Finding courage.

Courage – the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. Have the courage of one’s convictions, to act in accordance with one’s beliefs, especially in spite of criticism. (Dictionary.com)

I recently have had several very telling experiences in regards to my writing. I’ve had several different people tell me that the covers of my books look like they’re either women’s fiction or inspirational stories. Not what I was going for, but after a long hard look at both covers and titles, I guess I can see where people are getting that impression.

Now, here’s the courage part. Long, soul-searching and many discussions at home are making me wonder if this is what I need to do with my writing. Is it just that I’m writing in the wrong genre? Or do I simply need to branch out? Countless people have told me I need to add extra elements to my stories. Paranormal, suspense, hell even vampires. Which is kind of frustrating because that’s not really what I read on a regular basis. I don’t know if I could write it and do it justice. But in the last thirteen months, it’s become obvious that something is missing in my stories because they are just not selling. Yes, I know, you’re lucky if you become an “overnight success”. I wasn’t expecting that to happen. I was expecting more than what has happened.

Another part of the courage. I’ve been writing for 2o years. Half my life. Granted I only started taking it serious the last 5 years but I wonder if this is really where I’m supposed to. I would love to throw out the money to have books professionally edited and a fantastic, straight off a big press publisher cover. It’s not financially feasible because the writing hasn’t proven it can make back even close to the investment.

I just am not sure what path to follow. I’m confused, disappointed, and frankly a bit beaten down in spirit.  The only thing I can take away from this is that I’ve made a couple of non-readers into readers. But that doesn’t, and hasn’t, translated into sales.

I’ll let you know what I end up deciding.

This Friday, I’ll be over at Natasha‘s blog talking about my experience  at the Houston Authors Bash.

Melanie.

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6 thoughts on “Finding courage.

  1. Contemporary romance is a niche, perhaps not as big as the paranormal etc. but it is a niche. Your stories, at least the ones I’ve read, fit that. Don’t let others push you in a direction you don’t want to go because if you aren’t loving your tales, it will show in the writing.

    That being said, your covers don’t fit the the typical contemporary romance genre.

    I haven’t accomplished nearly what you have and am definitely struggling with these questions myself. I’m an email or phone call away if ever you want to hash it out. I’m behind you 100% 😀 Hang in there my friend.

    1. I know it is. I’m willing to branch out, just trying to find the courage to do that too. I would love to do historicals – romance, fiction, what have you, but I’m terrified of getting the research wrong. I’ve started research for one book and have barely scratched the surface of it.

      I’m looking at redoing the covers. It kills me because I look at Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts and Jodi Thomas and they don’t have people on their covers. I think it’s not the fact that they’re buildings, just the way they were done.

      Believe me, I can definitely tell you what’s worked and what hasn’t. Granted, your stories are going in a whole different direction, but some of the same principals apply. I know you’re there, believe me, it’s helped knowing I could email or call and get advice or just a shoulder to cry on! LOL

    1. Thanks Donna. You’re just starting on this self-pub venture, but I think you’ve got a fantastic support system already lined out and will have great exposure for the next book. You can tell me to buck up and stop throwing myself a pity party! LOL

  2. Lots of hugs your way, Mel. Why couldn’t your books fit under the umbrella of inspiration and fiction? In fact, if you’re not set up at a “Romance Convention”, I’d even describe your writing as “adult fiction with a love story”. For no other reason than everyone thinks of Romance as 50 Shades or those big old paperbacks with the women’s clothes half ripped off. You have a beautiful style and unique point of view that deserves to be shared. Don’t let it get you down.

    1. You’re probably right Beth. I don’t want them under the inspiration umbrella because my stories, I don’t think, fit readers expectations of inspiration. If it’s romance, it usually has to be a ‘clean’ romance, as in closed door love scenes and no cursing. Yeah, I don’t fall into those specs. It’s just one of those things where several things compounded at once and I collapsed under them. Am working on digging myself out of the rubble. I just need to come out there and play in the cow pasture, get a day of clean air and dirty hands 😉

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