It’s good to begin marketing books before they are completed. More specifically, it’s shrewd to create work that suits publishers’ needs and audiences’ interests. In other words, as long as writers prioritize profit over technique, they do well to tailor not only their sales pitches, but also their commodities, to their desired markets.

Some of the details of shaping products for publishers were covered in others of my posts. This discussion, contrariwise, will explore some of the details of shaping products for audiences. More exactly, I’ll describe how, when attempting to meet audience needs, makers prune, append, or re-purpose their goods.

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All manner of trimming helps persons of letters increase sales. Among the types of useful slicing are: killing characters, “correcting” the nuance of narrators’ voices, and breaking the fabrication of a large composition into small segments.


First, it’s a good idea for scribes to kill their darlings, i.e. to off their main characters, to eliminate their most important players. Like certain dog and horse breeders, writers, too, must sometimes shoot or elsewise destroy their most beloveds. Most stories, in the words of Kristen Kieffer, as expressed in “8 Things to Cut when You Kill Your Darlings,” are made increasingly suitable for contemporary readers when authors cut away elements that “simply [don’t] serve a purpose, [when they stop] offering [books that are] little but fluff and fanfare.”(1) Kieffer recommends eliminating: weak characters, extraneous plot lines, pointless figures of speech, backstory, prologues, unnecessary scenes, unnecessary romances, and first chapters.(2)

Second, it’s valuable for wordies to adapt their narrative voices to their intended markets. Narrative voice is even more essential to storytelling than are main characters’ perspectives. When a storyteller seems boring, staid, or in any way ineffectual, readers stop scrolling or turning pages. Sarah Bannan explains in “Choosing Your Narrative Voice,” that “the most important thing when it comes to voice [is] it needs to feel real, authentic and natural, but it also needs to be a part of the story itself.”(3) In contrast, when a character seems boring, staid, or in any way ineffectual, readers often mentally compartmentalize that player as a foil, as a secondary character, or as a bore. Characters can lack skill or talent, but narrators ought not to.

Third, when authors plan to snip, it is prudent for them to generate books one chapter at a time, or even one section, within a chapter, at a time. Short fiction collections can be assembled one story at a time, poetry collections can be assembled one poem at a time, and essay collection can be assembled one essay at a time. Jurgen Appelo expounds upon this idea of quantitative exposition in “How to be More Productive: The Chunking Technique,” “Chunking (in writing) is a method of presenting information which splits concepts into small pieces of information.”(4) This process enables writers to edit as they go instead of having to wait to edit later, when their books are complete. Both time and effort are saved this way.

Besides lopping large pieces off of their exertions, word slingers build sales by adding to their exertions Not only do financially successful scribes tweak, but they also admix. It remains a publishing industry standard, for example, for wordsmiths to utilize boilerplate prescriptions for mass marketed fiction, i.e. for genre-specific work, and to be motivated to do employ that  sort of styling, that adherence to norms, in order to enjoy increased contract opportunities and revenues.

Consider, for instance, that “the romance fiction industry is worth $1.08 billion dollars a year, which makes it about a third larger than the inspirational book industry, and about the size of the mystery novel genre and science fiction/fantasy genre markets combined”(5) and that genre fiction’s sales, overall, are rising while literary fiction (general fiction)’s sales are declining.(6) Consequently, heaving bosoms and extended sighs, or little green men, or both, frequently get glommed on to stories inversely meant to: promote social harmony, question existent hegemonies, or function to improve the populace’s critical thinking on important issues.

Moreover, poetry or prose composed in passion is regularly modified to become poetry or prose that becomes sold hardheartedly. Today, many authors push themselves to make sure that their writings’ implicit and explicit claims match their readers’ beliefs. They readily change their stated views in order to make those equivalencies. Tobey Fitch clarifies the need for this parity in “5 Steps to Customize Your Communication to Your Audience, “Your audience won't care about what you say until you've demonstrated that you care about them.”(7) Branding, at present, depends on making readers feel they are being catered to. An easy way to build audience members’ trust is to mirror their outlooks.

For small amounts of money or for fleeting recognition, many ink slingers sell out. Not only do they shave or augment their authoring, but they repurpose their inventions, too. Julia McCoy talks about this concept in “How to Repurpose Every Piece of Content You Write,” “[r]epurposing is a fantastic way to populate content without draining your time. Reworking a piece of content usually takes half the time when compared to the initial creation process.”(8) Whereas most wannabe authors associate “repurposing” with reusing previously broadcast scripts, this idea also refers to retooling noncommercial fiction into salable, i.e. genre fiction. In all cases, it means that writers rethink their aims to increase their earnings.

On the other hand, “salable” is not necessarily synonymous with “ethical.” Just because an originator can boost his or her gains does not mean he or she ought to do so. A significant per cent of creators remain driven by inventive appetite, not by the dollar, euro, or yen. Those originators bring art into being: for art’s sake, for the sake of telegraphing their views, or for the sake of expanding their creative range. Those writers safeguard their sensitivities. They usually refuse to compromise their writing by changing it to suit their readers’ wants.

Whether authors assemble books for their fiduciary interests or for their creative needs, the mechanics of crafting writing unavoidably follow the avenues with which authors align themselves. Writers seeking riches above ideas, who act in accordance with the belief that “low hanging fruit attracts the most bugs,” rely on subtracting, adding, repurposing, and otherwise modifying their manuscripts. Other wordies stay loyal to good sense and to erudite aspirations and edit their assemblages in different ways.



(1) Kristen Kieffer. “8 Things to Cut when You Kill Your Darlings.” Well-storied. Sep. 10, 2015. http://www.well-storied.com/blog/kill-your-darlings. Retrieved Jul. 11.2018.

(2) Ibid.

(3) Sarah Bannan. “Choosing Your Narrative Voice.” Writers and Artists: The Insider Guide to the Media. N.d.  https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/writers/advice/804/a-writers-toolkit/style/Retrieved Jul. 11, 2018.

(4) Jurgen Appelo. “How to be More Productive: The Chunking Technique.” Mar. 30, 2015. NOOP.NL. http://noop.nl/2015/03/how-to-be-more-productive-the-chunking-technique.html. Retrieved Jul. 11.2018.

(5) Valerie Peterson. “What You Need to Know About Romance Fiction Genre.” The Balance Careers. May 7, 2018. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/romance-novels-about-the-romance-fiction-genre-2799896. Retrieved Jul. 11, 2018.

(6) Porter Anderson. “Arts Council England’s Alarm for Literary Fiction: ‘The Problem Is a Real One.” Publishing Perspectives. Dec. 16, 2017. https://publishingperspectives.com/2017/12/arts-council-england-literary-fiction-report/ Retrieved Jul. 11, 2018.

(7) Tobey Fitch. “5 Steps to Customize Your Communication to Your Audience.” The Balance Careers. Oct. 24, 2017. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/customize-communication-for-audience-1918925. Retrieved Jul. 11, 2018.

(8) Julia McCoy. “How to Repurpose Every Piece of Content You Write.” Express Writers. Sep. 5, 2014.https://expresswriters.com/repurpose-every-piece-content-you-write/. Retrieved Jul. 11, 2018.

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