Before we begin today’s interview, we would like to offer a content warning for those do not which to see anything related to ABDL, Babyfurs, or similar subjects. We would also like to remind people of our Code of Conduct and our expectations for members and prospective members to be kind and respectful. This will not be a place to debate the merits of ABDL — this will be a place to learn about writing for a niche community and get tips for marketing from an expert. Anyone wanting a better understanding of the ABDL community can find a general primer on it here.
Welcome back once again FWG Members and readers! Today we have the opportunity to share a unique perspective on writing with you all thanks to our interview with CK Crinklekid. This forty-two year old author lives in North Central Florida and works for a marketing agency that specializes in sever-figure and eight-figure business.
In his off hours, he writes fiction and poetry predominantly with science fiction of fantasy themes. In his even more off hours, he writes anthropomorphic adult fiction and erotica for the ABDL (Adult Baby/Diaper Lover) and Babyfur communities. His work has been published in various genre publications including Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine and is the author of the BabyFur novel The New Job: The Diapered Adventures of Maxwell Covington.
With the introductions out of the way, let’s get on to the interview!
FWG: What do you think makes a good story?
CK: Honestly, I think characterization is one of the most important elements of any good story. Your characters need to be as close to living, breathing, three-dimensional people as you can get them. The more whole and fleshed-out their characterization is, the more readers will love (or hate, or fear!) them. I find that really compelling characters do half the work of writing the story for me, because if I truly understand who my characters are, what motivates them, what their strengths and weaknesses are, then it’s much easier to have them interact with each other and with the main plot elements in a believable way.
I think that applies to any kind of fiction, whether it’s sexy adult fiction or high adventure. Real people are made up of lots of different elements: I can be sweet and fun, I can be grumpy on my bad days, I can be petty when I’m really annoyed. It’s that multifaceted part of us that makes us who we are, and I think the closer you can get your characters to mimic that, the more the reader will care what happens to them. Your villain shouldn’t be evil just to be evil… that’s too one-dimensional. Real-world villains never see themselves as the bad guys. And the heroes can be noble and brave while still having their own personal demons.
FWG: Can you tell us a bit about your novel?
CK: It’s definitely firmly within the fetish erotica category, but I really want it to be more than that. The main character, Max, is a nineteen year-old golden retriever who has recently gone off to college, and he has struggled for a long time with his sexuality and his kink interests. Out of boredom, he applies for a help wanted ad, but the job he’s offered turns out to be far, far more than he expected. In accepting the job, Max is forced to confront things he has been suppressing for a long time, including his interest in the ABDL fetish.
I wrote the cast of the story to be a broad exploration of masculinity in all its forms. There’s an effeminate drag queen, a trans man, a real bully… the characters run the gamut. In part, the book was my effort to have my own personal “kink reckoning” with myself, and in part it’s giving me a chance to really explore what masculinity means to me.
I’ve always had an interest in the ABDL kink, but it was something I really struggled to accept within myself. And I’ve struggled with my own gender identity as well; I’m a cis guy but I don’t really feel like I identify well with other cis guys and “traditional masculinity”, but I also don’t identify as female. So, in a sense, Max’s adventures are really a way for me to better understand myself and where I fit into the world. And my goal is that other “weird little queer boys” will find some comfort in my stories in a way that I wish I’d been able to have when I was younger.
FWG: So you wrote something within a niche (Furry) for an even more niche audience (ABDL). Yet you’ve been able to sell 189 copies of the book in 8 months since its release. Were there any unique challenges marketing something with what most would consider to be a very small audience?
CK: Challenges AND opportunities, I would say. The biggest challenge that I’ve experienced was the fact that I came out of the blue as a virtually unknown writer within the niche, so building an audience had to start from scratch. I did have a few people within the ABDL community who have followed me over from my YouTube channel, but that was a pretty small audience to start out with.
However, the opportunity to marketing to a very small niche is that they’re really hungry for great content. There aren’t a lot of professional writers who write for them, and so they definitely want content. The challenge is making them aware that I exist.
That’s where I’ve been fortunate. I’ve made a lot of amazing friends who have helped spread my story around through word of mouth, and that got the attention of the organizers of Babyfur Con. They invited me to host a panel at their most recent virtual convention, where I got to sit alongside some truly amazing visual artists within the Babyfur community, like Marci, Wen and Jadefox. If you know anything at all about the Babyfur community, you probably know those names because they’re each just amazing, legendary artists who draw Babyfur art.
