There Is No Market…

I often feel weird writing about writer stuff on a blog I’ve sent my subscribers to. Like, do they really care about my writing process or the things that matter to me “under the hood” of this thing that I do called writing stories and publishing them? And so I keep quiet most of the time and end up talking to myself until my 7-year-old tells me to stop and just write it down.

So here goes…

One of the things I agonize as a writer every day is whether what I write is interesting enough. I see my peers kill it with five figure months writing “to market” and most of them just started writing less than three years ago. I’ve been writing most of my life, mainly as a way to cope with the circumstances of my life and because I cannot say out loud most of the things I want to say. And so I ask my questions through my characters, and let them feel my fears and worries, and even joy.

And no matter how I try to “write to market,” I end up writing the stories I want to write anyway, the ones with characters who tend to think too much and tend to get themselves into trouble even when they don’t want to. Sometimes they have a darkness to them that I like to explore more, but only if I’m brave enough to do so.

And maybe one day I will; it just won’t be writing to “the market.”

21 thoughts on “There Is No Market…

  1. I hate to beat a dead horse, but I don’t have much to compare it to. So, alas, here it goes. When I used to write on Wattpad, I felt the same way. I used to wonder if writing the stories I wanted to read was really a smart move. Honestly, I had so many plans for my Wattpad account, but too much disappointment weighed down on me. I know if I self-publish or query agents, I’ll be dealing with the same things.

    In the end, I think we need to write for ourselves and hope our stories reach a bigger audience. Liz, you know you have the talent to write “to market,” but you have to ask yourself if that’s what you really want to do.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It does seem like it (beating that dead horse LOL) but it was interesting to hear Gaiman talk about writing to market. I heard him this weekend in a radio show where they had him, a self-published author who’s supposed to have made tons of money selling books via Facebook ads (and he’s also published under one of Amazon’s imprints), and a literary agent who hadn’t heard of the self-pubbed author at all (as did the host who kept stressing they hadn’t heard of the self-pubbed author; really condescendingly, I think). While the agent and the host were condescending to the self-pubbed yet successful author, Gaiman was very graciuos and mentioned Patreon as an option he would probably look into if he were to start over. He’s one of my favorite authors though because he writes what he wants to write, and that’s what I’ve always wanted to do, even on Wattpad. I just wrote what I liked and if people liked it, fine. If not, that was okay, too, although I understand what you mean. It was tough not getting any likes or reads for awhile.

      But these days, the same energy I would put into sites like Wattpad I’d rather put towards my self-publishing career. I’ve never wanted to query my work and wait ages. I did do a Twitter pitch when my friends told me it was happening and a small pub requested a full manuscript but in the end, I knew what I wanted and it was more autonomy over my books, even if I had to do all the work. In traditional publishing, you kinda have to anyway, that’s why even Gaiman has to do his talks and travel all over the world to talk about his books and whatever projects he’s doing. In the end, we all have to hustle. Only this time, we have to hustle harder 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, it is. I wish I had other things to base my experiences on, but sadly, I’ve really only used Wattpad for my original stories. However, now since I’m on other writing websites, I’m hoping that will change soon. Honestly, I’m getting to the point where I’m over the whole writing thing. I mean, I like to write, but I’m tired of worrying about readers, sales, and other meaningless stuff that won’t matter when I’m on my deathbed.

        Like, when I’m dying, am I going to think damn, why didn’t I get more reviews on my books? Probably not. I’ll probably wonder why I didn’t travel more? Or why didn’t I spend more time building experiences and trying new things? In the end, I don’t think it’s worth thinking about it anymore.

        These are definitely interesting times we’re living in, and I wonder how things will go. Not every writer is going to be successful, so I guess in time we’ll see who is weeded out.

        Like

  2. Liz, I think you have to go with your gut instinct and do what is right for you. I self pubbed my memoir when my submissions to agents and publishers were met with a wall of ‘white noise.’ The one agent who did respond, told me that while he was personally interested in the MS, he felt that the publishing market was saturated with Afghanistan War memoirs on both sides of the Atlantic (he had handled two very successful military memoirs).

