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Author Topic: Love or Market  (Read 2427 times)  

Online evdarcy

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Love or Market
« on: October 12, 2017, 05:01:09 AM »
I was just wondering...

I loved writing my first two books. I loved everything about them, I knew the characters inside out and upside down, I felt connections with each and every one of them. The settings gave me a buzz, the stories seemed to just write themselves and it all just felt so alive!  Nothing felt arduous about it (except getting time to write them ha!).  But they've never been successful.

The later books I'm current writing is more 'to market', and I have to say that I'm not enjoying it as much.  It feels like I've got to create and mould  these characters whereas my other ones seemed to just appear in my mind, all fleshed out. It seems to be work, rather than fun and engaging.

Does it get easier? Has anyone else had experience of this? Writing what you love vs writing to market?  Is what you love already the market? If so, lucky you!  ha!

It's just a thought I was having and wanted to see what others had experienced in their writing lives.

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Offline Benjamin Douglas

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2017, 05:04:58 AM »
Reminded me instantaneously of this wonderful post and thread, so sharing in case you haven't seen it:

https://www.kboards.com/index.php?topic=241136.0

EDITED: I was just scrolling through it again--ah, the memories--and noticed you were one of the first commenters  :P  Well anyway, I still think it's a good thread to link to here, even if it does more to contextualize than to answer your current question. And it's always a good read  8)
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 05:09:32 AM by Benjamin Douglas »

Online Amanda M. Lee

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2017, 05:13:20 AM »
I write what I love to read, which just happens to have a big market. I don't think there's a problem writing for love as long as you're realistic with the money aspects. If you want to make a lot of money, you're probably going to have to write to market. If you want to write simply for the joy and understand that money won't follow, go for it. I think everyone should do what they want to do as long as it doesn't hurt others.

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Online Lorri Moulton

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2017, 05:50:39 AM »
I write what I enjoy.  Eventually, I think the money will follow. :)

If not...it's still a lot of fun!

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Online C. Rysalis

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2017, 05:54:56 AM »
I write what I enjoy.  Eventually, I think the money will follow. :)

If not...it's still a lot of fun!

This deserves a like button!

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Offline Vicky

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2017, 05:56:19 AM »
I was just wondering...

I loved writing my first two books. I loved everything about them, I knew the characters inside out and upside down, I felt connections with each and every one of them. The settings gave me a buzz, the stories seemed to just write themselves and it all just felt so alive!  Nothing felt arduous about it (except getting time to write them ha!).  But they've never been successful.

But you've only got two books out so far. And many readers don't like to buy into a series until there are 3+ books out (or until it's complete).

I know some people are successful right away, but most take a few books. I'd at least complete the series before judging.

FWIW, my first series isn't doing amazingly well (no advertising yet but also I think it's a bit off-niche, along with some other issues). I'm planning to finish it anyway.


Offline Douglas Milewski

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2017, 06:07:55 AM »
I'm writing something to market for the first time (but I don't know if there's really a market) but I made sure that I'm having fun. I can't control sales, but I can control fun.

Disclaimer: I sell horribly. Set your filters accordingly.

Offline C. Gold

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2017, 06:14:36 AM »
You have 17 great reviews on the US side of things for your first book. The second one seems a bit more troubling, but there's some good feedback there possibly and one clamoring for book 3. Seems like the stories are likable to me from reading the blurbs. Maybe you just didn't find the right audience for these yet? Dunno but I'd be leery of writing something I wasn't excited about. That sounds like a recipe for mediocrity and burnout.

Offline Anarchist

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2017, 06:17:29 AM »
I write what I love to read, which just happens to have a big market. I don't think there's a problem writing for love as long as you're realistic with the money aspects. If you want to make a lot of money, you're probably going to have to write to market. If you want to write simply for the joy and understand that money won't follow, go for it.

I'm fortunate enough to be in this position, too.

To the OP, if you feel the need to choose between love or market, it's helpful to recognize the reason(s) you're writing. If your efforts are inconsistent with your goals (i.e. your "why"), you'll constantly face mental resistance. Writing will become an unsustainable grind.


I think everyone should do what they want to do as long as it doesn't hurt others.

