Fiction, Marketing, My Books, Novel, Writing

Silencing the voices

I’m used to dealing with my inner editor and critic’s voices, but now that I’m pressed to get busy writing my next book, I’ve discovered a new voice—the marketer’s . It told me to consider my publishing “brand.” What sort of book would readers expect from me? That new voice wrapped up my muse like a mummy.

I second-guessed everything I’d already written. I’ve struggled to write another word since. For a minute—just one—I regretted making the decision to publish. In the privacy of my mind, I’m free to write whatever I want. If some sentimental little story begs life, I write it. If a dark tale of revenge takes my fancy, I write it. If a quiet little tale of self-discovery pops into my brain, I write it.

Ah-ha, a common denominator—I am the writer.

Some fiction authors are branded as writers of mystery, thriller, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, or they write only for teens or children. They have restrictions I don’t have. I write general fiction. I have the freedom to explore, to take many paths.

So, shut-up, new voice! All I want my readers to expect is a well-crafted story, as good as or better than the last one. That’s my obligation to them. That’s my brand. I can write the story that comes to me. The question should be, how best can I tell the story, not do I have permission to write the story?

What do you hear from those “helpful” voices in your head?

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27 thoughts on “Silencing the voices”

  1. I agree. Let your words and thoughts be free from the confinds of genre and/or expectation. Stories tend to tell themselves without regard to our self-impossed rules of category and classification. The term science fiction didn’t really exist until H.G. Wells and Jules Vern, even though Mary Shelley’s, Last Man is most surely science fiction. I think the issue is mute with the advent of e-books and self publishing anyway.

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    1. Oh, you of many names, thank you for the encouragement to let the words and thoughts run free. 😉 But, although I wish it were true, even if you self-pub, you still have to categorize your books for the distributors.

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      1. LOL 😉 True, the distributors will want you to assign a genre, but those who have read Brevity will search for you by Linda the author and those who haven’t will search out a book based on genre and discover Linda the author. The beauty of self-publishing is that you can open or shut as many doors as you desire.

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  2. Branding and meeting readers’ expectations are worth thinking about–but AFTER that second novel is written. Doesn’t the work need to come first and then decide how to promote–a new genre or another in the series. I would encourage you to listen to YOUR voices that say write what you know what what you care about. I try to ignore the voices that keep me from putting pen to paper, or fingers to keypad. Good luck!

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    1. Welcome Patti and thanks for commenting. Yes, I try to ignore the editor and critic voices when not needed, this new voice just took me by surprise. I didn’t consider marketing at all when I wrote Brevity, but then I discovered agents expected me to categorize it for them. Writing and marketing are two different mindsets, one I’m good at, the other not at all.

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  3. Writers are artists, and you have to follow your muse. What if Picasso had been pigeon-holed in his blue period? What if he never experimented, never grew? We wouldn’t have some of his very best works.

    Some writers are drawn into a specific genre. Good for them. I suppose it makes things easier, but it also sounds a little boring to me. My mind is all over the place — I have a women’s fiction novel I finished (first draft), I started an edgy YA then switched gears and am writing a thriller. After that, I have a ghost story in mind and a literary epic.

    My brand isn’t a genre, it’s me. It’s giving my work my voice and my literary bent. It’s being surprising and hoping my audience loves being surprised.

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    1. I was just thinking what Shelli said above. She beat me to it. If you are able to turn out your second or third novel make your self the brand not the book. That may easier said than done. I know if I feel like reading sci-fi I do look for futuristic stuff but stuff written by so and so. I have tried to do that with my cartoons. It may be working. You have made a good marketing step in including your middle name to identify yourself. Linda Cassidy Lewis says I’m a writer more than just Linda Lewis. Kinda like James Fenimore Cooper if you can see what I mean in that name.

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