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Do you buy furry novels? Why not, or which ones?

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Poetigress

Panthera tigris libris
But to see such utter disdain and contempt for what I love most, because it's furry, while pretty much all of furry visual art gets money and adulation is kind of a kick in the balls. It's hard to be a good writer. I work really hard at it, and I know a number of other people do too.

Even though, as I said, I sympathize with why people don't buy furry publications... I agree with this. And I don't even have balls, technically speaking. :p

People say things like "well, most furry writing is crap." Yeah, most of it is. So is most of everything. And there's a ton of crappy art on FA and everywhere else, too, but I don't see people lumping all of furry art together quality-wise. It's just easier to find the good art than it is to find the good writing, I suppose. But I'm still disappointed at how much more support good artists wind up getting in the fandom, compared to good writers. *shrug* But that's the way it is, and if anyone's got any ideas as to how to make things better...
 

Aden

Play from your ****ing HEART
But to see such utter disdain and contempt for what I love most, because it's furry, while pretty much all of furry visual art gets money and adulation is kind of a kick in the balls. It's hard to be a good writer. I work really hard at it, and I know a number of other people do too.

Like I said in my first post, I don't really go hunting for good furry literature, and the only stuff I hear about is poorly-conceived setups for first-time gay sex. Literally.

Sci-fi has Isaac Asimov. Furry has Kyell Gold. Great.

So the problem is obviously one of exposition
 
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Reiter

I'm sho sheeryush
What's so bad about Kyell Gold? I don't get all the hate. So he writes books about gay people. They're furry. Sometimes they have sex.

I'd understand all the outrage if all he did was cobble together some sex scenes, murr murr, stick them together with word-paste and publish it as is. But he obviously works hard at writing. For starters, he's prolific. He passes Sofawolf's standards. He was also finalist for the Washington Science Fiction Association's small press award - which he surely can't have engineered through some gay sex scene, so he *must* have done something right.

Please, enlighten me. What's the big deal?
 
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Aden

Play from your ****ing HEART
What's so bad about Kyell Gold? I don't get all the hate. So he writes books about gay people. They're furry. Sometimes they have sex.

I'd understand all the outrage if all he did was cobble together some sex scenes, murr murr, stick them together with word-paste and publish it as is. But he obviously works hard at writing. For starters, he's prolific. He passes Sofawolf's standards. He was also finalist for the Washington Science Fiction Association's small press award - which he surely can't have engineered through some gay sex scene, so he *must* have done something right.

Please, enlighten me. What's the big deal?

Big deal? No big deal. I just find it goddamn boring and I don't wish to read it, let alone spend money on it. If I were to compare it to art, it would be a direct analogue to Rukis: perfectly competent, perfectly homogeneous, perfectly boring.

But lots of other furries like it, so there ya go
 
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Poetigress

Panthera tigris libris
Like I said in my first post, I don't really go hunting for good furry literature, and the only stuff I hear about is poorly-conceived setups for first-time gay sex. Literally.

Okay, then as you point out, we have a problem with getting the word out about the other stuff. What I would say is this (and it's been said before, countless times, but who knows, maybe someone who hasn't listened before will listen this time): When you (I mean this as a general "you," not addressing Aden personally) find something that does stand out to you and is different from everything else out there, make an effort to support it. That doesn't just mean buying somebody's book and being done with it. Rate it on Amazon, on Goodreads. Like it on Facebook. Tweet a link to it. Write a journal or a blog post about it. Review it on Amazon or Goodreads or FurPlanet or wherever it is. Tell other people. I know some people do this already, but there always need to be more. This doesn't mean that authors don't have the responsibility of marketing their own work -- and it certainly doesn't mean they don't have the responsibility to produce the best work they can. Regardless of quality, not everything is going to be to everyone's taste, of course. But when you do like what someone's doing, spread the word, in whatever small way you can.

[/soapbox]
 
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buni

Novelist
But that's the way it is, and if anyone's got any ideas as to how to make things better...

My typical response is, "furry needs a curated website run by authors and editors to publicly showcase the talent within the fandom." We need a place that isn't just a giant slush pile of people uploading stories, which is available for people to start seeing the quality that already exists and to help find and encourage new creators. I've been hoping that Watts Martin's "Claw and Quill" would become that, but it's been in development for the better part of a decade, and all of the people I know who are interested in having such a thing are usually too busy writing or editing to take the time to build it.
 