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Online evdarcy

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2017, 06:41:08 AM »
Reminded me instantaneously of this wonderful post and thread, so sharing in case you haven't seen it:

https://www.kboards.com/index.php?topic=241136.0

EDITED: I was just scrolling through it again--ah, the memories--and noticed you were one of the first commenters  :P  Well anyway, I still think it's a good thread to link to here, even if it does more to contextualize than to answer your current question. And it's always a good read  8)
While my goals are not money in the sense of the millions and I *do* want to write what I love, more than anything I'd love to be able to find my success that way, I am finding that no matter how much I put into marketing the sales or even FREE downloads are never much.  So the books aren't hitting any sort of established market.

As I said, I would like to be able to make a living on it.  I'd be happy with simply making a few thousand a month, BUT I am out of money in order to do things for my books. I have reduced my teaching hours of my day job to 50% in order to actually have writing time (working 50-70 hours a week on the day job meant no time or energy to write) so I think I'm going to have to channel the late, great, Alan Rickman. A few Mass-market projects to write what I want! 

I was just wondering of the people who write to market; is it because they want money, or do they do it so they can also write what they love, or are they fortunate enough that the market is currently what they love anyway?
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 06:55:12 AM by evdarcy »

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Offline RBN

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2017, 06:56:21 AM »
I love my genre (romance), not so much the trends within it. I write what I want and earn a living. Maybe I'd be pulling seven figures a year if I wrote billionaire alphahole BDSM bad boy biker stepbrother menage series, but I don't have enough materialism to make it worthwhile to hate my job. (Not a dig at any of those components or writers/readers thereof, but I would rather devote months of my life to working on other things.)

I'm coming out of trad pub, so everything is relative to me. I get four times more money per sale self-pubbing, so I can afford for my appeal to be less broad and write characters/circumstances that interest me and keep me happy instead of this week's hot thing. (Plus, I'm slow and couldn't keep up with the market if I wanted to.)

The last time I hated writing (see "trad pub"), I quit for several years. When I figured out it was publishing I hated, not writing (I love writing! Writing is the best!), I promised myself I was not going to compromise my writing principles again. That might be a lesson someone has to learn from experience, but if you can avoid getting to the point where you're miserable enough to quit, I strongly recommend avoiding that point. Writing for yourself and getting your work in front of readers who value what you have to offer will keep you happier longer than writing things you don't care about.

Plus, if you're "successful" writing something you don't want to write, that's what readers will expect from you forever. You'll have built a fan base that's not interested in the kind of books you want to write. It's easier to start as you mean to continue and build a brand you want to sustain.

This is a long-haul business. Success lies in longevity, which is hard to pull off if you hate what you're doing.

Online evdarcy

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2017, 07:15:53 AM »
I write what I enjoy.  Eventually, I think the money will follow. :)

If not...it's still a lot of fun!

See, I want this.  I want to believe it (even if money money money isn't my motivator. Simply money is good enough for me!  hahaha!), but this year all I've heard from author friends are they've switched to market and are now killing it. 

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Online evdarcy

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2017, 07:20:45 AM »
billionaire alphahole BDSM bad boy biker stepbrother menage series,

BAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAHA!  YES!  This is all I see at the moment in the 'romance' cat.  People seem to think that HEA means Romance, but to me romance is so much more!  Probably why I don't fit.  I write men I'd want to fall for, not the ones I wouldn't. I write good guys, who might be a bit grumpy, or slightly jaded by life at first, but nothing to extremes.

The last time I hated writing (see "trad pub"), I quit for several years. When I figured out it was publishing I hated, not writing (I love writing! Writing is the best!), I promised myself I was not going to compromise my writing principles again. That might be a lesson someone has to learn from experience, but if you can avoid getting to the point where you're miserable enough to quit, I strongly recommend avoiding that point. Writing for yourself and getting your work in front of readers who value what you have to offer will keep you happier longer than writing things you don't care about.

Thank you for being so open and honest.  I hate that you were miserable in your original endeavour. I'm miserable in day job, but I have to pay the bills until I find something that clicks. 

I think I might  shelve my 'market' book and go and finish my 'love' book first :)

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Online Sarah Shaw

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2017, 08:02:50 AM »
I think I might  shelve my 'market' book and go and finish my 'love' book first :)

That sounds like the sensible plan. Lots of people say their series didn't take off until the third book. And I wouldn't necessarily go by what you see in the 'top' spots on romance- it's a HUGE genre, with an equally huge number of subgenres.  Plenty of people who don't show up in Amazon's top spots are making good livings off of it. I always think your chances of connecting with the market are much better if you're writing things you're excited about. If nothing else, loving what you write will probably keep you writing- which is always the best recipe for long term success.

