So, I was over on Reddit, you like I often am, and found this question. And answered it, like I do. However, the answer I initially gave was a simple generic answer. If you want to read my original answer unaltered, simply click on Reddit's embed feature links which Reddit provides for webmasters to be able to post their answers on their websites, while linking back to the original thread on Reddit (if you didn't know Reddit offered and encouraged the use of this feature, look for it in the "share" features underneath every post, comment, and reply on Reddit).
I am answering random questions today about world building, over on Reddit and decided to take my answers from there and expand upon them even further over here. So that's what this page is. Me rambling on about various aspects of world building techniques I use when writing the Quaraun series. The questions I am answering are embedded here. Clicking the link in the embedded question will take you to the original Reddit page where you can see the original answer along with other people's answers. If you wish to comment, you can do so on the Reddit page where a place to do so is provided.
In any case, as with all of my Reddit answers found on my site here, my original post on Reddit is much shorter then the article here.
>>I'm rather new to worldbuilding/fantasy writing.
Welcome! You are in for a fun (and sometimes frustrating) ride.
>>I've been building a foundation for my own world and stories but I'm having trouble deciding on a scale for my world.
I did this when I first started. I had, I think 3 characters, no story, and a great idea for a planet I wanted to build. I wasn't really into writing that much back then (in the 1970s). Back then, I just wanted to build this amazing planet I had thought up, and then I wanted to explore it, so I created people to explore it, and it was an amazing source of pretend time for me and a few of my cousins to then run around the yard pretending we were in this world.
After a while though my cousins "grew up" (as they put it) and didn't play pretend anymore. That's when I turned to writing stories about the character, and my focus turned from worldbuilding to writing stories about the world.
I never had any idea of scale, and (being heavily influenced by Star Trek) my idea of world building I think could better be described as galaxy building, because I was creating full planets and then sending ships back and forth between them.
My perception of Fantasy races, was that Elves originated on one planet, Dwarfs were from another planet, Humans were from Earth, and so on. So I set out the create every planet from which each of the Fantasy races came from. Then I concluded different types of Elves came from different planets... so you can see how I just ran with world building and had no scale at all, but rather ran wild in my ever expanding universe.
In my early years, you saw me publishing only 1 or 2 stories a year. This was because I spent a lot of time world building. In my most productive years I was publishing 2 or 3 short stories a week and a novel a month - this was a period after I had the world fully built and was writing lots of stories with-in it; in the past 5 years, you've seen me back to publishing only 2 or 3 stories a year because health issues (Parkinson's) have desperately slowed down my ability to do a lot of writing any more.
>>I've looked at other fantasy worlds and their sizes, and it varies pretty greatly. Some are the size of Europe, or smaller. Some are bigger than Earth. To me, this spawns some questions.
My world, spans 3 solar systems and multiple planets with-in them. My world is massive. The entire glob of 3 planets and 2 moons are fully mapped, complete with dozens of countries, cultures, religions, ethnicities, and MOST of these things have never even been used in any novel of the series.
>>What's too big? I know it really depends on the scale of your story, but that's TOO big for a fantasy story?
No. There is no such thing as too much world building.
There is, however such a thing as too much "world building procrastination"!
There is nothing wrong with constantly building and expanding your world... and if you are a hobby writer, writing for your own pleasure with no intention of publishing, then you can press forward world building to your heart's content with ever writing a word of your novel at all (and a lot of people do this... it's a great hobby to have)... BUT... if you goal is to be a published career author, then it can become an issue, if you are forever world building, but never writing. So remember to balance world building with novel writing.
>>What's too small? I know most of my current story will probably take place in a very small portion of the world, however I'm not sure what would be simply too small of a world.
I don't think there is any such thing as too small.
Not a part of my primary series of novels, I also have a series of stand alone short stories. Each story is under 5,000 words. Many of the stories in this set were written as part of a writing challenge called "the 8 hour writing challenge".
The 8 hour challenge was started by Joe Konrath (a horror author - if you google him, you can find hs blog and the blog post about the 8 hour challenge). He only did it once, but after that, most people who joined the original challenge, started doing it monthly on their own, I was one of these.
