I spend a lot of time on the Amazon website. One of the things I do at least once a day is to cruise the Kindle Bestsellers List. Primarily I do this to see if any of my Twitter buddies have cracked the glass ceiling. More and more, I’m finding they do. I think it’s great.
Since I look at the list so often, trends are becoming more apparent to me. The trend that is the most interesting is the sheer number of romance novels on both the free and paid bestseller lists. Wow. I had no freakin’ idea these were so popular.
Thinking back to when I worked at the local library, the popularity of romance novels shouldn’t really be that much of a surprise. The library had racks with free to borrow romance novels and folks would take them out 30 at a time in some cases.
I have a confession to make. I’ve never read a romance novel. Never my cup of tea, really. I also have to confess a bit of snobbery on my part, judging them to be just so much drivel. Not really fair, given the fact that I’ve never cracked the spine on one.
So, as an author I should pay attention to the market, no? And if I pay attention it is hard to ignore the popularity of this genre. I can’t help but think that maybe I’m missing out on something as a writer if not a reader. What’s a writer to do?
When this gets condensed down, it really speaks to the most basic of questions: Why do I write? Is it because I enjoy a particular genre with all of my stories blossoming from the same? Or do I write because I want to make money as a successful author? It’s tough because I can’t say that the choice is all that clear. If I’m to be honest with myself then I have to admit that my writing motivations include some combination of both choices.
I do realize that just writing in a specific genre is no guarantee of success. I mean, if your heart isn’t in to what you’re writing, will the writing be the best you are capable of? Maybe, but I bet a lot of folks would say, “No!” I don’t really know the answer.
I do think that there is always the chance that diving into a foreign genre could be successful. If, after many fruitless attempts at writing in a genre I love with little success, could it be because I’m not writing where my true talent lay? Possibly, and who’s to say until an attempt is made.
Scary. It’s like starting from scratch and a little overwhelming. The first step should be to start reading a lot of romance novels. Hold my nose and dive in. At some point, hope for divine inspiration. Maybe a story will blossom.
What do you think? Is writing to a specific market the ultimate sell out for a writer?