A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

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Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

When will I be Famous?

I've read a lot of posts recently from my fellow MM Fiction authors about what makes a book succesful - or not. How much marketing an author should do - or not. What are the latest fashions and trends in book sales - or not. How to make sense of it all - and maybe an income, as well.

What's the secret of success? Talent? Luck? Friends in High Places? Persistence? Or should we all give up, accept it's random, and go back to the slot machines of life?! :)
Now this isn't a post about how we should all have faith in ourselves, write what we care passionately about, and one day we'll be Rich and Famous! I think we all know that won't happen, don't we? I mean, not for EVERYONE - or where would be the drive to improve?! Instead, we accept that we're doing a job we love, the desire to write nags at us regardless of wherever else we may work, and that almost all of us have one or two treasured nuggets of feedback, where a reader really enjoyed our work, that help to make it all worthwhile, over and above the royalty cheques. And, of course, some authors WILL make it big! And all power to them, I really mean it.

But... if I'm not going to be Rich and Famous, what's the best I can - and should - aim for?

Is it all about compromise?

If Josh Lanyon doesn't mind, I'd like to link to a very good post he did recently on Artistic Compromise. It's aimed at the Male/Male fiction writing world, where our reader pool is still smaller than that available to the writers of more traditional Romance and Suspense, but many of the points ring true to all. And it supports the route I'm taking myself, in the quest for a better income from my hard work.

Yes, I have a personal stake in this issue because I left work earlier this year, and one of my aims is to make some kind of income from my writing. I already have an author brand, but it's hardly been a big earner over the years :). I don't mind admitting that I'm going to try a year of much higher output, a more concentrated effort on marketing, and a range of books that seem to fit the better-selling profile in my genre.

I mean, I don't need to be Stephanie Meyer or Lee Child. I can live on much less, and to be honest, I'd HATE to be on TV *g*. But at the moment, I'm managing my expectations. I'm thinking about what the publishing world is really like, how readers access and "consume" me, what I can offer them that's mine alone, what I can produce to make both them and me happy. It's thought-provoking!

That said, PLEASE, none of this should distract *you* from reaching for those stars! There are so many of you who deserve to catch them.

Have you made any compromises in your writing career? Are you happy with your balance of work / reward? Do you write in different genres and see different levels of success? Do I sound to you like I'm considering selling out for filthy lucre?! :) I'm interested to hear anything you have to say!

Clare London


J Wachowski said...

Hey Clare,
What a thoughtful post. Anyone who thinks about doing what they love, and getting paid for it, faces these questions. And sometimes there are trade-offs you don't see coming.

But committing yourself to trying a new plan of action, can be very invigorating for your work. For sure, you will learn lots.

I can't wait to hear how it goes...maybe your next post?

Anne Marie Becker said...

I feel like the only compromise I've made lately is what sub genre I write. Part of me would love to switch to straight forward contemporary romance, but I've been building my name in the RS world. The more practical side of me knows I should stay there a bit longer. ;)

Clare London said...

Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I'll keep you all posted how my new plan of action goes. It *is* invigorating to re-invent yourself now and then. Though scary, too!

Anne Marie, it sounds like you've considered this carefully. And your RS work is very well known. Let us all know as and when you make a switch! :)

Marcelle Dubé said...

Clare, it sounds like you've embarked on an adventure! I wish you much happiness in your exploration.

Rita said...

There must be something in the water as I think many of us are considering this also. I’m not as talented as many of you are. I can only write what’s in my head. Sigh. Not many people are interested.

Elise Warner said...

I do non-fiction in addition to stories and work on other books. I enjoy the non-fiction as much and I believe you do have to like what you do. That's why we all began writing in the first place.I do believe in reinvention and look forward to what you all do next.

Wynter Daniels said...

I've reinvented myself a couple of times, but the glitter seems to have faded again :-( I think I am going to try a non-fiction path next. I'll let you know how it pans out. Best of luck to you!

jean harrington said...

Clare, No, I don't think in wanting to earn a living from your talent you're selling out. Let's face it, writing novels is not a religious vocation. Go for it, girl!

Cathy Perkins said...

Your post was interesting and I see the range of response comments--and I still have no idea how to react. :)
I have friends who are uber successful and others who work really hard at promo, write good stories and are lost in the masses. No clue how it all works.
Like the rest of you, all I can do is write the stories in my head and heart--and hope they resonate with readers.

Katrina Conquista said...

I feel there are some compromises that make writing weaker and bland. Trying to please everyone is never good, but there are compromises one can make, like for example putting the fantasy books on the backburner in favor of contemporary novels. We're working on building a big backlist as well, and that's one of the approaches we're going for. Still choosing projects we're dying to write, but making the conscious choice of focusing on the contemporary ones now.

It's always about finding that balance between trying to please the public and writing the books you want. Personally, I'm happy with some people completely hate the books and characters, as long as others love them. It's more productive in the long run than more PC, bland books that don't create those strong emotions.

Good luck, Clare! I've quit my job this week *squee* and Agnes and I will be trying to do as much writing in the next half a year as we can. Then, we'll see what happens :)

Kat Merikan

Clare London said...

Thanks for the shared feedback, all *hugs*.

Elise, interesting to hear how you mix fiction with non-fiction. I'm following a writing-for-a-career blog at the moment and it's a suggestion that often comes up.

Kat, thanks so much for the input! and welcome to the "working from home" club :). I agree wholeheartedly with your comment that our books should inspire emotions. Else why would a reader ever pick up another one of ours?!

I think Cathy sums it - no idea how it all works :). All we can do is battle on and keep an open mind.

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