Sunday, October 26, 2014

101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing -- 017: Write that Completely Unmarketable Story

In the past, I've often thought about sales trends. There are a few genres of fiction that really seem to sell. Just take a look at Amazon's best sellers, and you'll see what I mean: it's dominated by thrillers and romance novels.

For a while, I worried that I was working in poor-selling genres. I thought about writing a straight thriller, with no speculative elements at all, but every time I do consider it, I can never get excited by the idea. There's nothing wrong with thrillers, of course, and my books have many elements of the thriller in them, but a real-world setting doesn't get my creative juices flowing the way a future world or an alternate reality can. When it comes down to it, if I try to force myself to write in a genre or style that doesn't work for me as a writer just because I think it would sell, I don't feel I'd be happy with the results.

Lately, I've been writing and brainstorming a few short story ideas. Some of them are a bit oddball, but the truth is they get me excited about writing. Maybe no one will want to read them. Maybe, if they are published, no one will like them. But that really doesn't matter. 

Writers have to acknowledge financial considerations. This is a business. You might be compelled to write a twelve-novel story arc about a guy trying to find his lost sock, but if you hope to make some money as a writer, well, you might want to have some side projects. That being said, you should try writing that story idea that seems completely unmarketable. Try out some short stories if you're worried about spending all that time on something that might not go anywhere. Yes, writing is a business, but passion and creativity are the driving forces behind that business. Without those things, fiction cannot exist. People read because they want to feel your passion, to lose themselves in the world you've created. 

Wherever your passion and creativity lead, you must follow. If you're lucky, you'll end up with something marketable. If you don't... well, you're a writer. Every word that skips from your fingertips is another turn of the grindstone, sharpening the tools of your trade. They'll cut that much more cleanly the next time you sit down to work.


If you're enjoying the series so far and would like a single page to bookmark, I'll be adding each of my 101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing here. Also be sure to subscribe by email (see the box in the sidebar) to be automatically notified about my new posts.

Look for The Sock, an epic tale of loss and acceptance, in the Spring of 2015.

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