Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What's a Writer to Do?

Posted by: Cindy Spencer Pape
As the new year gets underway, I find myself at a crossroads. For perhaps the first time since I started this crazy career, I have NO writing commitments. No contracts. No sequels due. No publishers asking for this or that special project. Nothing whatsoever that I need to do. Except, you know, earn a paycheck. And that's becoming more and more difficult in the rocky landscape that is the publishing world today. Still, a writer's gotta write, write, write. Right?

Long and short answers both point to yes. Writing, for most of us, is something of a psychological imperative. If you don't get the voices out of your head and onto paper, they make you even more nuts than you started out. Also, writing is about the only way I know to make a reasonable contribution to the household income. In the last year, I've branched out of fiction and added some promotional copy-writing to my resume, but still, it's writing. It's what I do.

But what? Steampunk isn't selling. Paranormal is supposedly on a downspin. Contemporary romance? Epic Fantasy? Historical? Even without my two mainstays, the possibilities are literally endless. So endless I find myself all too often staring at a blank page, not knowing what to say, or even where to start a new project. Mention this, though, and the first thing someone will say is, "Write the book of your heart."

Ahem. I've published over 60 works of fiction. Book of my heart is probably in there somewhere. In fact, every book is the book of my heart while I'm writing it. Besides, it's not a heart thing that's got me frozen. It's definitely all in my head.

So if you're one of my readers, you probably already read paranormal. Part of me wants to say, to hell with trends and stick in my comfort zone. Another part would rather be able to eat dinner and go to cons. Can my steampunk chops translate into historical romance? Can I remember back when I wrote contemporary? Do I want to try mystery or epic fantasy? Is urban fantasy still a thing? How about the 20s? Between Mrs. Fisher and Downton Abbey, that period seems pretty hot.

So, a shout-out to readers here.What do YOU want to see? What would make you pick something up? Tell me in the comments below. I'll give a free backlist ebook, your choice, to one random commenter.


Check out my current books at www.cindyspencerpape.com

And don't forget to pick up the Here Be Magic anthology!


  1. I love fantasy romance & sci-fi romance & always have a tough time finding good books in those subgenres. So, if you're thinking of either of those 2, I'm happy! But honesty, write what you feel like writing.

  2. The perennial writer dilemma, ain't it? "Write the book of your heart" goes only so far if "the book of your heart" is something that nobody else actually feels like reading. And if you don't actually happen to have a day job, if your writing is the primary way via which you're earning your pay, this is a PROBLEM. o.O

    I'm not exactly a good respondent for this question, though. My tastes generally cycle between SF/F, historical romance, mystery, and horror, and which one I'm reading on any given day mostly depends on what actually leaps out and says "READ ME" when I look at my To Read list. I've actually been trying to go back and pull things out of my huge backlog, which has meant my rate of new purchases has slowed significantly the last couple of years.

  3. Hey Cindy
    It's a tough one and something I think most writers struggle with at one time or another. My advice would be to play to your strengths whatever they are. For instance, if you're good at writing first person POV look at the genres where that POV is popular. If you're highly imaginative maybe focus on fantasy.
    Wishing you good luck with wherever the story path leads you.

  4. Hah! Aren't we all in the same boat? I'm looking for something to read that isn't the same old thing and...someone said, if you can't find what you want to read, write it. So maybe, look at what YOU want to read. And then write THAT.

  5. Fantasy and paranormal are always my favorites, that hasn't changed since I was a little girl and I doubt it ever will. I also think that Anny's comment above is a great idea.


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