Sunday, June 26, 2016

Genre Vs. Business

One of the most challenging aspects of writing for a living lies in finding the balance between telling the story you want to tell and telling the story an audience will buy.  Some of us have truly loopy imaginations, and if left to our own devices, we’ll come up with some crazy shit.  And crazy shit may make us feel good, but that doesn’t mean others will buy it.

This also means we have to pigeonhole our work sometimes, whether we want to or not.  In order to sell, we have to find a cubbyhole to stick our book in.  You might have written a fairytale that blends cyberpunk with literary fiction, but you have to find a niche to sell it in.  While there are lots of categories on Amazon, there isn’t a “literary cyberpunk fairytale” category.

I know, I know…some of you are screaming at me right now that your stuff can’t be neatly stuffed into any one box.  That’s great for the arteest in you, but you better get used to eating spam and canned beans since no one will be able to find your work.  In order to be found, you have to pick a hole, no matter how much doing so may make you want to vomit.

And make sure your work fits into that hole.  There’s little worse than coming across something while looking for a horror novel, only to discover you’ve somehow picked up a humor book.  Try not to be snobbish or too disruptive in this since you want people to fork over hard earned cash to buy your book.

So how do you choose?  Well, look at what you want to write and figure out where you’d go to find it.  It may be a family story, but does it have a tinge of mystery?  Could your crime drama take place in outer space, thus making it part of sci-fi?  All of this helps you get seen by audiences, which will hopefully allow your work to be bought by enough people for you to keep doing this.  Some of us have no issue finding a slot, while others of us cringe at the very idea.  Like it or not, the first group will be more successful(at least monetarily).  Isn’t that what we want?

No comments:

Post a Comment