My writing does not fit into any single category.
Sometimes, I mix mystery and suspense with creative nonfiction, romance with horror, and science fiction with humor.
American author Dean Koontz jumps genres. His Black Cat Mysteries/Mike Tucker, Moonlight Bay (Horror), Odd Thomas (Mystery and Thriller), Odd Thomas Graphic Prequels, and Frankenstein series are best sellers.
Also, he’s written dozens of stand alone novels, short story collections, and fiction for magazines.
But he’s a famous author published by the mega giant Random House. Also, Mr. Koontz has a huge body of work selling on Kindle and Amazon.com. His fan base and sales rival any other highly ranked author on the New York Times Bestseller list.
How can I ever compete with these world-renowned writers?
I don’t try to.
Following the crowd has never been my style.
Freedom to write what I’m passionate about motivates me to play with words and experiment with genres, plot, characters, and formats. As dozens of story lines form in my head, I am compelled to write them down.
Not everyone understands or enjoys my work. “How can you write such horrifying stories?” a woman in my former writer’s group said.
“Because I have to,” I told her.
I too have had my share of rejection letters.
Stephen King’s breakout novel Carrie was rejected numerous times. Playboy, Cavalier, and Penthouse rejected his short stories. Intermittently. He received small checks from magazines. King took odd jobs to make ends meet.
Similar to Mr. King, my short fiction has found a home to flourish and be enjoyed.
This publisher doesn’t mind taking chances and isn’t afraid to accept pieces that are risky, experimental, and imaginative.
Even after researching the markets and following submission guidelines to the letter, the publications’ layout, content, and needs for that issue may not be a good fit for your piece.
Despite online submission managers, editors are human and have to contend with the stresses and frustrations of layout and meeting deadlines.
Many students in my Author Publishing and Marketing classes ask, “Should I write for the market or for myself?”
Trends come and go. By the time your manuscript is completed and is ready for the querying and submission stage, the industry may already have experienced shifts from novels to quick reads (novellas). Kindle, Nook, tablets, smartphones, and new technology have revolutionized consumer reading and spending habits.
Why would customers spend $25 for hard copies when e-books can be downloaded for $2.99 or less?
In Karen Raugust’s article, “Social Media Properties Gain at Licensing Expo,” (Publishers Weekly June 11, 2015 e-newsletter), she reports that the licensing divisions of Chadwick, Random House, and additional companies are interested in developing new digital projects and that may include an extended line of graphic novels.
Power Play Plan of Action
A. Motivation and Inspiration.
Take a writing workshop or join a group. Whether meeting once a month or twice a week, writing a chapter or short story for critiquing will compel you to progress with your project.
B. Author/Writer Contract.
Personalize, sign, and post it in your workspace as a daily reminder to accomplish these goals. Write them in the present tense. Reward yourself with a movie, special dinner, concert, or night out to celebrate achievements and successes.
Author and Writer’s Contract Sample
A. Short Term Goals.
1. Every day at (are you an early riser or night owl?) I am filling out character sketches, developing plot, writing a scene, editing, proofreading, etc. my manuscript.
2. Every day I am studying the markets to find at least three publishers or magazines for my (non-fiction, novel, poetry, short fiction, children’s stories, books, memoir pieces, etc.).
3. For every rejection letter received, I am submitting the same manuscript to an appropriate market ASAP.
B. Long Term Goals
1. In 6 months I am finishing the final edit on my novel or poetry collection.
2. In 6-8 months I am completing the first (second or third) draft of my novel, children’s, or non-fiction book.
3. In 6 months I am completing my Fiction Submission Package or Nonfiction Book Proposal (Author Bio, Book Synopsis, Marketing Analysis, Publicity/Promotion Plan, and the first three chapters) according to the publisher’s guidelines.
You can write in multiple genres, write what you want, and get published.
Turn each rejection into an opportunity.
After a market rejected my memoir piece I promptly sent it to another publication.
I won an award for that same essay from WomensMemoirs.com.
Don’t be intimidated by mackerel.
Whatever combination of categories you like blend, the following marketing newsletters and websites offer dozens of publishers, e-zines, no-fee contests, and hard-copy magazines looking for new and experienced writers and authors.
LinkedIn and Facebook Writing and Publishing Groups
Connect with Marilyn: Website