Ever writer has this one nightmare about their work. Sometimes it’s just an inability to find an audience. No matter what you do, nobody likes your stories and you can’t really publish them. Call this the Lovecraft terror-that your work is terrible and your friends are just humoring you. Instead, you’re ahead of the curve. And, hopefully, the curve will reach you before you die.
The second one is the “why do these people like my books?” one. Call this one the John Norman one. He wrote the Gor series because he probably needed to put food on the table and pay for his apartment. He sure as hell (I hope) didn’t intend for his books to be an instruction manual on terrible BDSM practices. Or how to handle relationships. Or even…well, anything other than mild titillation in a Conan re-skin that would hopefully sell more books.
The third one is the “pretender” nightmare. That you think you’re conning everybody along, that one day they’ll figure out that you’re tricking everyone. That you weren’t really talented at all, just…able to market your bullshit better. It’s almost the Peter Sellers nightmare.
Mine? Call it the “what the?” nightmare. It’s almost always the same thing-I’m at a big sci-fi convention, say DragonCon. I’m at a panel about my books, and the story that I love, the story that I’ve always wanted to write is what I’m here to talk about. It’s a space opera magnum opus, something that I wished there was more of and it’s why I got into writing. Starship battles, grand epic scope, explosions that can blot out the sun, Oh John Ringo No, adventure, that kind of thing. On the sixth book, it took me nearly two years to do, but it’s done and I want to pitch the hell out of it. And, I’ve got a plan for this series, no GRRM Winds Of Winter is delayed yet again thing.
Nobody wants to talk about my book.
They all want to talk about this nasty little sword-and-sorcery series that I wrote, that I churned out at nine month intervals for years because I needed the money to pay for things like food, rent, and dental bills. That I ripped off a mixture of Byzantine, Goth, Han Chinese, Warring States Era Japan, and England/Ireland/Scotland with more tits to build the nations. The religious system is a mixture of “mystery worship,” Gods that try their best to not make a mess of things, and a very weird form of Satanism. Oh, and the magic system? Mixture of Victorian-era spiritualism, the system from Fate Stay Night with the serial numbers filed off, and Pokemon.
I had to write this series for years because it sold and I needed the money. It wasn’t a bad series, but I really wanted to get away from it for the longest time. The Space Opera is the work I really wanted to be known for and that’s why I’m here. Yet, nobody wants to ask me questions about it, they all want to know little details about the sword-and-sorcery books. Including validating all of their fanon- such as several gay relationships that make me nauseous to even hear them. Not because of homophobia, but because the two participants would try to kill each other immediately. Or themselves. Or the other then themselves. And, I can’t even convince them of this.
So, at the panel rolls on, I get angry and I pretty much stand up and tell everyone that this panel is about my new Space Opera book and while I enjoyed answering the questions about the sword-and-sorcery novel, that’s not why I’m here. So, what are people’s questions about my Space Opera book?
One girl, cute as a button, stands up and asks, “Is the Space Opera set in the future of the sword-and-sorcery novel?”
You can’t win sometimes.