If you read my last blog post, you know that I've been researching best practices for building a website that attracts readers and sells. During one of the podcasts I listened to, the creator said a word that made me groan. Can you guess what it was?
The creator said that you have to be consistent with your website. The example she gave was if the links on your home page are blue, they need to be blue everywhere on your website. This trains site visitors to know that red means it's clickable. What she said made sense so I immediately set about implementing in on my website, but I chose the color red, which is more on brand for me.
Unfortunately, her comment got me thinking about the lack of consistency in my life. For instance, I'm not consistent in my writing. Most successful writers set aside to time to write every day, even if it's only an hour. I write when the mood strikes. I have periods where I write every chance that I get, and I have seasons where the mere thought of writing sends me running from my computer.
Another area where I lack consistency is in what I write. I've taken classes on how to increase your author income, and one of the things they say is to "Stay in your lane." By that they mean pick a genre and/or sub genre and stick with it. When I first began writing in 2007, I started with my paranormal series, True Mates. I love paranormal shifter romances and at that time, there simply wasn't a big selection to choose from. The series was, and still is, very popular. Based on the given advice, I was supposed to keep writing True Mates romances, grow my readership, and rake in the money.
What did I do? Because I didn't want to be pigeonholed as a paranormal author, in 2009 I wrote my first full-length contemporary romance: The Question. It was a huge hit with readers and is still my highest rated book. I continued writing True Mates books but also began building a large contemporary romance catalog.
In the sixteen years that I've been published, I've written an Edgy Christian romance series, The Nina Chronicles, paranormal romances, sci-fi romances, fantasy romances, and most recently, a post-apocalyptic, futuristic romance series, Mate Match Agency. I write what I like to read and when it comes to romance, I read a bit of everything.
The irony is that on the drive to work this morning, I thought about a few of my favorite authors and realized they don't follow this advice either. My thoughts went first to Nalini Singh. She started with her Psy/Changling series. Next, she wrote the Guild Hunter series, a paranormal based on Archangels, but the more I thought, I remembered she also has a contemporary romance series and now she's writing a romantic suspense series. My thoughts then shifted to Nora Roberts, Christine Feehan, Cythia Eden, and so many more authors I read that don't follow this rule. I felt bamboozled.
I'm not saying the advice is wrong. It just doesn't fit my gypsy writing soul. I know authors who have followed their advice, began writing a series based on popular tropes, and now they're a seven-figure author. Maybe one day I'll learn to be consistent and do the same. Until then, I'll keep writing the stories of whichever character screams the loudest in my ears.
Just some food for thought as I celebrate National Book Reading Month.