Beffudling Booksigning or What’s Wrong This Time?

I had a really nice time signing Lords of Ch’i and Mayan Nights at a local Borders yesterday. I sold a bunch, and folks were truly nice. My wonderful (formerly only electronic-) pal Melanie roped folks to my table, and family and friends bought books I could have given them. (Hey, my “state trooper” friend even sent her wonderful partner and baby to the busy mall to buy a book–note the dedication SM!) I don’t think I’m at the point where a signing is a great career booster (I think I remember Jaci Burton or someone talking about this), but it’s a real affirmation that you’ve actually published a book that folks are willing to hand over money for. I mean, you watch them walk to the cash register with it in hand. Amazing. Photos to come.

So, at the risk of really establishing myself as the most clueless writer in cyberspace, I found myself gaping at the books for sale, especially the romances… How can I do that? I wondered. Can I ever do that? In my post-flu haze, they all started to look alike–the trade size suggestive entwined torsos, the mass market dark-haired fellas, all looking basically the same. Dark this and dark that. Kenyons and Sheehans just falling into shopping bags. JR Ward–do love the latest. I’m not only in awe of these writers, but the soon to be huge ones I’ve rubbed cyber elbows with at places like Samhain. The ones who can stick to a style, run with it, get better…the Jaci Burtons and Angela Knights, for example.

I’m all over the map. Satire, contemporary, fantasy…seems like fifteen publishing houses in three years. I don’t have a niche. I don’t even have a genre. I like them all. I’m starting a steampunk, I suppose just to venture even further from some center. I always said “I don’t do vampires.” Now I’m writing one for my satiric sequel to Wizard of Time at EC.

So readers, is it true what they say about you? You want to know what you’re getting when you pick up a book by an author? You know that the book will be dark, or have a vampire, or be the same as the previous title? Your Skippy peanut butter always tastes the same, and you like it that way? I think I’m like that. When I pick up Nora’s books, for example, I know exactly what I’m going to get. And I like it that way.

Any other writers pantsters all the way? You not only don’t plot out your books, you don’t plot out what you’re going to write this year? Do the questions “What should I be writing?” and “Where should I send it?” sound familiar–like once every hour?


6 thoughts on “Beffudling Booksigning or What’s Wrong This Time?

  1. SM says:

    Aww….thank you, Ciar! 🙂
    As you know, I am not a “real” writer, but since I do read and dabble on the other side of the pen at times, I wanted to comment on your “all over the map” condition.
    On one hand, it is nice to know exactly what you are going to get with a particular writer, however, regardless of the genre, a particular writer will still have that certain style that we (the reader) are familiar with. (Wow, a run-on AND ended with a prep, – talent! In other words, variety is the spice of life, and I think it is great to expand different aspects of your writing personality. (As you read this, consider the source….you may want to take it with a grain of tequila….I mean salt…..)
    Thanks again!

  2. SM says:

    Argh! I just left a lengthy comment and lost it in cyberland! I’ll try again.

    Awww…..thanks, Ciar! You are so kind! I’m so happy for you with the publishing and signing, and just plain everything!

    Now, I realize that I am not a “real” writer, but I wanted to comment on the “lack of niche”. From a reader (and as one who dabbles on the other side of the fence…I mean pen…) standpoint, it is nice to have a good idea about what you are going to get from a particular author. However, with that said, I do think it is a good thing to venture into other (or various) areas. Life itself is so complex, why focus on just one avenue? Besides, the underlying “voice” of the author will shine through, regardless of the genre.
    (This is my humble opinion, oh Great One.)


  3. Becka says:

    I feel your pain, Ciar. I’m the same way. I wander the romance section with starry eyes, but when I think about submitting to New York, I kinda shudder. Why? Well, I don’t want to be put into a box of “branding”.

    On the one hand, I would love to have books in the stores that people OOO and AAHH over. However, I also enjoy the freedom writing for electronic publishers has given me.

    Like you, I write all over the board; from historicals to paranormals to fantasy and beyond. But it seems as if the Big Boy houses want your one name to be for one genre.

    Do you think dark and mysterious if I said Lisa Kleypas? No, you’d think historical rakes. Dark and mysterious is reserved for Sherrilyn. (as if I know the woman well enough to only use her first name. LOL) And therein lies the difference between New York branding and epublishing “branding”.

    Many epubbed authors under the sun are like you and me. They write whatever comes to them. They don’t have a different pen-name for every day of the week. It’s their name that sells it.

    In New York, the branding is what you write; the genre. However in epublishing, writers try to find their branding in catch-phrases. Why? Because there really isn’t a common genre!

    I’m afraid to submit to New York for this very reason. I don’t want to give up writing everything under the sun. I barely have enough time to do everything I’m doing for my own name, let alone a pen-name, dear God!

    I’ve had many fans who’ve said they’ll buy anything that has my name on it. That’s made me so very happy. I think with some authors, they’ve written in one genre so long, you know what to expect (like Nora). But with others, people like the diversity, and perhaps that *is* what they will expect.

    Your next big book will be nothing like the last one.

    But the cool thing about that is, you’re reaching a broader audience than you would if you just wrote historicals. You might have some die-hard historical fans, but someone who loves futuristics probably won’t read you. But they might if you have a futuristic in the mix. It’s food for thought, and personally, I don’t worry about it too much.

    My brand? It’s simple. Believe in your dreams. 🙂


  4. Jenn on the Island says:

    Though it can be nice to know what I’m getting from an author, I am also bored easily. I’ve stopped reading one of my old faves because all of her recent books seem the same.

    Being able to work in a variety of genres shows the depth and range of your talent. Thanks for doing it all under the same name, too. It makes you much easier to find!

  5. celine chatillon says:

    Yep, in the same boat and that’s probably why I won’t be seeing my name in lights on the Harlequin shelves anytime soon. I hate being put into a “box” and told to write the same thing each and every time. Certain things come through in everything I write (second chances at love, love conquers all, sex is fun) but I prefer the variety I write as a e-pubbed author. So, it’s a trade off, isn’t it?

  6. Kate S says:

    “Any other writers pantsters all the way? You not only don’t plot out your books, you don’t plot out what you’re going to write this year? Do the questions “What should I be writing?” and “Where should I send it?” sound familiar–like once every hour?”

    Oh, Ciar, so glad to know I’m not the only one! And major congratulations on your successful booksigning! 🙂

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