Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dating Advice for Authors

We're all pretty clear on the fact that I'm not a Spring chicken any longer. So, if I'm getting up there, then we can fairly well trust that my grandmother was close to ancient. She was. She used to call the couch a davenport. Hot dogs were wienies (no snickers) and she wore a housecoat instead of a robe. 

Grandma said things that made us blush as young 'uns. She told us not to give the cow away for free...you know the rest of that one, right? Like all of the things our elders say, I found her advice mortifying and/or embarrassing most of the time. 

But I've been thinking about it lately, and something that our grandmother's told us, has really lodged in my thoughts relating to writing. 
You knew I'd get back around to that, didn't you? It is an obsession.

What our grandmothers, or mothers, or teachers said was, "be yourself, and the people who like you will like you for who you really are." 

You know, 'cause if you have to be someone you're not to get: boyfriend, friend, (readers) then what you end up with is a boyfriend or friends or (readers) who like someone else. Not you at all. 

See, I've been beating myself up about my lack of genre focus. I write whatever the hell story I want to, and it's rarely in the same genre as the last one. If you ask anyone about this, they'll shake their heads and remind you that yes, you have to write the book you want to read, but you should probably do it in a more focused way if you actually want readers. 

Well, I do want readers. But I don't want to give them the wrong idea. 
And I cannot promise to write sweet, fairy tale fantasy tomorrow. Even if I wrote it today. 

I know. I just shrank my potential reader pool to the tiny shallow stream of people who read like I do. Who bounce. Who like to read scifi AND fantasy god forbid. (kidding. but seriously someone once asked me how I could possibly write both) 
But I LIKE how I read and I like how I write. I have always read across many genres. From Tom Clancy to Barbara Cartland (someone revive that poor critic in the back) and I enjoy them all. 
And yes, both of those authors have branded themselves in a single niche. But my all-time favorite author is Christopher Moore and he pretty much writes whatever the hell he wants to. Sure, it's all hilarious, but its still kind of all over the place. 

Amen. 
So, I have come to terms with the fact that its going to affect my ability to find readers. Maybe I will find none. But at least I won't have to be someone else. I don't particularly want readers who think I'm someone I'm not. They'd only be disappointed in the end. 
 
And I understand branding. I do. I'm old, not daft. I can brand a series and I can brand a pseudonym etc. etc. I do, and I will. But I know who I am, too. And that's who I want people to like or not like. Their pick. 

Better yet, let them like the books and not me at all. Let the books stand on their own and I'll just slip off into a corner here and ....probably write more stories...obsession and all. 

Hug your grandmother.
~Frances

No comments: