What I Learned from Writing Anonymously
I’ve been building quite a bit of recognition lately, and it’s a mixed bag. People have expectations, and I need to be careful to keep my writing quality at its best and to work to keep improving. That makes writing harder since I find myself pushing myself instead of writing for fun. I also have to watch the content that I write and make sure it fits with what others would expect.
Just add cliches!
About a month ago, I decided to try an experiment. I would go to the other end of the writing spectrum under a pen name and see what would happen if I did things very differently. I’m writing a series of short genre Kindle books targeted at Kindle Unlimited readers. Each book is about 5,000-6,000 words, and right now six books are out with an omnibus for the first five books at a lowered price. The genre? Teen werewolf adventure. Cliches are welcome. I’m making them as sappy and emotional as I can (a nice exercise, since one of the biggest complaints about my writing is that it isn’t emotional enough). I’m not promoting them, and I publish a new book once a week to keep them going. Now that it’s been a while, I’m starting to see the results.
How’s it going? Honestly, I’m shocked. I’m getting downloads and readers. Better yet, these people are reading my writing without knowing me personally, purely based on the genre and my writing. It’s a good feeling.
No, I’m not filthy rich (though I’ve heard that you really need at least thirty books out before you can earn a living) but I’ve safely had many more read-throughs in the past week than I’ve gotten from Automaton over the span of months. Why is this?
The drama. Definitely the drama.
I have a few guesses. One is that these books are entertaining. I’m not trying to be new or different or professional, or profound in any way. I’m writing what I want to write and not even revising it (that’s right, they’re all rough drafts except for some typos).
Another thing is that I have a distinct market in mind. There are actual faces of people I know that I think of when I consider my audience. Some moments are specifically written to those individuals, even though I don’t know some of those people that well. I’m also writing for Kindle Unlimited. Though the omnibus allows a much lower price for the stories, Kindle Unlimited members won’t need to pay anything extra to read this series. They have no risk–just a fun series that they can pick up and read a book in a single setting. People are much more likely to read your books if there’s no risk for them and no intimidation or feeling of commitment, like large novels tend to have.
Finally, I publish both frequently and consistently. Despite Summer’s busyness, I’ve been able so far to turn out one book a week. Each book brings me to the top of the recently released list on Amazon, and gives potential readers a sense of confidence by knowing that I’ve been doing it for a while and will likely continue.
Always more where that came from!
The series will be at least twenty books long, maybe longer. It’s one of the easiest things I’ve ever written, and shockingly profitable. And, while I do still pursue better and more serious writing, this will give me plenty of entertainment on the side.
What are your thoughts about writing cheap pulp fiction for profit? Is it a fun plan or a dangerous gamble that pollutes the world of books? Please share in the comments section!