When I started writing, I did it because I had a story I wanted to tell. It was my story, one I wanted to read. Then I kept writing the stories I wanted to read. Eventually, someone convinced me other people might want to read those stories too. I dabbled at getting published and got a few nibbles along the way. They loved my “voice.” They just weren’t sure how to market what I wrote. Back then, books and stories had be nice round pegs that fit into their nice round holes. Even then, I was something of a square peg in a round world.
The first book (series) I attempted to get into the hands of a publisher was an action adventure with some romance. The difference was that my MC and her–yes, HER–team were all female. They did exciting things like take on male SpecOps teams in order to test hi-tech weaponry. They flew helicopters and rappelled from them and did all those SpecOpy things. The publisher didn’t believe men would want to buy it because it starred women, and women wouldn’t want to buy it because it was action-adventure, but hey, they loved my writing so feel free to send something else. I did. I wrote a romantic suspense. It had too many characters and the plot was too complicated but they loved the romance and my voice. Really?
So I quit. And went back to writing for myself. I obviously didn’t know what made others happy but I could make myself happy. I have to admit, I smiled a little when this message from the Universe popped up in my inbox:
You simply cannot know, Silver, what will make others happy.
But you can always know for yourself.
Go for it,
And they will speak of you in awe, Silver, after you turn and walk into the crowd, woods, or nearby mall, saying, “Whoa, what a firecracker…”
They say, “Write to the market.” I’m not even sure what that means now, much less what it meant then. I once dreamed of being a best selling author and when self-publishing came along, I gave it a try and did okay. Nothing spectacular, but hey, I got a check each month! And I landed a contract with Harlequin, so life was pretty good. I sold some books so someone liked what I wrote. But I never quite clicked with the wide range of readers. I look at a few authors who are mega-sellers and I shake my head. I can’t get through the first chapter of their books without resorting to alcohol. (And I don’t drink very often, just sayin’!) Yet every. Book. They. Put. Out. Goes to the top of the charts. And they have rabid fans that defend them to the point of bullying. How? Why? What am I missing? Well, besides writing to that market, obviously. *shrug* I’m not sure I’ll ever figure it out. And I need to stop letting it mess with my head because doing so dams up my creativity and quells the desire to write. I know others struggle with this too. I totally get it.
I don’t know about “them” (as in, you know, that amorphous they} speaking of me in awe, but I don’t know any other way to write than to do it in a way that makes me happy. And it’s time I remember that. Time to get back to writing the stories I want to tell in the way I want to tell them and hope that there are more people out there looking to read what I write. And here’s a serious question, what made you pick the first book of mine you read? And why did you buy the next one?