This might have been better for last Wednesday when everyone was doing their monthly whine. Though really I'm not whining so much as celebrating, because the last of the Transformed gender swap books is done!
Of course last may not be accurate. It's more like last for right now. Basically I wrote 22 of them in almost six months and I need a little break. 22 books, 42 stories in total, and I have no idea how many hundreds of thousands of words is a lot even for me. After a while you just need to chill out and take it easy. Plus it's almost the holidays, so it's nice to be able to celebrate those without any self-imposed deadlines.
The last of the books, Transformed Into a Cougar Too, wasn't supposed to release until next Tuesday. But for some reason Amazon locked it for "offensive content." They reference some page that defines offensive content as "pretty much what you think that means." Um, thanks guys. Considering this is volume 20, I have no idea what would be so bad. So I loaded it to Smashwords instead. The penultimate one, Transformed Into a Bimbo Too, released yesterday. I guess in theory then #20 was out before #19. Oops.
I suppose the grand experiment worked out pretty well. Up to last July I hadn't really written anything too "commercial" before. The Chances Are books were probably the most commercially successful, though not to this extent. Here are the things to take away from it:
- Find a niche market! I didn't invent the idea of the gender swap story by a long shot. Virginia Woolf might have with Orlando, or maybe not. I'm not a literature scholar. The point is you find a niche that actually has some demand.
- Be like everyone else! (Mostly) I didn't invent the gender swap story and I didn't invent the format for how I did my stories. I borrowed it from books I saw linked to Chance of a Lifetime on Amazon. Reading a couple of those I just pretty much did what they did. Check this out:
Note how similar the covers are! Even the title format is pretty much the same. I think her image is a little better with this one, though others of mine I think are better; it just depends on what stock photos you can find. For my very first one I used somewhat similar story ideas from other books for the two stories in mine. I'm not saying I plagiarized them; I just took the overall concepts and tweaked them my way. And that's how I got a number of my story titles, by seeing what someone else was doing and doing one of my own.
- Kindle Unlimited is Awesome! I don't use Kindle Unlimited and I wasn't sure how it work out for me, but it has been pretty awesome. Generally I think around 40% of the money I get per month came from that. That was 40% that I wasn't getting before. Now maybe some of those borrows I get less for might have been sales, but maybe not. Or they might have been sales that some asshole then "returned" a few minutes later. The point is having another revenue stream is sweet. If it destroys Smashwords, then too fucking bad; I don't hardly make jack off them anyway.
- Keep It Simple, Stupid! What really annoyed me was seeing that Chance of a Lifetime was like 300 pages and FREE while these other books were in some cases like 16 pages long and going for $2.99--and with much higher sales ranks! So when I did my own I tried to keep it much shorter than I'd usually write. Still most ended up around 20,000-25,000 words. I still can't write ten pages and pass it over as a "book" like some other people. But yeah I did keep these a lot shorter than my other books.
- Give the Audience What It Wants (Or Die Trying) When I wrote Chance of a Lifetime the girl Steve Fischer turns into is a pretty normal girl: brown hair, average breasts, etc. With these books that's no what you want to do. Mostly I tried to give the audience what they would want, so I tended to exaggerate a lot. Usually there's at least one blond, they've all got big racks (except the little girls), tiny waists, etc. The idea is the guy always turns into a porn star. Or well most of the time, but then titles where I didn't do that (Transformed Into a Geek Girl/MILF/Fat Girl) didn't really do as well. When I did get a review of one the reviewer gave it 5 stars but complained the bimbo needed to get addicted to sex sooner. So the next one (Transformed Into a Bimbo Too) that's what I set out to do, which ended up with the first story being a lot shorter and it actually took the second story in new directions. Give people what they want, go with the lowest common denominator and you can't go wrong. I mean it's worked out pretty well for Hugh Hefner and Seth MacFarlane so far.
I think the one area I still haven't done well in is connecting with an audience. People might buy the books but I still hardly get any reviews. Obviously you'd like reviews to help build some word of mouth. Maybe it would help if Eric Filler had an online presence with an Email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. but you know how exhausting that would be? Though that wouldn't explain why people don't review them. If you say they don't actually read them then I don't know why they're buying them; and also as I said they aren't very long. I haven't fulfilled my dream of becoming the Heisenberg of gender swap erotica either. If you didn't watch Breaking Bad it means the guy whose product is so awesome that it blows everyone else's away. Don't think it hasn't been for lack of trying. I think I have some pretty unique concepts, not just the stereotypical "pissed off wife/lover makes husband/boyfriend into woman/little girl/etc for revenge." The last story I wrote features "sex vampires"--make of that what you will. But I suppose in that way I might have violated my own rules, because the cliche story probably would sell better. I'm getting closer to staying in the lines, but still not completely.
Anyway, as I said this probably isn't the end of the series. It's pretty easy to come up with ideas for these when you start putting your mind to it. But I probably need some time to recharge. Maybe I'll even get around to writing something more mainstream again. Though after you do something that has even a slight amount of commercial success, it seems kind of pointless to go back to something that probably won't sell for shit just because it's more respectable. Hey, I finally get Adam Sandler's career now! I mean I can be like Tony Laplume, pumping out one thing after another that no one reads but I really do like seeing hundreds of dollars going into my account every month. It has really come in handy on the road.
The other idea would be to go even less respectable. Maybe find some other niche markets to explore. I'm not sure what, but I'm sure I can find something on Amazon if I try hard enough. That of course goes back to my first bullet point. How low can I go? Hurm.