I've been thinking a lot lately about my motivation to write, and I have come to the conclusion that I like to write for myself.
My first book is an example of this as I have allowed the words to flow, without a thought for the genre. It was only when I had the book ready to go that the problem of not having a specific category came to light. When I was in the middle of writing the manuscript, the last thing on my mind was where a potential bookseller would shelve the book. Would it fit in with the autobiography/memoir or travel section? Would it even end up with the erotica as there's no denying the steamy sex scenes found within.
As I began to market the book on popular social media sites, my concern grew. I had no idea who my target audience were because the themes in my book seemed to cross over in so many directions. Should I market the book to everyone in the hope that someone somewhere will like it, or should I just focus on one specific group of people and hope that they spread the word for me?
In the end I decided to target as many people as possible, letting them decide whether they wanted to take a chance with my book, and as a result I have some very mixed reviews. But here's the thing: Out of the people who have notified me that they have purchased my book, the people who have definitely not been in my target audience seemed to have loved it, and the people who I thought would love it have hated it.
After I finish my second book, a continuation from my first, I plan to write my third book in a specific genre. It will be interesting to see how I find this as I will have to make sure I follow certain themes of that specific genre. I will also have to write with that audience in mind.
So my next thought is: When I receive reviews for my third book, will I take them more to heart than I have done previously? After all, I have written my first two books just for me, and if people love them it's a huge bonus. But if I write purely for an audience, will bad reviews upset me? If I receive a bad review I will think I haven't satisfied that particular reader, and therefore have not done my job properly.
So, what do you think? Is it better to write for yourself or for an audience?