Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The End Goal

I love to write but writing for publication can be soul-sucking. These days I’m not just writing what I love, I’m writing to sell. Most of the time I focus on how much better I’m getting as a writer. The down side is constantly worrying about hot markets. What are the type of books that will sell? What's the right  ‘hook’? I’m trying to make something appealingly familiar while also making it different enough that it grabs attention.

While I understand the necessity of treating writing like a business I can’t want to be published just for publications sake. Recently I had to sit down and decide why I’m doing this. I started because I wanted a chance to tell my stories to a wider audience. After a few years I came to realize that I would never be happy in a job where I wasn’t writing. But when times get tough it’s not the idea of finally getting a paycheck for doing what I love that makes me truly happy. It’s the idea of having freedom to write what I want, while also getting paid:).

For those of us trying to break in there’s not a lot of latitude. But more experienced authors aren’t faced with the same restrictions. They have an audience and have proven their ability to sell their work. Recently Jim Butcher announced that he sold the first three books of his Cinder Spires trilogy. Steam punk is a notoriously difficult genre to make money in, but the publishers were willing to take a risk when it came to someone with Butcher’s success. The same goes for Ilona Andrews whose new book Burn For Me is very difficult to categorize. They’re just two of many successful authors who go in unusual directions after they’ve made a name for themselves. 

I want that. My end goal is a place where I not only do what I love, but have the freedom to experiment AND get my books to readers. I know that this kind of freedom is earned, not taken. So for now I work hard, hoping that the career I get to is the one I’m dreaming of.


  1. Your blog hates me and keeps eating my comments. This is try number three... So, rather than a long response, I'll just say YES to everything you've said. I love this post and just want to hug it *sqeeeeeeze* This is a soul-crushing business, and some days it doesn't seem worth it. I just hope that one day we can look back and say that it WAS worth it, otherwise, yeah...

  2. Ditto! I want nothing more than to make a career out of writing- even if I have to keep the day job too. (tho not would be preferable...) It just takes so much time to write, revise, query, and if that book doesn't go over, then start w/the next. But giving up isn't an option so you keep at it. It will pay off one of these days!

    1. I'd prefer the no day job too, although I'd take either too.