The Tyranny of High Expectations
Suffice it to say, my previous post (The Rest of the JP Story) got an amazing number of responses. Most were positive, a few were thoughtfully critical, and at least one was persistently mean and idiotic. I’ll admit I was pretty surprised by the wave of controversy I unwittingly caused. There was even a blog about it, which was pretty even-minded although the author did seem to basically conclude that I was a naive rube to have high expectations for my self published books.
I do tend to have high expectations. I tend to think I can accomplish anything. A lot of times I am right. Sometimes I am wrong. But still, I stubbornly believe that it’s better to keep trying than just to get bitter and fatalistic.
Although bitter and fatalistic looks pretty tempting sometimes.
Thing is, I don’t really regret making that post. I did alter it a bit, taking out the specific ultimatums, but the essential idea is just basic economics. I thought the readers deserved to know the situation. I don’t want anyone to buy my works just to pay for more JP stories. I want them to buy my works because they will enjoy them. But it is an inevitable result that the sales of one will lead to more of the other.
There are no guarantees in that statement, but there are no threats either.
For their part, the haters may be right. It may be that my latest book will never sell in the numbers I have hoped for. As such, they have (with a strange, mean glee) proclaimed that I have thus departed from the JP story forever. I took all my toys and went home. Nyah.
But I didn’t. Nothing has changed, dear reader. I may still write more JP stories, even though the sales of my published works haven’t made me independently wealthy. After all, I didn’t write the first three for anything other than the love of the story. Soon enough, my kids are going to be demanding to know what happens next in the James Potter world. Soon enough, I myself will may start missing that world enough to get back into it.
That’s not a guarantee, though. I am caught on the fence, you see. As the above blog post makes clear, any fanfic writer who is serious about getting fer-real published has to totally abandon his/her fanfic, to the extent of scouring it from the internet. I don’t want to do that. I love the JP stories, even if there never is another one. And yet I do want to be a success with my original books. As usual, I want it all. And as usual, that’s probably impossible.
In short, maintaining the JP stories is important to me– I am proud of them. I won’t abandon them. And by doing so, I am apparently killing my chances of success as a writer, since JP readers mostly just want more JP stories, and the publishing industry will dismiss me as long as I am a writer of JP stories. It’s the classic Catch 22.
My last post was an attempt to explain this predicament in a way that might help my readers understand the situation.
The bottom line, methinks, (as far as most of you are concerned) is this: the news about the death of the James Potter Series has been greatly exaggerated. I am disappointed that Ruins of Camelot was not an enormous success out of the gates, but all that this means is that I cannot start a new JP book immediately. The Day Job calls, and I must dutifully comply. Fortunately, the Day Job is not so bad. But it is time consuming. I may get to more JP, but it won’t be for awhile. At least not until my kids’ pestering for what happens next becomes unbearable.
For now, onward and upward. I am working on a new iPhone game and I am really excited about it. It looks great so far (if I do say do myself, and why should I stop now?) and I have hopes that it will sell at least as well as Dream:scape did. And who am I kidding? I actually hope it blows D:S out of the water and becomes a major hit.
See? I can’t help it. High expectations are what drive me. So sue me. (: