I think I should apologize for all these series posts that I’ve been doing for the last two weeks. I promise that I’ve got a ‘Ye Olde Shoppe’ coming on Friday, so just hold out for a little longer. There’s just been a lot on my mind in regards to writing and how things have gone for me. Of course, my mind eventually came down to the audience I’ve gained with my books and an old tip that I was given when I started.
Back when I began, I was told by several people that I should develop my audience for fantasy and that these readers would follow me anywhere. Maybe I misunderstood, but I haven’t found that to be the case. First of all, I’ve learned that a lot of people are fans of saying ‘I don’t really read fantasy, but good job’ and they stuck around my blog without supporting the writing. Not a horrible thing since my posts need love too, but the money comes from book sales. Other people bought the books without reading, reviewing, or passing on the word, which is their choice. I’ve been told by some that they wouldn’t start reading until the entire Legends of Windemere series was out. No problem there because that’s still interest and I can’t blame them considering what happened with ‘Wheel of Time’ and ‘Game of Thrones’. Eventually, I did gain a fan following that made me feel like I had made it to the next level of being an author. Time to put that theory to the test, which resulted in . . .
Crossing Bedlam and a lot of crickets. Things got strange here because I had a lot of praise for the idea and the cover. Once the book came out, people started telling me that the genre wasn’t for them or they thought the cover was too cartoon-like. Keep in mind that I spent a lot of time trying to get input and felt like I was on the right track. Now, the cover thing aside, I was shocked to find that the theory had failed. Most of my fantasy fans didn’t care about Cassidy and Lloyd even though I wrote it. So, I hadn’t actually hit that level where fans will follow you everywhere. The Life & Times of Ichabod Brooks didn’t fare much better too, which was odd because that was fantasy. I’ve noticed that many people have walked away now that Legends of Windemere is done and War of Nytefall isn’t drawing them back. This could be a few reasons:
- I’ve been told that people aren’t into vampire stories. While Clyde and the others are vampires, they are still in Windemere. I would say that this is more fantasy than vampire too. Them being vampires defines the world, stakes (ouch on the pun), and other aspects of the world, but not the overall story. Much of this stems from what people think when vampires are brought up, so they already assume a lot of what’s going to happen. Uphill battle already.
- People may have been more interested in the characters of Legends of Windemere than the story, the world, or me. Once Luke Callindor, Nyx, and Fizzle retired, they went off to look for something else. People kept asking me to do give stories to the other characters instead of letting me move on to another idea. So, the audience I developed could have been much more nuanced and specific than I realized. This is great for a series, but not when you want to move on to another project.
- Readers might have been burnt out on me. I was releasing 3 books of my series every year, so I could have pushed myself too much. Be nice to think readers simply needed a break and will give my new series a try, but it isn’t looking that way. Maybe I should figure out how to get a new banner for the blog to say ‘War of Nytefall’. Not sure how that factors in.
So, I’m not sure what to think about the idea that fans will always follow an author. I do see it with some indies, but they don’t really step that far outside of their genre. I don’t feel like I’ve gone too far with War of Nytefall since the Dawn Fangs were around in Legends of Windemere. Yet, it could be just enough that readers don’t want to follow, which puts me back to square one.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m very thankful for everyone who has followed me on each of my adventures. That foundation of support has kept me going even during this rough patch. My concern is more about how one can maintain momentum between series if the majority of the audience isn’t willing to make that jump. How does an indie author begin anew while still holding onto what came beforehand? I’ve seen some authors make a pen name for each series/genre, but most of my work is in Windemere. People will probably figure out it’s me once they see the blurb mentioning the world or anything that came from one of my other series.
Maybe I’m talking out of frustration because I feel like I’ve tried everything that is within my power. I’ve battered my head against the wall to make it as an author, but the engine ran out of steam without me realizing it. No matter how much coal and water I put in there, it won’t help much if I don’t have many passengers. Is this analogy still working? I should probably stop now. Man, these posts have been long. Really sorry about that. I promise humor on Friday.