I have been reading and revising my Room To Write novels, trying to work out some kind of strategy for presenting them to my readers in a way that will appeal to them.
One of the great joys of Independent Publishing is energy of making one’s own decisions and taking responsibility for one’s own work. So last night with my Independent Publisher hat on, I sat down and thought of what my novels had in common. I even went back to pre-RoomToWrite days when I was writing for what they now call a Big Publisher.
Another of the joys of Independent Publishing is the opportunity to think and re-think your novels in terms of how they will be seen by readers who might be attrected to them
In my writing career I have been proud (maybe too proud) of the fact that each of my novels is a different creation and; that my work has never fallen too easily into tight genre-corsets (if you’ll excuse the term). I think this was a bit frustrating for my Big Publisher, although they still rolled my novela out in elegant saga covers,
The fact is, of course - I can hear you saying it - not falling easily into a tight fiction genre can be counter-productive.
This is said to be even more so in the contemporary Independent Publishing scene. One message regarding this in the swathe of articles, posts and advice is expressed in the almost religious mantra that only distinctive genre designated novels with fittingly dramatic covers will sell on Kindle and Online.
Anyway, although I would always say that each novel is a unique creation I challenged myself to sit down and decide just what my novels have – and always have had – in common. What are the similarities rather then the differences?
What – as an Independent Publisher - should I focus on?
I came to the conclusion that what they had in common was me with my own family history with its storytelling tradition, my background knowledge of history and sociology. Add to that my deep interest in what makes unique individuals tick whatever the context of their lives.
So I have decided that my novels reflect all of this and are essentially historical novels – a field of fiction rather than a genre. It is true that my stories are inhabited by extra-ordinary 'ordinary' women and men of the rather than Kings, Queens and Chancellors. Add to that the stories focus more or less on the industrial and war-torn Twentieth Century history now, of course – also part of my background.
The one exception to this is my very latest novel The Pathfinder which is set between the country now known as Wales and the North East of England in the second century AD. But this novel was inspired by the journey made by my own family at the turn of the twentieth century from North Wales to County Durham. I have to say that the research and writing of this novel was quite an emotional journey for me.
I asked myself what should I call my category?
I came up with the idea of Extraordinarily Ordinary People in History. So with this in mind, with my Independent Publisher’s hat on I have put together my last six Room to Write novels as a kind of set which will come under the title of Extraordinarily Ordinary People in History I have revised and redesigned these six novels keeping in mind that - although each one is unique - the novels are similar in that they have been written and dreamed up by me, with my own peculiar interests and pre-occupations.