Monday, May 29, 2023

Read What You Write

I get a lot of submissions from authors who think what they are submitting is the genre they are claiming it to be. Unfortunately, what they think is not what they sent. The biggest problem is that authors are often only operating off of gut instincts about their genre. 

In some cases, authors are simply submitting a story and calling it a specific genre because someone who read it told them that was what it was. Of course, the person who told them may have had no idea about their own story - simply a case of the blind leading the blind. In other cases, the person who told them had limited information about the story. Let me explain this one. I recently attended a conference where an author really struggled with finding a genre for his story. In our conversation, he gave me a brief summary. I did my best to tell him what I thought, but I followed up with something that every author should do. I told him to go read a lot of the genre I thought his story was. See if there was a pattern. 

With other submissions, there are many authors who just go out to look for any editor or agent who is open to submissions. When they get to that website, they just find something that might seem "close to what they have written." Again, a big mistake.

To save yourself from these mistakes, it is important to read the genre you want to write, or believe you are writing. Read A LOT of it! Learn the nuances of that genre! This also includes subgenres. For example, if you think you are writing historical romance, then go to the bookstore and grab a whole stack of historical romances and read. In this case, I would recommend being even more specific. If you write Victorian Historical Romances, then read Victorian Historical Romances. 

I do know, when I bring this up, I have heard many authors say they don't want to do that because they might "steal ideas" from the other author. This is not going to happen. When you avoid reading what you write, you are not keeping track of trends and those specific characteristics of the genre. 

No comments:

Post a Comment