Genre And Niche For The Freelance Creative Writer
A freelance creative writer has to think carefully about what genre they should write in and how it can be marketed to a niche. If you do creative writing rather than tutorial or non fiction writing, don’t dismiss the value of a niche to display your work in. Some people say there are no niches for creative writers. I believe you just have to be creative about this factor as well.
Remember that even though you may not want to be labelled and typecast, its harder still to be an individual that cannot be classified. The book that covers too many topics or stands alone on the shelf is the hardest book to find in a library or bookshop, there’s just too many places to look. Of course if someone knows it by title that makes it easier and you’ll get a few impulse buys because your book was just stumbled upon, but the bestsellers are those that are unambiguous about what they are.
Crime novels are in the crime section, romances in the romance section. Customers who like a genre head straight for that section and browse only there. This is one reason that authors have chosen to use pseudonyms, so that their pen name can be associated with a genre. If an author chooses to write a crime novel as well as a romance novel, a pseudonym takes all the guesswork out of classification. This is important because you want to be found and read. With so many new and junior booksellers putting books on shelves and ‘helping’ customers, ambiguity works against you. A well defined classification and cover gets your books where they should be, into a readers hands.
Believe it or not, the first two Harry Potter books were a hard sell when they came out. Wizard books were not so much in vogue. Horror, such as the Goosebump series, was the fashion and Goosebumps were much slimmer than Harry’s first book. Some kids did read science fiction and fantasy but Harry didn’t totally fit that genre either. Anyone who did read the Potter books would recommend them and JK Rowling had her wild success because she delivered the absolutely best story. Yet many a good story has failed because no one knew it existed. Reassuring a reader that they’re going to have a fun journey in your novel is important and clearly stating your theme helps with this…
People will try a new author but usually only if they have a strong feeling that its going to suit their expectations. People have a love/hate reaction to surprises. Once they know to expect a surprise they love it, but the surprise that comes out of the blue makes them feel uncomfortable. People who read horror expect scary surprises. Crime writers with a thriller or forensic edge have already conditioned their readers to expect gruesome surprises. A strong use of red on a cover in the romance section is an indication that there may be some explicit sex scenes in it while the blue covers indicate a sweeter more family based novel. People will accept what you write so long as their expectation that certain elements are present is met.
Genre helps to sell books. A general fiction or literary title competes in a bigger market than a romance with a bodice ripping cover. Of course the genre itself restricts a creative writer to the limiting expectations of its readers. A romance without a happy ending rarely belongs in the romance section because readers of these books want to believe that everything will turn out for the best in the end.
You should not write a genre book and compromise yourself as a writer if you have firm convictions about the integrity of your characters or the reality of a tale. A genre book only works if you follow the main elements of its formula. Creating a close to life tale amid such fantasies, and making it work, is difficult.
Marketing is a huge factor in the success of your book. Getting the right cover that will draw its targeted audience, having a good blurb on the back, getting the word out about it. Niching your novel into a genre gives a creative writer an edge that will draw new readers who are willing to try new authors. The same is especially true if you want to attract new readers on-line. Here you are under the extreme limitation of only being found by a keyword search, so niching yourself with other established authors is the best choice to market that you can make.
For example, if you write a horror novel that might appeal to Stephen King fans, you can target a Stephen King reader using this authors name in keyword optimized articles on your blog. Write some enthusiastic reviews that a fan may find interesting. Then near the reviews on your blog, advertise your own work and give away samples of it in exchange for an email address. You then have a chance to contact these avid readers who’d love to read a new book that thrills them as chillingly as a Stephen King novel. They start by searching for Stephen King and find you. Make it worth their while, this is your chance to make this person your reader. Follow up with them and tell them about your forthcoming works or lead them to a new blog post where you show them what you write about.
Don’t forget that as long as your blog is on-line it is constantly there working for you 24/7 to pull in new readers. Take the time to optimize posts for keyword searches and make sure that when people find you, you reward them with your best writing. Your traffic may start small but do these two things and it will grow. When you reach out then to blog communities and have something outstanding to show people when they follow a link to your site, your readers will continue to increase.
One day, who knows, a new writer will be targeting your name to get new readers.
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