…[T]here’s still one powerful rule that remains, and it can mean the difference between making a comfortable living as an author or just barely getting by despite the great reviews. Think of it as our industry’s Golden Rule and big fat secret.
Trying to get published, even getting published in more than one genre will greatly reduce your effectiveness at marketing and shrink your overall sales.
But I didn’t want to listen to that advice and set out on my self-willed quest to prove them all wrong.
In a world that takes the “diversify or die” rule to extremes, this might seem counterintuitive, but it’s rational. Businesses that specialize in one good product or service do better than ones that want to change everything for everyone—even conglomerates have divisions that specialize for certain market segments, and they spend years and reams of resources developing their product. So it is (or should be) with the sole proprietorship of the writer.
Most writers don’t want to hear this, or they just can’t. Trends change every 5-7 years (I’m not basing that on anything, just a random range that feels correctish), and aspiring career writers think they need to chase the market to cash in. It doesn’t help that there’s a growing subgenre-fication that has its time in the sun every market cycle: YAH! (young adult), vampire, sparkly vampire, urban fantasy, precocious wizard punks, telekinetic girls with shaved heads and dudes with nice abs supernatural thriller, et al..
Here’s the thing with those super-specific book types: the people that write those have been doing it for years, before it became popular; the skill didn’t consume them overnight, it festers in their lobes like cider. You’ve been writing fanfic for a month and suck terribly in your own pet genre, so don’t think you can rearrange your skillset in a few months and hit paydirt. Not even the experts can do that.
Photo by jacobwhittaker.