Fiction, Marketing, Reader, Writing

Misfit Writer

Excuse this sort of stream of consciousness post. I’m all worked up from reading about other authors’ successful sales. Earlier this week I was invited to a movie and lunch. Magic Mike was the movie. Most of you have either seen it or decided not to, so I’m not going to review it. The movie was fun—because gyrating men do make me laugh. But the point of this post is not the movie or the lunch that followed, but my reaction, as an author, to being in the company of women who are in my target readership.

One of the women in that group is from my generation and the other two are of the next younger generation. None of oddthem are writers, but they are avid readers and movie goers. They didn’t discuss Magic Mike except for a few joking comments, but as we ate, I listened to them discuss several other movies and books they had all seen or read.

Listened is the operative word.

Most of the time, I could only listen because I had seen few of the movies and read even fewer of the books they named. As I listened, I felt as if I’d grown antennae and a few extra eyes. How could I be so alien to their entertainment world? Or more importantly to me as a writer, how can I write fiction that appeals to them when I’m such a misfit?

That was not the only time I’ve discovered I’m on the outside looking in. I’ve joined several reading groups on Goodreads, populated mostly by women, to find that I don’t read the same books they do. Writers are told to grow your reader base by joining such groups, not to sell, but to let them get to know you as a person. But I join and then remain silent because I have nothing to add to the conversations.

I could force myself to read the books they read, but then I’d have no time to read the books that truly appeal to me. And writers have to read, right? Yes, I know. We should write what we love to read. But when you’re a misfit like me, is that good advice?

Of course I’m not going to start writing political thrillers or something else completely foreign to me. Nor am I going to start writing “mommy porn” just because it’s selling through the roof. That’s the rub. This would all be moot if I quit thinking about how to sell more books.

If I could just not care about that, I could be happy in my little misfit world—and return to my study of Magic Mike’s character arc.

19 thoughts on “Misfit Writer”

  1. “Mommy porn” . . .? I don’t even know what that means, so I must be more of a misfit than you are, Linda. I often sit together with friends–wait, that’s not even true–I SOMETIMES sit together with friends and they talk about movies, actors or even books I know nothing about. I read a lot, but obviously not the same thing. So, I, too, am a listener. But authors are listeners, aren’t they? We listen and observe and stumble through life, trying to write the kind of book we love to read. Not sure, this is helpful at all. But if you want to take a break from worrying about writing and reading, I actually did see two really good movies, well three: Here they are “Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (with Judy Dench) and, a fantastic story: “The Intouchables” (a French movie). Try them if you haven’t already seen them.
    Christa

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    1. I was speaking of the bizarre popularity of the 50 Shades series, Christa. It’s being called “mommy porn” because women 20-40 are apparently the target market

      So, we don’t have to relate to the women we hope to reach with our books? No wait, maybe we need only to relate on a universal level?

      I have, at least, heard of two of those movies. I’ll add them to my list, though nowadays, I get off this computer to watch a movie about as often as I do to read. Maybe I’ll have a marathon watch and read after I finish this first draft. 🙂

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      1. My one treat is a date with my husband most Saturday evenings which consists of renting a movie and snuggling on the couch to watch it. We just watched Albert Nobbs this last weekend which was amazing. Glenn Close at her best!. We watched Buitifull with Xavier Bardum the weekend before. These are not mainstream movies but they are exceptional and inspire my writting. Other than that it is work all day and write all night. (and read on the commute to work and back) I hope you are able to treat yourself to a marathon when you are finished the first draft!

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