Online Lorri Moulton

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2017, 08:03:25 AM »
I write what interests me.  My books are all over the place, but they all have the theme that working together and putting aside differences make things better.  Sometimes in fairytale/fantasy, sometimes in romances, sometimes in suspense.  Even our series for Halloween has two cousins trying to live together and put aside their differences to understand their heritage.

If a story idea seems like it would be fun to write...I do it.  Next spring, I'm planning a series of mysteries (not exactly cozies) in the PNW.  And a historical romance series in the early 1900s around Spokane.  I like both ideas, so hopefully the readers will, too. :)


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Offline Vicky

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2017, 08:07:07 AM »
BAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAHA!  YES!  This is all I see at the moment in the 'romance' cat.  People seem to think that HEA means Romance, but to me romance is so much more!  Probably why I don't fit.  I write men I'd want to fall for, not the ones I wouldn't. I write good guys, who might be a bit grumpy, or slightly jaded by life at first, but nothing to extremes.

This. There's a lot of bad boys and angst and more sex than story burning up the charts. It's tempting to think it's the only way to be successful in romance.

My guys/stories just aren't those things. But then, Rosalind James (good guys, not angsty) and JA Huss (twisty plots, interesting characters) don't write to those parameters either and they're doing more than OK with their books. (Understatement of the year.)

So there is an audience out there. You just have to find yours. And that's the hard part, I guess.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 09:03:37 AM by Vicky »


Offline Arches

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2017, 08:25:43 AM »
See, I want this.  I want to believe it (even if money money money isn't my motivator. Simply money is good enough for me!  hahaha!), but this year all I've heard from author friends are they've switched to market and are now killing it.

I think it's useful to remember that we are trying to do two different things at once. First, we're trying to write something that resonates within us--that gives us a sense of satisfaction. Second, we're trying to entertain other people. They don't care so much about the process of writing and whether we find it meaningful. They just want a good story.
It is possible to attain both goals at the same time but it takes some thought. You have to find a story interesting to you that will also be interesting to lots of other people. It's worth taking considerable time to figure out such a story because you're going to be working on it for quite a while. Good luck!

Online evdarcy

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2017, 08:36:49 AM »
So there is an audience out there. You just have to find yours. And that's the hard part, I guess.

Gosh isn't it just!!

I think it's useful to remember that we are trying to do two different things at once. First, we're trying to write something that resonates within us--that gives us a sense of satisfaction. Second, we're trying to entertain other people. They don't care so much about the process of writing and whether we find it meaningful. They just want a good story.
It is possible to attain both goals at the same time but it takes some thought. You have to find a story interesting to you that will also be interesting to lots of other people. It's worth taking considerable time to figure out such a story because you're going to be working on it for quite a while. Good luck!

This is really on point.  Thank you so much.

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Offline C. Gockel

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2017, 08:41:12 AM »
This is a long-haul business. Success lies in longevity, which is hard to pull off if you hate what you're doing.

So much this. I do know big authors who've burnt out.

You can build a successful career out of quirky books, but it takes longer. You don't really have enough books to say if your fan-romances will take off. Posted below is the sales rank for Monsters, the second book in my first series, the series that incidentally makes me the bulk of my income. As you can see, it had some rough days at the beginning!

It has done better overtime (just had a sale on a box set with it in it, so it may sink for a bit now ... and that's okay. These things are cyclical.)






I write books about Change, Chaos, and Loki
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Offline dianapersaud

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2017, 08:52:48 AM »
Amanda wrote what I was going to say so I'll just add this:

You might want to try changing the covers (or tweaking them) and do a small promotion. The two contemporary books in my signature had different covers. I changed them and did a promo and they sold some but they still languish in obscurity. I also toyed with the pitches and didn't really see a difference with regards to sales or borrows.

I'm going to update the covers again, if I ever finish book 3! Actually I have another series I'm working on and then I'll go back and finish book 3.

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Offline Rick Gualtieri

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #20 on: October 12, 2017, 08:54:44 AM »
I write what I enjoy.  Eventually, I think the money will follow. :)

If not...it's still a lot of fun!

Considering some part big sellers, I'm a firm believer that just about everything has a market ... the trick is finding it.


