This is a post for the Insecure Writers Support Group. Join us! We blog the first Wednesday of every month.
It’s April 6. Camp NaNoWriMo is not going well for me, as per usual. I don’t really mind. I never actually “win” but I do usually have at least three quarters of a workable draft, and it’s still very possible I’ll have that at the end of this month, if I can get on track.
Well, looking outside my window it sure doesn’t seem like April! There is currently a thick (5+inches!!) cover of snow, and it’s barely 25 degrees. Maybe my writing mojo is as confused as mother nature? LOL
But no, I know what is going on. I have this story that I’ve been planning in my head for a very long time. It’s a series, which is a step outside my comfort zone as I’ve pretty much always written stand-alones. But it’s paranormal, which should be good for me (that’s my favorite!) Still, I’m faltering.
If you follow this blog you might remember that a few months ago I did a survey of reader preferences (male/male, male/female, or menage) in Romance. I’m so thankful to everyone who responded! But I’m still as unsure as ever.
Here’s why: I LOVE writing male/male pairings. I don’t think I could actually write an entire romance without some male/male Romance. But I feel lately as if I have been striking out with my m/m readership. So I’m thinking maybe it would be better to start fresh? Maybe a new pen name, and a new genre/niche would bring more readers to my work? Or (here’s the insecure part) maybe it isn’t the type of romantic pairing that keeps people from enjoying my stories. Maybe it is just my writing style which is unpopular. 😦 You see the self-doubt spiral which has interfered with my happy writing time?!
It’s the same old question, isn’t it? Do I write for pleasure, or profit? Do I write for myself, or do I seek validation from others? Someone said once that we should “write the most marketable stories of your heart” and I think that is fantastic advice. If only I knew what marketable was… 😉 I really have no idea what will sell or why. I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent studying the Amazon sales charts and Goodreads reviews, trying to crack the code of why people buy certain things and why they don’t buy other things. Needless to say, I still know nothing.
Well, not nothing. I know a good deal of an author’s success comes down to marketing. Pouring money on something, assuming it is a decent story, is a good tactic. Another thing I do know is that certain tropes and styles are always popular (“bad boys,” shifters, millionaires, etc.) Lots of authors have made names for themselves by hitting those sweet spots hard. I think luck (or great timing) has an impact, too. Being friends with “big name” authors in your genre is another sure-fire route to sales. But how to twist the stories of my heart into something marketable? No clue.
So now I’m about a week into NaNo, where I had hoped and planned to produce a solid draft of “book one” in my new series, and I’m only like 5000 words in. Boo. 😦 Can’t do much more without nailing down my lead couples, though. World-building only goes so far (about 5000 words, apparently. LOL)
Do I just make it a m/m Romance, and take the chance I am wasting my time on something very few people will buy? Do I write a m/f story in the hopes that it will sell better? Do I go back to my erotica/ménage roots and write something fun and sexy and at least enjoy myself while writing? One thing I did learn from my survey and from the time I have spent online in reader groups is that many m/m readers do not want any lady-bits in their m/m romances. So it is sort of an either/or proposition, and that is what is messing with my planning.
Any advice? Have you ever dealt with a similar situation? Any and all feedback appreciated!