The Future of Bedlam

Cover Art by Jon Hunsinger

Cover Art by Jon Hunsinger

Still on sale for 99 cents!

So, I’m trying to figure out the best way to broach this subject without causing a lot of trouble for me.  As some may know, there are those who peruse this blog and leap at any opportunity to tell me why I should quit.  This is a post that could give them some ammunition.  Might as well be blunt.

Chasing Bedlam isn’t selling very well.  People seemed excited about it and I did some precision promos on sites.  Many came up to tell me that they bought the book and review it.  Always good to hear . . . until you see that the numbers on Amazon don’t add up.  I’m left wondering if things weren’t recorded or the hype around the release was fairly empty.  I mean, it was great that people were excited.  Yet, that kind of made the fall a little more painful.  Especially when you add in how many times I was told by someone that they read Crossing Bedlam, loved Crossing Bedlam, and would review Crossing Bedlam soon.  Then nothing.  I can handle a person saying they’ll review when they get to reading it or reading it and saying that they won’t review for some reason.  Just don’t promise an author a review and never deliver.

Sure, this sounds like whining and . . . well, it kind of is, but I’m going somewhere with all of this.  Legends of Windemere books are still selling.  This is what worries me.  I can’t keep that series going forever and I refuse to crank out mindless side stories and origins instead of exploring the world.  The stories simply aren’t there for me.  So, what if the Bedlam issue means I can’t move on from Windemere?  Will the vampire stories I have next get anywhere?  Should I retire Lloyd and Cassidy since they aren’t getting any attention outside of the blog?

This is a struggle because I can’t force people to read my books and Amazon has made it really hard to get reviews.  It’s got my head spinning and that’s not counting when I consider that I promised an Ichabod Brooks collection.  Mostly this keeps coming back to Bedlam.  In a way, that was the test to see if I could succeed outside of Luke, Nyx, and the other champions.  Quite frankly, I’m failing even though I’m doing the same marketing tactics.  I really don’t want to make them blog only like Dawn Addison or retire them because I enjoy writing their stories.  Yet, my time is short and running out.  Should I have just revealed a big character change that was supposed to be a twist, but might draw some people in?  That reeks of desperation in a way.

I really want to be an author who writes more for fun than money, but the pressure to ‘grow up’ and ‘get a real job’ is mounting.  I’ve done the math and examined my life.  A full-time job would be the end of my author career.  People keep telling me not to give up, but there’s so much to tackle.  My son would be with his grandparents or in after-school programs, which means I only see him for bedtime and then weekends.  My wife and I will be drained from our jobs and trying to spend time together.  My parents will want me to help around the house.  Not to mention working out, errands, laundry, family events, holidays, and . . . where the fuck would writing fall into this?  People seem to ignore the fact that I tried this path for ten years before my son was born and it was a mess.  In fact, it was such a mess that nobody liked dealing with me because I refused to hide my misery.  I never had time for writing beyond outlines and maybe a chapter section every few weeks.  There was always noise and activity around and that was when I had an office area.  Yeah, I’m no longer sugar coating things.  This is what I’ve been battling since the beginning and my ‘whining’ usually results in me being told when I should be quiet.  Well, I’m getting both pissed and depressed now.

Maybe I’m overreacting and Bedlam will improve or the vampires will have better luck once Windemere is done.  Yet, I don’t see any evidence of this.  I don’t see any moment where things will settle down and get easier.  They’re looking like they’ll get exceedingly tougher and I’ve been steadily losing support as time goes on.  At this point, part of me is thinking of simply limping to the finish line and making a decision then.  That doesn’t leave me anything to do this year.  I’ll probably write Derailing Bedlam after the April chaos and I’m still wondering about writing that ‘mystery’ story.  Honestly, here’s the mystery:

Lloyd and Cassidy vs Trump

Now, you see why I was being secretive and claiming I couldn’t publish it.  This isn’t exactly Trump though.  When I planned the first book in Spring 2015, I made some future plots and villains.  One was an exiled man getting sent back to the Shattered States and claiming to be the one to unite the country.  He was arrogant, charismatic, wealthy, vindictive, and fairly short-sighted.  No matter what I did, the character kept reminding me of Trump and my desire to avoid politics in my stories made me scrap it.  Yet, current events keep drawing me back to the idea as a method of catharsis.  The villains would be exaggerated versions of people, but you can figure it out pretty easily.  So it was suggested that I write it and share it with friends.  This wouldn’t be a money-making project since I don’t think publishing it would be wise given the atmosphere.  All I want to do is make people smile and happy with my stories, but without making myself miserable.  Guess we’ll see what happens.  Maybe I can make it a summer project since I’ll have less time to write then.

