I think one of my biggest challenges as an author is finding my audience. My first book is out there and slowly picking up readers. (It’s currently free through Kindle Unlimited.) But I can tell it’s going to be a long process before I have a readership that is clamoring for more. One of the most common pieces of advice I’ve seen for independent authors is to keep writing, keep producing work, and let those pieces be the central pieces of your marketing program. A list of several titles will give you credibility—make you look more professional to readers. And hopefully those titles will build synergy together.
Unfortunately for me, my titles are all in different genres. My first book (Line of Descent) was Paranormal/Horror. I’m currently finalizing a Space Western book, but there are probably a lot of paranormal fans who won’t be interested in reading it. I plan to spin the Space Western, Idyll, into a trilogy, and I already have a rough draft for the sequel (‘The Wilds’) that is 70K words long. I also have a near-future sci-fi short story that’s about ready to publish. It’s about retired spies who live in the world’s strangest nudist colony. So that’s three upcoming releases (Idyll, The Wilds, and untitled-nekkid-people-story) that all basically fit in the science fiction category. So that’s good.
Now I’m jazzed up about writing a series of fantasy novellas! The idea came to me a while back, and I’m still thinking it through. It would be set in among warring city-states, surrounded by deserts and jungles. Think Conan the Barbarian, or the Daenerys chapters in Song of Ice and Fire. Each of these empires has its own pantheon, and each pantheon is like its own political body. Now what happens when one empire conquers another, and the two pantheons have to be assimilated together? That’s the spark for the series. But the main characters would not be deities—they would be regular folks who get caught up in the machinations of these divine Frank Underwoods.
So I’m all over the place. Paranormal/Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I don’t necessarily think that an A.D.D. oeuvre will be counter-productive to building an audience. Look at China DeMieville, or Daryl Gregory (two of my favorites!). But I don’t think I’ll be as productive as I could be if I could just stick to one genre.
But, hey, you gotta write what sparks you!
With that being said, at my current rate of production, that fantasy series wouldn’t see the light of day until 2016-2017. That’s my other big problem: It’s dawning on me that I’m a fairly slow writer, with limited amounts of free time to write. Oh well. If I force myself to think of writing as an assembly line, I’m sure that would suck some of the enjoyment out of my writing… for me and probably for my readers. So I’ll have to strive for that fine line.
Which brings me to another fleeting fancy of mine: Wattpad! I love the feel and the concept of Wattpad. (Lousy spell-check, I am not trying to type ‘Wattled!’) Burgeoning authors (and some very well-established ones) post their works-in-progress, chapter by chapter, for the audience to read for free. Because it’s free and ‘unfinished,’ readers tend to be more forgiving and encouraging, and I’ve heard it can be a good way to gain exposure, gain feedback, and possibly earn a few new fans or beta-readers. So I’m seriously considering posting Idyll there as I prepare to release it to Kindle.
Watch this space, I’ll keep you posted!