Monday, November 14, 2011

My Vision for My Career

I already mentioned that when an agent is interested in your book, you talk on the phone and ask each other a bunch of questions; what editors they'll submit your book to, how involved they are in the editing process, etc.

When I was trying to make a list of questions to ask agents, a friend of mine suggested I ask the agent's vision for my career. She asked agents that question and was surprised by their different answers. I thought, "That's a good idea," and added it to the list.

It got me thinking. What's my vision for my career?

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and honestly, I'm feeling a little lost. I'm the kind of person who loves adventures, trying new things, and never doing the same thing twice. This is a very bad thing for an author. You're supposed to be predictable enough that your readers will pick up your new book without even looking at what it's about because they know you write what they like.

This is the part where most blog articles go on and on about following your heart and breaking rules, but if I'm so much of a rebel that no one reads my books, what was the point? There has to be a happy medium between doing what you love and doing what makes you successful. 

I have six book ideas. Four of them are historical fiction and two of them aren't. I want to just throw the book ideas at my agent's feet and say, "Help." 

There are people who pick up books on Ancient Rome with no questions asked because they love that time period. That's great for me, but I'm not going to write about Rome again. When I publish my next book, I'll lose that fan base. I have an idea for a paranormal romance, which is an easy sell and could attract tons of readers, but those readers won't carry over to my next historical novel.

You might say I should only worry about one book at a time, but this is bothering me because I'm trying to get an agent. I want someone to represent me, not just Sacred Fire. An agent's likely to ask who I want my readers to be, and I need an answer.

Here's the BIG QUESTION, the one I need to figure out as soon as possible: Am I willing to give up a story idea that will hurt my career? Or am I willing to give up an agent who can't support the career I want?

What career do I even want, anyway?

There's only one thing I do know already; I don't want multiple pen names. I'm going to be flexible about a lot of things, but I put my foot down on that right now. Everything I write is mine, and it's going to have my picture and my name on it.

5 comments:

  1. You most definitely should be the writer that you are - and I know from the experience of many years that your only genre that you are good at is not historical fiction, and that you come up with AMAZING stories. When there's an author I like, from a consumer's point of view, I keep on reading them not because I know there's a certain era or place they'll be writing about, but because I know that I enjoy how they calculate and unravel their plot and the way in which they write. Whether historical fiction or not, I know that you stay constant in the way that you write, which is why most of your readers will enjoy your work.

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  2. Thanks, that's good to know! I wonder how many other people will read whatever an author writes, regardless of genre?

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  3. I concur with Adventures of Ardis. Often times it is the writing style that is a strong preference. I've heard of more readers who lose interest because their favorite author became too formulaic, too easy to predict. So bear that in mind as you consider your path.

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  4. Ooo, that is an excellent point. I know exactly what you mean.

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  5. I think that if you write what moves you, that work will be your best...and your best work is the one that's the best for your career.

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