by Tamela Hancock Murray
Often I talk with new authors writing in lots of genres. This is fine if it’s part of your personal writing journey and learning process. I want my authors to enjoy what they’re writing. But when you get serious about publication, know when to choose and what to choose.
One mistake is to write strictly to market when you don’t like the genre. I love to tell the story of a friend who said she knew someone who decided that vampires were popular. This idea is timeless, isn’t it, since vampires seem to occupy some place in literature in any recent era. Supposedly he went home to work on a book about vampires. simply because he thought vampires could make him money. I haven’t seen his name on any book, and he started writing about vampires two decades ago. I speculate that he never saw success because he was writing about a topic he saw only as dollar signs. I believe readers will feel this from you whether you know it or not. So choose a topic or genre you have a genuine interest in and love for.
Here are a few questions to think about when choosing your genre. This quiz works for fiction and nonfiction. I will use vampires as the fill-in-the-blank, but you can substitute romance/thriller/prayer/marriage or whatever you like. If you’re struggling between topics and genres, take the quiz as many times as you need, substituting a different topic or genre each time.
1.) Have I read a number of books, both past and present, about vampires?
2.) Did I enjoy the books I read about vampires?
3.) Do I follow authors writing about vampires on social media?
4.) Do I enjoy interacting with authors of vampire novels?
5.) For the most part, do I share the world view of other authors of vampire novels?
6.) When a new book on vampires is released, do I immediately want to get a copy?
7.) Do I have the time, discipline, and will to write about vampires for several years?
8.) Am I willing to research vampire lore to make my book authentic and authoritative?
9.) Do I feel a genuine kinship with readers of vampire novels?
10.) Do I respect readers of vampire novels?
11.) Do I feel comfortable around readers of vampire novels?
12.) Do I want to interact with readers of vampire novels on social media?
I hope this list of questions has helped you think about what you really want to write. After all, don’t you want to look forward to every writing day?
Tamela Hancock Murray is a literary agent with The Steve Laube Agency bringing to her wonderful clients her past experience as an award-winning (RWA Inspirational Reader’s Choice), bestselling author of Christian romance novels and Bible trivia books. Learn more about Tamela on Facebook and Twitter @Tamela_Murray.