Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Do You Have a Niche? And Change is Coming

In light of two years of blogging and two-hundred followers, I'm announcing change around here. It's coming.

 ***Thank you fellow bloggers for being so wonderful & fabulous over the past two years. Without you, this blog would be quiet. Just me, talking to myself. XOXOXO to all of you. If I haven't stopped by lately and said hello, forgive me.

My oldest daughter riding, who could teach me a thing or two about focus.
Lately, I've been all over the place. Genre hopping, beginning stories and not following them through to the end, and literally consuming how-to writing books / articles. Sure, I've accomplished a few things, but I'm spiraling out of control. It's time to pull back on the reins and slow this pony into a nice, steady trot. 

I've given a lot of thought about my writing niche. I like the word niche, but for me, niche also means platform, genre, my writing thing, my specialty, my nook & cranny, and my spot in the literary world. I'm not talking about sticking my nose in a genre corner, but a little focus would be nice. Someone told me recently that I'm darting from one thing to the other because I'm creative and that's what we do. We create. Anything. Everything. 

Example: If I see an interesting person having coffee next to me, I need want to write a story about him / her. That's fine and dandy, as long as I don't let it interfere with the bigger plan. On a daily basis, I probably have 2-4 news story ideas fall out of the sky and land in my head! Folks, let me tell you, as writers, we can't do it ALL. It's just not possible. And if you can, please show me the way. 

When I mentioned change above, don't be sad. I'm not leaving. Merely evolving in a positive manner. More on what sort of change in a later post. But remember,

Change is good. Change is growth. 

"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."
~George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Irish writer.
 
I've done a ton of reading on the subject about finding your niche / platform / genre. I'd like to share some of the information with you. 
 
Ronnie Dauber-What's My Niche
How to Turn a Hobby into a Niche I really resonated with this one!
Author Sarah Ketley says, Let Your Genre Choose You
Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner suggests we Pick a Genre!
Writer Know Thy Genre & Why You Should Only Pick One

Do you subscribe to the Writer Unboxed blog? Well, you should! Always great information. One from last year stands out about platforms. A guest post from Christina Katz, who wrote The Writer's Workout is fabulous. You can read it  HERE. Ms. Katz says every writer, non-fiction and fiction should build a platform. 

Also here's an older post from Writer's Toolbox from Therese Walsh about building platforms. Platforms and Opportunities

And last, but certainly not least, my WANA Mama, Kristen Lamb  is a true warrior writer. You will find many helpful blogging / writing tips on her website. THIS POST she wrote about authors having more than one blog. I found it helpful, and I've read it several times in the past month. It's one of the reasons I've come to the conclusion that I need to settle on my niche. My brand. My platform. And stick to it. 

Some say write what you know. Others say write the book you'd love to read. Why not write a novel, novella, short story, article, poem, or non-fiction book of what you know and love? Talk about passionate writing. 

Think about your favorite author. Do they have a particular niche / genre / platform? Running through my list of favs, mine do. What do you think about platforms?


 


18 comments:

  1. It's hard for the authors and creative people to be boxed into a label, but it makes it easier for the readers so they have a sense of what to expect next. Having a niche will make it easier to sell yourself in the early stages, and it doesn't mean you have to stay in that niche forever. I'll have to check out some of those posts you mentioned. Change is a good thing.

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    1. I do agree with you, Mike. But for the audience I'm targeting, I believe it will be necessary for readers to find me. And you're right again, nobody says I have to keep the brand forever.

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  2. Change a good thing--and you have me intrigued as to what this change is! Looking forward to what you're cookin' up!

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    1. My big announcement is still a couple of weeks away. I think! I want to try and work out as many details as I can before I reveal anything.

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  3. Still have no idea on the platform thing, but I'm happy in my niche as a writer and a blogger.
    And congratulations on two hundred followers!

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    1. Ah, but you do have a brand. And thanks! Although, I think I may lose some when I make this upcoming leap. But that's a chance I have to take.

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  4. Sounds like you're taking a good look at where you fit into the writing scheme of things. That is a very good thing. I've been having to consider this since I'm actually pushing a book out soon. And considering what you mentioned here, I'd have to say it fits into my niche. I write with dark things in mind. Not exactly scary. But even if I'm going to have a happy ending, I don't tend to get there without something or someone limping or something drastically changed, for better or worst. Even with the MG story I have in mind, I don't foresee happy skips through Lala. There'll be some sadness. Maybe that is my niche? So I look forward to learning more as you work on your niche :-)

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    1. I would say your niche is evident, Angela!

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  5. I so sympathize with you. I feel like you have described me--running from one project to the next. There is too much to do! I did decide to focus on picture books some time ago...uh...mostly.
    Best of luck finding your niche!

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    1. Heather your blog seems very focused to me. I think as writers, we'll always have other projects, but some focus and trying to target a particular audience is a good thing.

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  6. Change is good, but we always leave something behind. Its the way of the world, can be scary too, not that this is reason not to change. Good luck with the blog.

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  7. Candilynn, most of us will empathise with you - as writers,our creative brain is such a sponge. Keep that notebook handy, so you can jot down your ideas when rubbernecking at the coffee shop, at the mall etc. Amazing how these ideas find their right place/time. I don't think anything is wasted. I'm constantly amazed how something turns up in my stories that I'd forgotten I knew,lol! Finding our niche is important, but the journey to the knowing is fascinating also. Plenty of writers are multi genre.
    Loving the links, thanks...

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    1. Thank you, Denise. Wanting to do it all is in my blood. I think a big part of what I'm trying to do is brand myself. I agree with Mike, who said earlier that it makes things easier in the beginning. Then, I can always extend myself later. But this all over the place issue has actually made my writing life difficult. I hope you are enjoying the links. :)

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  8. I feel as though I do everything wrong, too late, too little, and all wrong, but for some reason I keep muddling through. Change is good, as long as your prepared and ready for it. Looks like I need to make some too! Good post, got me thinking...

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  9. I think writing platforms are more for non-fiction writers. But fiction writers do benefit from a sort of branding. That is to say that it's good to be known for one sort of genre, at least at first--or if writing for kids, maybe two (middle grade and YA fantasy, for example). If I decided to write a novel for adults, I'd probably use a penname so as not to confuse those who know me as a writer of MG & YA.
    Catherine Stine’s Idea City

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  10. Great post, Candilyn. :)

    I have this problem, but on a smaller (bigger?) scale. I actually chuckled at myself the other day when I realized my WIPs spanned the time travel gamut. My first two (sequels) are comtemporary with historical elements (my hero has slowed aging). The next is a HR set in the mid 1800s that stands in complete contrast to the one I'm plotting now, which is a futuristic dystopian (Is that redundant? LOL).

    I don't see my jumping genres as a symptom of distraction, but rather me looking for a new challenge.

    Other issues affect my fickleness, too. Although I love historicals, the benefits of writing characters in the modern world is a draw, because it makes the writing easier. In my HR, I'm limited by the language, technology and propriety of that time. Even things like figures of speech have to be scrutinized. I had to nix my heroine's assessment of her beau's 'denim blue eyes' because she wouldn't have been familiar with the fabric.

    Thanks for the links. I'll have to check them out. :)

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  11. I guess it's important to find your niche, and I know it's important to concentrate on the pasture you have rather than the pretty, greener one over there on the hill. It may be just the process of growing into things. I think you'll do great whatever you decide to do! :-)

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