Don’t Chase Genres. Write What You Love
Would you prefer to listen to this show on your favorite podcast platform?
Follow The Author’s Mindset:
iTunes – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-authors-mindset/id1658606238
Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/0FHcbeeKCd9QVFxIiUPB3L
Anchor – https://anchor.fm/dan-padavona
Live a life of self-development
Well, I’m back and I’ve got a format change to start the day. I have been talking to many of you through email, and I appreciate all the kind words from all you folks who say you love the podcast and you get a lot out of it.
However, there is a a split down the middle. About half the people say they love the podcast because of the mindset tips, and it’s really helping them grow and write more. And then we have the other half who say they could do without the mindset tips, but boy, they love those marketing tips and those ideas on how to get writing more and to write faster, etcetera, etcetera.
There are no rules, right? I can change the format anytime I want to. This is my show. So, I’m going to now include a mindset and a writing or marketing tip with each episode until I decide to change the format again. How about that? Once again, it remains my podcast, but I am recording it for you. And I want to keep you happy. And I want to keep you growing your author career.
So let’s jump right into it with a little bit of mindset. And this is borrowing from the last podcast with the idea that reading self development books isn’t enough.
You may find it strange that I’m saying this because I am a huge proponent of reading self-development. And I probably read self development 360 days out of the 365-day year. I’m always overjoyed to grow and to find a new tip about how to get better.
Some of those self-development books are aimed at writing. Most aren’t though; most are general life development. And I love those books. But I’m here to tell you that self-development books aren’t enough.
It is not enough to read a little bit every day, maybe 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the evening, and work in a little meditation and sign up for a course from your favorite self-development guru. Those are all great ideas. And I encourage you to take advantage and do all those things. But you need to treat all day, every day as an opportunity to grow.
Spending 10 minutes reading and then yelling at someone who cuts you off in traffic really isn’t growing. It’s like you’re checking a box every day. Well, I need to work on myself. So here we go, I’m going to put in my 10 minutes this morning, then I’m going to get on with my day and not really think about it anymore. Or maybe I’ll do 10 minutes tonight. I’ll go to sleep, I’ll wake up, and life will be just like I hadn’t even read that book.
So let’s take that example. I read for 10 minutes and then I yell at somebody who cuts me off in traffic, and I maybe I flip them the bird or whatever. So there was the opportunity to grow. And it wasn’t to grow my middle finger. It was to grow as a person, and I missed the opportunity.
Here’s a real life example. I love cold showers. Well, not really; they’re pretty painful. But I do two minutes of standing under a cold spray every day. The health benefits are pretty much indisputable at this point. I really love that standing under the spray absolutely jazzes me up and gets me into this incredibly positive mindset. Maybe because I get to escape after those two minutes.
I exercise first. Then I start with a hot shower like most people love, and I lather up; I put the shampoo in my hair and get ready.
And then l glance at my phone, which is sitting on the counter beside the bathtub. I can see a countdown clock. And I just look at that and say, all right, I’m twisting the dial to completely frigid, all the way over to absolute cold. I stay under that spray until those two minutes are up. I’ll go about my general showering under the cold spray. I finish cleaning, then I rinse off. By then the two minutes are usually done, and I’ll get out of the shower.
At that point, I experience a jolt of positive energy. That’s the key: I just I feel great. So what happens if I leave the house and run to the store, and I immediately encounter someone who mistreats me? Maybe a person with a cart who runs over my foot, because they’re rushing and they sneer at me because they don’t care. Maybe it’s a clerk at the store who mistreats me. Either way, I end up getting pissed off. So I didn’t learn anything.
As much as self-development books are important, self-development courses are important, and meditation is incredibly important, what is most important is treating every minute of every day as an opportunity to grow. This is your self-development course, and it runs 24/7. So whenever you run into a trying situation, and you don’t act the way that your best self would, then you need to treat that as a learning opportunity and ask yourself what you can could have done better? What should your have done better?
