I’m now writing the first of the special Self-Publishing lessons for HTTS. It’ll be Lesson 7 in the public course (Kindle-Nook-iTunes if possible-print). And Lesson 6B in the Legacy course, because I’m a complete wuss and I don’t want to have to totally rebuild the entire course across 12 variations every time I add one of these four new lessons.
This lesson is about how to keep yourself out of the genre box of only writing one character, one series, and one kind of story for your entire career (unless, hey, that’s what you want to do, in which case, have fun with that). How, instead, to write every book you’re passionate about, love madly, dream and breathe and hunger for, no matter what each of those books is about, where it fits in any marketer’s Big List Of Crappy, Confining Genres—and how to still bring most of your readers along with you.
You can’t bring them all. But even if you write one character, one series, and one kind of story, you aren’t going to keep every reader you get.
So if you’re hungry to write everything you can imagine, I’m writing the walkthrough now on how you can keep your core readers as you leap from genre to genre, story to story, and universe to universe.
And you don’t have to change your name every time you change your genre.
I’m excited about this lesson. I paid big-time to learn it, but the price was worth it. I hope to have it done and available in Legacy HTTS by the end of this week.
I was hoping you or perhaps others could shed some light on this: Research. As I work on my novels and their different “genres” There’s always research that needs to be done so that your story isn’t tossed aside as unbelievable. I know that when reading fiction, most people can suspend some belief for the sake of the story. However, I see on some reviews of books, that some people pick at the fact that something that happened in the novel was not true to life–or an element of it, anyway. In adult novels, “No” doesn’t really mean “No,” or a certain scene that wouldn’t be condoned in real life occurs–but as the reader, I can understand the nature of the novel and go with it. What’s your take on how far you push that believable/non-believable issue? I’m finding that being “correct” in my novels can sometimes bind me down and the story sounds too clinical or too mechanical. Thanks so much for you feedback.
This is something I deal at length and across a number of lessons using different techniques in How To Think Sideways. There’s no quick or easy answer, but the best rule of thumb I can give you is this:
Focus on what your characters want, need, and are fighting to attain, and only do the research that you require to place the best obstacles in their paths, and to allow them to win their way free of those obstacles honestly and without cheating the reader.
Holly, I have a question, especially since we have self-publishing at our disposal. There is a “sequel” written to an old classic novel, and it was not reviewed highly on Amazon–2 out of 5 stars. Out of 88 reviews, 48 did not care for the work, characters, or how it ended. Could another author create another sequel and put it out there? Is that in good taste, do you think? Could it work? Any thoughts would be welcome. Thanks so much for your input.
Here’s my take on creating sequels to other people’s work. Don’t.
And here’s why I think this: When you’re writing a follow-up book to a novel written by someone who’s dead, you’re not writing original work; you’re trying to gain some of the earlier writer’s fame for yourself through a shortcut, but you cannot be the other writer, so you’re going to get burned.
And here’s my example: Some doofus back in the nineties wrote a series of books that used Mark Twain’s characters and riverboat setting. I love Twain, have read everything by him I could get my hands on, and there being no new Twain, picked one of these Twain-knockoff mysteries up, and stood in the aisle reading the first couple pages.
And it had none of Twain’s humor, charm, wit, or brilliance. It was a turd on the page.
Now, the author of that book may be a very good writer. He might write wonderful original work that shines because of who HE is. But I’ll never know, because I read that turd on the page, got disgusted, looked at his name on the cover, and made it a name I’ll never buy, simply because what he did to the work of my favorite author was so execrable.
Most of the people who read sequels to books by dead authors have not only read those originals, but love them. KNOW them. They want something new by the original author, who’s dead, and there is no way you can deliver what they want to them, because you cannot become the person whose work they love. At best, you can not suck. But you can never shine.
Write your own books. Be brilliant in your own light, not a dim second-hand shadow in someone else’s.
Excellent! Thanks so much for the input. Yes, it seems that the author who wrote the sequel got a reception by her audience that was like what you felt about the author who did the Twain sequels. It makes sense. The audience wants the old author back and can never have them. That’s really what it is. Great point! It does seem, on the surface, that writing a sequel can be a fun challenge on one level, but it really does rarely ever work. I would not want to be a “failure” that way myself, either. So your points are great. Thanks so much for taking time to answer.
I love knowing that I’m not alone in thinking the entire ‘genre’ thing is a load. I’ve NEVER put myself in a box drawn by others, and I refuse to do it in my writing. This stance has often brought sidelong looks and murmurs of “naive” or “have to conform sometime”. HA.
Thanks, Holly 🙂
Very nice-looking cover.
The title doesn’t speak of itself, though – I don’t understand what the chapter stands for, until I read the whole post.
It piqued me on the curiosity factor, but this might be due to the fact that I know Holly and I expect quality from her.
I don’t know. Can’t be impartial, I think…
It looks awesome! I’m pretty excited 😀
And I love the blackboard/chalkboard look on the cover, it totally works (y)