Apr
30
2015

 I’m No Expert

A Guest Post by Maureen O. Betita

Yes, it's true. I'm more a "Jill" of all trades, master of none. I've never claimed expert status, though I've often been a bit envious of those who display this talent. I've never been that taken by any particular trade or topic to put out that much energy. I'm scattered.

I've often felt like I was missing something. But again...even that thought didn't stick. I'm not really ADD, drawn to the next shiny thing and not finishing a course of study. Really. Not at all. I suppose details don't really interest me. Perhaps I'm a generalist?

Never been a problem. Meant I could carry on conversations with a wide variety of people. As long as none were the type to look down on me for not knowing a whole lot about their interest. I usually display enough to be fascinated, but not get into trouble.

Until I began self-publishing. No, take a step back, when I started writing.

I grew up reading pretty much everything. (A talent much valued in my family.) Same with television habits. Curiosity was encouraged and imagination celebrated. Without a particular love...or more correctly...a love of so many things...I began to write and went with my natural inclination.

Why limit myself to only romance? Or one historical period? Or one world? I wanted all worlds!

I actually had no idea what the word 'genre' meant.

So, I wrote. And wrote. And wrote. And over three million words later, I had a thought...'wonder if anyone else would like to read this stuff?' I assumed not and just kept writing for myself, feeling a little sad.

Then, I almost died and counted that as my kick in the ass. Time to publish.

But when asked what genre I was writing in...I stumbled all over the board: time traveling witch who finds adventure with a pirate. Hmmm. This made me hard to market, let alone sell. Pirate – historical. No, pure Hollywood pirate. Witch – Paranormal! Maybe. Witch who travels through time – Time Travel! Some. There's a Guardian Kraken – Uh, fantasy? Some. Oh, did I remember to add she uses sex to stay magically charge? Erotica? (Pounding head on table by now.)

Now, I'm self-publishing and running into this wall of discoverability.

And I totally understand my prior publisher and agent. Because now I am all of them. Jumping on tables and waving my arms to get attention and entice the vast ocean of readers to look at me.

Once I catch them, I do keep them. But the catch is presently small.

I never thought this would be a problem, assuming most people were like me and found all possibilities interesting. I was wrong.

If I could do it all over again, would I do it differently?

Probably not, I'm pretty stubborn. But it would have been nice to walk into this without those rose-colored glasses plastered to my face.

I'm fortunate I don't need to make a living with my books. I'd starve. Again, not because I'm a bad writer. I'm a very good writer. I'm also one of the invisible authors. (We are legion.)

My advice for budding authors...start with an easily identified genre. If you want to write the 'Jill' books, wait until you have an audience. Make yourself an expert of...something.

Maureen O. Betita

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Maureen is an author living along the beautiful coast of California. Most days she enjoys walking along the bluff, admiring the blue of the Pacific...and dreaming of the Caribbean. Since that ocean is far away, she casts those waters in the many books she writes, and populates that region of the world with guardian krakens, charming pirates, time travelers and whatever else she can think of. Sometimes she writes about aliens. Curious? www.maureenobetita.com

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