Léna's Lit.Life

Léna (me): Lit, as in literature, Lit, as in light, Lit, as in a little kooky: Life.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Story vs. Marketing

"Write the story that wants to be written," is one of my favorite mantras. It was bequeathed to me and countless of other budding young authors by my Gran, the one and only Madeleine L'Engle, who not only wrote stories that wanted to be written, but ones that wanted to be read.

I say it not only to myself, but I preach that sermon to writers from the ages of eight to eighty. I believe in it. I believe that writing is about excavation and discovery, it's not *just* about getting published.

And yet . . . it is about being published and having our work be recognized. We aren't writing out of a vacuum - we are writing both to understand and maybe to be understood. We want our stories to be heard, which can be an uphill battle.

Why? (Besides the cacophony of us on the interwebs, clamoring for attention.) You have to have a niche, a genre. You have to know who you're talking to, you have to know your MARKET.

Really?

Whatever happened to just writing a story? It's hard enough to listen, to really listen to our characters without worrying whether or not they are "marketable".

When I started writing Edges, I was answering a call from my main character. I didn't know from "audience" - all I knew was that Luke (who also happened to be a teenager) was dying for me to tell his story.

I nearly drove myself mad (and everyone else) with the writing and thought the madness I felt would be over once I found an agent. No? A publisher, surely. No? Ah, I will feel sane when I am published then.

Sorry, but no.

My adventures into the psychotic world of marketing had just begun, which I have shared with you all along the way dear readers, and you know that I have come through it stronger and with a sense of humor. (Most of the time!) If you are pre-published or debuting, you will too, I promise!

We authors complain about marketing, because none of us have the magic formula, and we are delusional for a while thinking that there is one. If only . . . We all feel ridiculous, thinking that we are doing too much and then worrying that we are not doing enough and we just have to STOP.
 
And remember that it has to be about writing the story that wants to be written, about being authentic. About finding YOUR voice, so that we can hear it. Because nobody can tell a story the way YOU can.

I can't be successful trying to be someone that I'm not, so I may as well be the best Léna Roy that I can be. Will you be the best YOU?
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12 comments:

  1. Many thanks for sharing your journey!

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  2. Hahahha, I have driven myself bonkers many a time over marketing worries, genre worries, you name it. Then, there's a point where I say f*ck it all! I must do what I do. I'll leave you with an Abraham Lincoln quote (though I'm no genius, but aspire to be great in my secret dreams). "Towering genius disdains a beaten path".

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    1. I'm so glad we're on the same page Catherine - and I LOVE that quote!

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  3. So much fun to read you!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading! (It's fun to be read!)

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  4. I could not agree more . . . authenticity is what matters most. Re: marketing: 'psychotic' pretty much sums it up. That -- and the hairs I want to pull out of my head, one by one, each time I ask myself: am I doing enough? am I doing too much?

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    1. Arrgh! We are in this together - it's the way through!

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  5. I worry that the publishing industry has become so targeted, so niche oriented in terms of marketing. We had a similar discussion at my writers' workshop and I wondered aloud how much time and effort E.B. White gave to the notion of what his niche was when writing Charlotte's Web. Yes, marketing is important (essential, these days), but you're right. Writing your story is more important. A great story will find it's own market. Or not. But the best story has the best chance.

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