The old saying seems to be the norm in the publishing world. Especially when it comes to building a platform. Most of the books that I’ve picked up and research that I’ve done pertains to nonfiction work. There just aren’t many resources geared for fiction authors. The experts say to become an expert in something in order to build a platform around it. That’s fine if you have a particular subject you write about or you’re trying to teach something. It’s easier to build a platform and define an audience with those criteria for sure. My interests are so varied that I really cannot claim to be an expert in anything. Though, my experience and interest in the paranormal, along with my research over the years probably fuels my writing and is likely what others would consider my area of expertise. You’ll likely read a number of entries pertaining to my views on the research I do over time but, I wouldn’t call myself an expert. It is hard to be an expert in a subject that is, by its very definition, largely unknown.
For fiction writers things are a little different. Its important for us to keep our options rather open. We often research things that interest us to include in our work. And the beauty of that is that we can use multiple subjects and influences to make our work more interesting. There are many things that go into creating a novel but I think the most important element is character. In that regard, maybe fiction writers should become experts in psychology to understand the quirks and subtle nuances of people. Some of us probably are psychologists. But the truth is that so many, myself included, learn those things through observation rather than through academic study. How we develop characters is another blog topic entirely though.
This “Write What You Know” concept has been around for ages. And I think that for many it has been a good suggestion. However, where would literature be without free thinkers and writers who went out of their comfort zone to research and put forth new ideas and concepts? I think about Jules Verne in particular along with other science fiction authors. They have to research technology, medical sciences, space explorations, and other elements in order to make their worlds come alive. So, I think that it is also important for authors to get outside the comfort zone once in a while.
For my part, I get out of my comfort zone in Steampunk fiction. To build the world that I’m working on now it has taken a good deal of research into technology, Victorian customs, and medical terminology. There is also trying to get a better feel for what’s been done and what hasn’t. I personally don’t like to limit myself. I’ve found many good stories in various genres and I don’t read just one. I don’t expect that the people who read my work will be genre-specific either. Maybe I’m wrong in that expectation but I’d like to think that people have varied interests instead of tunnel-vision. But am I right in that thinking?
What do you think readers? Do you stick to a single genre or would say that you’re more multi-faceted than that?
Women have a unique issue when considering how to go about working on a career. In an industry where your success or failure is dependent upon a reputation built around a name that people follow, it becomes important to find something and stick to it. Anne Belle is not my real name. Take a look at the About the Author page and you’ll get the full story. I’ve chosen to take a pen name for the sake of avoiding confusion in the long term as I work to build my platform as an author of fiction. It wasn’t an easy decision for me. However, I believe that it is the best course of action that I can take given my personal situation.
I’m not trying to hide behind a false name or personality. What you’ll read here is very much me. The photos you’ll see are actually me. You’ll get a real glimpse into my life, my creative process, what inspires me, what frustrates me, and the people in my life. Though, I will likely change the names to protect the identity of those in my life. There is always a catch to being a friend or family member of a writer. Eventually some embarrassing story about you will be published somewhere. So name changing to protect the innocent is the norm in my line of work.
So why take a pen name? For me, it comes down to a rather simple issue. I want to make a career out of this. I’m currently going through a divorce and starting a new relationship and the reality is that I’m just too old fashioned to keep my maiden name or my ex-husband’s name even though I already published a book under both. There is also the realization that I want a family of my own. And I’d prefer to keep kids out of any sort of limelight until they are old enough to understand what it is I do etc. A pen name allows for at least some degree of anonymity for them as well as being something that I don’t have to worry about changing as I go through all of these life changes and explaining over and over what happened and why I have work published under other names.
Honestly, this will be the only time I address the who I am issue. My hope is that the name Anne Belle will become who I am publicly and that will allow my private life to remain private. My Facebook page will have a couple of administrators down the road that I trust to help me work with promotions. And I’m sure that, over time, there will be some questions. For me to answer from readers here and of my fiction. But, my goal is for this blog and website to serve as a hub for readers to find my work and get a glimpse into my life.
Subscribe to the RSS or by email in order to get the latest updates. They may be frequent at times and yet, other times, they may be sparse when I’m in the midst of deadlines or working on something that requires some research. My ultimate goal is to post something at least once a week. So, I hope that you’ll join me on this journey. I hope that you’ll find this little window interesting and inspiring if you’re an aspiring author. I’m open for questions and will certainly do my best to respond to what is sent my way. Who knows you might even inspire a blog post. So, feel free to send me your questions on writing, on life, on whatever to annebellewrites @ g-mail dot com. I’ll be watching and posting more soon.