An expert on self-publishing. An author. Patricia Fry joins us this week on Mystery Mondays to talk about shifting genres.
Patricia Fry on Shifting Genres
I started writing articles for magazines over forty years ago and, in fact, established a career as a freelance writer. I also wrote a few books along the way—all nonfiction and all related to my interests, experiences, or expertise. I was inspired to establish my own publishing company in 1983 in order to produce some of my books—making me a pioneer in the self-publishing arena.
When people started approaching me for help with their writing projects, I resisted, until I realized how much I had to offer them. I discovered that, while I was quietly operating my business, I was also gaining an education and I agreed to develop a workshop. While the workshop didn’t go viral—in fact, we were still using typewriters in those days—it did inspire a book, then another, and another. By the time I bought my first computer and established a website, my focus was helping authors navigate the publishing and book promotion maze through my articles, books, website, blog, and speaking engagements throughout the US.
Every few years, I reviewed my career path. I’d ask myself, “Am I still having fun? Is this enriching my life? What aspects do I enjoy most about what I’m doing?” I’d adjust my business accordingly—I’d solicit more editing projects, for example, apply for more speaking engagements, or provide more time for writing.
Fast-forward to June of 2012. I had finished the third book in my series for authors published by Allworth Press and was working on a fourth. I had nearly forty books to my credit by then and I was feeling a little burned out—not on writing, but on the type of writing I’d been doing for all of those years. It was my birthday month. After quite a bit of thought, I decided to give myself a unique birthday gift—the time and space in which to try writing fiction.
Now that was an exciting concept. Of course, I did some research and discovered that novels were selling like crazy through the Kindle Direct Publishing program—even new, unknown authors were making money on their first attempts at a novel. But what type of novel would I write?
I knew early on that I wanted to write what I enjoyed reading—light mysteries (which I later learned are called Cozy Mysteries). My, my, how the world of genres has exploded with dozens and dozens of sub-genres popping up every time an author writes something outside an established box.
After additional research into some of the books I’d read, as well as what else was out there within the light (cozy) mystery realm, and based on my own interests, I made another decision. My stories would feature a cat. I have a cat who carries things around in her mouth—brings me my slipper socks, drops her toy bunny, hedgehog, lion, bear, etc. at my feet every morning while I work. I’ve always been fascinated by stories of true kleptomaniac cats. So I decided that, while my stories would be human-based, they would include a kleptomaniac cat whose treasures would sometimes be clues to the current mystery. Thus, the Klepto Cat Mystery series was created.
The main cat character is Rags—a part ragdoll cat who looks nothing like a ragdoll. I patterned him after my mother’s cat, Smokey. Why didn’t I use my own little klepto cat? Oh, she has various roles in the stories—but she wasn’t quite right for the lead. Rags is a large cat with a lot of confidence and an overdose of determination. Neither Rags nor his feline friends have speaking parts. They’re all ordinary cats—some of them having some extraordinary habits and, certainly, some unique and interesting experiences.
The first in the series is Catnapped—based loosely on a true story that happened in my daughter’s neighborhood. This is followed by fifteen additional stories, each taking Rags and his feline and human friends on some harrowing, surprising, precarious, and always mysterious adventures.
When I took inventory of my career a few months ago, and asked myself, “Am I still having fun?” I responded with a huge, “YES.” I don’t want to say I’ve finally found my niche. I don’t think that’s accurate. I believe that I’ve always been right where I should be at this time. Currently, my purpose is rolling out fun, cozy mysteries one right after the other, racking up excellent reviews, and collecting the many rewards for my efforts. Further, I believe that if I’d launched out in this direction earlier in my career, I would not be experiencing the success and recognition I’m enjoying.
Why? I believe my timing is purrfect—the market is right for these books. And, because of my prior work and experiences, I know how to promote them. Even an excellent book will not be noticed if it has no exposure. So my perfect life now consists of approximately one-third writing and one-third promotion with a little leftover for the other joys in life.
On that note, let me invite you to subscribe to my Catscapades blog where I talk about everything cat and share occasionally what’s going on in the Klepto Cat Mystery factory. http://www.matilijapress.com/catscapades. Learn more about me, my career path and my books here: http://www.matilijapress.com. Visit the Klepto Cat Mystery Amazon pages here: http://amzn.to/1kAI8I2 Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook. All sixteen books are formatted for Kindle. The first thirteen are also in print.
Thanks for reading…