I got into a discussion with another author whom I love dearly and we were talking about writing. I know, big shock. But here's the thing, we were talking about writing to the masses or writing what we love.
We both agreed that writing what we love should come first. If we don't love the story and the characters, then it's sort of flat. You know? The author has to be emotionally invested in the whole thing.
But what about if the thing you love, the story you are so invested in it's not funny, isn't selling? Okay, so one could make the case that the author isn't promo-ing enough. Could be. Could be wrong. I promo a lot and just because I'm out there talking about the book doesn't mean people are actually looking at it. Could be that the author is promo-ing wrong? That's a possibility. Authors, though we have an idea of what works, are humans and screw up. We try things that may not work. Could be that the genre is slow all the way around. Romance isn't slowing. But there are sub-genres within that ebb and flow with the interests of the audience. One year cowboys are big, the next it's werewolves. The next? Zombies.
So what if that's not the genre that you write in. For example, I wrote my first wolf shifter this year. I hadn't planned to write him and didn't set out to crack that sub-genre. But I did, because I loved the character and let him do the running for me. I didn't write him for money. I wrote him for the zeal of writing him.
But what if the author feels compelled to write something that's not what they love? What if they turn to writing Urban Fantasy even though they are a historical writer? Is that bad? Is it wrong?
That's where our conversation started. Neither of us were planning on changing what we write, but wondered if it was worth it to start writing say, UF over Historical, or MF over MM. Or if MMFM was worth it.
Authors write because they love to write. I was once told it was because we have ink in our veins. I grin because its true in a lot of ways. If I have a story going and I can't write, I get twitchy. I do.
But authors like to get paid. We like to see the reader comments and the fiscal fruits of our labors. And what if that genre we love isn't bringing in readers or cash? Try something else or keep going? And if we keep going, are we just turning in circles?
My thought is this. If you're writing what you love, have a little variety in it, and are willing to put in the time to promo, the audience will come. Not everyone makes it out of the box selling in big numbers. Some never make the big ones. But if you're happy and there are readers, then you're golden.
I'd love your thoughts. Am I wrong? Right? Crazy? Hey, it's possible. So let me know.