Is your novel literary? Shame on you

image116So you took the leap.  You stood on the edge of the precipice and decided to write a novel.

It was going to be marvellous.  It was going to be a million-dollar idea.  You had decided to turn your back on the publishing houses and throw yourself into the world of indie publishing.  You were going to do this thing.  You got this….

But then something went wrong.  Blame that dodgy literature degree, that Creative Writing course, blame your mother if you have to.  Thing is, the more you write the novel, the more you realise that you have committed the cardinal sin of Indie Publishing.  You have written that most odd of all oddities – the wild and genreless, the …. literary novel.

Horror of horrors and shame on you.

The folly of Writing a literary novel

Did you not pay attention to all those podcasts?  Did you deign to completely ignore all the advice of those generous kindle bestsellers who warned you that the only way to make tuppence on Kindle was to throw your lot in with the scifi/ dystopian/ thriller/ romance crew?  What gave you the right to think that you could waste your time with something that NOBODY will ever even find on Amazon, let alone tell their friends about it?

Well all I can say is that you knew the facts and you went and did it anyway.

Accept the consequences.  Even if your novel will blow Hemingway out of the water, you, my friend, have chosen a near impossible task.  You will flounder around searching for your ‘readers’.  Perhaps you might strike lucky on Goodreads.  If your heroine is plucky fifteen year old girl then you might get some traction in the YA market.  That’s if you can drag them away from their fan-fiction and snap-chatting.

I wish you luck my intrepid friend.  Many have tried and many have been very, very disappointed.  But I admire your courage, your brave willingness to give it your best shot.

Why we should admire self-publishers of literary fiction

You are one of those brave pioneers who has ‘written from the heart’.  You are the writer who turned their back on the well-trodden genre path and is willing to forge their way through the wilderness.  You are a leader, a revolutionary, and I salute you.

And I am right there beside you.  I too read the books.  I knew the facts – genre novels have greater visibility and more established reader forums.  Literary novels are a hard sell.  They don’t quite fit.  They are the geeky, unpopular gang in Indie Publishing World.  But we couldn’t help ourselves could we?

We sat down to write and these are the words that came to us.  We tried to bend it to the ‘market’.  Hell, we even tried making one of our characters a vampire shapeshifter in Chapter Two, only to abandon them into a magical realism interlude in the inner epilogue at the start of the Verse part of the novel.  We really wanted to make our novels fit the mould.  But we couldn’t.

Good luck to us literary fiction writers.  We should just go gung-ho and give it our best shots.  What was the saying ” Aim for the stars and you may not reach them, but you will fly higher than if you had never aimed at all.”

So let’s take the leap.  Let’s throw ourselves into the abyss.  And let’s support each other while we do it.  Together.

Have you written a literary novel?  Are you thinking of self-publishing?  Tell us about your novel in the comments below.  Here is your chance.

 

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