Anyway, that’s the mental vomit of stress and ideas that’s been plaguing me all week.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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37 Responses to The Future of Bedlam

  1. Not much to say here. I just assembled my taxes and spent much more on my writing than I made from it. I relate it to greens fees, in a way. Were I a golfer, I would spend even more and not get any income out of it.

    In other news, I have to write the stories I want to read. It’s why I’ve never dabbled in a series. My mind goes too many directions at once, and I’ll shift from fantasy to science fiction to paranormal at the snap of a finger. My next project is screaming so loud that I’m having trouble focusing on Yak Guy, and it’s close to the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Got my taxes organized, but have to get them in. A lot of marketing stuff, but not as much payoff as I would have liked. Need to cut back and see if I can do more with less. Never heard of green fees though. To be fair, my knowledge of golf stems from watching Caddyshack.

      I’m the same way with writing. I need to enjoy what I’m doing or it doesn’t come out right. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always mean I’m writing in the ‘trendy’ genre or style. God only knows how many times people have tried to convince me to write the popular stuff to get my name out there and then do what I enjoy. It doesn’t sound smart to me only because of the risk that I’d get trapped in a genre that I don’t even like.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We have to enjoy the stories or no one else will either. I try to avoid some things like vampires and zombies just because they’ve been done to death. I enjoy them, but think they’ve had their run for a while. I still dabble with them, but can’t risk a whole book on them. I had a vamp short story in my last collection. The jungle men in Panama were zombie stand ins. I’m just going to keep plugging away at things I enjoy.

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      • I can’t talk about those two since both creatures show up in my fantasy books. It’s funny too because until I published ‘Beginning of a Hero’, I didn’t know zombies weren’t very common in sword & sorcery stuff. Vampires too, which is going to be tough considering the Dawn Fangs are the focus of my next series. It’s a little confusing because of the genre and these aren’t going to work like the more common vampires.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Bill says:

    Honest thought:

    Crossing’s cover isn’t working very hard for you IMHO.

    Read the blurb- look at the “style” of the cover, then compare it to the cover of Chasing. Chasing’s cover seems a lot more relevant.

    Just my 2cents

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. We’re working on a new one that is similar to the second. The plan was to get both done at the same time and then life got in the way. I’ll have to contact the cover artist about that again and see if things settled down.

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  3. I hear you loud and clear, buddy. I haven’t really done any writing done this year, partly because I’ve been focusing so hard on making ends meet with my day job. It’s pretty darn hard to juggle everything.

    Do the Trump one, since it screams at you. You never know which one will take off.

    Thanks for the review reminder. Heading over to Zon right now, before I forget again…

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  4. Don’t know what to say other than the idea that Chasing and Crossing Bedlam stories have a different audience than Legends. The field in the action area is way more crowded and the fan loyalty way more fickle. I think you are going to have to try and reach the action readers differently. Perhaps doing an Amazon ad targeted to those readers specifically. BTW I never count my reviews until I see them. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “bought the book will review.” I no longer place hope in other than actual reviews and sales

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  5. A few ideas for you.
    First, political stories are likely selling better right now than anything else.
    Second, your Windmere series and Bedlam series are completely different, try some different promotions for it, perhaps even trying to sell it as dystopian.
    Third, instead of getting a ‘real’ job, consider offering some kind of help to new authors, not necessarily editing, but some coaching in social media promoting, etc.
    Fourth, vampires have been popular for years now, just throw in some romance, a bit of sex and a love triangle and you’ll be a best selling author in no time.

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    • I really don’t want to go the political route. Just don’t have it in me for that topic. Not very good at it either because I find the corrupt politician so boring and overdone. Seems making it like Trump or Hillary is where the money is too, but that comes with fights.

      I’ve been looking for different marketing venues, but there isn’t much beyond what I already use. Fantasy and science fiction are always bound together too. So I end up in the same place.