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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #21 on: October 12, 2017, 09:01:33 AM »
Since I only write what I want, my heart goes out to OP and the thousands of others who must wrestle with her issue.

The "market" is often assumed to be the equivalent of "genre". That's a misleading fallacy. The audiences for written entertainment are much more diverse than the rigid, necessarily simplistic genres. Genres evolved with commercial writing and publishing. With the era of digital publishing and distribution platforms, the genres have become an un-administrable mish-mash of topics.
   
There are readers out there, online, for any theme or orientation or POV. The new tools for audience aggregation and targeting are amazing, truly, and that's coming from one who has built search engines. Authors who feel they must compromise if they expect to make a viable small self-publishing business now have the ability to assemble their own niche market if they're willing to invest the time it takes to master these new tools. It's not so complicated or intimidating as it will seem to many. Wayne Stinnett writes to a widely-accepted "market". But what most don't realize is that smart Wayne has also created his very own niche market, in the form of his mailing list.

What RBN and others say about persistence applies, of course.

What I'll add is that you can, with work, an open mind, and the help of other KBoarders, find a way to build and then write to your own "followers", as opposed to "the market" however the Zon and the Big Five decide to define it.

Online evdarcy

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #22 on: October 12, 2017, 10:15:40 AM »
Thanks for the responses of help and support.

Can I just say though, that this wasn't supposed to be a 'what am I doing wrong thread'. I am learning as I go, and I do take on board everything I have read and will be mulling things over. I am also really grateful that people support to write what you love and I cling to the hope that I will find *my* market.

As I said, others were suggesting to me to write to market for a few projects to fund what I want to write and I was struggling with it. Really, I just wanted to know about people who write to market, why do they do it, and do they enjoy it?  Is it a money thing that motivates them or something else?

But thank you everyone :D 

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Online evdarcy

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #23 on: October 12, 2017, 10:17:43 AM »
   
There are readers out there, online, for any theme or orientation or POV. The new tools for audience aggregation and targeting are amazing, truly, and that's coming from one who has built search engines. Authors who feel they must compromise if they expect to make a viable small self-publishing business now have the ability to assemble their own niche market if they're willing to invest the time it takes to master these new tools. It's not so complicated or intimidating as it will seem to many. Wayne Stinnett writes to a widely-accepted "market". But what most don't realize is that smart Wayne has also created his very own niche market, in the form of his mailing list.

What RBN and others say about persistence applies, of course.

What I'll add is that you can, with work, an open mind, and the help of other KBoarders, find a way to build and then write to your own "followers", as opposed to "the market" however the Zon and the Big Five decide to define it.


This is inspirational!  Worded so eloquently.  Thank you!

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Offline Arches

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2017, 12:50:21 PM »
Thanks for the responses of help and support.

. . .

Really, I just wanted to know about people who write to market, why do they do it, and do they enjoy it?  Is it a money thing that motivates them or something else?

But thank you everyone :D

As for me, I like to write stories, and I like urban fantasy, so surprise, I write urban fantasy stories. You seem to have the idea that writing to market has to be painful or at least drudgery. When I wrote my first urban fantasy series, I assumed it would be interesting to only a small niche of people. I had a blast writing the stories, and it turned out that I was wrong about their marketability. I still don't know why folks read that series, but I'm happy they do. I'm happy it pays, as well. The trick is to find a niche you like to write that other like to read. Then everybody's happy.

Offline AmesburyArcher

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #25 on: October 12, 2017, 01:21:45 PM »
I write biographical historical fiction and historical fantasy. As I love various historical eras, I will never ever ever run out of characters to write about. Fortunately the figures I've written about have been 'popular' ones, or else with appeal to readers of the 1st person female-oriented historical.
I did, out of love, write a novella based on a spooky old mansion I l used to visit as a child, a gothic romance set in a pseudo-Victorian era ...Unfortunately, that one was a bomb... Such is life.
Author of books both historical and fantastical-Stonehenge, Arthurian, Richard III, English queens & mistresses, Robin Hood, dystopian Canada (!) and more...
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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #26 on: October 12, 2017, 01:34:25 PM »
I love my genre (romance), not so much the trends within it. I write what I want and earn a living. Maybe I'd be pulling seven figures a year if I wrote billionaire alphahole BDSM bad boy biker stepbrother menage series, but I don't have enough materialism to make it worthwhile to hate my job. (Not a dig at any of those components or writers/readers thereof, but I would rather devote months of my life to working on other things.)

