Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Scattered and un-Constrained


I’m all over the net. Authors are expected to be all over the net these days, even if you aren’t self-published. I’ve seen so many authors who said they were approached by a publisher but the publisher first wanted to know how they planned to market. The publishing world has come to this. Authors must market, also.

I’m bad at it. I admit that straight out. I like to chat with people. I don’t like to sell myself. Family, friends, and supportive readers sell my books far better than I do (and I’m eternally grateful for that!). Still, I am all over the net. I own or am part of eight different blogs by now. I’m at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+,, Nanowrimo,  Goodreads, LibraryThing, Myspace (though I haven’t touched that in some time), among others, and on some of those, I now have two or more accounts, one for LK Hunsaker and one for Ella M. Kaye, and pages for Elucidate Publishing and Elucidations. Along with this, I help network for Sandplay Voices, as the network coordinator.

During the Creative Mojo interview (20 March 2013), one thing Nessa asked was how constrained I felt as a romance writer. Constrained? I’m far too scattered to feel constrained. Of course that’s not what she meant.

What she meant was that the romance genre today has very strict guidelines as to what publishers will accept, to include a very limited word count. I understand the concept of that. As I said in the interview, a lot of readers expect certain things from the genre they choose and they will pull away from an author or publisher who does not give them what they expect. Certainty is comforting. There’s a lot to be said for getting what you expect from fiction, since, let’s face it, we can’t get that from daily life. I think that’s a big part of why romance is constantly the best selling fiction genre. We can be assured of a happy ending, and a limited word count assures that we won’t have to wait too long to get that happy ending.

I fully understand. I can sit and read a romance while hubby is watching golf and let my brain unwind while I enjoy someone else’s fun characters and make-believe worlds that take me somewhere else for a while. I don’t have to try to figure out what will happen. I can just enjoy the ride, and often, that’s enough. When we’re out on the bike, I’m often asked why I don’t get my own instead of always sitting on the back of hubby’s. Nope. Not interested. I just want to enjoy the ride without having to watch for signs and pot holes.

To a lot of readers, that sounds terribly boring. I understand that, too. I think golf is incredibly boring while others, those who really understand the game and its nuances, find it highly interesting. I love baseball. Many find that boring. To each her own.

But Nessa is right. The romance market is constrained. All commercial genres are constrained. It’s not only publishers constraining it. Readers who want what they want constrain it. Why publish what won’t sell? Makes sense.

I can say I’m not constrained. I can say I write what I want to write and the way I want to write it because I’m self-published. Of course, getting readers to give something different a try is another story, especially when you’re self-published and a lot of stories people throw out there because it’s easy now is … well, I’ll say it … a waste of a reader’s time. Yes, a lot of it is. (Honestly, I feel that way about FB games and hitting a little ball just to find it and hit it again, too, but it’s just my opinion.)

Anyway, yes, I’m scattered. In between all of that marketing and chatting with people, there is the actual writing thing. It’s easy to lose track of that main goal in between the musts of publishing and convincing people you’re worth reading. So if you email and I take forever to answer, or if I forget to reply elsewhere, or if I start to do something and it sits echoing for some time… well, I’m probably actually writing and I’ll have to ask you to bear with me.

Or I’m watching my birds out the den window or playing in my garden (Oh… I can hear the “talk about boring” comments now!) or taking photos from the back of the Harley. Oh, and now and then bills need to be paid and laundry needs to be folded…

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