Sunday 5 June 2011

Writers write for a different reason than publishers publish...

I read this on the Smashwords blog page today and it kind of rang a bell with me.

The problem is that now the boundaries between writers and publishers are blurring. With so many authors turning Indie, we now have to accept that if we want our work to sell, we need to have some of the business nuance of a publisher. We need to be able to produce great covers, with catchy blurbs. We need to be clever with pricing and promotion.

But what about the books themselves? Should we also be writing books we think will sell or simply writing to 'express' ourselves?

A good friend of mine recently told me she modeled her own (now successful) series on that of a number of other already successful author's series'. I have to be honest, when I was told that, I was surprised. It has never occurred to me to produce a book modeled on something I knew would sell. For me, I've just written the story because the idea popped in my head and wouldn't go away until I'd written it all down.

But let's be honest, while I'm sure there are plenty of writers out there who do it purely for the love of writing, this is a business and needs to be treated as such. Writing to a particular 'formula' which I know would sell, makes sense, doesn't it?

I'm struggling a little with a number of things as far as my writing goes at the moment. I have one book currently due out, but I'm getting so many different pieces of advice about the book, my head is spinning. The second problem I have is with an ending of a novel that is basically done--all except the final scene, which I can't bring myself to write. I know how the book is supposed to end, but I know that ending won't please the readers and it will hinder the sales of the third in the series.

So, what do I do? Go with my guts, or be savvy and write what sells?


  1. If I was in it for the money, I wouldn't bother and I'd get into graphic design and Drupal web development. (which I still want to do anyway lol) Go with your guts. Part of the 'model' of the books that sold, at one point - were original, hence the popularity. Yes it is a business, but Independent is a key word, and we're all essentially entrepreneurs. As for a happy ending - if you're writing a horror book - how many had happy endings? If the ending serves what you're trying to say - say it. :-)

  2. Don't force your ending, Marissa. Your fans, even if they won't completely be thrilled with the ending, will know they are not being placated. They're not reading your book because they want to read their story; they want to read your story. If anything, I believe you will garner even more fan support with that kind of approach.

    Take advice on everything except the story: that is yours.