Do you conform?

In this week’s stack of junk mail, a window-and-door company’s brochure offered ‘an amazing deal, especially prepared for Current Homeowner.’ Was that supposed to make a customer feel particularly honoured? I felt more like I'd been caught in the splatter field of a marketing shotgun. That technique may be fine for selling doors and windows but I doubt it would work in trying to flog a book.

Word count: 327                                                          Reading time: 1-2 minutes

Diluting your product to make it more ‘commercial’ will just make people like it less according to Hugh MacLeod. Worse than that, it may make you like it less. What is the point of undertaking any artistic venture if there is no pride in how it evolves?

Not persuaded? Still want to know how to please everyone so you can churn out the next must-read book? Then surf over to this Huffington Post article by John Blumenthal. He offers invaluable tips on how to write a bestselling novel. Follow his formula and, please, let me know how it turns out.

If you’re still with me then I’m guessing that you’re a serious writer, working on producing the very best story you can. It has a good plot. Your writing skills are honed. The work has been edited, edited, and edited again. Beta readers have given their feedback and you’ve rewritten it once more. Through all its shaping and changing, the story has remained true to your original inspiration. It hasn’t been bent to please one person or another. You haven’t diluted it hoping to reach the lowest common denominator of reader to assure its success. You’re secure with what it is and who you are as a writer. Now you can hope for remarkable sales but there are no guarantees.

Are you tempted to load your writing shotgun and to try to hit a greater audience? If so what changes are you prepared to make? Conversely if you’re standing your ground, telling your story your way, what editorial arguments have you had to win?

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Picture from WikiMedia Commons: Men Marching by thegoldguys