Indie Author Adventures #31 – Solving a Common Problem – Shiny Story Syndrome ??

How YOU doin? ?

Welcome back to episode 31 of my 2019 adventures in indie-authoring! I have something for you this week that I hope at least some of you will find helpful… solving a common problem for writers – by going back to basics. What am I talking about? Well… come on in and join me and find out! ??

This Past Week

Sometimes when we (humans – not just writers) get stuck in a problem, we get ourselves mightily stuck… and the biggest reason why is because we can’t see the proverbial forest for the trees, right? It’s super-hard to be able to look rationally and logically at a problem to find a solution when we’re stuck right smack-dab in the middle of it.

Common writer problem: SHINY-STORY-SYNDROME!

You know what I’m talking about.

You have a handful (or several handfuls!) of stories that you want to write. You bounce around from one to the next, never focusing on a single one long enough to make substantial progress or… gasp!! finish one of them…

… what’s worse is when you recognize you’re doing exactly that, and you try to “buckle down” and focus on one of them… but… which one? Which one makes the most sense to work on right now? How can I know?

Sound familiar?

I’ve been struggling a LOT with that… a whole, big, massive lot in fact. ??

Then, I sat myself down and I said, “self, get your ? together — go back to the basics, and get to work.” ?

So… here’s how I solve this common writer problem…and I hope it can help some of you, too:

  1. I asked myself a very important and fundamental question: Besides the obvious answer of “sharing my stories with the world”, what is my main goal with my fiction writing?
    Short answer: To earn a living with my writing.
  2. Look at the gist of the problem: in this case — I have 4 commercially viable and vetted book ideas. One is part of an ongoing series, the other three are first books in brand new series.
  3. Obvious solution: pick the one that will further my main goal as stated in #1. But how? (read on!)
    • With a “write to market” mentality, look at the genres of the books (in my case, each is from a different genre) – and research which genres are really poppin’ right now, and which may be cooling.
    • Research the keywords and categories for my specific book ideas for each. Determine the competition for the keywords, how popular the search terms are, and what it would take (in sales) for me to rank in each of those genres.
    • Based on the “easiest point of entry” – meaning, which genre is most likely to sell well, and that I stand the best chance to rank high (preferably top 20) in that category on Amazon – I decided which one to work on first.

But… that doesn’t sound basic at all… it sounds like a lot of work!! (I know some of you are thinking that!) ?

It can be a “lot” of work… but if you are a writer hoping to make a serious career as an indie-author, these are skills that you need to have, and need to keep sharp… AND, you should periodically be doing this research even on your current genre to keep fresh on what’s hot and trending in your market.

But… writing to market… that’s like selling out, isn’t it!?

Um, no… not if you want to give your readers a book they can’t put down and then go rave about to all their friends.

“Writing to market” is a phrases that has caught some bad connotations, and rather undeservedly, if you ask me.

Writing to market is simply understanding intimately the genre you are writing in, knowing what it is your fans in that genre are expecting and wanting, and then giving them your unique and incredible version of it. For example, every genre has it’s expected tropes that readers are familiar and comfortable with… which is why we use them – to give our readers what they want, an incredible story experience.

Don’t like the “write to market” term? Fine – call it writing to your raving fans (i.e., your market). ?

I could ramble on, but hopefully you get the gist — and even moreso, I hope my own “back to basics” method of sorting through this common problem can help you, as well! ?

This Past Week

  • Book formatting
  • Computer setup (woohoo!)
  • Website updates
  • Blog posts
  • Category tweaking & updates
  • Working through my shiny-story-syndrome
  • Prepping for my son’s school year to start up (yikes! where did the summer go!?)

Big Takeaway

Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to take it back to basics - remember the fundamentals - AND the fundamental goal you are working toward. Click To Tweet

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