Anyway, we were queuing up for tickets and that was when I saw that Cinema 4 was showing a movie of Liam Neeson! Apparently, this movie was released back in 2013. If the movie (LN's) wasn't starting in 5 minutes, I'm pretty sure we would have bought tickets to his movie instead. It didn't matter to me that the movie was old or that I didn't know anything about it. It was LIAM NEESON. Nuff said.
When you think of a Liam Neeson movie, you automatically think of Taken. You think smart guy's action movie, with lots of kick-ass action scenes, tricky situations, and OMG genius strategies. This got me to thinking that I want to be like LIAM NEESON. Or more like the Liam Neeson of romantic comedies.
Whenever I'm asked to talk about my books, I always think that - aside from the fact that, of course, all things happen with the grace of God - one of the reasons why I'm still here writing is because I was lucky enough to have found my niche. To be honest, I didn't know what my niche was at the start. I was just all over the place with my 2012 books: Evren was a YA fantasy romance, Drawn was a YA contemporary romance, Death Loves Me Not was YA horror and The Werewolf Prince and I was a paranormal romance that had been categorized as erotica because that was the "in" category in those days.
But then in 2013, "romantic comedy" became a fairly popular category and when I started reading reviews of my books, that's when I realized that humor (aside from steamy scenes) was a common denominator among all my work. Having realized this, I asked myself if this was what I wanted. Would I like to be known for romantic comedies? Would I like to someday be the Liam Neeson of romantic comedies and kick ass by making everyone ROFL with my books (as well as blush because of the steamier parts)?
My answer: Yes. And I've been working hard to be Liam Neeson since then.
Now my question is - have YOU found your niche? Here are some ways to help you determine your niche.
- Is there an author whose books you truly enjoy and whose work you wish to emulate (but with your own twist of course)?
- Are there books that you really love but are only "almost perfect" because it was missing this ONE essential factor? Did it make you think, "I could write a similar book but with X factor involved because I'd enjoy it more that way"?
- Read other people's reviews of your work. Listen to your readers' feedback. What do they enjoy the most about your books?
- What do you enjoy most when writing your book?
- What do you think makes your book unique?
Once you've found your niche, embrace it. OWN IT.
Now, there's always a chance you'd come across people who think you shouldn't write what you write. Or that what you write isn't considered literature or even a worthy read. But that's okay - that's their opinion and everyone's entitled to their own opinion. However, it's YOUR choice if you let their opinions influence you. It's your choice if you allow them to feel ashamed and insecure and unhappy about your work.
I'm blessed in the sense that I've never really put much stock in people's opinion about my reading tastes, which consequently allows me to really, really enjoy writing the most fantastic love stories. I have always been candid about my personal preferences when it comes to reading and just in case you don't know - I DO NOT LIKE classics or high-brow lit. I'm the type of person who feels too much too easily. I have never watched Titanic because I know Leo's going to die and I just know it's going to hurt. I cried BUCKETS when Russell Crowe died in Gladiator. I cry when I watch commercials. Reading is also a form of escapism for me - I watch news on TV almost all the time and life is just really hard. When I read, I want to have fun. I want to be thrilled and fall in love. I do not want to end up depressed and philosophical.
As long as you're writing genre fiction, there will always be people looking down on you for what you do. But it's like what Eleanor Roosevelt said --- "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent".
Ultimately, all I can say is that if you've found your niche and you stick to it, I promise you that you'll never be happier writing and your readers can't be any happier reading what you're writing.