    As you rightly point out, self publishing requires a lot of graft and you will question your sanity with the blogging and tweeting, which seems to detract from actually writing (you spend a lot of time writing about writing, or other subject matter that is peripheral to your actual writing. On the plus side, you do retain creative control.

    Wattpad and Amazon have allowed me to move poems out of old notebooks and off my hard drive to where they should be – being read by people. Am I ‘successful’? It depends on the metrics that you apply. I have told my story, maybe 1000 people have read it; for me that is success. If the metric is selling millions and being famous, I am not. My book is not perfect, there are some typos and repetitions that slipped through the net in the pre-publishing phase. i can and will amend that. On the other hand EL James has produced a poorly written piece of salacious garbage (my opinion) that is now ‘out there’ and cannot be revised or amended. James has made millions – that is writing to market! Of course I would love to be the author of a perfect book and achieve high volumes in sales. But from an integrity pov, I would rather be where I am than where James is.

    I confess I have still not your books in their entirety (don’t worry, you are in good company, I have half-read copies of Joyce, Wilde, and DH Lawrence), but what I have read, I really enjoyed. Just keep doind what you do and be true to yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m one of those people who read your book and I really enjoyed it. You’re an authentic writer and poet and do keep it up.

      I stopped writing my stories for about 10 years although I filled that lull with blogging about life back then. These days, I guess blogging and social media allows me to stick my head out of my writing cave since that’s all I do these days after cutting back on my private practice so that I’m only working 1 morning a week there. Problem with the social media is that I get to see what everyone is doing and with every opportunity to reach a new audience with my writing, it’s tempting to do what they’re doing. But I am slowly finding that balance this year, settling with only this blog now while I integrate the older ones that had my married name (madrid) after hubby asked me not to use it (long story short: he’s not a fan of my writing but he doesn’t mind the income it brings in). So your author feature will end up here while I wind the rest of those sites down – I blame this on long-term payment options so lizmadridauthor.com is on until 2019 haha so from now on, I pay only per year.

      I have not read EL James books although I’ve tried. They’re just not for me, but it surprises me just how popular that genre is. It’s mind-boggling. But I’ll keep to my lane and keep writing and doing what I do 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m going to stick my nose in here and talk about E.L. James for a moment. What James did is a true fluke and how she did it was really very manipulative.

      It’s common knowledge that 50 Shades was a fanfiction. What isn’t as common knowledge is that 50 Shades was basically a fanfiction of a fanfiction in the Twilight genre. She took what was popular in the Twilight fanfiction circles and wrote completely off of that. (aka she ripped off other people’s ideas.) And to be clear, Twilight fanfiction was mostly ‘human only AUs.’ No one who was popular cared about the vampire/shifter aspect. (At least not in the circles she was running in.) Then she posted it only a few hundred words at a time, keeping it on the top of the ‘recently updated’ fanfiction lists. Which gave it more views and more ‘comments.’ There were also a few websites dedicated to it, I think, by her fans.

      So, when E.L. James approached publishers (who was also rumored she had personal connections with) she had basically self-marketed herself into this ‘popular’ fanfiction author. She ‘guaranteed’ sales just by having so many followers of her story. A story that was written with a very basic elevator structure btw that keeps you drawn in (like most beach reads.) Then the content, poorly researched BDSM, did the rest.

      This isn’t quite as bad as Cassie Claire’s from fanfiction to published author story. But it’s up there.

      This has made it much harder for other fanfiction authors who want to use their fanfiction platform to jump into publishing. (I didn’t bother.) Because, publishers will want 50 Shades style sales or Immortal Instruments.

      Just some perspective, I hope.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. So true. I heard a similar story as well and had to explain to one of my clients why me being a self-published author is not the same as EL James being self-published because she wasn’t, outside of the fan fiction sense. But a lot of people truly have no idea, just like they have no idea of how real BDSM is and now have this idea that if they can find their own Christian Grey, they’re set on the road to BDSM. I just couldn’t get into the first chapters of that book, for the life of me, although a lot of my fellow authors and friends LOVE it and don’t get why I don’t.