Set it in your mind. The next time something like that happens to you, this is how you’re going to react. Get your mindset in line with 24/7 self-development, and it’s going to make you a better writer. It’s going to make you a better person. And it’s just going to make you a whole lot happier.
The cold showers are completely optional. But if you can force yourself to take a cold shower and stand under that spray for two minutes, more power to you. And believe me, it will change your mindset in a hurry. I just love them. I love finishing them anyway.
Write in your favorite genre
Let’s get into a writing and marketing tip. Now this is more of a writing tip today. I want to jump into genre.
A lot of you chase genres. And I’m here to tell you not to chase genres. Let’s start with an example. Millionaire entrepreneur Sam Bedford gave an example in his teachings. He was counseling two different women. Each ran a business. The first woman was from Connecticut, and she told Sam she believed if she could move to California, her business would grow by leaps and bounds because there would be so many more people, and there would be so much more money in California – all those happy people and all that sun. And all that money that gets thrown around in California. Boy, she needed to get out of Connecticut. That was the only chance for her business to grow.
At the same time he also counseled a woman from California, who mentioned that she wished she could move back to the East Coast, so she could grow her business and get out of California. And her reasoning was, yeah, California has all these people, and it also has all these businesses. If she could get to one of those less gung ho Northeastern states, where there are less businesses competing for the same dollar, where there are less people, and it’s just a calmer surrounding, she could grow her business because she could dominate.
Depending on how you look at it, both women are either wrong, or they’re right.
You don’t have to write in the hottest genre. The genre you are in is fine. I know somebody out there is trying to sell you a monthly subscription that tells you what the hottest genres are. And if you sign up and pay top dollar to find out what these genres are and write in them, you’re going to make so much money.
Of course, if it takes you two to three months to get that book out, chances are that genre won’t be the hottest genre anymore. So what’s the point? Seriously, what is the point?
I mentioned before that I switched from horror into thrillers. And I did it because there were more readers in the thriller genre. But guess what? Just like that whole moving from Connecticut to California thing, there was also a lot more competition that I had to deal with in the thriller genre. So really, my success was all about me becoming a better advertiser, me becoming a better writer and really loving the genre that I was writing in.
That’s why I had success in the thriller genre. Had I stuck it out in horror, and if I loved horror the way I loved the thriller genre, I probably would have done quite well. It’s just the question of: Do you want to play in the small pond and dominate? Or do you want to compete in the large pond, where there are a lot of big fish, but there are also there’s also a lot more food to go around?
A lot of people will mistake my message by thinking you need to be in a genre that has enough readers. In fact, I would say the vast majority of genres have enough readers. It’s just a question of what type of books you are writing. Do your books meet genre expectations? Do your covers meet genre expectations? Do your books fit into a genre? Or do they fit into a combination of genres in an easy to understand way?
For instance, Harry Potter combines young-adult adventure with fantasy. Just by looking at the covers, you pretty much know what you’re getting into. Anybody who reads those books loves them because they combine two genres in a very easy to understand and easy to enjoy way.
Can you state in one short sentence the genre or genres your book fits into? And if you can’t, then how can you expect potential readers to find your books? Because even when they see your books, they’re not sure. What type of books are these? I can’t tell from the title. I can’t tell from the cover. I can’t tell from the description. It just seems like it’s a mishmash of many genres. I’m not sure if this supposed to scare me. Is it supposed to make me sad? Is it supposed to make me laugh?
If you can’t fit your book into one sentence, no matter how much you love writing these mishmashes, you can’t expect people to find you. If someone types keywords into Amazon, what keywords are they going to type to find your books, if you’re not even sure of the genre you’re writing in?
There is no reason to genre chase, provided you write in a genre or a combination of genres that are easy to understand and easy to recognize. And that means a title which fits genre expectations, a book cover that fits genre expectations, and a description that also fits. And of course, a story people are going to love.
So write what you love. Readers can tell if you love what you’re doing. And they can tell if you’re just going through the motions and writing in a genre because it’s the latest and greatest. People see through that; they know what you’re doing is disingenuous. And you’re not going to have loyalty chasing genres.
Write what you love.