Yes, it’s true. 7000 words so far on… HAPPY FAMILIES, the sequel to Stabbers! In which Adam’s “perfect fucking family,” seen on his living room walls by baffled anthropologists Brian and Carrie in book one, is revealed to be maybe sort of not so happy after all, or happy at some terrible price…
For the first time ever, I’m not abandoning a series because “there’s no money in it.” Why? Details below.
I’m pretty sure now that there’s no money in anything I write. I mean fuck, Stabitha is amazing. Brilliant. It takes every serial-killer-thriller cliche and shoots them in the head.
Which is probably why it didn’t sell. People want the Pringle, the same goddamn chip out of the can every time, the comfort of the familiar, the predictable: Hero Cop is Tortured by Unsolved Murder of Beautiful [white] Girl, Brilliant Serial Killer Taunts Him with (as Brian put it) Letters Full of Wingdings Put Through the Wood Chipper to Create Mysteriously Coded Message That Leads to a Da Vinci Code Type Pursuit as BSK Creates Ever More Baroque Murder Scenes.
Fucking boring, amiright? But… a few more caps here… The People Have Spoken. And if a serial killer is to be the narrator, he has to only kill “bad people.” Well, as Brian says, you can think of him, if you like, as a social justice warrior for only killing horrible rich people. In his mind, they are bad people! As a five star customer review said, “Who are we to judge?”
There’s no money to be made on the sequels, that’s for sure. Or, maybe, on anything. You cannot make money on Amazon without writing a Pringle (or stuffing a KU book with 3,000 pages of an alleged paranormal romance that just happens to have “bonus content” in the form of a South Beach Diet ripoff written in English as a Scammer’s Second Language).
You cannot make money anywhere without bang bang banging the marketing drum as loud and as often as you can. Hell, I even tried that with Stabs. I’m still $700 in the red from my ad bill for the book.
So there’s a few reasons why I’m finishing the trilogy anyway…
First off, Stabitha IS fucking brilliant. Brian O’Connor is that character that writers dream of, the once in a lifetime character who readers (at least, some of the 200 people who bought the book) never forget. Sometimes to reassure myself, I dip into it at a random point, and… I can’t stop turning the pages. I’m riveted!
And after 20 novels (if you count 4 or 5 story series as a “novel” and I do), there isn’t a one of them that I ever go back and reread more than once or twice. Except this one. Some happy charity will reap the rewards, I imagine, long after I’m dead and leave them the rights to the Brian books, when they’re finally “discovered.”
I owe it to my talent, before I move on to screenwriting or filmmaking or whatever else I can do with my talent to MONETIZE IT, to let Brian finish talking. And he finishes in book three.
You know, even if this was a gigantic hit, it’s… a trilogy. The end. I will never take a popular series and, as so many do, put out a brilliant book, then a less brilliant one, then less, then less, until I’m phoning one in once a year for a check long after the character’s lost all freshness, appeal, delight.
Second, The Father Wolf. My father’s been dead nearly 20 years, and yet… Most of my novels have reflected my obsession with bad fathers, my imaginary good fathers, all sorts of complicated father/son relationships. I’ve tried to address my own (Brian style caps!) Father Issues all this time, and yet, I still haven’t Achieved Closure. There’s really only one way to do that, I see now.
To do what Brian needs to do. What anyone who reads Stabitha knows will happen in the final book, as plain as day. To kill my father, at least on the page. To shovel the last dirt on his grave. To be able to move on, at last.
It’s going to be hard! Writing the next two. Stabbers was written in the white heat of absolute confidence that this will be The One! The one to float my financial boat forever. To put not only the Father Wolf but the Money Wolf in the grave.
And it’s OUT of Kindle Unlimited on September 23! ALL my books are out by then. KU is a scam, a racket, the gingerbread house Lord Bezos lured us into years ago, and now the witch has us in the oven, yum yum, delicious, delicious content providers roasted over the coals by a company that fucks all its workers, writers or warehouse, for the sake of another nickel to add to the owner’s Dragon Hoard.
I’ll be back with Draft2Digital, distributing to Apple, B&N (are they still in business?), and everywhere else, Kobo, Overdrive, et cetera. KU has screwed us over and over, and I can’t tell you how many times my bowels have turned to water when Amazon sends an email about “exciting changes” to KU that will dramatically reduce my income once more.
I’m exhausted. Trying to make a living at this. Getting that gingerbread in the glory days (even one $20,000 month!) of KU circa 2014-15, and then having them TOTALLY CHANGE the compensation scheme with, in one case, a few days’ notice. Having them finally catch up to scammers after they’ve drained the fund for six months or more… and making that radical change with days’ notice with an alteration that punishes the just and the unjust alike, kill them all, let God sort ’em out.
So, if I can’t write novels for money anymore, I can only write them for pleasure. Writing novels has become what it was in the Victorian era. Either you’re a Lady or Gentleman of Leisure, writing to amuse One’s Friends, with no care for Filthy Lucre, or you’re a Grub Street Blockhead, watching your publisher take all the money, and/or pirates abroad, reprinting your work without a penny going to you.
I’m getting good at screenwriting! And directing! Crunch episode two will be out in a FEW WEEKS! Here’s episode one! Acting, too, but there’s no money in that until I lose 20 pounds – I’m not a “type” right now, I’m 55 but I’m neither the silver-haired Daddy/corporate tyrant type, nor the slim Trivago Guy/Viagra Dude type. And roles are cast to type, giving people what they expect a character to look like. Pringles 🙂
And hey, Draft 7 of the A Little Too Broken screenplay got a 7.9 from the last contest judge, and it’s getting pretty damn good. Many hard and valuable lessons have been learned in adapting it for the screen. Some big plot changes that, honestly, I wish I’d made in the novel…
It was the first time I ever wrote anything that went through multiple iterations, with the help of other people. In fact, everything before this screenplay, and Stabbers, was written in a white heat and published as nearly first draft, with no feedback from anyone. Now I’ve got creative friends who give good note, and I take ’em.
So, creatively if not financially, my work’s getting better and better. [IRONY ALERT: Stabitha, the book that went through the most revisions and critique sessions, that got worked over the hardest… is the one that’s made less money than anything else I’ve ever published… go figure that…] I just need to find a path, a place, where I can monetize that…