory will be my last gay romance. And I’m only writing that to bring closure to the Marc and Jesse saga. Oh, and be warned – there may be no sex scenes in it at all. My ability to put Tab A into Slot B in a different scenario one more time is pretty exhausted! And people who love these characters will follow them to the end regardless. Bring on the one star reviews for “buk haz no sex,” I don’t care!
There are a lot of reasons for this, but let’s start with economics. The failure of Conning Colin really hit me hard. It’s so fucking good. And I mean Publishers Row good. And it tanked. And that was with aggressive sales and marketing work by my publisher.
My two Marc and Jesse audiobooks have sold a total of … 67 copies in the last two months. So given narrating, editing and production time, I’m making less than minimum wage on my audiobooks.
Amazon sucks, let’s not forget that. I can’t even know how many of those audiobook sales were “let’s fuck the writer by selling his $20 audiobook for $3.50” Whispersync add-ons, until the sales report comes out. Amazon changes compensation rules with one weeks’ notice. Amazon changes all its categories with zero notice. Amazon is always looking for ways to screw the content provider to give the customer another nickel in “savings.”
Piracy sucks. Now they’re not only giving books away for free… they’re republishing other people’s books in the iStore, causing night terrors among writers in KU who are now facing the wrath of Amazon for TOS violations. And I’m seeing writers whose whole working day is now about either fighting to get anyone at Apple to even respond to them, or trying desperately to convince Amazon that they didn’t break KU TOS on their own.
Drama sucks. Some authors say insensitive or offensive or just plain stupid shit, and when you call them on it, suddenly you’re the villain for “attacking other authors,” as if being a fellow author meant I was supposed to give them a pass on any bullshit they might cough up.
And let’s face it, there are a lot of gayrom readers who have their head in the sand about our horrible new political landscape. They don’t want authors to discuss “politics,” because they want to pretend that Tyler and Skyler can still have a HEA in some imaginary world where Mike Pence doesn’t exist. To them I say, if you want to read about something, someone untouched by politics, go back to reading about Lady Bumbollocks being kidnapped by a Dashing Pirate.
So to hell with all that. It’s time to move on. I’m a talented, creative person. And I’m knocking my head against a wall that’s not even cracking. And I don’t love it anymore.
And if you don’t love what you’re doing, and you’re not making any money at it…
In the last nine months, I’ve started acting, which has led to screenwriting, and now to filmmaking. And that’s where 100% of my creative energy is going in the future.
Why shouldn’t I make my own movies? Shit, what did I know about self publishing when I started, how to make an ebook or a CreateSpace book, or create my own book covers, or write a blurb. I wrote it, I edited it, and it cost me $1 to create a book ($1 for the stock photo when you get one of those package deals).
What did I know about audiobooks when I started there? What did I know about dB levels and noise floors and how to set up the ideal recording environment or how to use Audacity to mask/erase my throat clicks and slippery slurs? And I’ve done six of those now, and everything I needed to do it all cost me less than $500.
And filmmaking? The financial barriers are just as low there, too, if you set yourself to learning the technical aspects. I’ve been reading like a demon about directing and directing actors and the hidden tools of comedy etc etc etc. I’ve taken a short filmmaking class and I’m involved in a local filmmaking group. I’ve got talented actors in my acting class who know my writing, and who are ready and willing to work on whatever I create. And I’ve already got the most important skill: the ability to tell a great story. (And no, they won’t be “gay stories.” They may have gay characters but they’ll be about, well, whatever I want them to be about.)
So yeah. I’m done. I’m about to start working a day job again, and it’s not such a bad thing, I have a couple options that will be interesting. And, it’ll fund my filmmaking career!
And it feels good, to shed my skin, to move on. To leave behind all these balls and chains I’ve been dragging behind me.