Lyn Gala

One writer's journal through one version of reality

Third Tier Writer

22 Comments


I’m not a first tier writer. Nope. I never actually expected to be counted among the ranks of people who make millions off their titles. That’s not the kind of book I write, and that’s fine.

At one point, I wanted to be a second tier writer. I dreamed of being able to make a comfortable $40,000 per year and quit the day job. I hoped and read everything on commercial success and marketing. I tried to write what was popular. I sucked at it.

Worse, every time one of my titles performed well below expectations, I felt like a failure. My femdom books—Drift and Blowback—are two of my favorites. However, my profits haven’t even hit the hundreds. Claiming was a home run, but Assimilation is a slow burn and I don’t know that it will every catch up with its older sibling.

But now I’m comfortable ensconced in the third tier. I can work on a third Claimings book without dwelling on the failure of Assimilation, which at one point had more free downloads than sold copies.

What is the third tier? I make a nice sum of money. It’s not enough to pay the rent, but I can pay the electric bill and car payment (most months). I can put some aside for when the hot water heater goes out. I can splurge a little. I will never be successful enough to quit the day job, but that’s okay.

And I’m not complaining. I still have stacks of $2 and $5 checks and feel copies of magazines that are mute evidence of my days as a fourth tier author making pitiful amounts of money. I rose above that. I have just come to realize I’m probably not going to rise more.

Instead of making financial goals, I use my writing to work out my feelings. When I watched one of my kids go through hell with his unsupportive family, I wrote Two Steps Back. When I was being goofy with a friend, I started the bunny for Mountain Prey. A friend and I were talking about race!fail and the fear of characters of color when I wrote Steampunk Pirate to prove to myself that I could write a culturally and historically black man without turning him into a white man with black skin.

And now I signed a contract for one of my darkest titles yet. Without a Net is a futuristic police procedural. It’s not scifi, but it’s set a few decades in the future when BDSM control clubs are mainstream and Shade clubs are for edge play and more dangerous folk.

I know that some people are going to get frustrated because I won’t settle down in a genre and stay so that I become an autobuy. They have to eye each new title from me with suspicion because they can’t trust me to write a certain kind of book.

That’s fine.

I’m not an autobuy type of author. But when my mother nearly died a year and a half ago, I wrote some dark damn fanfic. I had Todd the Wraith win and brainwash Rodney and John into becoming bad guys. Boy were they good at being bad. I had Crowley capture Dean and turn him into a bitch for a hell hound (who was sentient so it wasn’t quite as squicky as you think, although it is close).

This time my mother got cancer less than a year out of the hospital after a series of strokes that nearly killed her. So I wrote the first two 10K stories of a Hercules series where his 12 labors basically become a long series of abuse and dub-con. Yeah, I don’t know that those stories will every go past my flist.

And I wrote Without a Net. Does Ollie come through in the end? Hey, this is me. I do get to the happy or at least happier ending. However, this is dark and abusive and grim. Ollie is a tough sub, a cop who can endure anything if he has that glimmer of hope that he might get to shoot someone in the head on the other side. However, some readers are going to hate how much he goes through before he gets a chance.

I’m not reinventing myself. I’m not struggling to find my “voice.” I’m not even writing for the readers. This is me. Since I am a third tier author freed from the dreams of being able to make a living at this, I have to find other goals.

And my first one is to please myself and work my own emotional demons out in a place where I can do it without damaging my real life. Now that my mother is in remission, don’t expect another dark book from me. However, don’t assume that means that my next book will give you what you want. My writing has to be about me. That’s the beauty of being on the third tier.

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Author: lyngala

Lyn Gala started writing in the back of her science notebook in third grade and hasn't stopped since. Westerns starring men with shady pasts gave way to science fiction with questionable protagonists which eventually gave in to any story with a morally ambiguous character. Even the purest heroes have pain and loss and darkness in their hearts, and that's where she likes to find her stories. Her characters seek to better themselves and find the happy ending (or happier anyway), but it's writing the struggle that inspires her muse. When she isn't writing, Lyn Gala teaches history part time in New Mexico and constantly prays for that one big breakout novel that will let her leave the classroom behind forever. She loves teaching, but she loves writing more.

22 thoughts on “Third Tier Writer

  1. I don’t care that you write in many different genres, that’s what makes it interesting to read your books. If I wanted cookie cutter books were you change the name of the characters and plug them into the same situation, or something similar I’d pick up Clive Cussler or whatshername – Hamilton writing the Anita Blake books. I see you more like Stephen King – some of his books are great, some I don’t like so I won’t pick them up – but I’ll keep looking for the new books to see if its something I like. Keep up the good work and the variety. And if you don’t write for yourself, then the books are not going to read true.

    • Thank you. Sometimes I really struggle finding the line between writing as art and writing as business, but in the end, I have to go where my muse is happy, otherwise I won’t write at all.

