Finding an Audience

Happy Monday, readers. Hope you had a great weekend. We’re just starting to come out of a deep freeze here in the DC area; the roads are incredibly icy this morning, something of a last hurrah for winter before Spring pays us a temporary visit. It’s been a weird winter, with highs in the 60s one week and highs in the 20s the next and then right back up. My allergies have been in an uproar thanks to it, but what are you going to do?

I’m focused on these shifting phases because my own life is entering a new phase in the next three weeks. On Saturday, February 2nd, I’ll be giving a ten-minute reading of Room 3 for the Maryland Writers Association, Montgomery County, the first time that I’ve given a public reading of my work. I’m glad that it’s a relatively short reading, as I can ease into longer readings and QA sessions. Two weeks after, I’ll be appearing at FarPoint Convention in Timonium, Maryland. I’ll be selling Room 3, Corridors of the Dead, and the Station, but I’ll also be participating in a greet and sign on the night of the 15th, giving me the opportunity to meet some of the other authors at the show. You can check the schedule tab at the top of the page for more information.

For some writers I’m sure that this is old hat, but for me it represents a new commitment to my career and to bettering myself, all in one. Not too many years ago the very idea of speaking in front of groups about my writing – while a vague goal – seemed far too intimidating to even consider. Life had beaten me down, and surely I didn’t have much to say that would be of any interest to a potential reader. Why bother?

Well, because I do have things to say. They’re somewhat complicated things to say, perhaps a little too full of nuance for my own good, but they are things that I need to say. Look, I know that my work is not for everyone; I wish that it were, just as I wish that I could find happiness in writing more financially viable/marketable stuff. I just can’t. I envy writers whose true passion lies in mystery stories or romance stories. I don’t think any of us are better than the other, just different, and some genres are more accessible than others. That’s just the Way It Is, and I’m not going to let some dreams of acceptance sidetrack what I’m trying to do here artistically.

So I keep on saying what I have to say. It’s your call to determine whether those things are worth reading. A lot of folks seem to have decided that they are not worth reading, but then I also don’t think I’ve found my audience just yet. Some days I’m quite tempted to  throw up my hands, to say that either you folks aren’t out there, or that I’m deluding myself in believing that my writing is worthwhile, but I know that’s the easy path to truly having nothing worth saying. You only truly fail when you give up, and I’m not there yet.

Thus, these appearances, in the hopes that I can connect with you folks who might find value in my works. I have faith that sooner or later we will connect, but for now I have to throw my work out to the universe and cross my fingers. Maybe we’ll see each other soon.

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  1. Jonathan,
    You have such wisdom and such insight. Never lose hope: you are exactly where you are meant to be, doing the work you are meant to do, and one day you will look back and see that you couldn’t have done it a better way. Your post really resonated with me, as I am working through to a similar acceptance of my own writing style. In fact, that’s just what I posted about today:
    What I know is this: the world needs us to heal ourselves, and what better way to heal than to stand on the far limb of non-conformity and be secure in the knowledge that we are more than good enough?
    I applaud your journey–and it doesn’t hurt that I love your work!

    • Thanks, Alix. That means a lot 🙂 I’m feeling philosophical about it today and I think what you share kind of shows why I need to keep going: for some of us (and I think that includes yourself), this is just as much a spiritual pursuit as a physical pursuit. I can really relate to your post, as well. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. I know that feel bro.

    Finding someone who feels a connection with your work is the ultimate goal for any true artist (well…that and making a decent living at it). Of course, it sometimes feels impossible in the horror/fantasy/action book category. Plenty of die hard fans for YA, romance, and even mystery (not to mention that it’s easier to make a long term book series in those genres) but as a writer in the action-ish category, it sometimes feels like I’m talking to a wall. Even if I did get complete strangers to buy my book.

    Don’t give up. You’re a great writer. All you have to do is keep up the good work and hold steady until your ship comes in 😀

    Alternative writers unite!

    • Yeah, that’s a very good point, and it helps to hear it. “Alternative writers”. I like that! Maybe it’s a mantle we need to take up more often.

  3. What you’re feeling is normal, at least I hope it is because I feel the same way. Keep putting yourself out there, the audience will find you.

    • I’m definitely starting to see that, and it’s good to know, to some extent. I wish we could all find our audience easily, but at least we keep on trying.

  4. “I’m not going to let some dreams of acceptance sidetrack what I’m trying to do here artistically.” –> As someone who loves your writing, I’m very glad to hear this! I do hope that someday you make fat stacks o’cash off of the books, but until then, know that there are a lot of loyal readers cheering you on and enjoying your novels!


  5. They say it takes ten years of consistent production to build a following. That’s both daunting and reassuring.

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