The land of publishing is vast and in E-publishing not only is it such, but it moves fast. Faster than some might be able to keep up with. That leads to the question: How does one stand out from a sea of talented writers and make a name for themselves?
The first thing to do is, not to write with the intention of following a formula that worked for someone else. Write what comes from your heart, not what you think is going to make sales. Why do I say that you ask since just about every writer would like a little reward for the hard work we pour into our books? Because you never know. You honestly never know what will capture and hold a reader’s attention.
This morning, I was so happy to see something a fellow author posted this morning in one of our loops. It was a speech from Bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon of the Dark-Hunters novels. To sum it up, she wrote a historical “most marketable book” she could think of, in hopes of following a trend to get her lucky break. This plan failed. Later on, Sherrilyn had these utterly golden words to say:
“I decided right then and there that I would rather be a first-rate version of myself than a second-rate version of somebody else. If I was going to fail at this, I would do it on *my* terms and I’d do it writing the books *I* wanted to write. I have never since that day chased a marketing a trend and I never will.”
And that brings me back to my point, what the lovely Sherrilyn put into words. If you have that whacked out story in mind that you think will never get anywhere, yet you just can’t stop thinking about it, go for it. Whether it’s a taboo story that’s pushing it, or a story that’s been done time and again, write it and put your own unique spin on it. Just don’t do it because someone else did it and you wish to imitate and are chasing sales. That’s a sure fire way to lose your creativity and become lazy.
When I first began writing, I had little information about the genre I chose to write in. I only knew that I had a story to tell and I wanted others to read it regardless if it was going to be marketable or not. That isn’t to say, looking at the market trends is a bad thing. It isn’t as and can be a useful tool if you’re looking for a bit of direction. The important thing is to make your own formula. Write the stories YOU want to read, that you see no one else is putting out into the world.
As Sherrilyn said, it’s better to be a first rate version of yourself than a second rate version of someone else or their book. You want the readers to remember you and your unique story, not who or what other book it reminded them of. In my opinion, that’s the best way to find success and stand out from the throng.
Although, I must admit it can be a wonderful feeling to be compared positively to a writer you respect and admire. So, good luck writing and let your imagination run amok!