PART ONE: I tried writing Erotica (under a fake name)
And failed. Miserably. The books I loved writing weren't selling, so I thought I could make a pretty penny writing in this hot, new genre Fifty Shades made so famous. Well...I pretty much only made a pretty penny (ha ha ha). But damn did I put my all into those short stories. I wrote around 15? I really thought it would work. "This time, I'm going to write what the people want!" I said on the edge of a cliff, saluting the sunset.
Yeah, well, no one cared. I had wasted my damn time. I was suckered into it by all these writers on Kboards (a KDP writing forum) who claimed to be making thousands of dollars a month writing erotic books. Maybe they were, maybe they weren't. Didn't matter, because I couldn't hack it. My sensual books were, guess what, too weird, too unlikable. In one story, I had the main character basically be an evil bitch, because you know, they exist in the world. But slap my wrist and call me Sally, because when you're writing popular fiction, people don't want the truth. (Shrugs) Whoops!
Full disclosure: I was bored most of the time writing erotica. And possibly, deep down, I didn't really want to be successful writing that stuff. Maybe it was self sabotage, subconsciously. If I did become successful peddling mental sex, I'd hate myself on my death bed years later anyway, cursing at my old, wrinkled hands that I didn't have any fun, that I sold my soul, my time. And all the money in the world can't buy back time wasted.
Rewind to the moment I realized, after a year of being in the erotica game, that it just wasn't working out... I missed writing my weird, funny books. But they still weren't selling. Too noncommercial. People weren't connecting. No surprise, seeing as I'm antisocial.
Depression quickly followed....
PART TWO: Free books
I'm a free author now. Horror comedy fantasy books, 100% Raym, at no charge. Why? Story goes: I gave up writing not long after my erotica phase. I said, "Screw it. I have no audience. The candle's burning on both ends. Nothing is working. I'm just pissing in the wind, and it's all flying back in my face, and it's foul-tasting pee. Not the good kind." I decided to make my strange, noncommercial books free everywhere (couldn't on Amazon due to technical reasons), and moved on with my life, meaning that I drank vodka a lot and slept a lot and worried a lot about "getting old" and "being generally useless" while my friends graduated college and went out partying in celebration of their "good enough" jobs.
Then I noticed that, hey, people have been downloading my books. People were interested. And that felt good. Even if they all hated my stuff, it was still better than being ignored. And realistically, out of hundreds of downloaders, someone out there must have liked at least one book.
So that's basically it. I'll be writing free books now for all 0.0000000001% of the population to enjoy. At least this way I'll have a better chance at finding my audience than when I had them up for sale.
My brain: Good job giving up on your dream wanting to write full-time.
Me: Shut up. I don't like you anymore. Go back to your cage and eat your boiled fish heads.
PART THREE: Patreon what?
Contrary to the negative, reptilian side of my brain, I am not giving up on writing full-time. The door (more like small window) is open to the possibility. I'm just not so focused on making money from book-writing anymore. It's more of a #3 life goal. #2 is staying relatively healthy. #1 is living a fun life, and that means writing books I enjoy, that I'm proud of. But hey, if someone wants to support my work because they honest to God have enjoyed themselves, cool beans. That's awesome! They can go here: https://www.patreon.com/RaymundHensley
Every cent goes back into making the best stories I can conjure up.
(Depressing part deleted due to shame and fear.)