Earlier this week Molly wrote about knowing your audience. Very important stuff. All successful writers need to understand this. It’s the thing they probably love and well… hate… about their fans. Their fans keep them going, give them success and pay the bills. But the fans also have expectations and once those are set there is not a whole lot of room to deviate. So if you want to write “everything” that’s going to be tricky.
The flip side is knowing yourself. I write category romance. I love category romance. Read it for years before I started writing it and I hope I always get the chance to keep on doing it. But I also like bigger stories. I spent a long time debating if I wanted to write romantic suspense, straight contemporary or historicals. Since I knew I could combine the suspense element with history that was a factor. Then I had to think about the ideas I had. Were they big enough? Could I support a series? Did I want to spend a significant period of my time in the past (i.e. research)?
The answers were yes to all those questions. But now a new question has come up. Most who follow the blog know I’ve got a proposal out on submission right now. The one editor currently reviewing it is not a traditional romance editor. She’s an historical/historical mystery/historical with romantic elements editor.
I could (and we’re all practical here so we know the likelihood of actually getting an offer is I would say somewhere in the neighborhood of 15% so I’m not losing sleep about this) be faced with a decision if this editor likes my idea enough to buy it but decides to steer away from the romance and focus more on the mystery suspense elements.
I’m not a mystery writer. I’m a romance writer. I’m not an erotica writer, but I do tend toward sexier scenes. Mostly because I think they are more fun to write. The question becomes can I be an historical mystery writer with romantic elements? How much of departure is this for me?
This is no small decision. If she likes the idea, if it sells, if my idea for sequels are picked up, if people read it and like it and buy it… Once again we see the small window an author has for success. I’m thinking 1%. Note: I’m being very mathy today...
Anyway if all goes well then that’s who I will be. I will be an historical mystery writer with romantic elements. That will be my world. That is where I will live. And until people stop reading the books there will not be a whole lot of deviation for me.
This post is a caution for all you folks out there thinking between two ideas. Some authors can go down two roads. Eileen of DWT is a perfect example. But the reality is most will follow a set path at least for a time.
Know who you are. Know where you want to live and make sure at the end of the day you can live with that decision for a long long time.
So will I forgo some of my more racier sex scenes and become an historical mystery author with romantic elements if an offer is made…. HELL YEAH! Do I look stupid?