These days writers have no excuse to be ill-informed, unless that excuse is computer-illiteracy, and even that can be overcome. The internet is BURSTING with information on writing and publishing, and being a late-80’s baby, I have gobbled it up since I was old enough to spell "author". One particular resource I have always made great use of is Holly Lisle’s Forward Motion website, which is full of articles and workshops on specific issues related to novel writing. I love these articles. They have taught me so much over the years.
One article of Holly’s that I have only perused in the past is her "Designing Your Writing Career" article, because I had no interest in designing an imaginary career. Writing as a career path existed only in my absolute wildest dreams – that is, until I finished a novel. So this morning I decided to have a peek back at that article and began formulating my own plan.
I ran across a few surprises, one being that apparently I want to be a mystery author. It’s funny that a kid can grow up devouring Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Trixie Beldon, The Famous Five, Emily Rodda books and every other mystery she could find, including all those special mystery editions of the Baby Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High, and still have no clue that is where she’s meant to stake her claim.
It has only recently occurred to me how very much I enjoy mysteries. I always thought I would end up writing chick-lit YA or fantasy – I never, ever considered mysteries. Maybe I figured I wasn’t smart enough. Who knows. But I’m really starting to think that is where I’m meant to be.
On a slightly related note, I think there is a huge hole in the market for YA mysteries. Here’s hoping I can fill it.
Another surprising realisation was that I would like to eventually write adult mysteries. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’ll ever hop out of the YA pool completely – there is no genre that offers such freedom as YA, or who provides the best readership. But as I become an adult, I think I would like to write for adults occasionally.
So, according to the workshop you need to find an established author whose writing you respect, in the genre you would like to be in, to design your career around. This caused me a little bit of trouble as there aren’t as many YA – adult crossover authors writing mysteries as you would think, and there aren’t many mysteries in YA to begin with (at least as far as I have discovered). But with some creative thinking, I pooled the careers of three different authors to create my ideal career. Like to guess which ones?
None of them write exactly in my style but they all have enviable careers:
1. Emily Rodda/Jennifer Rowe – always, always a favourite author of mine in YA, I suddenly remembered she also has a fairly successful career as an adult mystery writer. Nice crossover!
2. Meg Cabot – who wouldn’t like to emulate this lovely lady’s career? She has many successful YA series (some of which could be put in the paranormal mystery category) and at least one adult mystery series.
3. Janet Evanovich – I would LOVE to one day write a character as distinctive as Stephanie Plum and this series is amazingly successful. I figure she’s a fantastic author to model.
I’m not going to post my specific goals. I’m feeling boastful just listing authors whose careers I’d like to emulate. But I suppose the theme of this post is that I’m really serious about this as a career. I know some things are beyond my control – for instance, I don’t even know if I can write something someone might want to buy – but by making goals I am saying this isn’t just a hobby for me. I’m prepared to study the market, I’m prepared to work hard, and my number one goal is to have a long-lasting career in the field I love most.
See it as a business plan. You’ll know if it works if you see my books on the shelf in 5 years 🙂