I'm coming out of trad pub, so everything is relative to me. I get four times more money per sale self-pubbing, so I can afford for my appeal to be less broad and write characters/circumstances that interest me and keep me happy instead of this week's hot thing. (Plus, I'm slow and couldn't keep up with the market if I wanted to.)

The last time I hated writing (see "trad pub"), I quit for several years. When I figured out it was publishing I hated, not writing (I love writing! Writing is the best!), I promised myself I was not going to compromise my writing principles again. That might be a lesson someone has to learn from experience, but if you can avoid getting to the point where you're miserable enough to quit, I strongly recommend avoiding that point. Writing for yourself and getting your work in front of readers who value what you have to offer will keep you happier longer than writing things you don't care about.

Plus, if you're "successful" writing something you don't want to write, that's what readers will expect from you forever. You'll have built a fan base that's not interested in the kind of books you want to write. It's easier to start as you mean to continue and build a brand you want to sustain.

This is a long-haul business. Success lies in longevity, which is hard to pull off if you hate what you're doing.

I don't get other writers' bad boy books. Or most of what I see in the top 100. But I love writing bad boys when bad boy = tattoos + dirty mouth and not "misogynistic jerk."

Sometimes, you have to find a way to put your spin on something popular, so you can write what you love for money.

Offline Rosie A.

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #27 on: October 12, 2017, 01:56:32 PM »
I write what I enjoy.  Eventually, I think the money will follow. :)

If not...it's still a lot of fun!
YES!

OP: I feel you! My first publication of the year was a 1940s romance. It's not done so hot. However, it's the only one that's gotten a couple reviews. My other titles are still waiting for reviews (truthfully, I haven't gone out of my way for this because of reasons...). Anyway, I say, why not both? I agree with a fellow author up top who mentioned being realistic. But I think there are authors who are also taken by surprise when they write books from their hearts and don't expect anything to happen but the books end up doing well. So...you never know.

Me? I love historical romance but I like the vintage years the most. So I've decided to continue my 40s series but also write the westerns because I like those as well. Competition is fierce in the westerns but I don't care because the audience is large. Let me get my foot in the door with both of these time periods. One makes me a bit of money while the other is more dear to my heart. What makes you feel fulfilled and happy is really the key.

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Online evdarcy

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #28 on: October 12, 2017, 02:10:58 PM »
As for me, I like to write stories, and I like urban fantasy, so surprise, I write urban fantasy stories. You seem to have the idea that writing to market has to be painful or at least drudgery. When I wrote my first urban fantasy series, I assumed it would be interesting to only a small niche of people. I had a blast writing the stories, and it turned out that I was wrong about their marketability. I still don't know why folks read that series, but I'm happy they do. I'm happy it pays, as well. The trick is to find a niche you like to write that other like to read. Then everybody's happy.

UF does seem to have exploded doesn't it! 
I think I'd need to establish my niche first! hahaha, Even I'm still unsure where it fits exactly in the romance genre other than Contemp.

I don't get other writers' bad boy books. Or most of what I see in the top 100. But I love writing bad boys when bad boy = tattoos + dirty mouth and not "misogynistic jerk."

Sometimes, you have to find a way to put your spin on something popular, so you can write what you love for money.

That's a good way to look at it. Spinning a trope/ trend/ genre whatever it falls into.
I also get the confusion over the misogyny in romance. I get people have their kinks, so each to their own I say, there's something out there for everyone, but I do worry that the younger generation of women will start to read them and think that's how RL should be. There was one I read a while back and I just had to close it. I wanted to burn my phone afterwards.

Me? I love historical romance but I like the vintage years the most. So I've decided to continue my 40s series but also write the westerns because I like those as well. Competition is fierce in the westerns but I don't care because the audience is large. Let me get my foot in the door with both of these time periods. One makes me a bit of money while the other is more dear to my heart. What makes you feel fulfilled and happy is really the key.

So you're kind of writing to market and writing what you love with the two different yet similar cats? (Both historical). 

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #29 on: October 12, 2017, 02:13:23 PM »
As for me, I like to write stories, and I like urban fantasy, so surprise, I write urban fantasy stories. You seem to have the idea that writing to market has to be painful or at least drudgery. When I wrote my first urban fantasy series, I assumed it would be interesting to only a small niche of people. I had a blast writing the stories, and it turned out that I was wrong about their marketability. I still don't know why folks read that series, but I'm happy they do. I'm happy it pays, as well. The trick is to find a niche you like to write that others like to read. Then everybody's happy.

