My question is regarding creating furry content, primarily books. Over the course of four years, I have discovered that it is difficult to obtain any success as a self-publishing author. It feels even more difficult when your books contain furry related content.
I love writing in general, whether is furry related or not, but I really had high expectations for this particular story that I meticulously created since high school. Even with all of the doubts and hardships, I've managed to publish at least two of my stories. Sadly, I have no family members or friends who are supportive in buying my story or helping me to advertise it. I get that I can't force them to own one, but the lack of interest does create this cloud of self doubt. Maybe the world just isn't ready for mainstream furry content? IDK. When I see shows like Beaststars and similar ideas, I feel like that should be me also.
Is there some sort of secret marketing strategy that I am not aware of? Or is it just one of those deals where I'm going to have to pay to get noticed?
* * *
Dear Ebon Wolf,
Excellent questions, ones that I'm sure plague many writers of all sorts, not just those who pen furry fiction. Publishing is a very fickle thing. There are many excellent writers who struggle to get their works published and read, and there are many shoddy authors who make a very good living writing garbage that is popular with readers.
If your question is "What sells?" Well, you need to start off with a good story with sympathetic characters that readers can route for, of course. Big publishers like Random House or Simon & Schuster tend to be very conservative; they like to publish stuff that is similar to books that have sold before. Rarely do they take risks to publish something truly original. This is why you see a lot of stuff like "tell-all" celebrity autobiographies, thrillers and detective stories, and romance novels. When someone does have a breakthrough like J. K. Rowling, you can bet that their book will be followed by lots of copycats; this was also true after the Tolkien books became popular.
When it comes to furry fiction and learning what is popular, read what furries find exciting and take notes. For example, when one thinks of a best-selling furry writer, the name that pops to mind immediately is Kyell Gold. Read some of his stuff. But also read non-furry anthro fiction, such as Brian Jacques' Redwall series, Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn, or Richard Adams' Watership Down. The more anthro fiction you read by other authors, the more you will experience an osmosis of technique that will begin to affect your own writing in a good way.
Because it can be extremely challenging to find a publisher to print your works, many authors are going the self-publishing route. For this, you need some money, sure. Or a lot of knowledge about how to typeset and print a book yourself. With paper costs soaring lately, printing has become quite expensive. Another route you can go is the ebook. The good news is that even if you don't know how to create your own ebooks or epubs, there are inexpensive services out there that can help you. Just google "ebook conversion services" and start shopping around for companies that can convert your text into an ebook that you can sell online.
Next problem is getting the word out. One of the best ways to do this is to send your manuscript to a book reviewer, and, when it comes to furry fiction, the place for you to go is The Furry Book Review (https://furrybookreview.com/) which I do believe is willing to review self-published books. You can also take excerpts of your book and post them on various furry social sites with links on how to purchase the full book. You can try to get on furry podcasts for interviews. Some other tips can be found here https://www.editage.com/info/book-editing-services/articles/11-Powerful-book-promotion-ideas-for-self-published-authors.html. However, I do not recommend going through Amazon because they will rape you of all your profit. It's not worth it. They take huge chunks of your money. Now, if you're not doing this for money, then go ahead with them, but I would suggest trying other ways first before you resort to Amazon.
Hope these tips help. Good Luck!
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.