I wanted to write something, something awesome and life-changing. Or at least post-worthy. But I got all tied up doing other stuff. Some of that other stuff included writing an email to my friend K (pretty sure that's not a real name, but you can never tell with the internet).
We were talking about writing, getting published, that kind of thing. At some point, I went off like a maniac. And realized it would work as a post. As long as you aren't expecting too much out of a post. Which, really, you shouldn't be.
If I had the answers, I wouldn't be making shitty little mini-books. I've self-published, what, five books? A couple of them are even all right, I think. Maybe not. Short stories, though, which is a shame--nobody's touching short story collections these days, which floors me.
The attention span people have in this day and age, I figured short stories would be where it's at. But nope. Agents won't touch 'em, and even if you catch a break there, most publishers won't buy them from agents. There's a book called Machine of Death. It's a collection of stories written by different people, and it's badass. I mean, it's really incredible. Some really great writing and a wicked concept. They shopped it around, and people were like, "This is an excellent book!" Which is exactly what you want to hear, right?
"So you'll buy it?" the creators asked.
"Absolutely not. Wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. Won't sell."
It was clever and humorous and awesome. To enjoy it, you had to have a certain amount of smarts and a certain amount of thick skin. Because they don't baby-walk you through shit, and they don't worry about your feelings. Not like it's offensive or anything, but look--the character you're reading about, getting to know and love? He's gonna die. You know it, he knows it, hell he even knows HOW he's gonna die. Just not when.
It's not shimmery vampires who want to wait until marriage to bite you. Or whatever the fuck.
You know who doesn't read? My demographic. Guys (or slightly-rough ladies, I suppose). Readers are old women and teenage girls. They don't want the eff word, they want love. They want happy endings. They want the bullshit-saturated world that I can't even imagine, much less write. Intelligence isn't needed, only adjectives. Lots of them.
The weird thing about Machine of Death is that they rounded up everyone they knew, and everyone those people knew, and they were like, "Look, we have this book. We want it to get to #1 on the Amazon best-seller list, at least for a day. So if you're even planning on buying this book ever, please do it on the 16th." I don't think that was the exact day, but you get my point.
And they sold so many copies that they ended up at the top of the list for several days--maybe even weeks.
The thing is, they had a huge fan base already. If I sent out that same call, I'd get like six people buying my book. And that's if they all read the post on the same day.
I'm rambling. Shit. Sorry. Just typing away, it almost felt like I went into a Strangelands post.
Anyway, yeah, I don't know how to do it right. If I did, I would have done it right already.
I'm probably fucked. People don't want to hear what I have to say. Not that it's life changing stuff or anything--but it's negative. You think about the older generation, right? All the outlaw crap I read that molded me: Kerouc, Hunter S., Bukowski.
These guys were way older than me, they were from a time I could barely imagine. But they were so raw, so real. They went out and killed it, you know? These were the people who influenced me (Stephen King and Mary Shelley and Shirley Jackson, too, but that's a whole different rant).
I wanted to go out and live adventures, and report it. I wanted to write about the hurt and the love and the rage and the great things and the awful things. I wanted to show people real.
I never have. I try, and I feel like I'm getting better.
But in the meantime, I have seen that nobody wants that shit. They want fairy tale, they want happy.
The older generation wrote to expose problems, the younger generation writes to hide from them. Or reads to hide, I guess.
The world went soft, I think. Fuckin' trophy kid generation.
Nobody wants to read about how some kid had to shoot his dog--that's sad, and people can't deal with that. Instead, let's talk about how the dorky girl in school gets hit on by the smokin' hot guy who accepts her for all that she is--which is slightly dorky, but aside from that, has no other faults to speak of.
Nobody wants to admit that there's such a thing as losing, because then they might have to admit that they're the losers.
I'm still ranting. This is going on The Strangelands, that's all there is to it. If I can find a picture on the internet of a My Little Pony having sex with a Care Bear, I'm putting that on there along with this.
Closest thing I could find
Okay, so I've obviously de-railed (has it ever occurred to you that maybe your inner Poly Anna ran away because she didn't like the crowd you were running with, these days?).
Before closing, I would just like to apologize for all the swearing, although you must be used to it by now. And I really hope that when your insightful, inspiring, emotional writing starts to sell, you'll let me hang on your coattails a bit.