So, I’ve been in this Twitter chat group with a Pitch Wars mentor. We’ve been talking about the business side of writing. Lo and behold, most debut writers, and even writers who’ve become established, don’t make much money. I kind of knew this, but not to the extent I found out during this chat.
Kameron Hurley, a science fiction writer of several series and a Hugo award winner, blogs often about her earnings. That it is not impressive is an understatement.
So, I’ve been reassessing how I approach writing and this current manuscript. I think I’m going to set it aside and wait for Pitch Wars. There are some viability issues with this manuscript I’m going to vet during Pitch Wars. If it doesn’t get in, I’ll query it, see how it does, and if there is not traction, likely trunk it. I can move on to the next project without much mental anguish. I want to work on a project that has better chances for agent/publisher viability if this one proves to be a dead end.
I need to start approaching this all with a different mindset. Each of my novels so far have been dark, with transgressive MCs, and with plots that I usually insist on making as twisted as I can. I have my reasons for this, or at least I have my suspicions of why I do this. But, I also understand that I need to temper all of this with a bit of consideration for the audience.
There is an audience out there for horror, dark stories, and psychological torment in their fiction. I’m just not sure I’m writing it the best way, or that the stories I’m delivering are capturing the right zeitgeist of the times. For example, my current story has MCs that are twins and lovers. To me, I have my thematic reasons for choosing this. By the end of the book, I make a damn good case for it. But making that case in a query letter and the first 50 pages will happen likely never.
I need to write my debut novel with all of this mind. We all know that old Cheers theme song: “Where everybody knows your na-ame.” Well, as a debut author it’s the antithesis of that. I need something a little more welcoming, or something so knock-your-socks-off groundbreaking I can go that route.
It’s going to have to be the former.