Hello, one and all.
Yes, I've been 'dark' on the blog circuit these many months. Been hard at work on a film of mine shooting in Russia come early July, called "Black Rose." The film ostensibly will star Alexander Nevsky, and Kristanna Loken (the bitch-kitty robot in Terminator 3 - Rise of The Machines). I'll have a role in it as well, a detective. Also helping out a buddy on his film, Guardian Angel, filming to start on June 21. Both films are thrillers.
I wrote another YA book a few months ago with a buddy of mine called Prince and the Magic Quest, and for the first time, have a small readership in Japan. My Asian friends apparently love fantasy, especially where swords and dragons are concerned.
And, yes, to my many queries, Gray Area 2 is on its way to launch by the end of summer, followed hard upon by Gray Area 3. Special Investigator for the LAPD, Lou Diamond, returns in all his hard-drinking, cynical glory, this time as a by-proxy single parent to two ten year old girls. It's not an easy balance, shooting up bad guys and engaging in tea-cup parties with the youngins'.
Finally, to all you hard-core writers out there, veteran or novice, who are trying to find your 'brand': Terribly important to do so from a business perspective. There are numerous blogs out there extolling the merits of branding and I embrace those precepts so stipulated by those who have been in this self-publishing business longer than myself. Find a genre (or two) and stick with it/them, preferably one that lends itself to a franchise, and stick to the keyboard. I've been doing this Amazon self-publishing thing now for just over a year, and while not making $50K or more a month as yet, I have seen steady income. I have not yet really honed in on my brand as yet, but will do so assiduously this coming year to ensure higher sales.
But why have I not secured 'branding' for myself as yet? Because I've actually enjoyed the process of writing and creating stories in a variety of other genres. My non-fiction work has been the most successful thus far and constitutes the bulk of my monthly revenue, followed hard upon by my hard-boiled crime and to a lesser degree, my science fiction offerings. Horror and YA has been softer, and this is probably due to the fact that in the past 14 months I've served up a wide-array of genres and my name has not been hard-and-fast secured to a particular kind of book. "Oh, Saunders, yeah he's the action-adventure guy" or "Right, old Saunders, he dishes out that hard-core sci-fi stuff!" This will come in time.
Writers ... don't suppress your urge to write what you want. Branding is great for $$$. But sometimes the literary soul must be hearkened to and not dismissed for the sake of fatter cash intake. Perhaps I should have taken the advice of some who mentioned I should write under a separate name for my respective genres so as not to confuse my audience, but I did not, and do not plan to suffer for it. I took a year to get my feet wet writing whatever I bloody chose to write. Now, I shall pursue a branding course of action and suffer not too greatly for it. Sometimes we must simply follow for a time the beat to our own personal literary drummer. I have done so and have no regrets.
Marketing your books is still key, however, and the only reason I'm not selling ten or so books or less in a given month is due to assiduous efforts in marketing, including free promos, joining book clubs, twittering, etc. These are all vital components for selling your work. Writing alone will not make you a dollar and a cent in this very competitive business. Letting the world know you have something to say - that you have a voice - is just as critical to your success as proving to that world you are the next Hemingway.
So get to work and buy my crap while your at it, okay?