Writing to market

Hello fellow authors, and newly discovered reader friends.

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post on writing. What with the launch of The War, and a few other things going on in the background, I’ve let my bloggityness slip (what? That’s a word…)

Anyhoo, as I think I’ve mentioned before, I have slowly come round to making a conscious decision to treat writing as a career move. What I’ve realised, however, is that this is a business. If I am to have any chance of earning a living through writing, then I need to shift my approach. As much as my steampunk series has had success, and as much as my erotic fantasy series is gaining traction, they will never give me enough return to jack in the day job.

The reason? They live in the realm of fantasy.

There is a reason that a lot of publishers won’t even consider fantasy novels. I used to think it was snobbery, and while I do still think that is part of the problem, the far bigger issue is profit. As much as there is a market for fantasy books – and a growing market at that – it is not a particularly viable market. If the publishers can’t make a profit in a sector, then they won’t even attempt to enter it. Have you noticed in bookshops, that the crime section often takes up a large chunk of the store, the romance section takes up another prominent position and then you get to the fantasy section and it’s teeny in comparison?

Trust me. It pains me – as a proclaimed fantasy author – to say that fantasy is nothing more than a poor kid nipping at the heels of the fat and wealthy genres. I want to take every reader who refuses to read fantasy and lock them in a room, force them to read some of the best fantasy fiction books until they love it or starve to death. Fantasy stories are my first true love, and that will never change. I will always write fantasy. However, in order to position myself better in the literary world, I need to broaden my horizons and my first adjustment in that regard is to attempt to write to market.

Which market, I don’t yet know. I still need to complete the steampunk and the erotic series and do a lot of research on the subject. Then I will make a choice. I know my strengths as a writer, and I know my limitations, but I’m fairly confident that I can adapt my voice to fit almost any genre. Perhaps for every big market book I write, I’ll allow myself a vanity project – a step back into the fantastical to appease the muse.

Above all, the key to success is to have the flexibility to adapt and change, especially as an indie author.

There is no shame in writing to please the masses; after all, we want to please our readers don’t we?

Write on!