What's a Writer to Write?
I got an email today from a reader. Let me start by saying it was polite and you can tell she was nice, but she was also pretty blunt.
An honesty that left me pondering and made me realize that I, and other apocalypse writers like myself, are in a conundrum.
If you don’t think … let me explain.
She stated she lost interest in getting my books when I started to focus more on other types of writing. She mentioned aliens, vampires and other mythical creatures. You know what? I get it, I do. Those books were scattered within my other works. But this reader hadn’t given up on me, and for that I am grateful.
At first, I couldn’t remember what alien book she meant, and she looked it up. Then I remembered why I wrote that book and that’s when I started thinking. Normal virus books and zombie books just weren’t selling for me. Forget nuclear war, no one wants to read that. Trust me I know.
I mean, for a hot minute I thought maybe I was the Nicholas Cage of Apocalypse books. People loved what I was doing at first, then grew tired of me, and despite that I can still pen a good novel (Like Nick has some decent movies) people were leery about diving into something I wrote.
With diligence, I try not to deliver the same old, same old.
I try to write one book a year that is an original ‘end of the world’ scenario, and I think I do well with that. Above the Hush, 10:37, By Way of Autumn, Omnicide… there are a lot of them.
So when I wasn’t writing original end of the world, I expanded into different apocalypses, like Aliens and Vampires.
Stories I thought were good, characters I built in my head long before I write a single word of the book.
All I ever wanted to do was have people read my work, and I am blessed and fortunate enough that I have that. I strive to keep my readers entertained, take them away from troubles they may have or just take them to a different world. Make them laugh, cry, cringe.
Then … then … Covid happened. At first I didn’t think it would effect things, but it did. Suddenly, people were cast into a tamer version of my books, but much of human nature was the same. They don’t want reality, they want to be taken away from reality.
So with that comes the title of my blog. What is a writer to write? Or rather, what is an author who primarily writes apocalypse, supposed to write.
When I started to see the change in reading trends, totally lost at what people wanted, I decided, I was just gonna write good stories.
I would love … love … love to dive into a really awesome, heart wrenching plague.
Do people want that? Will they ever want that again?
I don’t want to touch EMP, that market is flooded almost as bad as zombies.
Civil unrest novels, society breakdowns … nah. I suck at military stuff.
Volcanoes .. did it. Earthquakes, yep. Meteors, solar … um … I hit them all.
The one I am finishing now is totally original. Never done. I am ending the world again, in a new way.
But is it what people want? I looked at the top 25 Amazon Apocalypse books. Absent are the virus novels, zombie novels.
So I wonder if readers are just tired of apocalypse novels.
One day I’ll figure it out. Soon I hope. I’m open to suggestions. In the meantime … I’ll just keep writing.