Offline Rosie A.

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #30 on: October 12, 2017, 02:21:41 PM »
So you're kind of writing to market and writing what you love with the two different yet similar cats? (Both historical).
Yes. Is that an option for you? Can you find a balance somehow? Because writing something that doesn't interest you can be soul sucking (like working a [crappy] job, ya know???)

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #31 on: October 12, 2017, 02:45:40 PM »
Yes. Is that an option for you? Can you find a balance somehow? Because writing something that doesn't interest you can be soul sucking (like working a [crappy] job, ya know???)
I shall have to have a further gander into it then! 

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #32 on: October 12, 2017, 07:08:41 PM »
As a disclaimer, I'll say that I'm so new here that I'm basically insignificant  ;D Much wiser voices have already chimed in!

My personal solution has been to write what I love and then write to market, which means I'll put out 100,000 words that are pretty much just for me and my own self-satisfaction but my next 100,000 words will be specifically written to market (a novel for me, a novel for the market). It works for me, mentally, because the part of me that cares about self-expression is satisfied and also the part of me that cares about $$$ is satisfied with my attempts at making $$$

I think the bigger issue might be if you consider writing to market as writing for other people. I can't see that working out too well, especially if you're not a big fan of the genre you're writing to market for. You have to find that sweet spot between what the market likes and what you like, too, or else it's definitely going to feel like a slog all the time. For me, I decided to write to market in a genre I really enjoy reading, but that same genre is maybe my third choice to write in. I'm still able to enjoy the writing process, even though the characters aren't necessarily organic to me.
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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2017, 07:15:07 PM »
UghSoUncool....Hocus Pocus!  I love that movie.

Watching that and Addams Family means it's almost Halloween.  8)

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #34 on: October 13, 2017, 04:24:00 AM »
Title of the thread should be, Love or Money.

I write for love. Others write for love too. Some make money, some don't. But writing for money gets you money. Bonus for those hitting it out of the park for money and loving writing it.
 

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #35 on: October 13, 2017, 05:28:04 AM »
I've had the same thoughts as you when I transitioned to writing to market, but now I have a more positive opinion about the whole thing. I've realized that just because it feels like you're writing someone else's tropes, doesn't mean you can't put your own spin on it. Why can't your characters be compelling, fun, and fleshed-out?

If you're still writing in a genre you enjoy, there's no reason not to be able to do something interesting. You're taking someone else's base recipe, but you're adding your own spice. I think that's what successful writing to market is, anyway; your ultimate goal is to be an innovator in a genre. To do that, you have to give the genre what it wants, but you also have to stand out from the crowd and not write cookie-cutter books.

As far as writing that base recipe? I like to think of it as a challenge instead of as a limitation; am I a good enough writer that I can take a set of conditions and create something really cool with them? I think so. And I think you can too.

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2017, 05:43:03 AM »
Hmmmm, I think that I may have misunderstood what they meant when they said write to market! 

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2017, 05:54:58 AM »
The issue is not writing "to market." The issue is adopting a marketing plan for the wrong market.

Caveat: Publishing is not my full-time job. I have a day job that I enjoy and I have no intentions of leaving (unless, of course, they got rid of me!). I've done the math and if I had to replace my current job with my writing income, I would need to be able to generate an additional $80,000 net a year to match what I have now (that figure includes not just my wages, but health insurance, 401K, profit sharing, and other misc. benefits I have). Sure, I could cut back, do without, and live on less, but seriously why would a sane person do that just to be able to say "I am a full-time writer?"

That out of the way, I DO run my business for profit. But I don't publish "to market." I publish the projects that I want to work on. Sometimes, those projects are things I know damn well aren't going to be commercially big but I LOVE THEM and think they deserve publication.

By doing that, I know my work isn't going to connect with the "market" that is commonly promoted to on Kboards. But there are OTHER MARKETS out there that it will connect to. Those markets are smaller and harder to find, but they exist. But I can make a profit on each project by managing my costs, setting my price correctly, and doing the legwork to reach those smaller demographics which are less voracious readers but also less price sensitive.