  2. You are squarely on my auto-buy list, for what it’s worth. Carry on doing exactly what you’re doing!

    Sorry to hear about your mum’s cancer diagnosis. Best of luck for a positive outcome.

    • It’s worth a lot! Thank you. And thank you for the kind wishes. My mom came through strong, and they give her good odds on her five year prognosis.

  3. You’re an autobuy author for me. I love all of you books, especially how none of your characters are the same. The only thing I think could be stronger are your blurbs. They don’t do the books justice. I pray you’re writing furiously because I could really use a Lyn Gala book soon. 🙂

    • Thank you so much. And trust me, I know I suck with blurbs. I just don’t have that knack. You will be getting new books soon. I have a femdom scifi coming out next, followed by a futuristic police procedural with a STRONG BDSM element, and I’m working on two others now.

  4. You are an autobuy author for me, too! And I will buy your third Claimings book whenever it comes out, and your other contemporary and sci-fi stuff too.

  5. I just re-read blow back. The sceen at the blast shields makes me cry every time. Your stories are several of my favs. Keep up the good work.

  6. Just discovered you via All Romance Ebooks. Loved Claimings, Tails and Other Alien Artifacts! Finished in one day and immediately went and bought the rest of your booklist yesterday. I’ve since finished Assimilation, Love, and Other Human Oddities and am eagerly awaiting the third in the series. I have confidence I’ll enjoy the rest of your work. I look first for believable characters existing in a world that obeys a consistent set of rules, a good story, and a writing style that appeals to me. 🙂 A unique take on the human condition is also a plus. Added you to my alerts on the site so I’ll know when your next book is available.

    • I am working on that third. I have trouble with sequels… the brain wants to run ahead to the next story, even when I know where I want to go. However, I am trying to discipline the muse into finishing that one. I have three re-edits and releases out: Desert World 1 and 2, and one of my rare het books, the femdom Blowback.

  7. As a girl slowly going through your list, I love the fact that you don’t conform to one label. Labels are confining and I’m all for freedom. I love that you are able to be you in your writing and I strive to be me even in my reading. Thanks for the books. 😀

  8. I can’t autobuy any of the authors I love, yet….Have to space them out, but you’re on the list of authors of which I will eventually own everything they’ve written. It’s a short list. I’ve read Fettered three times to date and lots of your fanfiction more times than is probably healthy. You’re one of my authors I go to when I really, really need to get out of my own head. Thank you!

    • Thank you so much. I write to get out of my own head after the stress of a long day of teaching, so I’m glad that it helps you do the same. However, I won’t feel back if you dislike some of those titles you buy eventually.

  9. This is a rather late comment but: Given the description in the blurb I probably wouldn’t have bought ‘Without a net’ if it had been written by any author other than you. And I am glad I bought it, although I probably wont reread it as often as I reread some of your other work. I think there is a certain texture to books that are written because the book was exactly what the author wanted or needed to write at the time. An extra layer of care if you will. It is not what you write that makes you an auto buy to me, it is very much how very well you write it.

  10. It’s embarassing, I found your site just an hour or so ago, but I read and love your books for years now. I think the first one I did read was Urban Shaman, if I remember correctly.
    One of my favorite series of all times will be (forever and ever) your Claimings Series, so, pretty please, tell me there will be more novels of Liam and Ondry to come!!! This afternoon I finished Divergence and again, pretty please, would you give us more of this great new series?! I’m just so curious what will happen next….

    What I try to tell you: I would wish for you, that you could quit your day job, because your stories are so good, you would deserve that you could live of them.
    On the other side, since I started first reading english books, and then mm-books, I saw a few authors turn from writing in their free time to writing as their first and only job, and not for each of these writers it seems that it was a good decision. Sadly, some of them aren’t so good anymore, since they make their living with writing.
    It would be a horrible sad day, if that would happen to your books.

    I promise, you will be one of my autobuys whatever you write, as long as you write for yourself!
    Take care and thanks for all your great stories =;))

    • I’m so glad you enjoy the stories. I am unlikely to ever make a living off it, but I’m okay with that. I make enough money to help set aside savings and pay for emergencies, and more than that, I get to tell my stories without stressing about the fact that they don’t sell enough to pay the mortgage. Since I wrote this, I’ve become a little more sanguine about my lack of sales, and I’m glad that you still enjoy the stories. Hopefully I’ll keep writing tales you like for a long time.

  11. So, I’m coming in REALLY late here, but I was re-reading some of your stuff this weekend, and I just want to say — please keep going. You have a unique voice and vision. It’s sometimes dark and uncomfortable, but from Fettered to Lines to Rownt to Aberrant — it’s all fantastic. I love reading the journeys of your characters. Thank you!

    • Thank you so much. I’ve come to peace with the fact that I am writing the stories I want and not chasing any great dream. Small dreams are enough to make me happy.

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