The challenge is this:
Pick a day when you have an 8 hour stretch of time you can devote to this. Then, set your alarm to 8 hours from the start time. Now, without any pre-planning, write, edit, format, create a cover, AND publish on Amazon, a story. Do EVERYTHING within that 8 hour time, including to do ALL of your world building and character creation.
Most people who do the challenge, spen 1 hour worldbuilding/plotting/character-creating, 4 hours writing, 2 hours editing, and the final hour making the cover and formatting and uploading to Amazon.
I've done this challenge about 20 times in the past 5 or so years. In each case I ended up with a story about 5k words long, most of them done in Slice of Life format, with only 1 character, dealing with some major messed up life-shit. For example in one story a guy wakes up to find vampires stole the roof off his house during the night; another story a guy is in a high speed chase escaping police, hits a pedestrian, jumps out of his car, through a portal, and comes out in front of car escaping police (he hit himself); another story a 4 year old girl is building a sandcastle that she says Faeries live in, adults laugh at her, a shitty adult destroys the sand castle and Faeries massacre everyone on the beach...each of these stories were published on Amazon 7 hours after I started creating the world they happened in.
In each case, the story occurs in a very "small world".
For example the vampire one (Where In The Heck Is The Ceiling), takes place on a single street. It features the inside of a house, the outside of a house, the street the house is on, and the inside of an office building across town. You never see any other parts of the world or know where this street exists.
In the car crash one (Wasted Time), the entire story takes place in one tiny isolated section of road, just as the road leaves town and enters the forest. Of any world I've ever created, this is probably the smallest one as it takes place in a space about 200 feet in diameter.
In the sand castle story (Sand Castle), it starts out on the back porch of a beach house, then expands to a cold North Atlantic beach, and mentions that the beach boarders a tourist town. So this one has a full town, but only a small section of it is seen.
In the Oak Tree, the entire story takes place on a hill, in a field, under a man-eating oak tree.
Emmet opens with a scam artist being chased by an angry mob out of a village, during a storm, getting lost in the forest, and seeking shelter in a haunted house. From there the entire story exists in the front parlour of the house, where the man is terrorized by ghostly black cats who argue how they will kill him.
Shifting Sands, is set on the exact same beach as Sand Castle, this time an evil town manager is destroying nature to to turn the town into a money making tourist attraction, but his plans are thwarted by the same Faeries as before, calling up the crabs and seagulls in to tourist eating massacre.
Lucky Number 7 takes place in 3 locations: an 7th floor apartment, bus #7, and an office building on 7th street where the 7 son of a 7th son works with 7 employees whom he is convinced are plotting to kill him on the 7th hour of the 7th day of the 7th month, so he plots to kill them first.
In a Tale of Tall Grass we see for a 3rd time that same beach as in Sand Castle and Shifting Sands, this time an elderly woman sit on her lawn overlooking the beach and watches her 2 neighbours compete in a lawn mowing frenzy of who has the better lawn, while the old woman, who has never cut her grass in ever, has waist length dune grass hiding the blood-thirsty Faeries inside, once again the Faeries attack the threats of nature, this time turning the lawn mowers on the men, slaughtering them in the bloodiest Faerie attach yet.
In Road Rage we return to that beach town for a 4th time, this time the old woman is driving home and witnesses the insanity of what happens when a full moon shines town on the cursed town.
In BloodFall in Playland, we return to the same beach town yet again, this 5th time following a group of teens to the Amusement park, only to have them get stuck on top of a ferris wheel and witness as everyone on the beach gets eaten by a zombie alien attack.
In The Attack of The Zombie Pizza Boys, we are at that same beach for a 6th time, and now the town is entirely zombies, running a tourist resort to have a steady supply of brains.
These, of course are examples of extremely small worlds, built on spur of the moment seat of the pants for a contest, but still, it shows you that there is no such thing as too small of a world. In each case, only enough world was built, to allow the story to take place logically, and nothing more of the world was built.
>>How do you decide and scale your world?
