This is a copy of a blog post that I made on my Amazon Author Central page. A good plan? Maybe not.
How does an author who writes in multiple genres handle going from one to another? Much less, do readers take into account how those very different genres are also very different in writing style?
That's something I've been wondering since I write in two primary genres and each title seems to have its own style. Take Celtic Evil for example. It's more of a paranormal/romantic suspense series. Yes, there is some action since that plot calls for it but that series is a complete turnaround to my pure action/adventure series, S.E.A.L. Team Omega. That series is more action and it calls for more violence. So, do readers who look for Sierra Rose consider that while both books are written by the same author that the styles are different or because one may be too violent or extreme in come cases will they hold that against the other, more mild series? If that's the case then it's hardly fair because while one book may not appeal the other could be just fine.
I suppose that's why authors in different genres use a different pen name for the other one. I considered that when writing the Seal series but was advised it would cause confusion to readers who may have begun following Sierra Rose.
As an author, I do not plot or pre-plot a story for the most part. I may have a general idea but the main story fills itself in as I write. I will never make apoligies for how I write in terms of plot, characters or how the story fills itself in. I've often said that I allow my characters to write their own story and then I go behind them and clean up as best as I can and that's what I do. I never try to control or change how a scene goes as it builds in my head because I don't write like that.
Flames of Betrayal, the first in my S.E.A.L. Team Omega series has been coming under fire recently here on Amazon it seems by a couple reviews that I just caught today for a few scenes. I know the ones being complained about because they were the hardest to write in my life and I bounced back and forth, struggled with the inner writer who writes the scenes in my mind until finally all the going back and forth blocked the book up. It took several days until I decided to given in and allow the scenes to remain. I debated on it and waited to get several opinions from people who did read it, one included my very own Mother who has never been afraid to say when something should be taken out or didn't work. It was also test-read by several in the military and also a psychologist. It passed those people.
Now, do I think the style in Flames will appeal to everyone? Of course not. Just like I know my writing itself will never appeal to everyone or anyone with a higher knowledge of the English language or grammar, but that's another matter. Do I agree with a couple comments on a review that I read, about if Flames had been written by a man, it wouldn't be getting the complaints about those scenes? I'm not sure. I can't honestly say that when I wrote the book or its sequel that I considered it being flamed, no pun intened, because it was written by a woman. Many females write action books but maybe it was more because of the scenes themselves. I certainly don't like to think that readers believe that only men can do to a character what I wrote in Flames. As a reader myself, I don't hold those views.
Do I regret putting those scenes in? No, because I write for myself as a whole and if the scene writes itself in a way that people don't like or approve of then I can't regret that. No author will please every reader and if we try, no book would ever be worth reading.
As to address another matter, Flames is based on a fictional story. I am a 35 year old disabled writer with no complex knowledge, authority, or details on military matters. I have read military books since I could read. I researched weapons, locations, and other military matters to the best of a limited ability. It was not written to be 100% authenic but it in no way reflects badly on any branch of the military. It is explained in the story that this team operates outside normal chain of command, and therefore handles themselves differently given the jobs they do.
Celtic Evil is written in an entirely different style but it is still written in the same free flowing method. I allow the characters to write their story how they will. I suppose I should be pleased that I haven't had any modern day witches complaining about something that was portrayed wrong in the first book in that series though as I do with every book I write I do the best research possible.
This brings me finally to the final matter I wish to address, grammar. Unlike most authors, I have never made claims to adhere or understand it. I made a post on a forum that addressed this once but to streamline it:
Due to illnesses that removed me from standard school at 3rd Grade, I was homeschooled by a schoolboard sent tutor from 3rd grade until I graduated. I received excellent grades and had a GPA of 3.8 on graduation. English was passed via extra credit work. The tutor was a single tutor who could teach all standard subjects but was not a plain English teacher with all the skills needed to understand all the workings that perhaps students in a physical English class would receive. Grammar was pretty much glossed over since he only had so many hours a week to teach so I have never denied that I don't understand grammar like those who went to school do or who perhaps went to college. I write how I think and how I was raised and that will never be accepted by readers who choose to look for that style.
Oh, I've been told to take college courses or writing classes. To put this bluntly: if I couldn't go to school due to illnesses that have increased over the years, how do people accept a writer dealing with that to go to classes? Online courses take funds and an ability to learn that this writer doesn't have.
Now, we'll go to the editing issues. Celtic Evil has been edited. it's sequel and the sequel to Flames are being looked over. Unlike writers with jobs to support them, many writers starting out don't have the funds to pay $500-$12,000 for an editor or a proofreader. Readers don't understand that either. They think that every writer can turn a book over to someone to proof or edit for them. They think that every writer has a college professor for a best friend or relative who will do this for them pro bono and that's not the case. Many writers self-edit because that's all we can do and I think that there are some wonderful self-edited/self-published books available these days. Readers complain about poor editing or poor grammar yet they don't stop to think why these things may be happening. There are very few editors who will offer their services free of charge, if there were they'd be swamped. There are writers who bash fellow authors for the very same thing but you also find very few of them willing to edit without wanting money and in this economy if a new author has to choose between feeding their family, buying medicine or paying someone to edit a book, what would you choose? Not every writer has a full time job, not every writer has a family to support them. Many writers live on a single monthly check and then must balance how to spend that on vital things. As one of those, I can assure you that medicine and food and a roof over my family's head will always take top spot.
I often joke that I plain on putting a disclaimer in new books that it is being written by an author with no understanding of proper grammar. That and future disclaimers for violence may become the next section of my copyright page.
This turned out longer than I planned on and perhaps it will hurt sales of future books but I fully believe in being honest with potential readers. Do they care? Probably not but it's better to say it. To explain that I deeply love what I do, the characters I write and the stories that I tell. Do I wish that every book could be perfect? Of course. Will they be perfect? No, they will be as good as I can make them with the abilities I was gifted with. Most readers are able to accept that and I can't help the ones who can't.
Again, maybe it wasn't a wise move to make with Ian's tale coming out in the next month and the second book in the S.E.A.L. Team Omega series due in May, but it's one of those things that has been building. I made a post on the Kindleboards on my Flames of Betrayal thread that explained a lot that I limited in this one. I don't and never will will deny that my grammar will never be what others want it to be. I just hope to sell enough ebooks, books to help my Mother and get the full Celtic Evil story out before my own eyesight goes out. I will never make excuses for the tales that I write, be it one of the boys for Celtic Evil, the team in S.E.A.L. Team Omega or the other things I write. I've been told to write for myself and that's how I do it. Should I apoligize to those who don't agree with or like it? Maybe but if I do that, it smacks of be not being true to characters that I pour myself into writing.
Readers think that a full book may be so easy to write. They're wrong. Those violent scenes or scenes that involve sex of any kind are the absolute hardest for me to write.
Okay, this month's rant is done. Stay tuned for data on Celtic Evil: A Fitzgerald Brothers Novel: Ian which is due out in March.