Aden

Play from your ****ing HEART
What would you consider "compelling"? What would a novel have to contain to have you interested in it?

I'm more of a fantasy/sci-fi kind of person. I read novels to have my mind expanded, to think deeply, to be immersed in interesting worlds, and to care what happens to the characters. My current read is Scar Night (and then the rest of the trilogy).

My typical response is, "furry needs a curated website run by authors and editors to publicly showcase the talent within the fandom." We need a place that isn't just a giant slush pile of people uploading stories, which is available for people to start seeing the quality that already exists and to help find and encourage new creators. I've been hoping that Watts Martin's "Claw and Quill" would become that, but it's been in development for the better part of a decade, and all of the people I know who are interested in having such a thing are usually too busy writing or editing to take the time to build it.

I'd check it out
 

buni

Novelist
Okay, then as you point out, we have a problem with getting the word out about the other stuff. What I would say is this (and it's been said before, countless times, but who knows, maybe someone who hasn't listened before will listen this time): When you (I mean this as a general "you," not addressing Aden personally) find something that does stand out to you and is different from everything else out there, make an effort to support it.

It sounds from the thread like the problem runs deeper than that, though. From what I just read, it's not a matter of people not being willing to support what they find. It's a matter of people not looking. It doesn't matter how much talent we may have if nobody's interested in what we're producing. The problem here is one of overcoming the perception that the general state of furry lit is crap. It isn't necessarily the case, but how to make the case for that if people aren't even looking at it to judge?
 

buni

Novelist
I'm more of a fantasy/sci-fi kind of person. I read novels to have my mind expanded, to think deeply, to be immersed in interesting worlds, and to care what happens to the characters. My current read is Scar Night (and then the rest of the trilogy).

So, at the risk of touting my own horn too loudly, the rough drafts for my last and present novels are available online free to read, along with short synopses of each. If you enjoy them, Beautiful World is available through FurPlanet in hardcopy, or from [http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Wor...?ie=UTF8&qid=1308600401&sr=1-1-catcorr]Amazon[/i] if you prefer a Kindle version.

You don't have to read them. I can't make you read them. I can only put them out there and say "I hope you enjoy them."
 

Aden

Play from your ****ing HEART
It's a matter of people not looking. It doesn't matter how much talent we may have if nobody's interested in what we're producing. The problem here is one of overcoming the perception that the general state of furry lit is crap. It isn't necessarily the case, but how to make the case for that if people aren't even looking at it to judge?

A novel is a commitment on behalf of the reader and might take days of their time to appreciate. You're going to find less people actively looking for this commitment - some people might be in the middle of another novel, for example, or they might be at a hectic point in their life. Also, a lot of furries are younger people that don't have the maturity or attention span to devote that kind of time.

Then the problem after that is one of faith and risk. Starting a novel that you don't know will be good or bad is potentially a waste of a lot of time, and time is precious to a lot of people. Hell, I know a few people that don't want to waste their time on a film, only an hour and a half commitment, because not enough people have said good things about it.


Page isn't working for some reason. I get this.
 
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Poetigress

Panthera tigris libris
From what I just read, it's not a matter of people not being willing to support what they find. It's a matter of people not looking. It doesn't matter how much talent we may have if nobody's interested in what we're producing.

Well, honestly, at some point we're into leading the horse to water and not being able to force them to drink. If it truly is the case that most furries just aren't interested in reading furry fiction, then we're sunk no matter what we do. What I'm talking about with support is, the problem of people simply not hearing about the good stuff that does exist. So yes, that does assume they're interested in reading furry fiction but just can't find stuff that seems worthwhile to them (and these pepole usually give up eventually if they can't find anything, and from there it's a short step to the declaration that furry lit is crap, because they've looked and looked and haven't seen anything worthwhile). Some of that is because the authors don't do enough to put themselves out there, some of it might be because of a lack of centralized venues for people to get info/reviews from (venues exist, but they're scattered) -- and some of it is because furry readers are, IMO, as a group not nearly as supportive and vocal about recommending things as readers in other genres are. Furries will do a lot to support the artists they like. Writers... not so much. I'm not saying there aren't supportive readers out there; there are, and I'm very grateful for them. But overall, I just don't see the same level of enthusiasm there that I see elsewhere in other genres or even other fan communities.

The problem here is one of overcoming the perception that the general state of furry lit is crap. It isn't necessarily the case, but how to make the case for that if people aren't even looking at it to judge?

