Hearing Your Own Voice
Writing a book is hard. Selling them is even harder. And every single day, there are lots and LOTS of books published, whether traditionally or self-published. Readers have more choices now than ever before, and it’s fairly overwhelming, isn’t it?
So, as an author, what’s the best way to crack into that sweet spot? You know the one, not only writing books, but actually selling enough to make some dough. Well, I could write a tortured, handsome, alpha billionaire or a step-brother romance and I’d probably do fairly well for myself. And if I made him a shape-shifter? Watch out, Amazon Top 100, I’m comin’ for you.
We all laugh at some of the books out for sale now, you know which ones I’m talking about. Dinosaurs and toasters and were-bears, oh my! I’m of the thought process that writing for the market is dangerous. And I say that knowing that I may sound naively principled to some people. Stupidly optimistic.
But what if next year, those books we all kind of scoff at in disbelief, those space dinosaur toaster-loving erotica become the hottest thing in ebooks since Christian Grey used a riding crop? Would you write it?
I won’t. I’m going to write my book, in my voice. I’m going to write realistic love stories about everyday people that make the reader laugh and smile and maybe tear up a little bit. The best compliment that I receive, the one that makes me smile the biggest, is when people tell me that they can ‘hear’ me when they’re reading my book. The heroine in my debut romantic comedy isn’t me. I am definitely not Casey, even if I wish I could be as organized and energetic as she is. And I’m certainly not like Jake, the silent, slightly broody hero. But when people read my words, they should be able to hear ME. I’m an upbeat person, I say things like ‘fricken’ and ‘dude’ a lot. I like to make people smile when I talk to them. I’m just a touch sarcastic and if I like you, I’ll probably give you crap.
And the reason I’m giving you a rundown of my personality is because these are things that you should be able to pick up in my writing. A good writer will harness their voice in everyday life and channel it into their writing. I firmly believe that if I write the books that feel most natural to me, the ones that I love to write because they’re ME, that readers will respond better. Now, I may not sell as many as if I churned out something a little steamier and a little darker, but honestly, I’m okay with that.
It’s also very easy to get into the comparison game when you become an author. Man, I wish I could make someone cry with laughter like Kristan Higgins or give someone goosebumps with my prose like Tarryn Fisher. But I can’t. My friend Whitney Barbetti wrote a book called Ten Below Zero that is categorized as an ‘ugly cry’ book. It’s beautiful and touching and it’s just not the kind of book that I could ever write. And isn’t that awesome? I’m just me. I’m Karla Sorensen, and that is the best, most successful writer I can be. I still get to be ‘reader Karla’ and experience these books that I couldn’t pull off writing. Those three authors that I mentioned? They write THEIR books, their way. They found a niche and they found an audience who feels something reading their words.
It’s all any author can hope for.
So if you’re reading this and you aspire to be a writer, go for it! But stay true to YOU. I know I will be.
Check out Karla on her site at https://karlasorensenbooks.wordpress.com
And don't forget her latest title, By Your Side- available now!
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