Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Why We Keep Coming Back To Gramma's Gravy

We all have people like this in our family. It is the one person who has truly mastered that one item at our Thanksgiving, Christmas or other traditional "feast". For me, it was my grandmother's dressing and her gravy at Thanksgiving. No one, and I mean no one was allowed to bring their version of this to the table, nor was anyone else allowed to try to change the recipe. We loved it for a reason. And I should note, I was the only one who got the recipe and private instruction on how to make it before she passed away so I now carry this torch.

Why do I bring this up here on a blog about writing? Because, in simple terms, each of you has a specialty in terms of your genre. You are good at specific things. If and when you become published, you will be known for these skills and your readers will come to expect that same caliber of writing from you. It is for this reason we always tell people to stick to what they write and quite jumping into genres they simply do not understand.

Let me explain it this way. As we all know, in recent years, YA has become a huge issue thanks to a few very successful authors out there. Now every one wants to jump into the game. The problem though, is that many of these authors have A) not been a "YA" for a long time; B) have not been around this population personally for a long time time, or ever; and C) haven't even read the genre enoug to understand it. And yet they try to write it.

Now, in some cases, people may be successful, but in more cases, they will see failure. The simple reason is that YA "is not their thing."

I know what some of you are saying. "But can't we write in multiple genres?" Yes, you can, but you have to fully understand the genre before you dive into it. Remember the whole food reference? If you are published and your readers expect something from you and your effort to dive into another genre doesn't provide that, you will lose those readers. They won't come back. You can hope, but the odds are, you lost those people.

I should add, this is the same reason that agents represent certain genres and not rep others. These are not our specialties.

Think about this with your next project. Is this really your specialty?