At this point in my career, I don't do much world building... I'm 130 novels into the series, which I started publishing in 1978, this year being the 40th anniversary since volume 1 of the series was published. But as I said, I ran wild with my world building, and never stopped, just forever expanding as needed for each story I added to the series. In the end, I ran wild and free never worrying about an end goal of the scale.
>>In addition to scale, also keep in mind the speed of available travel.
>>If walking is your primary mode of transportation along poor roads or no roads at all, then traveling across a continent the size of Europe becomes long, complicated and uncertain.
THIS^ Is so important for me and my series.
The main character is a wandering vagabond wizard and his unicorn. Though he has a horse (of sorts) he absolutely refuses to ride said horse, thinking of him instead as a companion rather then a beast of burden. The end result is, 90% of the time he's walking, and the only time he's not walking is if he's traveling with some group he meet along the way, and got invited to ride in their wagon with them.
As I myself am someone who did not have a car until I was 37, and walked everywhere, I knew from experience the amount of distance I, myself, personally could walk over various terrains. I can walk 13 miles a day across beach sand (I live on a 7 mile long beach and frequently walk it and back, daily) or I could when I was younger. Now that I'm older and on a cane, I struggle to walk 2 miles on the beach sand. On paved sidewalks, I could easily walk 16 miles a day... but trying to walk that same distance in summer, was a struggle due to heat, then now on a cane, the hip pain kicks in after 7 miles and I can no longer make the full 16 mile -3 town- walk I used to walk to do my shopping. I knew that 4 miles of harsh, deep forest, deer trail, mountain hiking was my limit without an extended break to rest, but that I could do 3 of those 4 mile stretches in one day...and after having the cane, I now require more breaks more often, and because of this am limited to a 10 mile forest/mountain/trail hike instead. Each of these things is further effected by weather: heat, cold, rain, snow, wind, mud, etc, all change the difficulty and amount of mileage I can make. Plus I have many other distances, terrain, conditions I have trekked over the past 50 years, and kept track of, so can look back at and reference, today as writing notes.
Well, because the series I write is set in my native region (Maine, New Hampshire, Quebec, Nova Scotia) but set in a fictional, quasi medieval-like version of it, that was largely based off Dungeons and Dragons, if D&D was set in New England and Maritime Canada, and if that region had been the center of the world instead of Europe. So, I've taken a very real location, and given it fiction towns, and an alternate history.
Well, I know from walking the area every day for the last 5 decades, that most small towns with farms and forest between them, tend to be almost exactly 10 miles between each town, and are marked with granite mile markers (many of which were built in the 1640s and are still standing today in 2018). I also know that cemeteries are put every 5 miles, and always face to the East. And most of these were also built in the 1640s.
Being someone who has spent most of my life cooking outside and sleeping under the stars, I also know what you can and can not cook on the road (like the fact that stew takes 5 days of none stop boiling to make, and no one is walking around luging a 75lb cauldron around with them). I know too that sleeping on roots and rocks is not fun on the back and that the best place to sleep is near tall grass or oak trees, so that you can put piles of grass and leaves under your bedroll.
In the end, I take all of these various factors, and use that info when writing my wandering wizard. Early in the series when he's younger, he can walk greater distances. Later in the series after sustaining a leg injury that put him on a cane, he's slowed down quite a bit. Tons are about 10 miles apart, so he can usually get to a town before dark, but inclimate weather slows him down. Heat makes travell slow and when a blizzard strikes it can take a week or more to reach a distance that should only take a day.
The entire series is a travelogue type story of sorts, with the plot itself being minimumal, and the story being his interactions with people he meets on the road and in the towns he visits. Thus travel, and writing travel on foot accurately, becomes a major concern for me as a writer. And thus this:
>>In addition to scale, also keep in mind the speed of available travel.
>>If walking is your primary mode of transportation along poor roads or no roads at all, then traveling across a continent the size of Europe becomes long, complicated and uncertain.
Is the sort of thing I think about constantly when doing any type of world building for my series. I probably think about it too much, LOL! But still, for me and my series, thinking about how my world effects how my character travels, is perhaps the biggest issue I have to worry about, due to the fact that travel on foot is a constant, steady, every page event, of every novel in the series.
