Please welcome R.E. Schobernd back to Books N Beans as a guest blogger today. He's got a very interesting question for you all to muse and ponder over. I hope you'll take the time to read it and join in with your own thoughts.
WHO ARE YOU WRITING FOR?
All fiction writers strive to create stories that will appeal to someone, but who is an author's main audience? Is it an agent, a publisher, readers or their own self ego?
For me it's my own ego first and my reading audience second. Yes Second! I'm not looking for a character set in a canned format that I can write umpteen books about. To me that would be boring after awhile. Would I like the money to be had from writing twenty something books and selling millions of copies? Yes, I guess I honestly would. But I don't think it will happen because I break too many of the establishments rules.
The Dogtrot Murder is an example. The story opens with a first person account of the killer setting the plot by murdering the victim. Then the killer and all other sub characters are written in third person. The lead main character is Carter A. Johnson. A second lead character is Kate Menke. She is in prison, convicted of the opening murder. Both of the lead characters are written in first person to capture the emotions of two totally different situations. While Kate is being admitted to prison Carter is having a discussion with his new girlfriend. When Kate is attacked by a fellow inmate, Carter is having sex with said girlfriend. It creates two separate paths; one of utter despair along side one experiencing the good life.
Since I don't portend to be a recognized, popular author (I'm self published at Smashwords), I don't include agents and publishers in my audience at all.
I write for the pleasure I get from creating stories with interesting plots and characters and hope potential readers are pleased with my effort. If I earn enough money to pay for the next book cover art work I'm satisfied; if I don't earn that much I'll fork over the money to continue. I don't know of any other hobbies where I can have a great time, stimulate my mind and hopefully, break even. My main point here is that I'm going to try new ideas and writing styles that please me. I hope the reading public likes what I write, but their approval is not the force driving me.
The reason I bring this up is because if authors are writing to get approval from agents and publishers their writing is held to a different standard than mine. They have to meet strict rules enforced by these keepers of the gates to publication. They don't have the freedom I have. The ironic part is that publishers are like car manufacturers in that if a competitor comes up with a new design or mechanical offering they all follow like ducklings chasing a Mallard hen through the Peabody Hotel.
If Sci Fic is in, most look for that genre, when Paranormal is big they all get in line to promote that. And of course if a person has a recognizable name they are always welcomed by the publishing houses; even if they need a ghost writer to put words on paper for them.
Do you know Stephen King, J.K. Rowling and many other popular and successful authors initially got numerous rejections? They didn't fit the defined mold. Their stories and their writing styles weren't acceptable until someone looked closely and saw merit in their work and was willing to take a chance on something different.
So my question to aspiring writers is, who is your audience? Will you tailor your work to what publishers want, even though you yearn to take a different path and even take chances? Are you writing what is currently popular, or are you bucking the trend by writing in your own style what you would like to read?