Stepping Outside the Zone

For an independent author, marketing my work is challenging and often perplexing. In the early days of BookBub, if an author could snag a featured deal, the exposure would be enough to buoy him or her into the stratosphere for months or longer. These days, however, even the magic of BookBub can flag, and marketing books has become increasingly hit and miss.

Reader expectations are always on my mind when I’m writing a new book. I try not to stress about bad reviews, but I do often glean insight when readers say what they did or did not enjoy. My latest release, The Prettier Sister, seemed to satisfy readers who liked a certain measure of snappy repartee between the hero and heroine as well as a happy ending. The book has been well received and I’m glad.

Since I don’t like to get caught writing the same story over and over again, I will occasionally step outside my zone. I usually set my historical romance in England, but I have written two historical romances set entirely in America.

How did those books sell?

They fell flat.

I’m referring to Rumer Has It (set in Charleston, SC) and An American in Paris of the West (set in Virginia and San Francisco). Both books were liked by the readers who left reviews on Amazon (4.5 rating for RHI and 5.0 rating for AAIPOTW), but neither book performed to my expectations sales-wise.

So, what is an author to do?

Shall I stay in my lane or continue to try new things? Can an author ever tempt her readers into trying something different? Let me know what you think. ~ Suzanne

11 thoughts on “Stepping Outside the Zone”

  1. You need to write what makes YOU happy, unless you’re depending on sales as your only source of income. I enjoy ALL your stories, and maybe it’ll just take more time for people to discover your American historicals!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Don’t you dare “stay in your lane”! You write what YOU enjoy!!! I enjoyed both of the above mentioned books! I’m presently reading Tournament of Chance and keep thinking you should do more in this realm. It has dragons, time-travel and an independent female heroine!!! Keep it going. I’m curious about a prequel to it, also!! Love the Mannequin, too! You write what you enjoy!!!

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    1. I love writing fantasy, Rita. I enjoyed writing TOC very much and Royal Promenade as well. Thanks for sticking with me!

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      1. You know Andre Norton, Mercedes Lackey and Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote “out of their lane” too!! Andre Norton even wrote a regency romance!!! I haven’t read Royal Promenade yet, it’s on my Kindle! 🙂 I jump from fantasy to romance but mix them up and I’m in seventh heaven.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, sorry I can’t remember the title. I check my list but it’s been awhile. It was very good and her vocabulary was endless. She could have stayed in the genre, but I’m glad she didn’t!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Getting out of your comfort zone helps you grow as an author, Suzanne. Please yourself, not others. At the end of the day, you’re the one who has to be happy with your writing life. All the best, my friend. Great post! Makes me do an assessment of my own books. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Happy with your writing life” resonates with me. I’m not happy unless I’m working on something exciting. Thanks for the comment, Sharon!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really love your books. I’m 74 and historical romances are some of my favourite books.
    I have never been disappointed by your books.
    I’m sad that you think some of them have failed you.
    I hope your dream comes true.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Louise. I’m sad some of my books haven’t found their market, it’s true. Still, if YOU enjoy them, I’m thrilled.

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