>>When i see worlds that are 1 continent i just immediately put down that book or whatever.
Considering less than 10% of Fantasy novels contain a map, and more than 90% of Fantasy maps only show a single continent, that translates into, you rarely if ever read any Fantasy books at all.
>>>What's Your Favourite Plotting Method? Why? I'm honestly curious about what others enjoy/what works for them, common or unique.
I don't know if there's an actual name for what I do, but I usually call it "The Exploration Method". I don't know if it's common or unique. I don't know if others do it or not. I have never studied writing methods or how to plot or outline, so I can't really compare if what I do is similar to what others do or not.
I'm someone who in real life, travels in a motorhome, camps, hikes mountain trails, explores forests, visits tourists sites, and am prone to just get in the car and start driving, just to see where this road goes. When I first started writing, I was writing travel shorts for travel magazines.
But than I discovered that I love building fictional fantasy worlds based off of real places I had visited or places I wanted to visit. And so I became one of those writers who world-builds endlessly and never wrote anything about that world. I'd create characters, build world, create characters, build worlds, travel around New England, write for travel magazines, build worlds, and than one day it occurred to me that I had all these places created, based off all these real world places I had visited, why don't I do something with it?
So, I started writing little short stories, about the characters I created, exploring the world I had created. I never set out to publish it. It was just quick little short stories that I wrote before bed every night because they were fun to write. Some friends from church wanted to read them, so I used a local copy shop to print up a few copies to hand out. Before long I was printing up a few hundred copies at a time and selling them at booths at local festivals. One thing led to another and it gains a following on a local level, and than word or mouth from my readers, caused out of state people to want it, so I started self publishing it, and over the years ebooks came to exist, and after about 30 years and 2,000 short stories it evolved into novels, and eventually it gained a rather large following, today 43 years later after starting the series, it has around 27,000 die hard fans/readers who buy every copy today, but it was never something I set out to publish at all, and even to this day, I don't try to make it "marketable" and I still write it same as I always did.
But the whole thing is literally just me grabbing a character and dropping them into a random location in my world I built, and just having them explore the land like a tourists on a hiking trip. So it has a lot of dialogue about random shit as the 2 or 3 characters hike, and lots of descriptions of the world in between. It's kind of straight up a travel blog by an Elf wizard and there's no real plot at all.
It's just plain fun to write. I get to "world build as I go" and I discover the world together with the Elf wizard, and it's like I'm there hiking with my best friend, in the fictional world I created. For me it's just super fun to write, and as I write for fun and not for money, it works for me.
I created the characters around 50 years ago, fell in love with them, and just started following them wherever they went. I've never used a plot or plan or outline. I never start with any ideas. I just write and see where it goes. Novels sometimes meander around aimlessly because of it, and at times readers complain about the extreme experimental plotless story-flow-style, but it's a pure adventure to write as I have no clue where the characters will go or what they will do or who they will meet. It's like I'm a reader, reading it for the first time and doesn't feel like I'm the writer.
This probably wouldn't work for everyone. The only reason it works for me is I know the cast of characters inside out. I know them better than I know any real people in real life. There is one main character who is in every novel, his primary lover who is in almost every novel, his other lover who is in most novels, and than there is a rotating cast of about 20 characters who appear at random. So usually there will be 2 to 3 primary characters and 2 to 3 minor characters in each novel. I think, this method of "plotting" wouldn't work unless you had a cast of characters that you know really, really well, so you know what they would do, what they would say, and you never stop the flow of writing to ask yourself "What SHOULD they do next?" because you already know that character A when faced with random event X-Y-Z WOULD respond by doing ___.
Also while it's Epic Lengths High Fantasy, it steps VERY far outside the norm of what most mainstream Fantasy "formula" follows. It's written more like Days of Our Lives type Slice of Life Soap Opera TV Family Saga Drama, about Elves, Faeries, and Mages, and it doesn't have any of the typical action, adventure, quest seeking, monster hunting, kings/factions fighting for the crown that you normally see in Fantasy novels. So it very heavily character driven and focuses nearly 100% on character emotions to create conflict and push the story forward. So that too, I think lends itself to this "plotless" style of following the character and see what they do type of plotting/writing method.
