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Author Topic: Love or Market  (Read 2411 times)  

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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Offline Crystal_

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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.

Online 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.

Historical Romance: 20th Century, Western Brides
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Offline 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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Online Arches

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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.

Online 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???)

Historical Romance: 20th Century, Western Brides
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Offline evdarcy

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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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Offline UghSoUncool

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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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Online Lorri Moulton

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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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Offline Laran Mithras

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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.
 

Offline Jeff DeGordick

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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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Offline evdarcy

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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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Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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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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Online Mylius Fox

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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. ;)




Offline AnnetteL

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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!

Online Rosie A.

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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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