Thursday, June 4, 2015

Writers Pursuit of Immortality

OUT! All of you! I’m trying to write here. Not only do our families and work obligations require writers to budget time, there are other influences that invade a writer’s space and influence career goals. What do writers want? Why do writers write? Those are typical questions writers have to address, and writers are sometimes asked. As an erotic romance writer, I’m often asked an additional one: Are all your book autobiographical? My answer to that one is usually snarky or professional depending on the situation or my mood.

I think most authors write because they have a passion for it. They’re the born-to-be-writers. They have stories inside their heads that have to come out on paper/computer. They carry around a notebook and stories pop into their heads all the time. Anything at any time can inspire them. Many have started writing at a young age or were voracious readers all their life.

A few decided-to-be-writers to publish, make money, become famous, impress family and friends, create documents or books for their business, or because they like it, etc. And they may or may not work hard at their craft. There is no right or wrong way, but it’s important for a writer to know what they WHAT and WHY. It’s best to make these decisions with all the influences (publishers, editors, agents, well-meaning friends, family, fans, the market, etc.) OUT of the room.

What writers want and what they think publishing professionals and or the market wants can completely mess up their career plans.

For many years, publishers and agents wanted clones of what was hot and selling now! If a writer submitted a book to an agent or editor that was outside that realm, or worse was a mashup (a combination of a few subgenres), they would reject it. Self-publishing aka Indie publishing is allowing authors the freedom to publish those books, but I’m still seeing the Return of the Clones among Self-published authors. How many 50 Shades of Grey clones are out there? How many Bear Shifter books are out there? Don’t get me wrong I like some of those clones. I love reading some BDSM romance with innocent submissives, and I love paranormal books with shapeshifters. I’ve written some myself.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch in her book, The Write Attitude, which I highly recommend, said, “The books that make a difference, the books that have long lasting impact—hell, the books that often hit the top bestseller lists for the first time for their authors—aren’t clones of some other books.”

I admire Ms. Rusch on many levels, especially with her choice to write in a variety of genres. She’s also a talented author, blogger, editor and teacher. And she’s highly successful in all of these areas! For a while she worked at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Years ago, I got that magazine. I voraciously read all the stories. I loved them and was inspired. I’m a huge SciFi fan. I also tried writing my own stories and never had the nerve to submit them. I never thought they were good enough—they weren’t. Then I took classes in creative writing and online courses and the teachers encouraged me to write books, but I still didn’t think I had the talent. Instead, I wrote articles for magazines and newspapers for several more years. Finally, I joined a writers group and started writing fiction. And SOLD!

The sexy mash-up queen. I love a variety of books: erotica, erotic romance, hardcore SciFi, fantasy, thrillers, mystery, ghost stories, and paranormal. So I write in many of these genres and have combined some of these subgenres. I had one reviewer comment about my book Red Tape for example: Red Tape can fit in many genre categories and still live up to each expectation.

What I WANT is for readers to connect with my books, no matter what subgenre, because they (hopefully) recognize an identifiable voice in all the books. Not all readers will fall in love with every book, of course. Not everyone likes BDSM or paranormal or sexy romance. I love reading a variety of books and many readers do too.

What is your WHY? Truly understanding your why will help to direct your career path. Do you want to be a wealthy writer (Most authors would like that. We work hard. We deserve to be paid at lease the price of a cup of coffee for a book. Come on readers, please understand we can’t make all our books $.99 or free.) Then you have to focus on what you have to do to accomplish that. Stick to a rigorous writing schedule, put out good books regularly, study the market, become business savvy, a good promoter, constantly develop craft (even the bestselling authors continue to strive to be better writers), set goals and stick to them. No time? Not an excuse. Then your WHY isn’t strong enough. I’m working a full time day job and a part time evening job and I find (make) time to write. I don’t sleep much or watch much TV. I know people who have children to take care or aging parents, etc. and still make the time. It may only be an hour or two every day, but that time must be scheduled. How bad do you want it?

Chasing trends is a waste of time. My goal is to find a happy balance between writing what I love, trying to please my fans, but also being aware of the market. I greatly appreciate the fans who tell me what they like and don’t like. The feedback is helpful and always welcome.

I don’t know where I heard this, so please forgive me for not quoting the right person. “Sex is the best thing two people can do together, and writing is the best thing you can do alone.” And I write about sex, mostly two people falling in love while going through struggles and having lots of hot sex. It may be in a futuristic world, another planet, with shapeshifting immortals, vampires, or in a BDSM club, or a secret society with assassins. If you visit my worlds, I don’t think you’ll find any clones. 

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