If you are an aspiring author or writer, then you should be aware of some basic rules. I covered some basic rules in Self Published vs. Traditional Published. But that’s the tip of the iceberg. I belong to way too many author/writer groups on Facebook. Some topics come up on a regular basis. For example, what sells and what I can put in/leave out of a book. The current hot topic in one group is unhappy endings.
If you go with traditional (trad) publishing, they are going to decide if your story can have an unhappy ending. Don’t assume just because you opt for self-publishing or independent (indie) publishing, it means you can go your own way. For romance novels, the majority of your readers want a Happily Ever After (HEA) or Happy For Now (HFN) ending. Should you decide to self-publish with an unhappy ever after ending romance, don’t be surprised if you don’t sell a lot of books. While I don’t agree with certain tropes, plots, endings, etc., if I plan on selling in a particular genre, then I need to learn what sells and what doesn’t. I can have the best book written in the last 100 years and if I ignore what the readers in a genre or sub-genre expect, it may sell few or no copies. Likewise, I could have the worst piece of garbage written in the last 100 years, but sell tons of books because I learned the market for a genre or sub-genre and “wrote to market” so well, my book is hot.
There’s a sizeable debate on “writing to market” – in other words, giving the readers what they expect in your genre or sub-genre compared to ignoring “writing to market.” If you go this route, my suggestion would be self-publish a number of books that are “writing to market” before jumping in the deep end of the pool where you ignore “writing to market.” You can try a transition where you slowly or not so slowly migrate outside the “writing to market” field to gauge how your readers respond to it. There are some readers who go for writers who don’t “write to market,” but they are a fairly small segment in many genres and sub-genres. In other cases, they may constitute a fairly large segment.
I saw a discussion a while back where a writer wannabe made a statement that she was doing her books “her way” and if potential readers didn’t like it, they were racist, sexist, haters, etc. I haven’t seen her publish yet, but she’s going to find that doing things in her genre that don’t mix with her potential readers is going to be a recipe for little or no sales. Readers can be a fickle bunch, but telling readers they have to like your work is a great way to guarantee they won’t buy your work. If you make it big as some have, then you get away with this kind of bad behavior for a while. Although at some point, you will alienate your diehard fanboys/girls enough, they will dump you. It may take a while and you may become very financially secure if you manage your finances well enough. Until then, you need to figure out what sells in your genre and write accordingly.
The same holds true to some degree with blogging and vlogging. The advantage to blogs and vlogs over books is price. With rare exceptions, there are plenty of free blogs and vlogs out there. On YouTube, I watch tons of videos by vloggers who run the gamut from RPGs, gaming, wargaming, plane crashes, spiritual to those who are recovering from life-changing losses (amputees, differently-abled), ways to improve blogging and vlogging, humorous videos. In some cases, I can even watch free full episodes of some shows. In other cases, I can only see short clips of an episode. In some ways, vlogging is easier, but in other ways, it’s harder as you should edit your videos or audios before uploading them to your favorite vlog platform.