Monday, August 27, 2012

DANGER! Don't Put All Your EGGcellent Ideas in One Basket

            I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”  And you’ve probably read the Bible verse “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well –Ecclesiastes 11:6.”  Sometimes, however, that advice can be hard to follow when you’re a writer focused on getting published in a sole genre.   
            We all know writers have creative imaginations.  I don’t think there’s a writer out there whose creativity produces stories for an absolute single genre.  Of course, there are lots of writers who accomplish publication for only one genre, but I guarantee their brain creates other WIPs—even if it’s just in their mind.
            So what happens when your only avenue for publication isn’t working out?  Like Chick Lit.  I remember being at the 2009 ACFW National Conference, when I heard that the subgenre category “Chick Lit” was considered a dying one.  This disappointing (nail-biting for some) news spread like wildfire.  And if you were an unfortunate chick (or lad) who labored for months in order to pitch that subgenre at the conference…you could forget about it, or go back to the hotel and change your one-sheet info to represent “Contemporary Fiction.”
            Why wait for this to happen?  Utilize that creative brain of yours and invest in “a collection of egg baskets.”  I know there’s only so much writing time in a day, therefore there’s a basket limit based on your own capability and preference.  But even two baskets are better than one. 
            Here’s my EGGsample:  I love to write in the romance genre—whether its historical, suspense or women’s fiction with a touch of romance.  How peachy, right?  Umm.  Yeah.  Not really.  I don’t have one published novel. 
Should I sit back and wait for romance writers to retire, in hopes that Jim Bob Publishers will pull my proposal out of the slush pile?  Absolutely not! 
            Three years ago, I submitted a column proposal to a local newspaper.  Six weeks later I received a call from the editor, who offered me 400 words per week.  I was ecstatic.  Was it a romance column?   Not exactly.  Actually, it’s a historical column about WWII letters, titled “Treasured Letters from the Past.”  Many of the letters I write about are from a love bird overseas, pouring out his heart to that special cute birdie back home in hopes that she’s waiting for him, too. 
            My column is not a romance novel, but it’s still a piece of my work which is consistently published every week.  In fact, this past week I was so excited when I glanced at the newspaper and saw my column printed on the front page!  That’s eggs in my basket. But it’s not my only basket.
            Make sure you invest your EGGstraordinary talent into more than one basket.
~Marjorie DeVries


1 comment:

  1. Eggcellent article, Marjorie. I guess you're saying that focusing on only one genre isn't all it's cracked up to be. And it might help if you take some of your soft boiled ideas and scramble them. (Though would it work with hard boiled mysteries?) I know. I really shell out the bad yolks -- er, jokes.

    Thank you for sharing this good advice, and hope you have a blessed day.