        As far as publishing my works online, I did get my start in fan fiction ages ago with Law and Order via the Apocrypha website and then later MI-5 with Lucas North played by Richard Armitage. When I wrote about 200K words combined of all that fanfic, I figured I was ready to post my own stories instead and after that, self-publish them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. People have their own little bubbles and they know things that I have no idea about I’m sure! Creative fields can each be their own little mystery. Fandom is a world unto itself! A very toxic one at times.

        I spent at least a decade or more across 4 different fandoms. (This isn’t a brag.) I had to overcome some very crippling cyclic depression before I was able to even think about original work.

        But I wouldn’t give up that time in fandom. It helped me learn my style, what I liked to write and developed my skills as an author. Unfortunately, original work doesn’t have the same support system as fandom does. Or I haven’t found it yet.

        And we’ve wandered off the subject.

        I am appalled at 50 Shades, but then I researched BDSM (and find aspects of that appealing for confidence purposes) for a fanfic I wanted to write. There was and is a lot of good information about it. So, she had no excuse not to do her research. (I won’t touch her writing style.) I think a lot of the popularity was that she fed into this fantasy that women can change men. Even if the men are abusive. The BDSM was just adding a risque and ‘naughty’ element to the story.

        Maybe you’re not into that type of story? I know I’m not. (As it is, I’m deliberately writing my love story in my Heathens universe to take time and both partners love each other for who they are, rather than trying to fundamentally change each other.)

        Sorry, you’ve hit a combo of topics I like talking about.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I wouldn’t give up my time in fandom either. I learned so much it’s beyond words even though the fandoms I chose weren’t popular at all, but it allowed me to work on pacing, characterization, plot and so much more having a ready audience, no matter how small, and see their reaction.

        I’m not into the writing style of 50SOG unfortunately, and the misguided message it imparts. I like grittier fare and deeper POV that actually is based either on reality or really good research. This latest book I have that’s due to be released deals with that aspect, but the hero having left the lifestyle and years later, being reminded what he used to be. That’s also why it’s taken over a year to even have a concrete release date because of my fear that readers will hate what their hero from the first book has become – or was. Just like in your story, my characters love each other for who they are. I just have to let this one go because it’s like a bottleneck on the freeway and right behind it, are the other stories waiting to be completed and published.

        I love talking about all these topics, btw. Most of the time it’s me talking to myself LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      4. LOL, at least you have a 7 year old going “Mommy, write your bloggers. They’ll eat this up with a spoon.” Or something close to it.

        If other published authors blogs are anything to go by, readers do enjoy hearing about this mysterious writing process. (I followed Kim Harrison for a while but her blog’s coding got too much for my poor old computer.) Gaiman gets people asking him for advice all the time. I follow a couple of writing advice blogs on tumblr too. And they vary on quality of advice, but people follow them!

        After I finish my Lilo & Stitch review, I’ll have to make a post about what we’ve been discussing. If you ever want to chat with me, we can work out a time and a way!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. My son only tells me to write so he can play on his iPad and I leave him alone LOL that kid’s got skillz with his mama.

        I follow writers blogs on tumblr, too, although I can only view it on my phone because my 7-year-old macbook complains. It even complains with the new wordpress dashboard so I can only use the older version. I’d love to chat or email – kiddo is in school so I’m free like a bird until he comes home at 3 PST unless he tells me to write so I can leave him alone with his iPad, that is.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not a published author, so I have zero experience to draw upon, other than having a deep reverence for words, the writing process, and things that touch and connect with my soul. That includes whatever it is I produce, which comes from that place, because that’s what it’s all about! It’s like giving birth, to me, and if it didn’t feel like that, it would feel all wrong, you know?!

    I just began one of your books and am very much enjoying it. I say keep writing for you, and those meant to connect with it will. Hopefully that will be many!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! May I say love your blog so much and your words are pure poetic heaven for me? My goal is always to work on my own healing and awakening through words even if it’s through the filter of fiction because it’s where I’m most comfortable. This year I hope to be more open about the things which skirt within the shadows of my stories even if I have to do it behind a pen name. Sometimes the words just have to come out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, thank you, Liz! I’m humbled. I love that writing can and does do that – allow for working on healing and awaking through words, no matter the form. It’s something I didn’t do for far too long, but now I can’t seem to stop! I write erotic things in one spot and everything else in another. I wish it didn’t need to be compartmentalized like that, but it got really complicated keepi got all in one place.

