About Writing

Yarn and Readership

I was comparison shopping yarn and browsing through reviews, when I came across someone complaining that 100% wool yarn smelled weird when wet.

Well, yeah … being wool and all, it does smell like it came from an animal — especially when wet.

So

Last year I made inquiries about different self-publishing avenues, and was warned that I needed to be careful about the sort of readership I catered to. I’m not talking about “target audience,” but rather something more specific that has popped up with the rise of social media.

For example, the general consensus was that people who wanted to read books for free, were also the most entitled, demanding, and critical. So, while it might be easier to get readers, the “fans” were abusive enough to make you regret it.

To get back to the beginning, the review complaining about the wool yarn made me think about self publishing.

On the surface, you might think that “crafty yarn people” counts as a specific group, but once you dig deeper, you discover that some of them can’t stand things like inconsistent thickness, knots in the yarn, or the smell of animals fibers. Others, like me, prefer the unique personalities of handspun yarns, don’t mind working around knots, and enjoy the characteristics of natural fibers. The two groups might fit under the same crafty umbrella, but the sort of yarn they want is completely different.

Self-publishers need to think about more than a general target audience. Metaphorically speaking, trying to sell handspun wool or acrylic yarns to the wrong subgroup is going to end miserably.

And frankly, with something like writing, authors need to be mindful about where they go searching for their readers. No one wants to get sucked into catering to an audience that kills all the joy out of writing.

About Writing

My hope

I haven’t read more than a few pages of fiction novels published after 2010. That was the year the world became untenable for me, beginning with my inability to accept the popularity of skinny jeans and yoga pants. I cannot believe that anyone with functioning eyes can put on a pair of leggings, look in the mirror, and genuinely feel good about themselves. C’mon, you deserve better than that. You don’t have to treat yourself like crap just because everyone else is doing it.

As a Millennial, I keep my hopes up that one day we’ll explode on the scene and break all the molds. We’ll tell the publishing world in no uncertain terms that we demand better than 50 Shades of Grey, and crappy literature will vanish along with microwave dinners and Styrofoam cups. We can achieve so much more out of life than what the previous generations handed down to us.

I know what Millennials are capable of. I’ve seen plenty of brilliant short stories and creative ideas posted around the internet, but I have yet to find the officially published full length novels that are of the same quality. Maybe my peers have yet to realize the value of what they have to offer, and never work up the nerve to really throw it out there.

I know I’m not alone. I know you’re there.

Write with unhindered creativity, pour your love of English into every sentence, and do your best to hone your talent. Be artistic. Be real. Be different. Be you. Don’t rewrite Harry Potter and Twilight because they were popular, write the weird and quirky stories that you secretly post on Reddit. Just make them longer. A lot longer.

Self-publishing has become readily accessible to everyone, so you don’t have to follow the old channels of appeasement and rejection anymore — you can reach your readers directly. Don’t be afraid.

Join me, and we can change the literary world.