A couple of years ago I read a post from a well-known writer about the “two kinds” of writers that supposedly exist…and I couldn’t believe my eyes. What perhaps bothered me the most about the post was the OCD-like rehashing of all the points made in the beginning of the post…continually pummeled throughout the rest of it (yes, it was looong…). And it went beyond just defining a writer’s genre, but into the realm of how many books you have in you and the heavily implied analysis that being one way was outright better than the other way, and yada x 3….
Reading that post and revisiting a blog post I was going to write-up-about-it-then-but-forgot-about brought me back to all the writer conferences I’ve attended and all the discussions on this subject I’ve been a part of. It is a good question…what kind of a writer are you?
Are you a one-book writer…or in it for the long haul? And is one way better than the other? One genre better than another?
Agents and publishers want (and okay, need) to pigeonhole you, nail you to a wall with all these publishing metrics, because they have to figure out where to fit you into their business plans…their promotion and marketing of you. But once you get past all that…how do you define your writing? Your “authorness”?
And is it any reason to get hung up on said definitions?
Should it matter to you that you fit into someone else‘s description of who you are?
There are many out there not directly within your publishing food chain who like to slice and dice and nitpick and analyze and delineate to death whether someone has one or two or three books in them and whether one is in it for “the long haul.” Some people are just oriented that way (numbers and stats)…while some like to rack-and-stack their competition and see where we all fit in. Some use this information to feel superior about where they feel they are in their self-described (and oft lauded) hierarchy. You know the bit: I have sexier shoes…I look better in that outfit than you…I have more (and better defined) muscles…my car’s got more horsepower.
Don’t get caught up in that game.
Figure out your genre, then just write and don’t worry about your “label.” About where you fit into somebody else’s grand literary schema. If you want to publish—publish. You can Indie publish now, so you can define where you think you best fit. Publish one or two or a hundred books. It doesn’t matter.
What should matter is the quality of your work.