Sunday, May 2, 2010
Who the Hell Are You?
Sure, I posted online, but I would just post, mention my writing in passing, and then get back on topic. People usually guessed I was a writer, though, and when I confessed they said they already figgered as much.
Eh. Go figger. I do a lot of figgering, I figger.
But I wrote happily in this vacuum, letting the worms dig wherever they wanted, turn whatever earth they felt a mind to turn, if worms had a mind, that is, and they turned and turned and up popped all these weeds and flowers and an oak and this damned little china-berry tree I can't imagine I planted, but there it is, ugly and plain as the untrimmed nail on your left big toe.
Then, in 2009, I went to figgering again and submitted some short stories.
Just for the hell of it.
And wouldn't you know it, one got taken up. BING! SWEET! It was the first short I'd ever submitted.
The publisher took to me, and I took to him. I made it clear to him that I understand this is not a hobby for him, and I started pushing those books, selling em, and racking up author points toward a book deal. I'm just one short story in the book, but I've sold more than any of the other authors. Click here.
Do your own figgering on that one, eh.
Then he asks for another short, and I send it, and now it's in next year's anthology, too! Double-bing!
Then he asks if I'll head up a writing project for a De Lint-style Urban Fantasy series with two other writers, me being the lead author. Triple-bing!
Then he asks for a book. I send him three.
"Why me?" I ask.
"Seriously. Because I think you fucking rock."
His exact words.
Best words a writer can hear, too, especially if they're spoken over two pints of dark beer by two forty-year-old guys with pretty girlfriends, all as part of a master plan that involves one more round of dark beer and our names in The National Enquirer.
So I got real damned serious about this writing gig. It's going from hobby and early-morning obsession to business model. I own my own business, so I understand that part. Market penetration. Buzz. Know your market. Be the market. Find the weak spots. Don't fish where everyone else is fishing because those spots are fished-out.
That's why I don't want to go YA. Too many boats in that water.
But I've been ponderizing it for about a year, now, on what to do, how to move forward, finding my niche and defining my brand name.
And that brings me to my point: WHAT IS YOUR BRAND NAME?
My brand name for my business is this: Well Planning and Directional Drilling Software. I devote time and a website to that one effort, not programming in general.
So why devote Digging With the Worms to writing in general! I need a BRAND NAME HERE!
See, when a reader picks up your book, what do they expect? To what style writing is your website dedicated?
What do publishers and agents and bookdealers want to see in you? Clancy has his own expectation. King. Koontz. Bradbury. De Lint. JKR and JRR both elicit a unique image with nothing more than their initials.
I'm asking myself what the heck is my brand name? Fantasy? Fiction? Rural realism like Faulkner and McCarthy? Sci-Fi? Horror? I've dabbled in em all. I have the skills I need to publish.
But I don't have a genre or a business model.
It's go-time for Mr. Trant. I need to pick that brand name and stick to it.
But what is it?
Rural and Urban Paranormal, maybe. That'd be fun.
Folks, how did you pick your genre? If I stuck with what I know, I'd be writing backwoods fiction/monster/para stories with severe realism, and/or urban fiction about divorce and raising families.
Check out this article on genres: Genre Rules