The Ultimate Writer’s Conundrum
You might want to make a living writing, but there’s always the awkward write for love or write for money question we all must ask ourselves.
I wrote an article a few days back regarding genre fiction and how according to Author’s Earnings it’s by far the best way to make a living as a writer or author.
But, some of us might not find genre fiction appealing.
We may be literary, children’s, or nonfiction writers, so how do we solve such a current problem?
The answer here is yes and no.
Yes, you do need to write for people and with your reader in mind for them to buy your books and for you to make a profit off your books, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write for love of the craft, either.
Further, even for those of us who write genre fiction, many of us also write outside this scope of bestselling method.
First off, I’m a rookie and by no means a bestseller, so take that previous sentence lightly.
Second off, I’m sure a lot of us would get bored writing genre fiction all the time.
I’m planning on writing several nonfiction books regarding my journey into career change and even a non-fiction autobiography documenting my time working as a personal trainer, so I’m guilty of writing for love as well.
But, if we do want to succeed as writers we do need to be appealing to those readers’ tastes.
Best Selling Genres
For instance, romance is by far the bestselling genre these days but how many of us authors wish to write romance?
But, we also have fantasy, historical fiction, thriller, suspense, comedy, and anything else I’m leaving out.
I’m sure that even those of us who write nonfiction exclusively can find something here that interests us.
For instance if we’re history buffs of a certain time period, we can easily turn any story of such a period into historical fiction and oh, by the way, you’ll have a reader right here because I happen to love historical fiction.
See, you already made a sell.
But in any case, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer became popular using such a method, so you know exactly where I’m headed here.
What about this?
Take an event or situation from your life and insert it into a fiction novel. I incorporated a lot of myself and my own experiences into Northern Knights, so this is not only possible, but also smooth.
The 50-50 Rule
Joanna Penn is big on writing both for love and for money and states we should spend some of our time writing for both.
Though I love writing fantasy and I love both the Lord of Columbia and Neo Skyehawk Series (the ladder of which you can get for free on Prolific Works), I want to tell my nonfiction story as well in hopes to inspire others.
And writing such stories for me is downright seamless. It comes naturally to me and there’s no writer’s block, although writer’s block itself is usually caused by something else.
So, always stick to what you love and by all means, sell it on Amazon, Nook, Kobo, wherever e-books are sold but also write for audiences who are known to buy genres that sell well. This approach gives you a couple distinct advantages.
Advantages to the 50-50 Rule
Since you might be writing in two different genres it means you likely want to create two different brands as you’ll attract different audiences.
You’ll find this with Joanna Penn, who uses her real name for nonfiction and J.F. Penn for fiction.
I’ll be doing the same, going by Kent Knight for my nonfiction work while using my real name for fiction.
While many go in Penn’s route, real name for fiction, pen name for non, as my nonfiction will be talking about real people and as Jerry Jenkins says, change everything about nonfiction if you have other people involved in the plot unknowingly.
In fact, change the situation, change the location, and even change the gender if need be, so the Kent Knight name will be appropriate here.
As you can see, going by Todd Matthews and Kent Knight will mean two different brands as they’re in a way two different people.
Head over to The Creative Penn, where you’ll find both the Joanna Penn and J.F. Penn brands, and note the differences. One is more serious and takes on a darker tone while another is brighter and cheery.
The same would go for my two brands, as Todd Matthews will lean more into sorcery with the type of apparel worn in Northern Knights while Kent Knight will have a more official look to him, likely in business apparel.
So, creatives, get creative and start creating your two brands today.
Go For It
Now that you know that it’s okay to write both for love and money, take the next step and find a genre you can see yourself writing in, take maybe a plot or two from another work and fuse it in with the genre. This will be your money work.
And, take your other works that might lay outside genre fiction and continue to work on them. Sell them just as you would any other work, and create a brand that suits each different avenue in which you write.