Are you writing from your passion? Or are you hoping that hitting trends and the latest marketing tactics will be enough? I did. I’m an infojunkie who likes to self-educate whenever possible. I was ready to crack the system and crank out the stories.
Then I fell flat on my face.
Over two years ago, I once turned down an opportunity to move ahead with a publishing company in a contemporary romance trilogy with fairy tale retellings. I had a great editor interested in my manuscript, I had a suitable platform in place to support the stories, and I had friends around me who were excited about the stories.
In short, I had all the pieces in place for The Great Plan: establish a platform and authorial reputation in one field, find the audience, and then do the speculative fiction (my lifelong love) on the side later on.
It took me six months of fretting, and numerous edits, to finally email the editor and say I couldn’t deliver the final manuscript to go before the publishing board.
And to get to that point, I had to admit why I was really rejecting an opportunity a lot of authors fight for. I had some great reasons: I wasn’t familiar with the audience (I almost never read anything contemporary). I’d edited the manuscript six times and worked it to death. I wasn’t ready to commit to a series.
But all of these rational, understandable reasons were only masking the underlying cause: I just didn’t want to write contemporary romance.
It wasn’t fun for me. Oh, I enjoyed coming up with the plots, because I find it a fun challenge to construct plots in all genres. And I enjoy the process of writing. But my heart and soul had zero interest in writing these particular stories and investing in them. And that was enough to leave.
At the same time, it shocked me to my core.
After all, I was a professional. I was trained to turn out content. I should be able to just write the stories, follow the plots, and get the money quick. I was already connecting with and reaching readers. Was I just being lazy? Holding on to a childish pipe dream instead of connecting with the Real World?
What was wrong with me?
Nothing. There was absolutely nothing wrong with me.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing to follow a different writing path because you simply don’t like the one so many others are using. And there is nothing wrong with turning down an opportunity because you do not enjoy it.
There is nothing wrong with following your passion. Repeat that to yourself. You don’t need to justify your creative passion to anyone else any more than you have to justify a favorite ice cream flavor.
You need to understand and follow your PUSH – Passion, Underlying Worldview, Self-Motivation, and Happiness.
Your passion, your intuition, and your personal preferences are all underlying indicators of where your key motivating factors are. Knowing what you value, what motivates you, and what your core passions and dreams are is the first, critical step to understanding your creative work and marketing it effectively according to your convictions.
Does this mean it will be easy? Naaaah. Everything in life takes effort and work to get out there.
BUT operating according to your PUSH makes it easier to have fun and find enjoyment in every part of the writing process, including marketing, because you’re ultimately working on your unique system instead of trying to get on board with someone else’s system that may or may not suit you.
After stepping back and listening to my own PUSH, I dove into the world of speculative fiction. Did I have to relearn some writing skills for these genres? Oh yes! Did it take a little more time than if I had just gone the “easy route” of contemporary romance? Yup! Did I have to overhaul my brand to fit this new angle? At least once.
Oh yes, and I had to do all of this overhaul while continuing to teach full-time and then launching a publishing company. Did I occasionally feel like an absolute idiot?
But did I enjoy it all a lot more? 100%.
And in the near future my first steampunk fantasy adventure, Lawless: The Ironfire Legacy, is getting published. A book that contains tropes that I know intimately, because I’m a fan of the genre I’m writing–so I know what works! A book that I wake up every morning excited to promote and talk about to the public, because it is so cool, and I have confidence in every page (even when those pages were marked to high heaven by an editor).
Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, short fiction or expansive epics, the PUSH behind your writing is critical for success. It gives you power and potency to sift through all the guru help out in the internet and use those principles that fit your natural talents and preferences.
You don’t have to choose between your writing passions and the writing market. What’s inside you is critical to connecting to your readership and tribe.
For additional insight, check out 5 Basics to Authentic Book Marketing
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