I’m a firm believer in writing what you love, not what you think will sell. For example, I write in two genres that have fallen out of favor with the big New York publishing houses…paranormal romance (PNR) and urban fantasy (UF). And not just any urban fantasy. Mine has the dreaded V-word…vampires.
But did I let this stop me? Heck to the no! (Heck was not first word choice, but I am trying to keep this post rated PG so WITS might invite me back some day.)
I queried and queried with both of my manuscripts and received the same rejection over and over.
“I love your writing, the story, the characters, your voice, but unfortunately with the current market I am unable to sell that genre to the editors.”
Discouraging? Yes. End of my career? No.
And if you are getting the same response to the novel you poured your soul into, it doesn’t have to be that way for you, either.
Your readers are still out there. People who love vampire books want their fang fix. Contemporary romance readers want their big city romances. Regency romance readers are always searching for the next Mr. Darcy.
Just because the Big 5 don’t want you, it doesn’t mean you have to give up writing in the genre you love. You have other options and other ways to find YOUR readers.
Option 1 – The Small Press
This was my first toe-dip into the publishing world. While NY may see your genre as dead on arrival, there are many small presses and independent publishers that are still willing to take a chance on you. I entered a contest called Authorpalooza, put my queries out there, and received four contract offers for my PNR. After doing a lot of homework, I went with the offer that seemed the best for me at the time.
What I got: a book cover that I loved; three rounds of edits (developmental, line, and copy); the opportunity to have someone else hold my newbie hand through the publishing process without having to fumble my way through on my own; and the support of an editor who not only loved my book, but believed in me as an author.
I published four books with them and was happy until I decided I wanted to move on to option two.
Option Two - Self-Publishing or Indie Publishing
While the world of the small press was a great place to start, I was still sharing my royalties and doing a fair amount of work when it came to marketing my books. I had done some research, and it turns out there are genres that excel in the self-publishing world.
According to Amazon these are the top categories that sell well in the indie world.
- Mystery, thriller suspense
- Science fiction and fantasy
Both of my genres happen to fall nicely on that list.
So instead of a toe dip, I dove head-first into the sea of self-publishing and have been swimming in the deep waters ever since.
Is there more work? Oh my lord, yes. Do I still have a ton to learn? So much my brain hurts. Is it worth it in the end? Totally.
And even though I was told vampires were out and no one wants to read them anymore, my vampire novels are my biggest sellers. I have gained rabid fans from that series who have then moved on to read my romances. When I sell and sign at book festivals, I barely spit the V-word out before they grab a copy and march to the cash register.
But let’s not just look at me, let’s look at some of the top selling indie published authors and see how well they are doing. You might even recognize a few on the list.
- EL James – Fifty Shades of Grey
- Amanda Hocking – Over 17 self-published books
- Beatrix Potter – The Tale of Peter Rabbit(Yep. You read that right.)
- Joseph Malix – Dragon’s Tale
Just to name a few.
But, You Ask, Do You Sell Books?
Yes. Yes! And an even louder YES!
The readers are out there. They still read what they love. They want new material. New characters to fall in love with. New heroes to root for. New journeys to travel.
I guess what I am trying to say is that even if you get a rejection letter telling you no one reads [insert your genre here], it’s not true. It just means that the Big 5 aren’t looking to buy or invest into those genres anymore.
But readers? The ones who really matter? They definitely are.
So let’s discuss…
- Would you be willing to write in a genre you weren’t passionate about just to be picked up by a Big 5?
- Are you a reader who loves a certain genre and will read any book in said genre, no matter how it is published?
- Are there any self-published authors you know of that have a huge following and fantastic platform?
About Jenn Windrow
Jenn Windrowis the award-winning author of the Alexis Black Novelsand the Redeeming Cupid series. Her books include vampires, Greek gods, and a bit of freak show fun for everyone. When she isn’t writing, she spends her days as a stay-at-home parent/chauffer/referee to two teenage girls, binge watching Netflix and reading with her cat in her lap.
You can find her at:
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