Does your story have to be good?

So, I’ve had a lot of free time since being in quarantine. I developed symptoms about a week ago and immediately got a test and secluded myself from people. I’m currently feeling fine and therefore the show must go on.

Having more free time, I spent it doing what most of America would do… scrolling through my social media feeds. While I could have been productive with my time, I spent it liking, commenting, and sharing other people’s productivity. One such glorious meme was one that commented on the fact that even if you don’t think your work-in-progress is good, there’s always a market for it. They used the movie Sharknado (2013). Because, let’s be honest, as a story the movie isn’t that great. However, it was so bad that it gained a cult following and spawned a whole series of these films!

“But Jim,” you might be saying. “That’s just a movie franchise. That can’t occur in literature.”

I would argue that it can happen. In fact, I would argue that it already has happened. Allow me to provide an example.

*As a sidenote, I don’t endorse the book. I haven’t read it, but I know of it. Just throwing it out there.

Yup, this is a thing.

“Kissing the Coronavirus” is a novel released in October. Written by MJ Edwards, this book is exactly what you might think it is… a doctor who falls in love with a coworker who gets possessed, my word not the authors, by the coronavirus. It’s a self-published short novella (35 pages) meant to be the author’s “attempt at trying to pay the bills following her job loss.” I can’t knock an author for trying to pay her bills. It looks like she’s doing a good job of it because currently it’s got 459 ratings on Amazon with an overall rating of 4 stars out of 5.

If you look her up on Goodreads, you’ll find that the book has 1,255 ratings with a 2.47 star average out of 5 stars.

If you’ve ever tried to get readers to purchase your self-published work, then you’ll know how crazy it is that two months after a debut novel comes out that it’s got this much traction.

If you look at the reviews, it’s not a good story. Far from it. However, like Sharknado, it’s becoming one of those works that’s so bad that it’s good.

“Yes, I still gave it 5 stars. Do not go into this expecting a good read, either story or writing. You absolutely have to go into this expecting it to be worse than you imagine it will be and ready to laugh. The fact that it was so bad it made me laugh like crazy is why I rated it so high,” writes the top review.

“THIS IS HILARIOUS!!! This is NOT meant to be taken seriously. This is a parody and a well done one. I could not stop laughing and telling my friends about it,” writes another review.

I have to give props to the author, MJ Edwards, for taking advantage of the pandemic and making something good out of it. If you look into her own personal story, you’ll find that she lost her main source of income due to the pandemic and decided to write and self-publish short stories in order to gain some of that income back.

And you know what? If Edwards is doing what she enjoys and making money off it, then I can’t blame her. We should all be trying to find what makes us happy and make a living from it.

There’s always an audience for what you’re writing. From shark wielding tornados to people making love to deadly viruses, there’s something for everyone out there in this big wide world we live on. You just have to figure out what audience your story has and zero in on it. Hopefully, the rest will be history.

Next week, I’ll be writing about my time in quarantine and how it has may or may not have helped my work-in-progress. In the meantime, keep calm and write on!



Categories: Mastering the Craft

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