Yeah, so I’ve been thinking a lot about sales and markets and all the stuff you do when you have books being released immanently. And about how some things sell better than others and how lame it is when you don’t write what’s supposedly ‘popular’. It also hasn’t escaped my notice that yes, I have some billionaire novels and novellas coming up and yes, the world is presently swimming in billionaires and I’m kind of adding to the pile.
Alrighty, so why billionaires? Well, I’ve actually been writing billionaires since I first starting trying to be published by Mills and Boon six years ago. Way before 50 Shades hit. All the M&B heroes had to be rich therefore my heroes were rich. I didn’t mind that. I like Cinderella fantasies. The rich, powerful man who has everything except what he most desperately needs – the heroine – is a dynamic I enjoy. I also like playing with the power dynamic in a relationship and money is a great way of representing power.
But when it all comes down to it, the billionaire stuff is just window dressing for what I love to write most of all: dark, sexy angst. At the time, no single title publisher wanted dark, sexy angst. They wanted light, flirty small town contemporaries, the very opposite of what I liked to write. So M&B Presents it was and unfortuntely, my take on billionaires kept missing the mark with them.
And then 50 Shades hit. And not only were billionaires in, but angsty feels were in as well. So I adjusted my M&B billionaires for single title instead of Presents and the end result was my contract with St Martin’s Press.
Where am I going with this? I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s SO important to write what YOU want to write. For years I was bummed with the direction of single title because it wasn’t what I personally enjoyed writing and I had resigned myself to sticking with either category or epublishers who seemed to be the only people interested. Because I know from personal experience what it’s like to write something you don’t enjoy. The writing suffers. You suffer. It becomes a chore. And once that happens, you can bet readers will notice becuase if you don’t connect with it, neither will they.
It’s very, very important to write what you love. What you enjoy writing about. Yes, it’s hard when what you write isn’t ‘on trend’ and the temptation to write something that fits with what’s selling is huge. But before you do, you have to ask yourself these this very important question: What are you writing for? Is it for the money or the passion, or both?
I think if you want a lasting career, you need to do both. Money is great but if you’re only writing what sells then that’s going to get old real quick. Especially if you happen to be successful because then you’ll be tempted to write more of it. Writing for passion I think makes for a better book and if your passion communicates to readers, then that’s going to keep them coming back to you. I reckon that’s part of why fanfic is so popular because the writers are passionate about the stories they write and that really comes across to readers.
So what do you do if what you’re passionate about isn’t what’s hot? Well, you could be stubborn like me and figure out who IS publishing what you want to write and target them exclusively. Or you could self publish. You may have to accept low sales for a while but no trend lasts forever. If you keep plugging away then you might just find yourself riding the upswing when the trends come round again.
The other thing you could do is figure out if you can translate what you love to write about into a different genre. For example, I could and did think about translating my angsty feels books into paranormal. Dark, powerful heroes? Check. Intense and gritty conflicts? Check. Difficult heroines? Check. The conflicts themselves stay the same because it doesn’t matter what genre you write in, you’re still writing friends to lovers or enermies to lovers, or bad girl/good boy etc.
However you play it, I think for longevity’s sake you need to write books you’re passionate about. Because if you’re not, every step of the process is going to be a pain in the butt and a giant chore. And that will show in your writing. It’s a creative process and creativity requires passion.
Go with your joy, people. That’s the way to do it. 🙂