Real Mistakes, Real Laughs:

Air bases were built on captured islands of Tinian, Saipan, and Guam but they were barley within the range of the long-range bombers.

(hope the bombadiers weren't on gluten-free diets)

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Monday, September 15, 2008

JUGGLING GENRES (reprint of blog by Lauren Baratz-Logsted)

Before the epiphany that revealed I am indeed a cross-genre author, I happened upon a blog dealing with just that. When my spirit was beaten down, wondering why I had so much difficulty figuring out in what genre I write, author Lauren Baratz-Logsted gave me hope. She posted this to her Mystic Lit blog last February, so you may have already seen it. If so, it's worth another look! Thank you, Lauren, for giving me the courage to come out.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Juggling Genres
by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

My first novel was published in July 2003. By the end of 2008, I will have seen 12 books published with my name on the spine: five contemporary comedies for adults, The Thin Pink Line, Crossing the Line, A Little Change of Face, How Nancy Drew Saved My Life, Baby Needs a New Pair of Choos; one literary Victorian suspense novel, Vertigo; one anthology I edited and contributed to, This Is Chick-Lit; one serious YA novel, Angel’s Choice; one more humorous YA novel, Secrets of My Suburban Life; one tween novel, Me, In Between; and two books for younger readers, the first two in a projected nine-book series called The Sisters Eight, co-written with my husband Greg Logsted and our daughter Jackie. Plus assorted short stories, essays, blogging and guestblogging.

I realize the above is an awful lot of me-me-me, but please try to bear with me-me-me, for there is method to my-my-my madness.

There’s a nugget of publishing wisdom, usually spoken by certain agents, that goes something like, “Never try to sell meat in your fish market.” This ties into all the noise you hear about “branding” these days that states that new authors should try to establish a brand for themselves, becoming known for doing one thing and doing it well, so that consumers will come to regard the author as a reliable source for a particular form of entertainment.

I think this is fine if an author is 100% certain she will always want to write one kind of book and that this will satisfy her. And it’s fine if the branding plan does work out that way and you become Danielle Steel or Stephen King. But what if it doesn’t turn out that way, you are first published as one kind of author, having chosen that route because you thought it would be easiest, but now want to try other things? You know, even John Grisham got tired of writing legal thrillers all the time.

Here, then, are my reasons for diversifying to the degree I do (please keep in mind, I’m not trying to write a prescription for the rest of the writing world, merely myself):

1) I’m a complex human being, as are you all. This means that there’s not just one side of me: yes, I’m funny, at least people tell me that; yes, I’m serious; yes, I’m interested in time periods I’ve never lived in; yes, I’m in touch with my inner teen and younger. But I’m no one of these things to the exclusion of all others.

2) I like to explore a variety of themes and it’s impossible for all the themes in the world to be addressed in one format. Some themes are only suitable to Victorian erotic suspense while if you try to address the same themes in a book for younger readers, well, you get yourself arrested.

3) Writing in a wide range of fields and always adding to the range keeps me fresh. I never feel like I’m writing the same book over and over again because I never am.

4) Writing in a wide range of fields and being published in them means I get to go on living my dream, which is to be a full-time working writer. You see, the sad truth is that most publishing contracts broken down book by book don’t amount to a fortune. Why do you think so many literary novelists work at universities? Yes, I’m sure that some of them love to teach, but not all. And the same is true of commercial novelists, working in other professions to support their writing habits. If you can write in more than one area, though, and if you can attract various publishers who are interested in those different areas, then you can actually make a living wage in this insane business.

So that’s me: insane, working like crazy, and loving every minute of it. As for not selling meat in my fish market, well, I like to think of myself more as a supermarket, hopefully an upscale one, where readers learn to come for the variety of experience. And my fans bear this out, many of them buying whatever I write, be it Victorian erotic suspense or books for younger people. To those faithful readers, Lauren Baratz-Logsted does represent a brand, only not quite in the way that the publishing gurus would have you think a brand should be regarded.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted has already name-dropped all 12 of her books above, so she doesn’t need to do that again here. If, however, you are interested in reading more about her life and work, you can visit her at www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com.

Posted by billie at 6:00 AM 25 comments
Labels: Lauren Baratz-Logsted


1 comment:

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Cynthia, I'm just seeing this for the first time - thanks for the shout-out! More importantly, I'm thrilled you found inspiration in it - keep going!


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