Thursday, June 13, 2013

It's a blue soapbox, for everyday stuff

Whew, has it really been two weeks? Guess if I’m going to disappear for a while, that last post was a good one to stop on. For some reason, I just don’t feel like speaking. Maybe my fingers are itching, or maybe I just wanted to write and ramble. Hard to do that when you're talking to someone, unless you've got them trapped over coffee.

I’ve been thinking about the ES book, muttering things like “why the hell didn’t I tidy it up earlier?” and no, “don’t go in and re-edit it. If you do, it’s a long, deep hole and you’ll never stop.” Mea culpa then, since there are two smushed together words and they've been driving me insane. I'll probably go in and fix it when I finally (I got it stuck together in some kind of order, yay!!!) release the Arc book. Those powerpoints are killer time-consuming.

Anyway, I recently read a Dear Author review that made me laugh so hard I saw spots. The earlier JR Ward books are some of my read-to-many-times-to-count favorites. God knows, I’m a diehard; I have Father Mine on my kindle. But I loved the way Jane broke down the logic behind Dark Lover. It’s so totally an off-the-wall diagram of emotional structure and all the stuff I talk about in the book. Jane can see “why” Dark Lover works, but she also knows she isn’t completely the target audience. What makes it even funnier is that even the bad points she brings up are true. Wrath’s erection was a *cough* “large” part of the book. But like Jane also points out later in the comments, it says something that people will say they got to book eight before giving up. In practical terms it means for five years, JR Ward held her target audience mesmerized.

She’s still holding them mesmerized, (you can't be the number four author on Amazon if your books aren't selling like hotcakes) but her target audience has changed because she’s trying for bestseller status—expanding her definitions and reader base.

Do you keep expanding your definitions and risk losing your core audience (they want to stay niche, they don’t necessarily want to become more mainstream) in exchange for a larger reader base? Or do you remain true to your roots and keep writing stories your devoted fans want to read? Difficult choice.

Jumping down off my soap box, lol.

(I actually wanted to talk about inciting incidents and the first plot point and totally forgot what I was trying to say. I suspect I need to let it percolate for a day while I have some chocolate.)


Jennifer Leeland said...

I am afraid that I will continue to write what I write. I've been warned many times that I will never be "big" if I don't write more formulaic whatever that means. LOL!
So, here I am. Still me. I prefer it.

Jodi Henley said...

lol, Jen. It's not more formulaic. It's more...I dunno. You know? Like Fifty Shades(sorry I brought it up). But, whew--you're so niche your niche is niche. A hot as hell niche, but very focused, very sharply defined. Expanding it outward into vanilla fantasies with gee-whiz elements wouldn't work for you.

I prefer you the way you are too. :)

Hailey Edwards said...

I think the best answer I can give is that I will continue to write what I want to write...but...I do take reader feedback into consideration. I do read reviews (I know, I know. I'm not supposed to)in order to tweak what isn't working or to capitalize on what is.

That's where I hope to find balance. I want to write in a way that makes me (and my readers) eager for the next book.

On the topic of Ward, I did love her early books madly. It's sad to think back on the writers and series I've left behind over the years, but that's the thing about writing. If you don't continue to grow, then your audience will notice eventually. No matter how cracktastic it once was.

Jodi Henley said...

You know, that's a question I ask people in many of my workshops--what do you want out of your writing? I mean, do you want money or fame, write a good story and make your readers happy?

Sometimes money isn't the primary motivator. It's all about stories and connections, and growing your worlds and people.

I've been wondering if writers only have a certain amount of niche in them and finally just default to their normal personalities. Although that makes me wonder if some people are randomly odd and default to just plain weird. :)

Hailey Edwards said...

Some people are just plain weird, so I can believe that some would default to their normal...which would still be weird. ;)

David Bridger said...

I've never been niche. Niche is cool and I'd never turn it down, but all I can do is keep telling stories I love and hope my readers love them too. :)

Jodi Henley said...

that's the best reason for writing, David. :) People can always tell when you don't throw everything into your work

deanna said...

Catching up here, I couldn't resist reading this to see what your title referred to. My "niche" seems to be blogging, on and on for years, on the days I feel like it. Which makes me happy (and I forget to read friends' blogs; must be getting old).

Jodi Henley said...

I suspect it's more like a personal journal. It's what attracted me to your blog in the beginning. Sort of like...the inside of your head, which must be a wonderful place. Full of beautiful pictures and lyric words. I wish I could write like you. St. Exupery would probably say your writing is a gift, in more ways than one. :)