There’s something amiss going on. I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of people writing what they think will become popular or what will be sellable in the market. I’ve always found that odd. That was until I started querying and trying to sell my books to agents and publishers. There’s this natural draw to want to write what you think would be sellable or popular after being rejected for so long. But, I think it’s important to realize that you need to keep writing what you want to write and read. Most importantly, you need to learn how to find your own audience. I’m here to give you some tips on that.
First off, read in the genres that you want to write in. For example, I’m a fantasy guy. My style is like that of Scott Lynch, Nicholas Eames, R.A Salvatore, Brandon Sanderson, or Michael J. Sullivan. It’s important to know and read the people in the genre that you’re trying to get into. Read a bunch and learn how your story fits into the general landscape of the industry. This will help you find an audience. It will help you find people to talk to and perhaps gain interest in what you’re working on. This will help you talk to people while also help you learn your craft. (Don’t forget to also read outside your genre sometimes, it will help you get some fresh ideas.).
Secondly, write what you want. Do you like magic? Write about magic. If you like dragons, write about dragons. Don’t feel like you gotta write something because of who you are as a person. I get this quite a bit as a black guy, I’m often told that I need to write something that will connect with only black people. I’m often told that being a fantasy guy, it will only work if I’m in an African setting or exclusively write black characters. Quite honestly, it hurt my feelings. I wanted to write about a fantasy world like World of Warcraft or A Song of Ice and Fire. I shouldn’t have to feel because I was born a certain way that I must write a certain way. If anyone tells you because you’re LGBT, a certain race, or a certain sex that you can’t write a certain setting, genre or style, don’t listen. You can write whatever you want. Write what you want to write and get people interested. If you’re interesting enough and talk about it enough, you’ll get people interested naturally.
Thirdly, communicate. You need to learn how to talk to people. People think writing is a solitary job. In some ways it is. But once you start sharing about your work, it slowly becomes apparent that you’re not alone in this. As people get interested, you’re going to have to learn how to talk to people about not only your work but your process, your ideas, and your general mindset. Not only should you be able to talk about your book, you should be able to talk about their books. Networking’s important. As a person with social anxiety, this was a huge challenge to me. But, I’m starting to learn and it’s starting to pay off.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to reevaluate how you want to publish your book or idea. Sometimes, you’re going to have to change up how you want to go about it. Perhaps, you need to reevaluate the premise, the execution, or even potential publishing options. What’s important is though, don’t change your story to better fit what you think is going to work. If you want to change it because you feel like you need to, that’s entirely different. But don’t change to fit the trend. Trends change. People change. That’s why you need to learn what you like and what you want.
See ya next Thursday,
Deston “D.J” Munden
P.S I have some exciting news. Really exciting news. I can’t get into detail with it yet, but things might be on the upswing majorly involving my work. I don’t want to jinx it. More news on that shortly.