I agree that that's also a problem. I don't think we're looking at one single overarching problem as much as a bunch of interconnected ones. I do think the kind of website you're describing would help, but I also agree that if we can't at least partially overcome the "furry lit is crap" assumption, having the best website in the world won't matter. It's kind of a catch-22, unfortunately.

At the risk of insulting one group of people or another, I think the readership (or potential readership) in the furry fandom breaks into two main categories. There are those who read extensively outside the fandom and thus set the bar high in terms of what they expect on a craft and art level when it comes to work inside the fandom, and then there are a lot of people (mostly younger, though not exclusively) who would probably be termed "reluctant readers" in the educational system, and they're mostly reading one furry book or another because the subject matter interests them or is something they can relate to. I would speculate that the second group might not read that much outside the fandom at all. If this is the case -- and this is all idle speculation and might be totally off the mark -- then it would seem the first question might be, could both sorts of readers even be reached/targeted with the same sort of venue? The first group might be actively looking, at least for a while, and would need to have somewhere they can go to find work that meets a certain standard. The second group might be the ones who aren't necessarily looking at all, unless they happen to hear about something that piques their interest or see a book in a dealer's room with cover art that catches their eye.

... Not really sure where I'm going with that, just an observation. And of course, breaking anything into two groups is always limiting and leaves a good amount of gray out of the picture. :)
 
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Hateful Bitch

Hang up your coat
Does the Redwall series count? Because I read that a bit.

I mean it's all furry characters (from what I know) but lol Brian Jacques was like 71 when he died this year so I doubt he was a furry or anything.
 
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Tube

New Member
Does the Redwall series count? Because I read that a bit.

I mean it's all furry characters (from what I know) but lol Brian Jacques was like 71 when he died this year so I doubt he was a furry or anything.

Technically that's just one novel written lots of times. </snark>
 

Hateful Bitch

Hang up your coat
Depressingly so.

Also it's kind of creepy how what species you are determines whether or not you're evil.

the true evil is man
/deep

But yeah I guess I can ignore it from now on <:
I still have to finish all these 'classics' bullshit have lying around though. Those being A Clockwork Orange (why is this called a classic [it's alright though]), Animal Farm, 1984, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Lord of the Rings and Wuthering Heights. I am such an amateur when it comes to books and whatnot :c

Anyway not the place to talk about it. Derailing and whatnot.
 

kade

New Member
I'm guessing you don't mean books like watership down or the sight. That's about the only 'furry' related books I own
 

duroc

Member
Six months ago, I would have found this thread depressing. Now, I just find it annoying. Also, I'm reminded why I stayed away from the FA Forums for so long.
 

M. LeRenard

Is not French
Well, we've had similar discussions here in the past, and the conclusion has always basically been the same. I just take the hint that it's not the furry fandom audience I should be pandering to in my writing, because that audience barely exists, and that audience mostly doesn't give a crap.
Now, I'm not going to harp on artists or art in general, because I'm an artist myself and I see the negative side of that too. Certain kinds of artists have it just as hard as writers, believe me. People come on to FA looking for 2 things: pornography and community. In other words, you either pander to the masses by drawing or writing cheap fetish porn, or you pander to a small group who happens to take an interest in your work for some reason.
It's not the place to come if you're trying to sell your new furry sci-fi novel published by Bad Dog Books.
Now where do you go to sell that novel? I have no freaking idea. I really don't. The only thing I can say is, furries probably don't care, so you better hope other people do, or you're going to be sitting on a manuscript that sells roughly 10 copies a year, if you're lucky.

And hey, I'm guilty too! Whenever I see a novel or something advertised on the main site, I always look into it with a more than critical eye, if I click it at all, because frankly, I don't expect it's going to be any good. We just don't have that many editors or publishers in the fandom who are willing and able to put in the time to turn shit into Shinola, so what we get are a few good, professionally polished books buried under a heaping pile of mediocre to agonizingly bad self-published ones. And a few gems in the self-published category, if you can find them.
But it's like, unless you're truly dedicated to this fandom and its writers, why would you sit there and dig through all that crap to find the gems anyway? You could much more easily go to the local library and find a book there that you'd enjoy reading, and that you know would be up to a certain standard because it's been through the rigorous screening process known as professional publication. You know? There's lots of books I would like to read: classics, sci-fi I haven't gotten around to, new books by authors I like, new authors I've heard good things about, nonfiction, and so on and so forth. Most of the time I'd rather read one of those books instead of slogging around on the internet trying to find a furry novel that a)has subject matter I'm interested in, and b)is a quality piece of fiction wherein I won't constantly be distracted by bad grammar and poor editing.
Plus I'm always working on my own writing.
So yeah... I don't know what else to say, other than, don't write for furries unless you don't care about profit. Those people uninterested in publication or popularity have got it the best, really.
 
