It’s been an interesting eight months since my first novel came out. Depths of Blue has been pretty well-received, and I’m very proud of it. The sequel, Heights of Green, came out only a few weeks ago, and I’m hoping it’ll go over as well. This summer A Vortex of Crimson, the third and final novel of the On Deception’s Edge series, will be out.
Why am I telling you about all my books? Am I just flogging them, hoping you’ll buy them? Well… partially. That would be lovely, I think you’ll like them, even if science fiction isn’t normally your bag, but that’s not the main reason.
I wrote those three books in one go. They started out as one novel but I quickly realized they would never fit in one book, and how many publishers would take a chance on a debut author with a 900-page novel under her belt? Not many! So I chopped the books into three parts, then went out looking for a publisher for Depths.
Since then, I’ve continued to write. I’ve tried my hand at short stories, to varying success, though I did finally manage to sell one. I started three more stories, and I’ve actually finished one of those! The other two are waiting, partially-written, for me to get back to them. The experience of writing the new pieces now that I’m officially published has been somewhat different from my experience of writing those first three.
The difference is that it isn’t just me anymore. (Or just me and those friends/family I could rope into reading my noodlings.) I actually have people who were excited for the recent release of Heights. As I watch the reviews trickle in, I can’t help but wonder what would make a blockbuster. I think the first two books are doing all right, but I’m a perfectionist. I want to knock it out of the park on the first try. Surely, if I can only hone in on what the majority of readers really want to read, I can come up with a New York Times bestseller. Then I could quit my job, move to a house in the country set up with a writer’s studio, and spend my days penning novel after novel. While I’m wishing, I’d really like a pony…
The line of thinking is seductive, but at the end of the day, I’ve realized it’s not me. I write what I like, what I have problems finding. Maybe the reason lesbian sci-fi is harder to find than other genres (i.e. romance or mystery) is because not many others want to read it, but when it comes down to it, that what I like. I could probably come up with something that would be more lucrative, but then I’d likely have to stop writing for lesbians completely, and I certainly don’t want to do that! Even then, I wouldn’t be excited about what I was writing, and it would probably end up as a steaming pile of… carrots.
I’m keeping my ear to the ground and soaking up the constructive criticism I’ve received, but I’ve realized I can’t chase somebody else’s metric of success. There is value to following the numbers to see how I’m doing, but I can’t let it make me into someone I’m not. So for better or worse, I’ll be sticking with my thin slice of the writing universe. Keep looking for more sci-fi from this author. It’ll be coming, but maybe a bit more slowly than it would if I could afford to quit the day job.
Visit Lise at her website.