I’ve been writing for nearly four years. I can’t even begin to list all the things I’ve learned about the publishing industry in that short period of time. This world rotates with its own set of rules and expectations. It’s a wild ride that continues to throw me for loops and twists with every turn.
My latest battle has to do with the genre of my writing.
The first book I wrote was a simple romance with flawed characters that wanted to fall in love and get to a “happy-ever-after” ending, but had too many obstacles thrown at them. I mean … isn’t that the equation of all romances? (The answer is an emphatic NO! but that’s a blog for another time.) If we ignore the horrible writing errors that are so common in first time writers like point of view problems and dangling modifiers, the whole premise was an unstable house of cards that crumbled with one comment from another writer. I’ll probably never be able to salvage it to make it marketable, but I had fun writing it.
Then I jumped into a romantic suspense (that I’m still looking to sell). It’s a very convoluted plot with a cast of characters that rivals a broadway musical. But I love it. It was a challenge to write. I got up every day and looked forward to the next scene, the next chapter. But then I tried to sell the book. What I’ve found out is that publishers and agents don’t usually represent mid-list romantic suspense. It doesn’t make them money. *sigh*. I was now a year into my writing journey and getting very frustrated.
But I had learned a lot. Mostly what was selling and what wasn’t … namely that the erotic market was wide open with sales at some publishers that were off the charts. I’ve always enjoyed the red hot pages of love stories. It just added to the romance and in turn, the enjoyment of the book for me. Making the leap from romantic suspense to erotic suspense seemed simple. The next four books I wrote became The Healer’s Garden (Liquid Silver Books Dec 2007), Blind Love, Love’s Bounty, and Arranging Love (LSB Spring 2008). I loved writing those books. They flowed from my fingers and nearly wrote themselves. I was a little smug about writing for the “market” rather than the stories in my “heart”.
Some will say that good writing can’t happen when an author is working on stories trying to ride the wave. Mostly because it’s thought that by the time you sell the book the crest of the wave has passed you by. For a year I worked to prove them wrong. And for awhile, it worked for me. Erotic suspense was a thrill ride and my books were picked up one after another.
But now I’m stalled.
Opening my story is hard. My bored muse takes leisurely baths, long walks on the beach and more recently–hasn’t bothered to show up at my computer for days at a time. Which leaves me sitting at the keyboard staring at a cursor that blinks tauntingly, daring me to try putting crappy words on the page. It’s frustrating! I’m not getting any writing done. My writing friends are celebrating finishing scenes, chapters, and books. And I’m happy for them (and just a tad jealous). I can’t even finish a flippin’ sentence! Urrrr …
So now I’m wondering if writing a story I believed would sell rather than a story that would be fun is truly what’s tripping up my muse and me. Perhaps writing for the market is a bad direction. And now I’m curious .. what do you think? Have you ever changed your story in a direction you knew was more marketable? or perhaps completely changed genres?
I’d love to hear what you think.