But, I think the thing that makes it work best of all, is the actual writing style itself. The whole thing is written as though it was a travel blog. So for the reader, it's like going to a travel blog and reading the daily posts of the blogger while they hike across the country. The main character and his friends are "homeless" vagabonds, sleep on the road, and are just traveling around the world aimlessly with no goal of getting anywhere. They just hike the roads, and stop at tourists sites, talk with random people they meet along the way, it's just them going wherever the road takes them to see what they can find. The stories are very "literary slice of life" style, where not a lot of "action" happens, and it's mostly just 2 or 3 characters talking lazily while they lazily hike across the country. Most novels literally take place in the space of only a couple of hours. Rarely does a novel span a full day or more than one day, and usually it's a line by line look at the every day details of their "dull, boring, eventless" every day lives. So, it's also very much NOT for every reader either, very niche.
Well, it's not ALL totally random. I subscribe to travel type magazines, like National Geographic (which is my fave magazine and the one I use most often for this) and I've got thousands of issues dating all the way back to the 1970s. I've never thrown away any of my travel magazines. So, what I'll do is, I'll grab a magazine at random, don't even look to see which one it is. Than I open it to any random page, and look at the photo on that page. It might be a bird standing in a swamp, or a homeless child sleeping on a garbage heap, or a snow covered mountain, or the damage done by a typhoon... it doesn't matter what it is, whatever it is, that's what I start off with.
I start every novel the same way: main character and crew are sitting around talking (usually at a campsite in the forest or at a table in a tavern) and whatever the magazine picture was, that somehow becomes their focus. Maybe one of them hears a bird and they decide to trek to the swamp to look at it, or they look out the window and see a homeless child sleeping in the garbage and decide to bring him inside and buy him a meal, or they see a snow covered mountain in the distance and decide to hike to it, or they have just arrived in a town decimated by a typhoon. And from there, I just start writing at random, letting the character conversation take the lead.
Like I said, this style of plotless writing probably won't work for everyone, and it may not work well with every genre. And also, if you were aiming to make a career out of writing, this method is probably the exact opposite of what you should do. It works for me, because I just write for myself and self publish it, and if a few people like it, great, and if it never sells or makes money, well it's no big deal, because I had fun writing it and having fun while I write it is my own goal.
For me, it's fun to write this way, because it let's me do massive amounts of world building, and then just drop my characters into the world and use them as tools to explore every corner of the world. This method would work well for people like myself who spend hours world building and just want to explore the world after building it. But for someone looking to make a serious career of writing serious novels for the mainstream genre market, this method probably wouldn't work well for them.
>>>Wait, I just realized that 2,000 short stories plus 138 novels times minimum 27,000 sales each volume equals to 57 million sales. Have you really sold over 57 million copies of the Quaraun books? Those are Harry Potter and Stephen King level sales figures. I didn't realize you were that big of a best seller!
If Stephen King didn't live in Maine, I would be Maine's #1 top selling author.
And there are a lot of local people in Old Orchard Beach, Saco, and Biddeford, Maine kicking themselves right now, as they read this and realize they've been harassing my family, while literally MILLIONS of people around the world have been watching, and before they, these idiot locals, visited this my website, they had no idea, how famous I really was, or how famous they themselves now are for being bullies.
>>>Okay so me again. Can I ask how much money 57 million book sales translates into?
It comes to around $4,000 a year spread out across 43 years.
Keep in mind 2,000 of those books are short stories each around 15 to 20 pages long and sold for .99c cover price, meaning IF they sold in America I would make .33c per sale, BUT, 78% of my sales are to Japan, NOT America, and so various international taxes and fees are taken off. Meaning I make only .12c per book sold.
