Books and More Books

Now that I have time, and with my wife’s encouragement, I’m thinking about (re)releasing my books. All of the ones that were previously available (before I pulled them a few years ago) I’ve re-written, and I have 3 books that have never seen the light of day, including my new short fiction collection (11 short stories and 5 novelettes).
I’ve looked at the market and have come to the conclusion that the Big 5 publishers only benefit the 10% of writers who make money (writing the same crap over and over) and provide no benefit to other fiction writers. I’ve also retired and don’t really need an income from writing, so I might just put my stuff out there for sale and let it do what it do.
I’ve written 3 books that only my wife, my editor, and I have read (the top three in the mock-up below) and 1 that I’ve only started working on. It made me think, writing a sequel to a book I’ve never let anyone read, that maybe I need to do something with the first one.
Trane to Nevermore is now boarding. Departure time TBD

 I have to admit being both wary and excited, as I know my writing has improved markedly, but 70%-85% of eBook sales are romance and erotica (schlock) and most treeBooks are the 10% of “best sellers” I find mostly indigestible. So, who buys ‘real’ books?

 No one, really. That, my friends, is the sad truth. It doesn’t mean that absolutely no one is selling but the big guys. Were that true, the market wouldn’t be flooded. It does mean, however, that literature is in flux and no one seems certain which way it’s going. In 2016, it was reported that ebook sales had begun to decline, while paper books grew. However, looking at the details reveals only more uncertainty. Amazon is dominant in ebook sales; however, their Kindle device is in decline. In truth, all dedicated ebook readers are, as people opt more often to read books on their phones or tablets.

Given the size of phone screens, it’s highly unlikely that people well past age 40 will be reading a book there, so right away you’ve limited the clientele to young readers and those who own a tablet. Sure, one can read a book on a laptop, and it’s sometimes pleasant, but those bright, little heaters are hard on the lap and the eyes.  Thus, the trend of young women readers continues, in part due to the hardware spectrum and in part due to the fact that young men are pushed toward mindless video and books for wider audiences often recycle the same old bollocks.

My first three novels are part of a fantasy trilogy that features a young Charlie Patterson and his best friend and would-be girl, Robin LeBeaux, as they tackle the world beyond the conscious world–a mélange of dreams, other planets, and alternate realities. In truth, not only is it NOT a kid’s series, it is more metaphysics and Sci Fi fantasy than anything else. Still, I found another writer, one would gave my books 5-star reviews, eventually began writing her own “Dreamwalker” series, wherein the complexity of dualist reality and multiverses was reduced to demons and other bullshit as recommended by the Dream Walkers Wiki.

Why in the HELL is there a Wiki?

I’ll tell you why. Imagination is frowned upon in writing. The Big 5 publishing and Fast 5 Hollywood is based on merchandising, which in turn requires series and sequels, which then require stability, familiar character icons, and recognizable patterns. It is a world of pop music, despite our literary heroes having written Classical Musical Prose for most of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and Jazz Prose thereafter. We skipped Hip Hop Literature and have gone full stop to Elevator Prose.

It sickens me.

I don’t write to be popular. I don’t expect to get rich. In fact, the simple truth is I write only because I like to read and the only way to stop wasting my money on books I can’t finish–and I have a huge list of them–is to write the damned stories myself. Shouldn’t characters matter? I mean, shouldn’t you LOVE the goddamned stars of your 300-page book? Shouldn’t plot matter enough that you’re engaged, wanting to know who goes where and what comes next? Shouldn’t dialog feel natural, make you cry, make you weep?

Shouldn’t writing be soft on the tongue like honeyed jazz, played by your latest lover, that fantasy partner you secretly think is too good for you? Shouldn’t you have a mental orgasm at the book’s climax and fight to remember that you don’t smoke when it’s done?

Shouldn’t it all matter that. Damned. Much?

I think it should. Maybe my books fall short, maybe all my stories do too, but I’ll be good-goddamned if I won’t die trying. Maybe you’ll die from lung cancer one day, having taken up smoking after finishing a book I wrote. Maybe you’ll die, and they’ll mourn, and it’ll be all my fault.

If so, I’ll make it up to you in the next world, I promise.