Wednesday, December 5, 2018

IWSG December: Recovering from Nano and Surprise Novellas

I participated in Nanowrimo for the first time in several years. The best part is I use Nano to help me accomplish whatever my goals are at the time. In the first couple of days, I finished THE HAND OF ATUA (currently up for pre-order for Feb 2nd release). Then I decided to write a Christmas short story with the sole purpose of publishing it on December 1st.

Crazy, right!?

Why? Because I had planned to publish three books this year and only did one. Perhaps that's a stupid reason for publishing a short story, but not making my goal really bugged me.

Well, I wrote, got feedback from beta readers, revised, and edited that story in about three weeks. CHRISTMAS MAGIC is doing well at the moment. It makes me feel good, and it sometimes makes me angry. I put years of thought and revisions into my science fiction stories and they never do as well as my romance. Is that because I'm horrible at writing science fiction or simply because romance has a larger audience?

The logical side of me says the latter is true. Romance has a huge market with lots of subgenres and a voracious reader pool. Seriously, romance readers devour books. Maybe they are just easier to market to or simply easier to please? They will forgive huge plot holes, typos, and contrived conflict that doesn't make sense. Science fiction readers are much pickier.

This is why most of my writing insecurities are tied to my science fiction stories. My sci-fi is character driven not science driven. There are aspects that fall short because no amount of reading on a topic will help me sound like I know what I'm talking about--hand to hand combat for instance. Sometimes I wonder if I should give up sci-fi ideas and stick to what makes me money.

However, I love my sci-fi ideas. They give me the opportunity to delve into things in a way I feel comfortable.  Plus, it challenges me to stretch and try and be better than I am. I guess that's what matters. If only the releasing it into the world and hearing crickets didn't hurt so much. Even though I don't get lots of reviews for romance either, at least I can see sales and pages being read.

How does your writing make you stretch and grow? What part of the stretching makes you the most insecure? 

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the November 7th posting of the IWSG are: J.H. Moncrieff, Tonja Drecker, Patsy Collins, and Chrys Fey!

December Question: What are 5 objects we'd find in your writing space?

There isn't a clear answer to this one because my writing space changes all the time. I don't have a dedicated space. However, if I'm writing somewhere in my home I will have:
1. my computer of course
2. a water bottle
3. my phone
4. my dog Rosie trying to sit on top of the computer or glued to my side
5. a view of the trees

That's it. If I've traveled somewhere I lose the dog.

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  1. I write the same type of science fiction and I think it's just a small audience. We either live with that or give up.

  2. I also prefer character-driven sci-fi. I became interested in reading and writing sci-fi in fifth grade because I love imagining future technologies, types of living spaces (e.g., undersea cities, space colonies, flying cities), social changes, etc. For me, it's more about future life than high-tech scientific stories.

  3. Science fiction seems to have a smaller audience than romance (by far). But we write what we enjoy.

  4. Hugs to you. One huge thing I've learned this year is: it's not your writing; it's the marketing. Romance readers are more forgiving, more willing to take a chance on new authors, and more voracious, but I've seen lots of great authors flounder simply because their books aren't finding readers.

    The marketing side is huge, and even though I worked in corporate marketing for over ten years, I still find marketing books difficult. I've signed up for Mark Dawson's course and really hope it helps. But of course, this entails doing the work, not just paying for the course.

    Hang in there. Slow sales hurt, but keep in mind it probably has nothing to do with your writing, and you can change the situation.

  5. Write what brings you joy. And there's nothing wrong with going back and forth between genres. Romance readers probably read other genres, so enticing them with excerpts from your other work and your other name might bring them in.

  6. Romance does seem to be easier to find readers for. It's just the reality of books right now.

  7. @Alex, so true. I'm not ready to give up, so that has to be my answer.
    @Carrie-Anne Right?! I love exploring the possibilities.
    @Tonja, yes, and I still have story ideas to explore. If nothing else, my kids will have a unique type of journal of my life. LOL.
    @J.H I hear you. I've been listening to Dave Chesson's podcasts and signed up for his free course but it's like a foreign language to me. It takes a long time to listen to one podcast because I keep stopping and trying to do what he's talking about as I go. This is because I learn by doing so much easier than just hearing. Maybe I'll figure it out eventually, but everything changes so quickly it's hard to keep up.
    @Liz, I'm trying. I really am. *sigh*
    @Patricia, so true!

  8. I prefer reading relationship stories within sci-fi, mysteries, or suspense. It adds a richness to the story. If you want a spot to advertise your new release, contact me. I love visitors. (That offer goes to any IWSG'ers.)

  9. I actually also write both romance and sci-fi/romance and I worry that my sci-fi won't sound believable either. I get it. But no sci-fi writer has written EVERYTHING from personal experience. It all's creativity fueled by research and guesses (and maybe instinct). And yes, romance does have a huge audience.

    Yay for Christmas Magic!

  10. I wonder if romance is more popular because there are usually happy endings? Those who read them know what they are going to get and are glad to get it, regardless of plot holes. If you are happy writing Science Fiction, that I say keep writing it. Keep stretching yourself. It's the only way forward.

  11. Science fiction definitely has a smaller audience than romance. I think it's a great idea to continue writing both and just adjust your expectations.

    I struggle with something similar: my creative nonfiction, usually about motherhood, easily finds its audience. But I feel like no one reads my short stories. It's incredibly disheartening, but I just try to keep in mind that people like reading essays more than short fiction. Hey, at least we're not poets—I think they have it worse than both of us! :D

  12. @Diane, thanks! I'll get with you right after Christmas for The Hand of Atua. It won't be released until February so I'll start marketing more heavily in January.

    @CG, thanks! I have to keep reminding myself of that.

    @Liza, that could very well be the reason. I try to have a happy ending with my scifi, but there is often a really hard road with lots of loss before we reach it. :)

    @Elizabeth, I'll definitely keep writing both. Most of the time I try and go with whatever is loudest in my mind, but sometimes I feel like I must focus and finish a project. Poets! Poor people. They put in just as much creative effort and hard work and are so under-appreciated.

  13. Lovely blog. Thanks for sharing with us.