Changing tack

Changing tack

Another short(ish) post. I thought I’d update you with how things are for me right now writing-wise. Well I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and having plenty of heart to hearts with my husband about my writing.

And I’ve been thinking: what do I really want most – to write whatever I want, or to write the books that people want to read? See, I think it’s like this: different people may like different genres of books BUT most people also like reading what they’re used to.

So if someone likes, say, sci-fi, they will usually want to read a novel that is recognisibly that: sci-fi. Similarly romance, or a thriller or a detective story. People like what they like – it may sound trite or like a sweeping statement (which, yes, it could be seen as) but I think it’s very often true.

Now with me it’s like this: I enjoy writing (obviously!) and for a while now I’ve been struggling with being torn between writing whichever story idea comes into my head, or writing for a particular genre and thereby gaining more readers. The thing is I don’t want to write like a fraud – I want to write authentically – to be true to myself and my writing style.

As I said to my husband – you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole. LikeΒ the rest of my life, with my writing I can’t be something I’m not. But I need to do something radical. I’ll be honest – my sales have hit rock bottom and yeah I’m really gutted about that.

So at my husband’s suggestion (and this idea has grown and grown on me) I’m gonna try something new. I’m going to write a short(ish) story, maybe a novella, and I’m going to pick a genre and aim my story fairly and squarely at that. It’s going to be a romance, still working on the details and I’m not gonna give too much away, but let’s just say I’m hoping that by aiming at a particular sub-genre of romance, I may be able to do a bit better.

It’s gonna be a bit of an experiment and it may not work, but my hope is that I can get my writing noticed a bit more and who knows – I might have people read this new story and think ‘I wouldn’t mind reading another of Elaine Jeremiah’s novels’, thereby increasing my sales.

It’s a gamble, but hey I’ve got nothing to lose! I do think it’s a bad time for all indie authors at the mo what with Kindle Unlimited being introduced and all that, but quite frankly I’m going to keep persevering with my writing until there’s no breath left in my body! So I’m going to be a bit more calculating in my approach – and write what (I hope) people will really want to read.

Have you ever reached a point in your writing journey where you decided you neededΒ to change tack? How is it panning out for you?

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10 thoughts on “Changing tack

  1. I read across all genres. I wrote a book based on a story I was passionate about. I wasn’t even thinking “genre”. It didn’t take off to become a top seller, but I have had some promo roller coaster sales and several great reviews by readers. I’ve tried many times to write another book based in that time period and setting, but I’m just not feelin’ it. I wrote a little crime novel based in contemporary times, partly because my husband challenged me to and partly because I like crime fiction, but I don’t know if I’ll ever publish it. It’s good, but it’s not stellar. Now I have a psychothriller in mind. I don’t know if I can pull it off. It would be a massive undertaking. It would take years to accomplish well.

    I think we, as writers, will always suffer from self-doubt. Are we writing what we write best? Are we writing what we like to read? What others will like to read? Some superstars say write what you know, other superstars say, hogwash, write anything you want, be original. As long as your writing is fun to you, keep doing it. I put a whole year of my life into that little crime novel and I’m still not satisfied with it. It’s not what I would want to be known for. Gonna keep workin’ at it.

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    • Hi there! Thanks so much for your lovely response to this post. It’s interesting to have your thoughts on this. I say as far as your crime novel and psycho thriller are concerned – go for it, do what you can to get them published and read!

      Sounds like those two stories are sort of genre ones anyway. And at the end of the day you’ve got to be true to yourself, haven’t you, or the writing just sounds false. Anyway I heartily agree with your final comment – I too am gonna keep workin’ at it! πŸ˜€

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  2. Good luck Elaine. It’s always a balance between meeting people’s expectations and fulfilling your own needs as a writer, I think, as you’ve said so eloquently. I think as long as you keep cranking them out you will build momentum over time. Just keep the nose to the grindstone, I suppose. πŸ™‚

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    • Hey Xina! Thanks for your comment, hope you’re doing OK. πŸ™‚

      I think you’re absolutely right – I just need to keep churning the books out and hopefully eventually I’ll gain more readers. It’s a very difficult market now, as I said, but then again it’s always been hard to get published, to get your book out there, being read by people. In some ways it’s easier now – at least we have a shot at publishing books ourselves and can call the shots a whole lot more. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good luck with this challenge, Elaine! This is something that I worry about, because my writing often doesn’t really fit into any specific genre. It’s not historical fiction, because the setting is made up, but neither is it fantasy, because other than the setting, there’s nothing fantastical about it. I don’t want to mislead fans of either genre into reading my book and then being angry they had the wrong impression.

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    • Hi Emily! So good to hear from you, hope you’re doing OK. Thanks for the lovely comment. It’s good to hear I’m not the only one who struggles with the whole not-quite-a-specific-genre story thing!

      I find it really hard to know exactly what it is that makes a book take off, to be successful. But then I suppose it’s not just any one thing. If there was a formula for writing a successful novel, I guess someone would have written about it long ago lol.

      Anyway all the best with your writing endeavours and who knows I may have the energy to do WIPpet Wednesday again at some point. πŸ™‚

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  4. That’s one of the beauties of being an indie author though, the opportunity to try out what you want and not being tied to a contract where you have to write a certain something! I write romance, but I don’t do what people suggest, instead I just write in whatever sub-genre I want to. Why shouldn’t we? It’s the writing and the story that matters πŸ™‚

    I’m looking forward to hearing more about what you’re going to write πŸ˜€

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    • You’re absolutely right Mishka – as indie authors we definitely have that freedom to experiment and that I think is one of the advantages of self-publishing. There are disadvantages of course, but it’s swings and roundabouts really. It’s not easy going down the traditional route either as we all know. Oh well. Such is life.

      And yes, you certainly will hear more about what I’m writing soon. πŸ˜€

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  5. Hi Elaine,

    I think your idea is a good one. As indies, we’re free to experiment. The only cost is the time it takes to write.

    I took a short story workshop recently and wrote my first sci-fi and fantasy short stories. I enjoyed it. I don’t know if I could sustain it at novella or novel length, but I may try at some point. I’ve read outside my favorite genre of crime fiction, but I’ve never written outside of it. It was fun.

    Try something new. Go for it! πŸ™‚

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    • Hi Danielle, good to hear from you. Glad you’re with me on this one, it’s great to have your support and to know I’m not the only one thinking along these lines.

      As I mentioned above, as indie authors we do at least have the freedom to experiment with genres and the way we approach our writing and marketing as a whole. And I for one have nothing to lose! πŸ˜€

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