But what if the story of your heart won’t sell?
(huh? music screeches to a halt)
Sorry I had to bring you down, but yeah. It happens. We pour our hearts into a book that means the world to us only to find that no one, especially a publisher or agent, would read it. In fact, I’m going to take a wild guess and say that happens way more often than selling to an agent or publisher. Especially in these days, when publishers are looking for the next big thing and won’t take the chances they used to take on a new author, say, five years ago.
So what’s a writer to do?
I say, write from your heart, but write it smart.
What I mean is — put all the passion you feel about your book into a format/story that will sell. If you want to tell your grandmother’s story about growing up on a farm and her life married to an abusive husband, take a look at what’s going on in woman’s fiction. If you want to write it with a twist of humor and a snarky voice, check out chick lit – yeah, it’s still around. If you want to write it as a romance, so in the end she finds the right man and marries him, go the romance route. If your grandma was a shocker, maybe even erotic romance! If she discovers a body in the well and sets out to discover who it is and how it happened, how about a mystery?
Yes, you could write it as a memoir, but they really don’t sell unless you’re someone famous, and I don’t mean in grandma’s home town, population 560.
And selling books is what we’re talking about, right? Not just getting published. Anyone now can publish a book, it’s selling it that’s the hard part (besides writing, yes).
If you just want to tell the story and have a few friends and family read it, fine. But if you’re talking a career in writing, then you’re going to have to be smarter in what you write. You’re going to have to figure out where your story fits in the genres that are selling, and write your tale to fit.
Because when you write within known and popular genres half the battle is over. There is already a huge audience out there who loves to read…women’s fiction, romance, adventure, mystery, suspense, horror, or chick lit. You don’t have to hunt up readers, or depend on that town of 560 to each buy a copy of your book.
Can you take her exploits and drag them onto the future? Can she wake up one morning and discover zombies overrunning her farm. She gets the kids, barricades the doors and window, loads her shotgun, and…well, you get it.
Making your book marketable – no, it’s not a dirty word, folks — is the key to selling. How are you going to sell that memoir, or that story you thought of when you were a kid and now want to write?
First, write a book people want to read.
Second, the best thing you can do for your first book is to write the second, and the third, and keep writing.
What happens when a reader finds you, reads your book, likes it and goes out to get the next one, and oops! It’s not there? No more sales. They’ve hit a dead end and move on to another author, one with more books, prettier, shinier, and younger books than yours.
But if you’ve written the next one or are in the course of writing it, and you promo it in the back of your first book, it gives the reader hopes that, hey, coming next year, or in the spring, a second book from this newly discovered fabulous author will appear!
They might even put your next book in their To Read list on Goodreads!
Lynn Lorenz lives in Texas, where she’s a fan of all things Texan, like long horns, big hair, and cowboys in tight jeans. She’s never met a comma she didn’t like, and enjoys editing, drinking, and brainstorming with other writers. Lynn spends most of her time writing about hot sex with even hotter heroes, plot twists, werewolves, and medieval swashbucklers. She’s currently at work on her latest book, making herself giggle and blush, while avoiding all housework.
Find her books at http://www.lynnlorenz.com and at Amazon and her publisher’s websites. She’s also on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.