Monday, June 29, 2015

Writing Out of My Preferred Genre

So, I finished writing the detective story last Friday morning. I re-read it (countless times) edited, revised, re-wrote, and finally put The End on it. Actually, I wrote the end on it Wednesday, but I didn't like and tore it all apart on Thursday. Put it all back together on Friday. Called it done.

Don't get me wrong, I still have another round of edits (and probably ten more), but it's readable and I believe the story's tight. I also have to take a look at the structure. Some places it drags and don't you just hate that. But I have to say, after writing this book, I want to immediately start writing another one.

You know why, I'm having so much fun building these characters I don't want to stop. And I came to a major realization the other day.

I have absolutely no expectations of this story. 

I feel the same as I do when I finished THE LADY'S MASQUERADE. I had no idea what to expect, but I finished what I started. I wrote a detective story of 34K words. And I think it's pretty good.

I don't have a clue who my target audience is. I'm also having trouble with my keywords and BISAC category. Is it a thriller? Suspense? Murder? Police Procedural? Detective? Mystery?

I've been giving a lot of thought to options about this story, Should I query it? Should I submit it in a contest? Should I self-publish? Should I promote? Under which name should I publish? Should I get a new pen name? How much time do I want to invest in a "big" project? Is it worth it to continue writing in this genre, with these characters? (As well as the new Regency series = 2 big projects.)

Or do I not publish at all, put it in my drawer and hide it away.

I've given that some very serious consideration. Would you like to know why?

Because everything I write has been judged. People have expectations. Readers become fans if you do it right. Those fans have expectations of my writing.

If I publish under another pen name, who's going to know it's me? You won't if I don't tell you.

I can hear Anne R. Allen screaming at me from across the states. I don't need another pen name. I already have two. However, Anne, you said it yourself, unless you're writing in disparate genres, you don't need a pen name. And well, I am writing in three disparate genres now.

I'm too stupid to know I don't know what I'm doing. 

But here's the thing...I've been writing and publishing (formatting, marketing, editing, proofreading, revising, and watching the industry change and evolve) over the last six or seven years. I know EXACTLY what I'm doing. Kind of.

Whatever ideas I may have about publishing these stories, I won't know if they'll work, unless I try. Right?

If I do decide to publish any of the detective stories, it won't be for a long while yet. I'm enjoying the high from knowing I started and finished something. (I also painted my office in between the time I began and finished the story -- pics coming soon. June 1 - June 25. I think total writing days equaled 17.)

The only thing I do know for certain, is that I like the story. And I want to write more of them.

Stay tuned!


And yes, I changed the blog back to a more beachy feel. And also the name of it. SEO is what it is.


I hope you all have a safe and non-explosive 4th of July.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2015


Maria Zannini said...

Unless it's erotica, I don't think you need another pen name.

People might expect certain things from your writing, but if the cover sends a clear message and the blurb reinforces it, I don't see why readers will fret if it's different. They can choose to read another genre--or not.

This way you might get some of your old readers to take you on while also fishing for new readers who do read that genre.

Either way, you're in better shape than if you had started from scratch with a new name.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

Writing outside my genre has made me a better writer...and it made me realize I really like to write other stories besides F/SF. But I realize I've fragmented 'my brand.' But that's okay. I kind of like to introduce myself to people as 'a multi-genre author'

Anne Gallagher said...

Maria -- I have gone round the issue of pen names several times for this detective stuff. I'm still on the fence about using another one. I'm also still way up in the air about publishing and marketing this. I made a lot of mistakes in the past and I don't want to with this. Once I have more books written, then I'll think about all that. Including the pen name.

Mac -- I've never actually written outside my genre that doesn't include romance. So this is new for me. I like it, but it's terrifying at the same time. I know what people think about my Regencies and my contemporary romance, but what will they think of this?

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I love the new look on the blog. I've recently redone all my books under one name to try and draw my romance fan base to my epic fantasy. I don't know if it will work or not.
Susan Says

Bish Denham said...

You don't need another pen name. Anne Gallagher is a great name. Think of Jane Yolen. She writes everything from picture books to middle grade to adult. She write anything from poetry to historical fiction to fantasy. Even Stephen King has written in other genres besides horror. So can you.

By the way, I've nominated you for the Creative Blogger Award. Hope you'll stop by and pick it up!

J.L. Campbell said...

Congrats of finishing that project. I'm all over the place in terms of genre and category, but what I've discovered is that readers who like my writing will pick up my books anyhow.

Continue to have fun with your projects. That's important while you figure stuff out.

Shelley Sly said...

While I definitely have a preferred genre (MG), I also write for fun in other genres. I might not publish those works, but it's nice to take a break and try something else. I think you could probably keep one of your existing names for this new project, but it's ultimately up to you. Good luck with everything!

Carol Kilgore said...

Welcome to Mystery World :)

I'm probably no help with pen names since I write under my real one. I really see nothing wrong with picking your favorite pen name and using it exclusively. Show all your books on the back divided by category.

However, if you absolutely must write under a different name, yet want people to know it's you, I suggest you use your new pen name (and make it sound mysterious) in conjunction with your bestselling pen name - something like this: Anne Gallagher writing as Mata Hari - A new mystery novel, KILLING DARLINGS. That's all pretty lame, but maybe gives you and the readers an idea.

Anne Gallagher said...

Susan -- In this new publishing era, who knows what will actually work or not. I guess all we can do is try it and see.

Bish -- I think I'm going to go with Robynne Rand on this new detective thing. It's already set up so we'll see what happens. I'm going to keep "Anne Gallagher" for my Regencies.

Joy -- Yes, fun is the key I believe. I'm having fun writing these so I'm going to keep on keeping on.

Shelley -- I've been writing so long in Regency I never gave a thought to other genres other than contemporary romance, but I do like this detective thing. I get to explore red herrings, and lead people on a wild goose chase. It's totally fun.

Carol -- Thanks for the tip. You are such a font of coolness. I'm going to fool around with my name and taglines and see what I come up with. Thanks for the suggestions.-