      I was thinking about the service thing. Feels weird considering I tend to do that stuff for free. At least the advice and promoting. Might have to rethink that.

      I really want to avoid a love triangle this time around. Kind of sad that one of the great classic monsters has been reduced to love story fodder.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. adeleulnais says:

    I know it’s hard but I think that Crossing Bedlam is going to be a success, a slow burning success but it will be one. I’m trying to think of ideas for you to promote the Bedlam story. I think there are more promotion opportunities out there. Dystopian pages, comic con pages, marvel pages………….etc. Let me know what you think.

    Like

    • I’ve been looking. One of the challenges I’ve run into is that dystopia has now been connected to stuff like Hunger Games and Divergent. People mention those long before they think of Mad Max, which this is closer too. Never considered comic con pages, but I thought I would have to attend to get on there. Traveling and paying for a table aren’t in the budget right now. Not sure what you mean by marvel pages.

      The trick seems to be finding some venue to get attention for the series. As I mentioned in another comment, I’m mostly finding sites that merge fantasy and science fiction into one category. Dystopia tends to be in the YA section as well, which this series doesn’t fall into. Well, it would have when I was YA, but people don’t like cursing and violence as much as they used to.

      Liked by 1 person

      • adeleulnais says:

        Yep, I agree Charles. The comic con pages I meant were blogs, or fb pages, any which you can join. The advice I’ve read is to join these pages, whatever pages your novel is the genre of, then slowly slip in that you have a novel that might interest them. The marvel pages are the same, anyone who loves marvel characters, movies or comics. I hope that helps. 🙂

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      • I used to do that on the fantasy FB pages. Nothing every came from it once the group got gigantic. It was the same people posting every 15-20 minutes to stay at the top of the feed and very little interaction. Some got so bad that rules were put in that you couldn’t promote your book. I think I’m a member of about 20 of those, so I could take a look to see if they’ve settled.

        Never considered the comic book characters. ‘Logan’ is rather dystopic, so I could look around. Marvel itself might not work with Bedlam. They’ve become rather ‘fluffy’ and family friendly since Disney got them. Can’t really imagine Iron Man cursing like a sailor and heel stomping Ant-Man into paste. Although, that would have gotten me to see Avengers 3: Captain America: Civil War: Prologue for Black Panther, Spider-Man, and Ant-Man 2.

        Liked by 1 person

      • adeleulnais says:

        I wish you all the luck, Charles and If I think of anything else I’ll drop a line on your blog. 🙂

        Like

  7. L. Marie says:

    I hear your frustration. Wish I had some good advice. But I’m glad others have supplied that. Hoping for the best for you.

    Like

  8. I think you might be surprised how receptive an audience you could find for your vs. Trump idea, but I do think you could do a little reading on the history of other authoritarian figures. Not necessarily the obvious comparisons like Hitler or Mussolini or the Kim family (North Korea), but people like Joseph McCarthy. This might allow your to broaden your reach a bit and create a villain who’s not completely referential to one person.

    Your one stumbling block may be that authoritarian figures often make the argument that the world will fall apart if people don’t follow them. The Shattered States have already fallen apart, so that argument might need some refinement.

    Like

    • My only issue with publishing it is that it would draw in some rather abusive people. I’d rather not deal with that kind of trollery. Seen it happen and it seems to be getting worse by the week. The thing with Bedlam villains is that they do tend to be over the top, so you could probably see a lot of authoritarians in this one guy. Then again, I’m also making him kind of a puppet for others and they’ll be facing a new minion during their journey. He only shows up in the beginning to kick off the adventure and at the end when they finally get back to him.

      The argument that this character is going to make is that only he can return the country to what it once was. He is gaining power with the promise of uniting the country and restoring it to its former glory.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Toni Pike says:

    Don’t be discouraged, Charles. It may take off in future weeks or months, and remember there are hundreds of thousands of people who have not yet encountered/heard of your book yet. I’m also disappointed in people who agree to write a review, but don’t deliver – all writers experience that. If a book isn’t their cup of tea for some reason, or they’re too busy to read it, why can’t they at least let the writer know? With my third book (just released) I have not even asked anyone to review it.

    Like

    • Thanks. I’m considering making a blog only story that can promote the book. Kind of like a special free one that I tell over the course of a few months. I don’t really ask for reviews either.

      Like

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