The convention panel was a huge success and really got my name out there, and it just keeps spreading as more and more people discover my novel. It makes me super proud and SUPER appreciative.
FWG: Having the opportunity to participate in a panel like that seems like an amazing promotional opportunity. Are there other avenues like that you would suggests authors explore if they want to promote their works?
CK: Step one is to understand who your audience is, who would most appreciate the content you’re creating. Then step two is to go meet them where they are. You could do things like reach out to the hosts of podcasts relevant to your audience to see if they’d be interested in doing a collaboration or an interview. Definitely network with other content creators who are creating content for your audience too; I can’t tell you how many doors have been opened for me by other amazing writers, YouTubers, podcast hosts, magazines, etc.
And then the most important thing is to make sure that what you’re writing, you’re writing from the heart. Write for yourself first, because that authenticity comes through in your writing. If you’re telling a compelling story, whether it’s lesbian lizard erotica or a deconstruction of capitalism through a cosmic horror allegory, your audience will appreciate your work more if you’re writing your truth. That resonates with people and can build word-of-mouth buzz that can take you far.
FWG: As someone who works in marketing for a career, are there any other general tips you could offer authors of publishers to make it easier for potential new readers to find their works?
CW: MAKE. A. WEBSITE. I can’t stress enough how important that is. Especially as we move into the second year of pandemic lockdown, online is everything. A single central hub for your writing looks professional, and it allows you to bring in new readers through search engine optimization. It also gives you a link you can put into your social media profiles to direct readers to learn more about you. It doesn’t have to be anything too complicated, and services like Squarespace or Wix make it very easy to design something that looks professional. But a website is practically a must, even if it’s just a single page that links to other sites where you host your writing (like DeviantArt or FurAffinity).
The other thing I would suggest is to be as active as possible on social media. People appreciate someone who is engaging and accessible, and having a strong social media presence can help you network and meet people to get your message out. Try to avoid being overly “self-promoting” though. That reads as inauthentic. Just be your genuine self and engage with other people in a natural way. That matters so much!
FWG: All authors have had to deal with people who dislike their works at times, or even downright trolls. With the nature of ABDL as a fetish, have you had to deal with this? If so, how have you gone about handling it?
CK: Oh, for sure. There’s this ongoing assumption in the vanilla world that ABDL = pedophile, which simply isn’t true. But there’s definitely pushback that the community has to face all the time, as unfortunate as it is. Honestly, the biggest thing is to remember that someone who is throwing shade or hating on you is usually doing so from a place of fear and not understanding. It’s no different than how rock & roll used to be “the devil’s music”, or how Catcher In The Rye was a “banned book”. People who lash out usually do so from a place of ignorance, and I think it’s important to remember that and try not to take it personally.
With that said, I firmly believe that it’s not the victim’s responsibility to educate their bully, either. So, it’s important to know what your options are and to use them; muting or blocking the person from contacting you and, if necessary, reporting harassment to moderators is always a tool you can use.
In my case, part of why I struggled for some 20 years to come to terms with my AB (adult baby) interests was because I thought people would look down on me for it. And you know what? Some people probably do. But at this stage in my life, I’ve learned that… well, frankly I don’t care what other people think of me. I like myself, and that’s something I really wasn’t able to honestly say through my 20s and early 30s. I feel like taking pride in yourself takes all the power from the bullies, and so generally speaking what little negativity I’ve gotten from others has bounced right off.
FWG: As this is likely many Furry author’s first exposure to things like ABDL, if you could tell them one thing about it and the Babyfur community in general, what would it be?
CK: That it’s just like any other fandom. For some people it’s sexual, for others it’s just a fun hobby. Some people take it to 11 and live 24/7 like toddlers, while others just dip a toe in. It’s a diverse, wonderful community of brave, amazing people. And it is NOT anything like it is so often portrayed in shock media. But the most important thing to know is that it’s a bunch of grown adults who enjoy things like diapers and toys and colorful clothing, and it has nothing at all to do with real children. It probably seems weird to someone outside looking in, but the same could be said for just about every other community, fandom and kink on the internet.
FWG: Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
CK: Keep writing, and always write the things that matter to you. Your best writing will always be the writing you do for yourself and then share with others. And don’t give up! If my weird little super gay furry kink novel can find its audience, you can too!
We would like to thank CK for sitting down to chat with us and offer his unique perspective and expertise. He can be found on Twitter @CKCrinklekid and more information on his writing can be found on his website. You can purchase his novel, The New Job: The Diapered Adventures of Maxwell Covington, on Amazon. Until next time, may your words flow like water.