If I had stocks (which I don't, I have kids instead, and the intrinsic payback is so much better than the financial advantage of stocks, at least until they put me in a home, and then they're going to wish I saved more and baked less! But until then, it's all good! And they gave me a boatload of grandchildren, so they're G-O-L-D-E-N...)
Anyway, back on topic, if I had stocks, I would diversify.
What's that, you ask?
Well, it's like spreading the love. It's like picking some risky stocks, some stodgy stocks, some blue chips, some potato chips...(that will soothe me when the floor falls out from beneath my stock investments) Logic states that if you diversify and the market tanks or bonds nosedive or disaster strikes, your risk is spread out over multiple instruments, and therefore more stable.
The same is true of writing.
I love to write romance. We've talked about this before, we've discussed how to make your work sound and look different, while staying true to yourself and your readers...
But all romance doesn't have to sound alike.
All books/stories are not created via the same prototype.
Some are done with more family saga (Julie Lessman is an absolute artist at this), some are done with a stronger thread of adventure (Mary Connealy is a queen of historic adventures) and some are done with more literary license (Lisa Wingate is the master of this style.)
But many of these can be classified as romance. Right now one of the things I'm writing and loving is Western Romance... and speaking of this, why not have an over-the-moon moment right now??? Because this sweet story, Nick's story, is coming in October to a bookstore near you.... and of course, it is available for pre-order!!!! (sighs...smiles.... and allows us all a minute to love on this cover from Waterbrook Press!)
Trying to classify romance has always confused me. It confuses me still because not all editors see the lines of demarcation that we see in contests.... So that's a conundrum!
Basically if you're writing a romance, you have a hero and heroine. They're your main protagonists, the meat of your sandwich. (Now I'm hungry)
But think of all those toppings! Lettuce, tomato, banana peppers, hot chilis, mayo, mustard, oil dressing, green peppers, onions, olives... The list is endless. And each topping changes the direction of the meat in either subtle or bold ways.
And each time you layer something else into the story, you could be changing the genre/category of your story. This isn't a bad thing at all, but it's a subjective thing. When you enter contests, picking the best category for your work is clutch.
When you submit to editors and agents, submitting a story they'd like to represent is important. If you submit a family saga to an agent who has put out a call for romance, you might have nipped your chances. If you send (raising hand, guilty as charged!) a long, rambling saga to a category editor, she is likely to stomp on it in her hurry to send it back!!!
And this is where diversity comes in. The wide breadth of romance allows a lot of latitude. If you're aiming for a particular market, first, target THAT MARKET. "Her Unexpected Family" is a beautiful story. It releases August 1, and I love it... but it is so much better for the work that I put in after Melissa Endlich offered suggestions on how to layer the story. She helped put a shine on the project that wouldn't have been there otherwise... and I can't wait for you to read it! But layering this story was very different from layering Nick's story above, and that's part of what we need to learn. It is also an important view of differentiation and diversity, to write cross-appeal books that the audience loves. We don't do this because we don't like one kind of book... we do it to build readership, every author's goal.
Read the market, study what's out there, do not assume you know everything, do your homework, and remember if money is an issue, the public library is free and longs for your patronage. I studied on the government's dime for years because there wasn't money to buy books except at the used book store, and then I was limited to whatever he happened to have on hand, and twenty-year-old books are not indicative of what editors are buying now. Today. This week. Next month... so read the current stuff for market trends, and read the old stuff for ideas, inspiration, etc.
Within that market, be yourself. Only a better version of yourself. The same goes for your characters.
Make them ache the way real people ache. Give them a real surrounding. Deepen with strong subcharacters, those secondaries who look, act and sound real. These are your condiments.
Think: FLAVOR. Those condiments flavor and might lengthen your book, which can then place it in another category or genre.... That's okay, but remember who and what you're targeting.
Don't be afraid to write lots of stuff. I had over a dozen books completed when I sold... and most of them have sold. The first few were awful, they would never sell, I was raw... but I used ideas from those in other books.
Keep writing. Gretzky didn't become an icon by playing video games. He practiced.
Pele didn't become a soccer sensation by joining pricey soccer clubs and pseudo-elite teams... he grew up in the slums and practiced with a sock ball... that's right, a ball made out of tied socks... and became one of the world's greats because he never stopped and did not quit.
Ben Franklin didn't discover electricity accidentally. He experimented, and read what other scientists were doing in Europe so that he could be on the cutting edge, a man who'd already done so much, he had NOTHING TO PROVE... And his wide ranging accomplishments included being a sage, a publisher, an author, he began the first public library system, he invented the Franklin Stove, a product that literally changed the world in northern latitudes, and the kitchen in every home... He began the first American college of liberal arts which is now the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia... The first fire department... The first public hospital and the first mutual funds insurance company... He was a philosopher and diplomat and a representative to Congress.
Now that's diversity. He changed himself, he changed others, he changed the world FOR others.
Diversification is a wonderful thing in writing. It may not pay off instantly. Few things do. But in time, it can be utilized, or tweaked to fit what you're doing.
I have several different types of books releasing this year. Women's Fiction with Romantic Elements from Franciscan Media, including this beautiful story that just released in March: More Than a Promise...
And a Love Inspired, and another cowboy book, and a beautiful story from Franciscan Media in September.... and a contemporary Christmas novella with St. Martin's Press and a historical Christmas novella with Gilead Publishing... And this is where that push to diversify is paying off.
Believe in yourself, put forth the effort, have fun, and let God guide your path. So back to the first line... It's true, I have no stocks! No bonds! And not much in the way of cash reserves, more's the pity! :) But I have stock in myself, I believe in God's gifts, and I'm having the best time ever, using them!
I brought cheesecake today, turtle cheesecake made at Leo's Bakery in East Rochester, NY... Oh my stars, it is so good!!!!
So what can you do to spread your talents? What have you been dying to write... but couldn't quite bring yourself to do it?
For one lucky commenter today I have an audible version of "Refuge of the Heart", the beautiful story of a church sponsored refugee who comes to America for a chance at what so many take for granted here... faith and freedom!
OR!!!! a just-received audible copy of "More Than a Promise", an absolutely delightful story of a contemporary marriage of convenience that becomes most inconvenient when they manage to fall delightfully in love.... Oops!
Come on inside and let's talk how to spread the love of romance with a little Ruthy-enabled diversification!
ruthloganherne.com or friend her on facebook/RuthLoganHerne, visit her and a host of other delightful loves-to-cook authors at the Yankee Belle Cafe and @RuthLoganHerne on Twitter... With over 3/4 million books sold, Ruthy loves to talk faith, freedom, fiction, fun and family in any venue!