Example: Each issue of the Bards and Sages Quarterly costs me about $500 to put together (payments to authors, cover art, proofreading). My business plan requires me to recover my expenses in 90 days so I can pay for the next project. Everything after that 90 days is profit, but I have to recover my expenses in those 90 days in order to fund the next project. At $2.99 an issue, I only need to sell 250 digital copies IN THREE MONTHS to break even. If I priced it at 99 cents, I would have to sell over 1400 copies in that time to recover my expenses. Would I sell more copies at 99 cents? Probably. Would I be able to sell almost SIX TIMES more copies in that time? Probably not, as the journal is literary speculative fiction, which isn't the typical "market" that is successful on Amazon. In truth, each issue normally meets its goal in the first 45 days because of print sales, which generate more revenue per sale than digital. But you get the point.

Bottom line is that the entire "love or market" is a false dichotomy. It doesn't have to be either/or. You just need to know what market really belongs to your work and target that, instead of trying to force your writing into someone else's market just because you think that is the only market out there.

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #38 on: October 13, 2017, 08:22:20 AM »
I think an important thing to take into consideration is how you decided on which market you wish to write to and how you've prepared yourself to write to that market.

What draws you to one genre over the other the most? Knowing this will put you in touch with the types of emotions and circumstances that also compel readers to that market, a shared interest that will help fuel your writing and their engagement.

Have you done a lot of critical reading of what's out there in the market? The more you read across the spectrum of what does and doesn't sell in that market, the more you'll form your own sense of interest in the types of stories readers want in that market. You'll naturally have a narrative running in your mind as you read that's saying "wow, I like how the author did that, this is inspired", or "no wonder this one didn't engage readers enough, it got bogged down here, even I wouldn't do that", "no way, the author included that and it didn't hurt sales, this means I could get away with that one idea I had", or the like. The more this happens as the more you read, and it will, the more your own passions and interests will align with what the market requires out of the types of stories it wants. ;)




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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #39 on: October 13, 2017, 08:43:34 AM »
Tough issue for so many, myself included. I have a friend who made a plan to make a ton of money churning out formulaic romances in a subgenre she knew was hot. And it worked. She's raking in the money. Yet as nice as it would be to have that kind of financial security from my work, I can't get myself to even consider doing the same thing. I'd HATE writing.

As it is, I regularly write for a sweet romance anthology series, and while it's mostly fun, I also do it mostly because it helps pay for one kid's competitive gymnastics and another's college fees and, and, and, and...

My first love is women's fiction, both contemporary and historical. And I'll keep writing that. It would be nice to be able to have the choice to write only for the anthologies I know I'll have the most fun with, but right now, that's not an option. As it is, I'm taking up editing again because it pays NOW--but while I know I'm really good at it, editing sucks the life and creativity out of me.

Now off to read the post Benjamin linked to earlier!

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Re: Love or Market
« Reply #40 on: October 13, 2017, 01:21:34 PM »
I think an important thing to take into consideration is how you decided on which market you wish to write to and how you've prepared yourself to write to that market.

What draws you to one genre over the other the most? Knowing this will put you in touch with the types of emotions and circumstances that also compel readers to that market, a shared interest that will help fuel your writing and their engagement.

Have you done a lot of critical reading of what's out there in the market? The more you read across the spectrum of what does and doesn't sell in that market, the more you'll form your own sense of interest in the types of stories readers want in that market. You'll naturally have a narrative running in your mind as you read that's saying "wow, I like how the author did that, this is inspired", or "no wonder this one didn't engage readers enough, it got bogged down here, even I wouldn't do that", "no way, the author included that and it didn't hurt sales, this means I could get away with that one idea I had", or the like. The more this happens as the more you read, and it will, the more your own passions and interests will align with what the market requires out of the types of stories it wants. ;)
This is seriously the best put forth answer I've read on WTM. A lot of times, we believe that we're supposed to write hot selling tropes in order to succeed but the reality is--if you're not even part of that genre, why go there? Everyone has a different definition of WTM but it best aligns with what YOU as a reader connect to. Preparation is everything. I think it happens when we're still readers and young writers (young in the craft). We start developing voice and tone and similar themes across our work as we grow in our skills. The thing about market and genre is that there are many, many markets within genres. In fantasy alone you have Steampunk, Gaslight, Sword and Sorcery, Epic, Historical, and on the list goes. There are markets within those subgenres...and probably even more specific within the markets themselves. Great point made there, Mylius!

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