"Write what you know", I'd heard it a million times before. As it turned out, it was the best advice I was ever given.
I'm not a seasoned writer, nor an award winning author. But over the last few years I’ve experienced closeness with my reader's that I could only have dreamt of and always prayed for. They came to me sharing their dreams and stories, not just about a man known the world over by only one name- ELVIS- but also about their own lives. Why? What had I done that had blessed me with a reader base so early in my career?
My story, Eternal Flame, is fiction or Elvis-fiction as we like to call it in the Elvis-world. I can assure you, it's not the preferred reading material for the average Elvis fan. It's not even a popular genre for most publishers. What sales in this niche are stories usually written by those that knew Elvis Presley. Truth sales. So, why did I bother?
The Elvis world is flooded with “stories” every year. And as an Elvis fan myself; I knew it would be hard for a fiction writer to fit in. Bottom line, Elvis fans like the "real" Elvis. We don't want a shadow of the man. We want the true man. But because he’s been gone for more than thirty years, new stories are harder and harder to come by. Many biographies have been repeated, rearranged, and or reworded so many times over one can’t help but feel skeptical of every new book that hits the shelf. After all, nobody likes to spend $26.00 for a hard back, or more, only to discover they've read it all before!
With this in mind, I set out to write what “I” craved—a fantasy that felt real to me. I wrote “my” relationship with the legacy that is Elvis Presley—what my heart knew to be true —and before I knew it, Elvis fans around the world slowly joined my journey. Turn's out, my story was their story. Nobody was more surprised than me to find I had a following. That reader’s were drawn to what was real in my story, even if it was merely the heart of the writer shinning through the fiction. It was a life changing lesson for me.
Every writer needs a reader! After all, what's the point in writing if nobody reads? So if you’re struggling to connect with your fan base, take heart. Let me encourage you to find just one pulsating truth inside the fiction your writing. Express it honestly, even if it brings you great pain, and readers will come.
They’re out there waiting for you to bare your soul. They want to connect with you, with someone. Don’t be afraid.