As for the novels, the shorter ones have a $4.99 cover price the longer ones a $7.99 cover price for ebooks, the paperbacks are are $1.99 and the hardcovers are $37.99. The bulk of the novel sales go to the $4.99 ebook editions with more than 40% of all sales going to just 1 novel alone (BoomFuzzy, which sold 10,000 within it's first hour, 100,000 copies it's first month and continues to average 1,000 copies a month every month, all these years later).
Depending on which country the sales go to, I make between $1.99 to $3.99 for each ebook, paperback, and hardcover novel sale... IF ... big if here ... IF... I don't sign the book up for Kindle Free Days. Which I do. Amazon KDP offers a monthly promo that we authors can submit our books to, and Amazon than sets the price to ZERO... yes, FREE... for 7 days. This allows us free advertising in certain categories, meaning YES, Amazon puts the book in the recommended section, for all searches in that category for those 7 days. While these these free promo downloads count towards our monthly sale total, we don't get paid for them. It's a trade off for letting Amazon push our book into the recommended feature. BoomFuzzy and Screaming unicorn spent 4 years on Kindle Free Days, which is WHY BoomFuzzy was getting 100k sales a month it's first year of release, and I wasn't paid a penny for any of those first year sales for either BoomFuzzy or Screaming Unicorn. That is how advertising works on Amazon. They slap your book on the front page of their site and in exchange, they keep the royalties for any sales you make that week.
In the end, a lot of people see authors like me, getting massive sales on Amazon, via the recommended feature, BUT, they are often unaware that Amazon keeps 100% of the royalties for those recommended books, that the trade off, and how authors pay for being featured on the front pay.
In the end, the most I ever made in any one year from book sales was $4,682, less than hat the average American makes in a single month.
If you want to write to become "a Kindle Millionaire", know that exactly 3 (THREE) authors have ever earned a million dollars from Kindle, and me at under $5k a year is listed as one of their top selling authors, while more than 20million Kindle authors have yet to reach their first $100 payout even after 5+ years.
>>>I got one more question. How come you get so few reviews on Amazon. I think that why I didn't realize you had so many sales?
I've wondered that myself.
I get a lot of complaints about the Quaraun series, for a lot of things and the people who hate it, REALLY hate it a lot.
It's rather rare for someone to contact me and tell me they liked something about the Quaraun series.
I get more than 2,000 hate emails each and every day, and have for 30+ years now. On the other hand I get only1 or 2 good/encouraging/I liked this emails each year.
I get around 800,000 hate emails a year and around 2 like emails a year.
I asked once on my FaceBook profile, why do you think it is the series gets so much hate, lashed at me in my inbox, but so rarely any good or positive feedback.
And one has only to look at the sales numbers vs the reviews to see something is VERY amiss. I've 57million sales across the series, and yet there are fewer than 10 reviews TOTAL on Amazon, across ALL volumes.
More than 3,000 people replied to say variations of:
* "I love your novels, but I'm scared to let anyone know I read them."
* "I love your novels, but I'm afraid my church will excommunicate me if they find out I read them."
* "I love your novels, but I'm scared my parents will throw me out of the house if they find out I read them."
* "I love your novels, but I'm scared to let my town/neighbours/friend know I read them, because they are all transphobic."
* "I love your novels, but I'm scared my landlord will evict me if he knows I read them. He hates gays"
* "I love your novels, but I'm afraid my husband/wife/spouse/gf/bf will divorce/leave me if they find out I read them."
* "I love your novels, but they are too diverse, I'm scared I'll get beat up/killed if anyone finds out I've read them."
People are scared to write reviews of the Quaraun series.
I asked people who are fans of the series, WHY they are scared to let anyone know they read my books. Here's what their reasons were:
* The main character is a Gypsy, portrayed accurately, without stereotypes. I can't recommend your books because last time I did, I got beat up. People say you Gypsies are nothing but no good pickers and when I tried to defend Gypsies, they put a gun to my head and said they would blow my brains out if they ever heard me take the side of a Gypsy again.
* The main character is a transvestite, portrayed accurately. Not transgender. He ain't trying to be a she. He looks like a woman, dresses like a woman, but he uses male pronouns, he still acts like a man and talks like a man, and things men do. I have friends who are all about trans-rights and they'd be all over me if they found out I liked a book like yours. They say you can't do that. They say transvestites are not valid. They say the trans community hates transvestites. They say transvestites give trans people everywhere a bad name.
