When you go into business – and if you’re writing for money, it is a business – you should always keep your core business in mind, and not stray far from it.
When I say “core business”, I mean something that you are good at doing and you are excited about doing. If your core business is not aligned with your actual business activities, it’ll show.
It’s best to give two examples.
I used to rent apartments in Second Life. I rented virtual land, then put apartments on them, and then rented the apartments out. They were simple apartments. Simple for the users, simple for me. It was something that few others were doing well, and I made some good pocket money that way.
And then I started listening to people who wanted something different. I didn’t want to have different size apartments, or any of the bells and whistles that other virtual landlords offered. But I did it anyway.
Within six months I was spending three times as much energy and time just maintaining the apartments. Within six months I was starting to lose money, and I eventually shuttered my virtual doors.
I might have gotten out of the virtual landlord business by now anyway, but maybe not. But I know for certain that losing focus on my core business was directly responsible for me having to leave the virtual landlord gig.
And it happens in media as well. You don’t have to think hard to find an example where a sequel doesn’t complete a story, but just serves as a way to rake in more bucks. Where the people who create listened to the clamoring voices that said “MOAR.” Or worse, the people who are creators are seduced by success and simply say “Let’s just do that again.”
And that’s how we get so many sequels and remakes and reboots that just leave us all feeling sick and empty inside.
The key is to find something you like to do, that you’re good at, and that is in demand. And then, when it’s starting to work, don’t let yourself be pushed around by people telling you that it’s wrong if you don’t do it their way.
For us writers, that means write the stories you want to write (or read), not what someone else tells you to be writing.
Looking back over Alliteration Ink’s three years, it’s kind of hard to find a consistent theme. Dark fantasy and horror. Literary fantasy. Eclectic themed anthologies. A thriller. Nonfiction. Steampunk. Poetry. Urban fantasy.
You might think I don’t have a core business there, but you’d be wrong.
And that’s because my core business as a publisher is not a specific genre.
My core business is finding things that are neat.
I’m one of those “sharing” types of geeks – the ones who discover a cool thing and just love to tell people about it.
Not only do I get to find those cool things, but I get to help make those neat things.
It means that Alliteration Ink is hard to classify into a specific genre.
Until you realize that “freaking neat” is a genre unto itself.
And that’s pretty neat too.
Alliteration Ink’s current project is Streets of Shadows, a crime urban fantasy anthology edited by Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon.
Imagine The Maltese Falcon with Sam Spade’s partner coming back as a zombie. The Big Sleep where they stash wands under the dashboard, or Sin City with lizard people. Sound interesting? Check out our Kickstarter at http://bit.ly/kickshadows and spread the word to your social networks.
We’ll have an open call for submissions at the end of our crowdfunding campaign.