Who Are You Writing For Anyway?

I originally wrote about the “Writing Industry” which subsequently lead to the “Agent” topic. I thought I would turn it into a trilogy by finishing with a brief discussion on “who” authors, specifically independent authors, are targeting with their writings. The geek side of me wants to publish all three together and call it “Lord of the Writings”, but I will not because that would just beg a slue of “slings and arrows”. That is probably one of the very few Shakespeare references I will ever use.

A while back I was reading a discussion thread on Amazon.Com championed by several independent authors regarding their respective works and manuscripts. In the middle of this thread some angry interloper, whom I will call “Fred”, jumped in and ranted that he was tired of these authors promoting their own books and if they, the independent authors, could not get published by a Publishing House then they should, basically, stop writing. Fred was very angry and adamant about this. I suspected Fred was slightly jealous because he had never written anything other than his phone number on a bathroom wall, but that was mere supposition on my part.

Fred, despite his angst, brought up a good point. Should writers forgo the independent route and focus an all or nothing target on the leviathan Publishing Houses? If you want to reach millions and millions of readers with the ultimate goal of becoming exceptionally rich, then the large Publishing Houses are the way to proceed. However, if you are in it solely for the money then it will show in your slovenly work, work which will be based on what is popular and not on your passion. You will, though, make Fred and his shallow minions very happy.

To the rest I presume you write because it is your passion. Yes, it would be nice if your work could afford you a living, could provide for you and your family, but you write because you have a story to tell. If financial accolades come your way then that is just another benefit of being a writer. Trust me, I would like nothing more than to be offered a gazillion-dollars for my series, but that probably will not happen. So, I need a reason to write, a purpose to write, and more importantly, and audience for whom to write.

I believe that all authors, independent or otherwise, write foremost for themselves. They are their first audience. It is an outlet, a therapy, that requires nothing more than imagination. I have appreciated that ever since I was kid and started my writing “career” on a Big Chief tablet. Yes, I realize that confession dates me, but it is the truth. From there the audience expands to family and friends, those who are vested in your success, but still close enough to critique your work and better it. Where the audience burgeons after that is up to you. With the advent of self-publication every writer can take their work to levels formerly not possible without the sponsorship of the aforementioned Publishing Houses. They can ePublish or traditional publish. They can purchase packages to market their works locally, nationwide, or worldwide or they can piecemeal it on their own. However, none of this will matter, much less work, if you do not know for whom you write. Know your audience and they will know you.

I was at a Comic-Con a few months after my book’s release when this large mountain of a man stopped at my booth. He looked like a biker; six foot four-plus, two-hundred fifty pounds plus, with the presence about him that he could take out the whole convention single-handed. He leveled his gaze at me and then tapped my book with a solitary finger. “That,” he said, “is a good read.” He then nodded and walked off down the aisle. I said “Thank you” and smiled overtly. Though I have been Blessed to sell hundreds of copies of my work in a short period of time without the backing of a major Publishing House, that gentlemen was a validation of my work and I am not just talking about the book. I am talking about the fact that I was writing something I thought was worthwhile for myself and not for some mythical Publishing House. My goal was the story, not secular dreams of avarice, and that, to borrow from Robert Frost, “…has made all the difference”.

Keep writing. God Bless.



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