* The main character wears a hijab and it's not a story that tries to free the hijab. I'm scared of feminists. I know several and they hate hijabs. There's this one woman I work with, when she sees a girl in a hijab, she runs over and rips the hijab off and yells "You are free! I won't let men oppress you any more." You can't write about hijabs and have the character like wearing them. It's not PC! It's really bad to write a character who enjoys wearing their hijab! I'm scared Social Justice Warriors will riot at my home if they find out I like books about a character who wears a hijab and isn't trying to be free of it.
* The author wears a hijab. You wear a hijab and you ain't even Muslim! ... repeat the previous excuse, with changes... I'm scared of feminists. I know several and they hate hijabs. There's this one woman I work with, when she sees a girl in a hijab, she runs over and rips the hijab off and yells "You are free! I won't let men oppress you any more." You can't wear a hijabs by your own choice or free will. It's just not done! It's not PC! It's really bad for a woman to enjoy wearing their hijab! I'm scared SJWs will riot at my home if they find out I like books by an author who wears a hijab.
* The main character is gay and bisexual and polygamous and asexual. I can't let any church know I read gay literature! I can't let my employer know I'm an LGBTQAI+ alley. I can't let my wife/gf/daughter/mother/priest/family/employer know I read gay fiction, they'll think I'm gay!
* The main couple is mixed, and the Black one is the dominate one. The White one is the submissive one! Do you have any idea how many of my friends/family/relatives/neighbours/co-workers are Right-wing/Republican/Conservative/white power/Neo-Nazi/etc.? I can't let anyone know I like books with mixed race couples at all, let alone one where the Black is a dominate.
* The author is a Gypsy, every one hates Gypsies. I can't let anyone know I like a Gypsy. I have to keep up appearance. It'll make me look bad if I say anything good about Gypsies. I'll lose my job. My kids will get expelled from school. You don't know what it's like. Gypsies are the plague. I put my family's like at risk if I wrote a good review of a book written by a Gypsy.
It's quite frustrating.
I have to write this series without one shred of positive feedback.
Not one, single, solitary good review, not once in 43 years and 57 million sales.
It's very discouraging.
It's also why I've had to grow a thick skin and why I've had to learn to live by the saying:
"You can't please everyone, so you might as well please yourself." - Ricky Nelson
There used to be a few hundred reviews on EACH of the Quaraun novels on Amazon, but they were ALL 1 star reviews filled with death threats, transphobic hate, gay-hatred, Gypsy hatred, etc. A lot of white power raving and ranting.
They started showing up March 2015, a few days before my family was murdered.
The hate reviews kept piling up and there were a few dozen death threats added to each book, each day. October 2016, Amazon sent me an email saying they had deleted over 1,000 reviews off of my books, because of hateful conduct ToS violations.
Fact was, they weren't book reviews. They were just trans haters and gay haters and black haters and Gypsy haters, and several people claiming to be "StormTroopers" "Ku Klux Klan" "Neo Nazi" and other white power hate groups.
I never bothered to report them, I just left them there so browsers on Amazon could see what kind of shit I had to put up with on a daily basis.
The 1 star reviews were tame, a lot tamer than the emails I get.
But people were scared to write 3, 4, or 5 star reviews on the Quaraun books, scared out of their minds that the writers of the 1 star death threat reviewers would lash out at them.
Someone complained apparently, because Amazon stepped in and deleted all the reviews and banned the people writing them, but, most everyone who is a fan of the series saw it happen and is scared shitless to publicly show any support for the series at all.
They're scared for their families. Rightly so.
My family was murdered by the people writing those reviews, that's a proven fact, FBI traced one of those reviewers back to a person who lives right on my street.
Americans SAY they want diverse books about diverse characters, but they don't mean it. Give them ACTUAL diverse books with ACTUAL diverse characters, and they gang up on the author and murder the author's family. That's the reality of writing diverse books in America.
But that's why there are so few reviews on the Quaraun books.
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