T

TakeWalker

Guest
You know, I was gonna say something, but then Renard posted and said it for me. :B

I can't even talk, though. When I call myself a "furry writer", I mean that I am a furry who writes, not a writer of furry fiction. If I ever get off my ass and try to publish, it's going to be outside the fandom. I simply don't produce furry stories, and I blame this community in a large part for getting the "why do they need to be furries" caveat stuck in my head. I don't even read that much anymore.
 

FuzzWolf

FurPlanet Proprietor
Full disclosure up front: I own FurPlanet Productions. We publish books ourselves and we also act as distributors for other companies. We sell online and also at about 10 furry cons each year so I have a little different point of view on this. That being said, I'm going to reply to some of the posts here then add some additional thoughts at the end. Sorry to do it all in one chunk, but I'm hardly ever on this forum and I felt this topic was an important one.

My boyfriend sent me his copy of "Waterways" and that just kind of turned me off of furry literature.
Because one book that isn't to your particular taste is an accurate representation of every book published in the fandom. Not even all of Kyell's books are like Waterways. I'm a little confused at what point "Kyell" became a genre of his own.

I'll stick to...things I know will be of a high quality.
How do you determine what's of high quality? It's not like everything published by a more mainstream publisher is going to be of high quality yet you'd give them the benefit of the doubt you won't extend to those publishers in the fandom.

Unless the author is a credible professional who realizes that the furryism has to be integrated into the story's moral or plot, I would be way too embarrassed to purchase it in public.

So at the moment, no.
So order it online if it's something that interests you. Very few fandom-produced books are in traditional bookstores (with the exception of one Borders in Connecticut) anyway so you'd be buying either online or in a convention dealers room.

I certainly wouldn't read one that was by someone whose work I was unfamiliar with.
Presumably you had to start somewhere. With anyone whose work you're reading now there had to be a first experience with their work, right? Why not extend that opportunity to another author.

This thread is reinforcing my idea that it's a better idea in general to publish outside of the fandom.
Depends on what you want. I'm selling books right now that have sold more copies than some books published outside the fandom. Operating within a niche market is a valid way to do business, ideally several niche markets which your work may appeal to. The mainstream publishing world is clogged with new releases, they actually number in the millions every year and most of them aren't going to sell many copies and will likely pay a lower royalty than a fandom publisher will. On the other hand, how many novels are published in the fandom each year? Probably less than two dozen. A book published in the fandom is going to deal with a lot less competition. The furry reading audience is small, but for the furs that do read they are generally a very supportive audience and tend to buy multiple books.

In keeping with the general direction of the conversation, I haven't bought any furry novels and I don't see myself doing so any time soon, haha. This is mainly because I'm really picky when it comes to the quality of books I buy, and most furry lit isn't quite up to those standards.

The only exception to this, perhaps, is the 'Furry!' short story collection that I bought a year or so ago.
Several of the authors featured in Furry! have since also written other stories or novels which have been published within the fandom. So if you liked Furry! then you might find other stories you'd like to read by Googling those authors. :)

I have to say that this thread is pretty damned disheartening to someone who loves reading, writing, and storytelling in all its forms and is trying pretty hard to make it as a writer within the fandom.

The publishing market outside the fandom is dismal. I don't know why anyone would prefer to publish books out there; your readership is likely to be lower, and your publishers will screw you over.

But to see such utter disdain and contempt for what I love most, because it's furry, while pretty much all of furry visual art gets money and adulation is kind of a kick in the balls. It's hard to be a good writer. I work really hard at it, and I know a number of other people do too.
I'm only quoting this to say yup, I agree completely. It's quite disheartening. There's lots of complaining in this thread about the state of furry fiction, but when a few people do step up and write, edit, publish, etc these same complainers are there to poo poo our efforts as not being good enough. Well, ya gotta start somewhere and if you're just criticizing and not contributing then you're part of the problem rather than helping the situation.

