A spectacular failure can have the effect of dropping a big heaping scoop of self-doubt on one’s head. After failing to sell even a single paper copy of my first furry book, “Con Fluff 1,” in the Artist Alley of Furry Fiesta a few weekends ago, I found myself questioning everything I did there: my sales pitch, my table layout, pricing, and so on. The bigger question of “Am I Doing It Wrong?” has also been hanging over my head since then.
A friend recently made the observation that I was incorrectly trying to sell clean stories to an audience that was not interested in them. Given how I joke with friends about how some furry art sites don’t update until you turn off their “not safe for work” filter, I’m hardly in a position to disagree. A little part of me is wondering if I should cross that line and start writing erotica/smut/porn/what have you.
I’ve never written anything overtly sexual, and I don’t have much desire to…it’s just not my thing. Despite that, I now have a little nagging voice in my head telling me that if I just cross that line, I will gain a bigger audience. Oddly enough, the internal debate I am having is reminiscent of when I’ve see artist friends struggle with the question of whether to do fan art for conventions.
While doing your own thing as a creative person is very personally satisfying, it also carries some risk, especially where anime and comic book fans are concerned. Those fans have popular characters that they like and don’t often take chances on things that are different or new, especially coming from a little-known or new artist. However awesome an artist’s original creation may be, most folks are going to gravitate to the table with the cool looking Iron Man or Hetalia fanart. In the same way, I find myself wondering if folks are bypassing my works just because it is clean.
Part of the reason I don’t write smut is that I don’t think I’d be good at it, but that isn’t stopping me from considering crossing that line. The little cloud of self-doubt that’s been following me around since Furry Fiesta isn’t helping either.
I don’t know. I guess it wouldn’t hurt if things got just a little more naughty. We’ll see.