Being an Indie Author Writing & Editing

What to do when you’re writing in a genre you can’t SELL!

I hate that headline! I hated writing it and I hate that that’s been my experience. I’ve been writing in a genre that I can’t sell. Mysteries. There’s nothing wrong with the mystery genre. I read lots of mysteries. I probably read more mysteries than anything else. That includes horror. And I know for a fact that their are indie authors who write exclusively in this genre and do just fine.

So what’s my problem?

Issue 1 – One issue comes immediately to mind. Genre purity. I don’t write pure mysteries. The first Zoe Matthews/Bridgeport Mysteries book was supposed to be a cozy mystery. However, my love for writing all things scary kind of ruined that. Try as I might to write a straight cozy, ghosts, imps, and demons managed to strut their diabolical stuff onto my pages and scare the crap out of people. And I couldn’t help it. That’s where the story led me. As a result, I was told my cozy mystery was too dark to be a cozy mystery. So I gave up trying to write a cozy. I liked scaring people too much.

As for Doomsday, it’s not really a mystery. There’s a mystery to solve, but it’s more of an urban fantasy than it is a mystery.

See that pic up above? I used it because it’s a perfect example of my genre muddiness. That picture was taken before I truly owned the fact that I also write paranormal romance. I didn’t have any paranormal romance for sale on that table. So what you see is a romantic author banner and some books that don’t look particularly romantic. Kind of confusing to anyone who walks by.

Issue 2 – Another issue could be that I wrote erotic romance for three years. Plus, I LOVE romance. I’m a hopeful romantic! I look forward to falling in love and getting married (again…shhh). So, no matter how many beasties find their way into my books, there is always some kind of romance. Some of my favorite movies include:

  1. Under a Tuscan Sun
  2. While You Were Sleeping
  3. Pretty Woman
  4. Bridget Jones’s Diary (the book and the movie)

I LOVE, Love!

Revelation – In 2017 I stopped doing any promo on my books and focused on increasing my back list. Toward the end of 2017, I released three paranormal romances. I then  started doing some test promo. Cover ads, Facebook ads, stuff like that. The stuff I did worked for my paranormal romance. And it had a waterfall effect. If I did promo on Fallen, I’d see sales for Fallen increase, than an increase in sales for the rest of my paranormal romance. Sadly, this wasn’t the case for my mysteries. The only time I’ve done promo that led to a lot of sales for my mysteries was when I did a Bargain Booksy ad (I LOVE those, by the way).

The Fix – So, I’m re-branding myself as a paranormal romance author. I know how to sell romance. I did it for years as Adrienne Kama. Nearly all of my books have a strong romantic plot or sub-plot. The Talhari and St. Sebastians books are paranormal romance. I’ve promo’d the Zoe Matthews books as mysteries, but I can easily promo them as paranormal romance because they have a strong romantic plot. Just have to do some blurb re-writing for the retail sites.

Doomsday. Nah. I can’t market that as a romance, paranormal or otherwise. Not by any stretch of the imagination. There is a romantic sub-plot, but that’s meant to slowly develop over the series. And like I said earlier, Doomsday isn’t really a mystery. It’s true genre is urban fantasy. And I’m not going to change that. I look Doomsday exactly as it is, and I don’t want to change anything about it. That’ll just be my one off urban fantasy series.

The great thing about being an indie author is that this kind of pivot is possible. It’ll take a lot of re-writing blurbs, promo, and stuff like that, but it’s doable. If I wasn’t an indie, my hands would be tied. My branding and promotion would be decided by the publisher. Granted, they’re better at this stuff than I am, but if they were to make a branding mistake like this, I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.

So, when it comes to Project Happiness, this is probably the biggest thing I’m doing toward creating a happier life for myself. I’ll keep everyone posted on how it goes!

Happy Reading!

Heather Elizabeth King is a novelist who lives in Virginia and writes paranormal mysteries. She's been a story teller since she can remember. Some of her favorite memories are of telling stories to her girlfriends at slumber parties when she was a pre-teen. Heather is a recipient of numerous book review awards, including: *The Gold Star Award from Just Erotic Romance Reviews *A Recommended Read from Fallen Angel Reviews *The Joyfully Recommended Award from Joyfully Reviewed *A CAPA Award nomination from The Romance Studio.

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