Get your Weekly Fantasy Fix!

Who am i?

For the indie author, this is a frequent and persistent question, especially at first. There isn’t a publisher to tell us, “you fit here and this is where we’re marketing you.” So we have to figure it out on or own, and it isn’t always easy. We end up going through this existential crisis of a sort; what did I just write, and where does it belong? Where do I belong as an author? Sometimes we get too caught up in worrying about where readers think we belong, and we get dragged down all sorts of dead end paths trying to market to every potential reader, in every dark corner of the universe. It can be exhausting, deplete our limited resources, and still get us nowhere.

And it’s no wonder we’re confused—some genres, like fantasy, are so huge it’s easy to get lost. When you search for fantasy books on Amazon, you get 739,684 returns! Who could possibly search through all of that for a new book to read? It’s completely overwhelming. Renee’s March 4th article talked about how the fantasy genre has now been split up into many different sub-genres, presenting both benefits and challenges for everyone. For the writer, it can make that existential question where do I belong even harder to answer, particularly if our work fits equally well into more than a couple of categories. But it can also help us finally settle in someplace—find a cozy corner to call home, where we can quietly build up a loyal fan base and gradually expand from there. It sure beats drifting around the book marketing universe like a hobo, holding out our collection cups to anyone who passes by, hoping for some reader to take pity on the poor indie author.

And that’s pretty much what we do as new, inexperienced authors. We chase after every new marketing gimmick, trying to imitate the top sellers without having any understanding of the huge amount of plodding groundwork it took to get them there. We try to copy the mechanics of their journey in the hopes it will take us along the exact same road, instead of going through that painful existential process of figuring out who we are, and forging our own path. We read all the author self-help books written by people who claim if you just follow steps A-Z you’ll become just as successful as they are. But no two authors are alike, and no two journeys are either. They might offer good advice, but we need to take it with the understanding that it will most likely work differently for us, and that’s OK. Eventually we all grow tired of chasing the wind and come to realize our biggest successes have come about when we’ve just been our truest selves.

It took me a few years, but I think I’m finally settling into my small corner of the indie book world. It’s actually pretty comfortable—not particularly flashy or high profile, but it suits me. Readers are finding me, and my book sales are slowly but steadily growing. When I first published in 2011, I couldn’t imagine the place I’m at right now. Humble as it is, it seemed so far out of reach. Since then I’ve had plenty of dreams to keep me working hard, and those dreams grow every day. I hope that in another 5 years, I’ll be able to look back and say, “I couldn’t imagine this place I’m in right now—and I’m so glad I’m here. What’s next?”

Read the rest of this week’s Fantasy Fix newsletter.

 

 

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19 thoughts on “Get your Weekly Fantasy Fix!

  1. Adam says:

    “Chasing the wind,” what an apt metaphor.
    For the moment my running theory is “write the story you want or need to tell,” and afterwards figure out where it belongs. Of course there’s also the odd convention that once you settle into a genre or sub-genre, you should stay there. Personally I think that, like a healthy diet, good writing means sampling a wide variety. Granted you may still end up settling into a specific genre, but I think, even though publishing is a business, creative writing must always be a passion and a love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • weavingword says:

      Absolutely write the story you’re passionate about! There’s no other point to writing, I think. Not sure that you have to stay in a chosen genre as a rule (though many who opt to write in a variety of genres use pseudonyms to keep their branding separate.) Most probably stick to one genre because that’s what they’re drawn to and good at. That’s why I keep writing fantasy–I just happen to love it. Sampling a variety definitely makes for an interesting as a writing exercise. I’m not sure I’d put my author name on the line for it by publishing though. There are some genres I’m just not suited to, and I know it. I will never write romance, horror, or sci-fi, for example, and I think my readers will thank me for it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Adam says:

        Well I think even within a genre like fantasy there’s room to explore. For example, one could write a fantasy mystery, or perhaps explore a bit of horror/suspense within a fantasy narrative. But as you say, it’s all up to the author.
        I think I was thinking of some stories I’ve heard where authors got a lot of flak for trying to dabble in other genres. Publishing them under a different name is certainly a strong idea. I’ll have to keep that in mind, if the situation ever comes up. Thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

      • weavingword says:

        I think the main problem with crossing genres, particularly for indies, is building up a fan base is so hard, and takes so long, it often isn’t worth risking that over an experimental work. Readers who feel “betrayed” by your latest book, might not come back for the next one. There’s too much competition out there! It takes a fabulously talented writer to pull of multiple genres under the same name.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Adam says:

        Good point. With the amount of effort that must go into each text, it’s easy to imagine there wouldn’t be time for such experimentation, even if it was not published, but it’s also a little sad. Still, we are free to choose, so long as we accept the risks, and the possible consequences.

        Liked by 1 person

      • weavingword says:

        That’s not to say we can’t experiment on our own and see where it takes us. 🙂 I intend to try out historical fiction one day. Just not yet. My head and heart are full of fantasy worlds right now.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Adam says:

        Mmm. Well I also think there’s an obstacle in the form of time. Writing, at least for me, is a very time intensive process. To even create content with enough regularity to keep pace with a small audience takes a great deal of my time, so I imagine an author who intends to publish regularly may struggle to find time for other projects. Of course it is my hope that gradually my rate will increase without costing me quality, but I can’t presume.

        Liked by 1 person

      • weavingword says:

        Same here! I envy those writers who can churn out book after book rapid-fire. For me writing is slower, and highly introspective. Plus I edit the heck out of everything as I go. Since I am not a full time writer, time is a HUGE issue for me. Just out of curiosity, do you ever participate in Camp NaNoWriMo or the full thing in November?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Adam says:

        I thought about it, but I find that even the development process for me is very slow. I once tried to crank out a novel in a timely fashion on my own, and the results were thorough rubbish. I feel that it has great value for some, but in this time, I feel like my way is to first try to get the quality “there”, and then try to speed up my process while keeping the quality “there”. If the challenge was to write a 5,000 or even 10,000 word story in a month, I could probably manage it, provided that I develop an outline and profiles beforehand.

        Liked by 1 person

      • weavingword says:

        Same here. I don’t do the one in Nov, (the word count is too high) but the camps in April and July let you set your own word count and adjust it as needed. Any writing counts…blog posts, etc. It’s more about staying motivated to write and getting encouragement from other writers along the way. Kind of fun.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Adam says:

        Ahh. Perhaps. At the moment I keep weekly records and set time based goals for each day of the week. I also attend a monthly writer’s group, which among other things has a “news” segment where people are free to boast and get affirmation. Still, I might check that out. Always good to see what techniques and strategies others are using. Never know when you might find a new tool for your kit. Thank you for the tip.

        Liked by 1 person

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