The world of books would have you believe writing what’s trending in the marketplace is the way to go. Give the readers what they want. And that is one way to garner commercial success if you have the talent. I want my commercial success to come from a niche I’m passionate about. I know I’m making an already tricky proposition even more difficult by demanding not only that it must provide an income but it needs to be a unique product. But what the hell? We only live once; we might as well go for creating something that is uniquely our own. And to do that means being our honest selves.
Letting our weirdness and our uniqueness guide our work is the way to go. Write something DIFFERENT, something that is wholly you. Something that hasn’t been expressed in that particular way before. Knowing why you should create your own niche is one thing. Having the fortitude to follow through with it is an entirely different matter. Like most things we embark on, the excitement of the endeavour will sustain us for a while. But when that wears off, and you find yourself slogging away, the results you imagined are not forthcoming, it becomes painfully obvious it won’t be easy. If you haven’t been smiled upon by the Gods of Luck or talent, then hard work is in your future.
It takes courage to become known for a niche you own. Even when sometimes the accolades are not offered to you for your efforts. I sometimes think about writers like Octavia Butler, who carved out her own unique niche but did so at a time and place that was actively hostile against black people and women. She persisted and did become a bestselling author, but it was hard. Forget talent. If you have it, fine. Use it. If you don’t have it, it doesn’t matter. As habit is more dependable than inspiration, continued learning is more dependable than talent.
As an author who views the world from a unique perspective, like Octavia Butler, I had to dig deep to find and express my message with conviction. It hadn’t always been the case, but now, I’m in a unique position where I have my own style and unique voice. I’ve done nothing that you couldn’t do, Goodreader; I’ve just learned to accept myself and believe that I have something to say no one else can. We all do. It will be challenging, and there are no guarantees for commercial success. But whatever your calling is, you will do it anyway. So, why not be a unique voice in a sea of copies?