Hey, hey, kids!
I have a lot on my to do list today, but still, I find time to drop by and share a few thoughts. Though I’ll admit I sometimes wonder why I bother? Blogging is a weird thing in that it’s a great way to reach an audience, but that audience is almost entirely invisible. If I were printing pamphlets, I could tell by the number sold if people were interested in them. I have records for books sold, and while that isn’t a perfect system, I can at least estimate the number of folks interested in what I’m writing. But blogging . . . who the heck knows? So if you want to leave a comment or send me a tweet or send me an e-mail at HIPSTERCTHULHU@HOTMAIL.COM, it’d be greatly appreciated. Nice to know if I’m reaching anyone out there.
Also, Emperor Mollusk versus the Sinister Brain should be coming out in trade paperback any day now, and if you were reluctant to pick up the hardcover, maybe you’ll consider the trade. Your call. No pressure.
Also, the Kickstarter project I’m trying to get funded. (http://kck.st/11Sqo1v) Some people have corrected me that it isn’t an anthology, but a collection. You’d think I’d know that as a professional novelologist, but you’d be wrong. Anyway, take a look. Spread the word. Help a brother out.
Enough with the self-serving ego-driven requests already. Let’s get to it.
Recently, I read a negative review of Monster, and while I follow a policy of not rebutting any criticism directly, I do enjoy responding indirectly occasionally. The reviewer disliked the book mostly because its protagonist didn’t learn or grow or become a better person by the end of the book. That isn’t so bad because that was part of the point of the story. I wanted to write a story where the hero starts out an idiot and remains an idiot by the end, where he doesn’t learn any lessons, where he deliberately avoids personal improvement. It’s not an easy thing to make work, and for some readers, it doesn’t. That’s fair. In fact, as negative reviews go, I’d much rather have a reader dislike a book for what I was attempting to do rather than for something I wasn’t aiming for.
It’s why I hate when I get poor reviews for not being “funny” enough because, despite what you might have read elsewhere, I do not consider myself a comic fantasy writer. But, honestly, I don’t complain about positive reviews that call my books “hilarious”, so it’s not like it’s a black and white issue.
So the reviewer didn’t like Monster for its intended “No character arc” element, and that’s cool. If I ever figure out how to write a book everyone loves, I assume I’ll spontaneously ascend to a plane of higher existence. Since I’m still here, I guess that hasn’t happened yet.
What struck me as amusing was that the reviewer wrote this sentiment (paraphrased):
“A book clearly written to cash in on Martinez’s popularity.”
First of all, I haven’t ever written anything to cash in. It’s not due to artistic integrity either. It’s that the opportunity has never really arisen to sell out yet. I’ll let you know what I decide when it does. I’m honestly not sure how it’ll go and am just as eager as you to see how it’ll end up.
Secondly (and far more importantly), I am not very popular. Certainly not popular enough to rely on it to fuel sales so much so that I can just phone it in.
I know it might seem a little weird to say that when viewed from the outside. I have nine books out, a tenth due out in July. I’ve been doing this for around ten years now, and I have books in stores (for as long as stores remain), have my fans, have a meager amount of demi-fame. I’m even lucky enough to have earned enough over the last few years to do this full time. Yes, I’m a full time writer for the time being, and I’m not going to complain that I don’t earn enough (though more would be nice) or haven’t accomplished what a lot of aspiring writers aspire to do.
It doesn’t change the fact that I am not popular enough to get away with much. I sell a decent amount books, but not enough that my publisher can’t live without me. I have fans, but I don’t have fan clubs (aside from social media ones which are so easy to join and maintain that they really don’t require much from the participants). If you mention my name to 90 percent of science fiction / fantasy readers, the most you can expect is a vague nod of recognition, if even that.
None of this is meant as a complaint. The majority of established writers, even if they happen to be your most beloved (as I’m sure I am yours because . . . well, humor me), are not setting the literary world on fire. We aren’t millionaires. We don’t live in palatial estates. And for the most part, nobody gives a damn about us.
I have no illusions about where I reside in public consciousness at the moment. I am somebody most people have never heard of. I write books most people will never read. And I’m lucky to have that.
I can assume you have heard of me since you’re reading this. I can probably assume you find me at least a little bit interesting since you’ve read this far. And I can assume you like something I’ve written if you’re here. Or you’re at least considering picking up one of my books and are here for me convince you. (Buy ’em. You’ll like them. I promise.)
But I am not famous. I am not popular. I’m not rich and famous. I’m not setting the world afire with my genius. And, despite what you might imagine my life is like, I spend most my days at home, writing books, hoping people will continue to buy them, always quietly convinced that this career might come crashing down at any moment. In fact, I pretty much write every story on the exact opposite philosophy of cashing in, assuming that nobody will give a damn about my next book, and I better do my best to make it interesting, entertaining, and worth reading.
Maybe I don’t always succeed for everyone with every book, and that’s cool. But until HBO adapts one of my books into a TV show or a movie, I’m just a guy trying to make a living. Just like you.
Except for my solid gold robot butler, but he breaks down so often, hardly seems worth the trouble sometimes.
Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,