        I wish you luck with your goal of openness. Being vulnerable is no easy task, but I agree, sometimes the words just have to come out! I’m excited to read anything you share, in whatever form.

        It’s been lovely meeting you. 💜

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This depends on how you define success. Is writing the story and publishing it at all the success? Or is the money the success?

    The authors I admire the most are those like Gaiman who don’t write to market and found popularity anyways. Because, Liz, if you write what you love and love what you write and find it interesting. There are billions of people in this world. Surely, at least one of them will find it interesting too.

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean by writing to market. To me it sounds like writing to formula or writing to an audience picked out for you instead of choosing your own audience. And, writing to market or formula, isn’t how new ground gets broken, boundaries pushed. Or even how our own writing needs can be addressed.

    If writing helps you solve inner problems and you have people who enjoy reading it. (And you got that Amazon bestseller bar!) Then I say, keep doing what you’re doing. People can tell what is written from the heart.

    But what do I know. I’ve sold six books total and made a grand total of 8 dollars. But, I’m really happy I sold those six books. Six people took a chance on reading a novel about silly werewolves who ride motorcycles and have adventures. I just need to publish more.

    All the best. Keep doing you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I’ll definitely keep doing me 🙂

      There’s a new definition of writing to market and it has to do with writing to what the Amazon charts tell you readers want but don’t have a lot of. Like, you’re writing werewolves or shifters and MC (for so long I had no idea what MC meant until I got on Facebook and saw it everywhere) and it may be an underserved audience and so writers who already write MC or shifter fiction will then target that underserved audience. I have a specific app that tells me how many people search for “motorcycle clubs” (2094 with average monthly earnings of $3K with a competitive score of 45 – anything under 35 is not as competitive and anything over 75 is way too competitive) versus “motorcycle club romance” (1684 with average monthly earnings of $2K with a competitive score of 52). These keywords work in your Amazon KDP dashboard under the keywords you put for your book and help it gain more visibility. Apps like this tick the analytical side of me and in a way, the competitive side of me, too, since I know that I have to do the work of people that a traditionally published author would have assigned to them.

      I think for me part of the challenge of being a self-published author is figuring out how to get my book seen by more people in the vast marketplace that is Amazon, let’s say, and being forever curious, like learning HTML before the likes of Dreamweaver and Frontpage and platforms like WordPress came to be and how metadata worked for websites back in the day – and today – I naturally gravitated to the how’s and the why’s of how that knowledge can complement my creative writing.

      By the way, I just bought your book! For so long I thought I had bought it but turned out, I had the sample when I went to look it up today. I’ll dive into it this weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh thank you! I hope you enjoy it. I need to check if Amazon has linked the paperback and the e-book yet.

        Okay, I see, charts. I hadn’t poked around looking for those because I have a lot of ideas in my head. (The latest an urban fantasy bakery not mystery thing and I don’t know if there is a chart for that.)

        See, I like numbers! And I’ve tried keywords. I didn’t use motorcycle clubs. (Strangely didn’t think of it.) But hey, I have one keyword left. I can FIX this problem. Mostly, I saw an increase in sales when doing hashtags on twitter. (I think we may be more alike than we realize. I was the only girl in my very small computer science class learning to use html.)

        Yeah, being self-published requires us to wear a lot of hats. And some places like reddit for instance are hostile to the marketing hat.

        Thanks for the keyword idea. Hopefully it will help a little.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can help you with a lot more keywords LOL I need to use this app for more than just my books!

        BTW your book opens right to a page that starts with “Beda smiled at him. “You aren’t used to people doing good things for you.” No chapter one, no title page…just the cover and then that page.

        I could have sworn the sample that I read started with an action sequence.

        Like

      3. Oh, wait, maybe it’s an excerpt. Never mind LOL I usually have the text to speech read the story for me on the Kindle Fire and so it took me by surprise. Also, if you’d like some suggestions about the description and more keywords, you can also email me, too, morrighansmuse at gmail.com

        Liked by 1 person

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