Starting a novel that you don't know will be good or bad is potentially a waste of a lot of time, and time is precious to a lot of people.
My suggestion would be to pick up one of the anthologies which have been mentioned. You'd have stories by a handful of authors, none being a big time commitment by themselves and if you find one or two authors you really like then you could look into some of their other work.
Furry! has been mentioned as a good example. I'd also recommend the ROAR series from Bad Dog Books and definitely Alone in the Dark, published by Anthropomorphic Dreams.

Six months ago, I would have found this thread depressing. Now, I just find it annoying. Also, I'm reminded why I stayed away from the FA Forums for so long.
I generally don't have time to read forums so I don't know if it's like this all the time. I can say I find some of the posts on the FWG forum equally as disheartening. There's a general defeatist attitude among a lot of the writers too. I think some fandom authors could use a dose of self-esteem to feel as if success is possible.

So yeah... I don't know what else to say, other than, don't write for furries unless you don't care about profit. Those people uninterested in publication or popularity have got it the best, really.
Like I said above, you can make money as an author even in a small niche market like furry. Most of the time though, I wouldn't recommend writing for the goal of profit or popularity no matter where you're intending to publish or what you're writing. If you're writing to be rich you're doing it wrong.

***

Now that I've done that I'll add some other thoughts on this topic here.

We just got home from Anthrocon last week so I want to share some sales insight with you.

When my partner and I bought FurPlanet just over three years ago, we mostly sold comics and had very few books. That first year we had book titles in the single digits and everything else was some kind of comic.

With time the mix of our product line has changed.

At this year's Anthrocon our sales showed an increase over last year's AC of approx. 35%. This year's sales breakdown was 53% books and 47% comics. Yes these are actual numbers from our records. So our book sales are now more than half of our total sales, and our overall sales are better.

What this means is, there is a market for furry books. People in the fandom are buying books. The assertion that books don't sell in the furry fandom is false. Is there a huge market for artwork? Sure and it's bigger than the book market. In a world where readership is down globally I think we're doing pretty darn good for selling in our little niche market. We're not rich and I'm not retiring or quitting my day job, but our company is financially stable and when we show up at a convention there are always people there waiting to buy our products.

So, furry authors, keep the faith and keep writing. There is hope and there is an audience for what you're producing.

Also, while it is only natural to compare how writing is seen in the fandom versus how much artwork is appreciated I encourage you to work with the artist community rather than see it as an obstacle. The old adage of "Don't judge a book by its cover" does not hold up when it comes to marketing and selling books. Having an attractive cover that will grab the eye can make or break a book. That probably doesn't seem right or fair, but if you want a book to sell you need a killer cover. That's the reality.

To all the naysayers who like to moan when it comes to furry literature not being good, profitable or all gay smut, stop whining and start helping. You want to see better stories, start helping writers you know to edit their stories. Start reading books and writing reviews.

Also, put your puritanical thoughts back under the rock they came from. Sex sells and if it weren't for the adult books being published then we would not be able to keep operating as a publishing company. Then we wouldn't be putting out any books, adult or clean.

Also, we put out non-adult books all the time and I still see complaints that there is only porn stories in furry. If you want non-adult books to be published you have to support them and put your money where your mouth is. Some non-adult zines have folded due to lack of people buying them or lack of submissions. Anthrolations folded, Renard's Menagerie folded. There isn't a New Fables 2011 from Sofawolf this year because not enough quality material was submitted to it. ROAR 4 is also seeking submissions right now and is running short on them. If you don't want to buy a clean furry book then for crying out loud get off your tails and start writing something! Stop complaining and start contributing.
 
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M. LeRenard

Is not French
FuzzWolf said:
At this year's Anthrocon our sales showed an increase over last year's AC of approx. 35%.
I guess I only have one question: 35 percent of what?
Not to mention, if the best you can say for your company is that it's 'financially stable', what does that mean about the profits for the authors you publish?
I know as authors we're not supposed to enjoy making money from our craft, but money doesn't just mean money; it also means readers. There's a direct correlation between the two. And readers are the thing we should care about the most. So throw me some numbers here that tell me that yes, it would be a better idea to have my fantasy novel published FurPlanet than to have it published by a general fantasy/adventure publisher. Percents don't mean anything by themselves, so I'm not able to glean anything at all from your post except that you want us to feel better about the state of the market for furry books.
 
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