Neither of my books have sold for beans. It’s not entirely surprising; I’m an unknown author in a sea of people. I wrote some fairly strange stuff. It’s been called uncategorizable by more than a couple people. People love categories; I find them kind of restricting.
I was pondering all this the other evening and wondering if I should change my style, make it fit a singular genre. Maybe I could write a horror story where villains stalk virgins or a science fiction story where a valiant crew faces insurmountable odds, or a crashed spaceship on a world of magic leads to a clash of high technology and powerful magic.
Actually, that last one might be pretty cool. I’m claiming that one. No one else can write it. And it doesn’t fit neatly into a category anyway and, as we’ve already established, uncategorizable is my category. So there; it’s mine.
Anyway, as I was pondering all this I realized I had far too many ideas to just throw in the towel. Besides, I’m not writing because I’m looking for fame or fortune (actually, fortune would be nice. It’s hard to collect exotic cars on my salary), I’m writing because it’s fun and those ideas have to go somewhere, right?
So, your first book didn’t sell for squat? Write another one.
Second one didn’t catch on, either? Write another one.
Bottom line, just keep writing.
I think everyone who writes a book somehow expects it will immediately become the next best seller and they’ll be showered with praise. It can happen, but it often doesn’t. That’s one of the things that I keep reminding myself of. Well, that and I’m not really writing because I want to become the next big name; I write because I enjoy it and it’s nice to know at least a few people out there have enjoyed what I’ve written. Consider it my good deed for the day; a half-assed atonement for all the things I’ve done wrong.
So that’s it. It’s exactly as easy and hard as Neil Gaiman says. There’s no magical formula, there’s no advice to give that will change your fate. There’s no hidden secret out there that will suddenly make you a great writer. I’m thinking writing is like anything else, the more you practice at it the better you’ll get at it. The only way to practice it is to do it. A lot.
That said, here’s some inspiration for you. There’s a story in each and every one of these pictures, and that story is probably longer than a thousand words.
Go forth and write a story. Expect my next book, a collection of stories called The Clock Man sometime this summer.