I have a friend in my writers group who is always telling us that she did everything wrong. She was always writing the wrong thing at the wrong time. She’s no good at marketing. To get a readership, don’t do what she did and jump around to other genres. We should learn from her mistakes.
Let me just say, she is the ONE person in our group with an agent. She just finished writing The Mill Pond romance series…if you like cute romances, these will make your heart sing. Go here and check them out!
At the beginning, she wrote mysteries, but she didn’t think that would get her anywhere, so she went with urban fantasy. Norse Gods, witches, and battles…OH MY! Her Babet and Prosper novellas are pretty darn fun. Go check out those books here! Well, she signed with her agent with her urban fantasy.
Her agent just didn’t think they would sell. The market for that genre was glutted. Publishers weren’t asking for UF. After a long fight, trying to get her UF published, she finally got the go ahead to put them on Amazon. Then she was encouraged to go romance, because romance sells.
Now, me? I would have fallen over laughing if someone had told me to write romance. No way. I would have failed completely. Remember my whole thing with kissing…we won’t even get into my Happily-Ever-After feelings (saves that for future post). But this writer took the challenge and wrote a romance. Then another…and another… she liked writing them!
Now she’s doing what she told us not to and is preparing to switch genres again. BECAUSE SHE WANTS TO. Because the writing muses have been spreading their magic. This started a debate in our group… Write what you want to write? OR Write what will help you get a readership, write to make money?
Heart vs brain.
You should like…NO, LOVE what you write. And write what you love. And don’t let anyone tell you not to. However, be realistic. Be prepared to wait, to get rejections, to struggle with the fact that publishing is a business. If there are a million books like yours, you’re going to have a hard time finding an agent and/or publisher because they want to make money. Be prepared to leave certain fans of your work behind if you switch genres.
None of us writes to make money…well, most of us. Don’t get me wrong, it would be great to earn a bit of cash, but we do it because it calls to us, because we can’t live without creating.
I’ve heard discussions on how we shouldn’t write certain genres because they are “dead”. A few days ago, I saw tweets proclaiming the ridiculousness of “dead” genres. I wholeheartedly agree.
We’re told not to write to the market. As much as that means, don’t look at what’s selling and write that, hoping to get in on the fun…because by the time yours is ready, the fad will have moved on. But also the opposite. Don’t look at what’s not selling and decide to not write that book that’s screaming in your creative brain.
Remember the shelves labeled Paranormal Romance? When that genre was everywhere? And now it’s faded. The wave has ebbed. But the wave isn’t gone. People who read PR will always be there. But the money is elsewhere, so publishing follows.
And fads always come back. Eventually those PR readers will start begging for more and BLAMM-O, you know that manuscript you have sitting in a drawer, start querying!…or that PR you self-pubbed, start marketing!
I write YA fantasy. You know how many people write YA fantasy? A BIG FRIGGIN TON LOT OF PEOPLE. But I have to write it. I choose to face the odds of being lost in the sea or of never being published, because I love it. The writing faeries in my mind don’t know how to make up anything else.
I’m soon going to dip my toe in MG and YA horror. Switching genres? Maybe, but not really, my fantasy gets a little dark. Will the market allow those to swim? Who knows? No one knows. I’m going to write them and LOVE every single second. Then I’ll see what happens. Maybe it’ll be what people are looking for…maybe not. Not now…but maybe later. I’ll wait. I am patient.
And if you’re not patient? Self-publishing could work.
Following your heart is always the right answer.