To Define a Voice

As a writer who has been looking for opportunities to market himself better, I often come upon the need to define myself as an author. For a while, I liked to use the label of ‘Adventure Novelist’ because although my books were not exactly made for one single demographic, they all typically would fall under the heading of adventure stories. This changed a bit when I started working on a few new stories that are in different levels of pre-publication, as I now have a bunch of books and plays and stories of different types which definitely do not fall under that heading.

There’s also the issue that although most of my published books are relatively kid-friendly (Daddy of the Dead being the one outlier there), there’s also the Defenders Saga which is not really intended to be young adult fare. And that’s not including books like my most recently finished book which is both not kid-fare and not kid-friendly. And not an adventure story.

For years I’ve struggled with this idea of falling into a niche genre. So many authors are defined by the types of stories they tell. This concept of a voice. And while I’m certain that someone reading one of my books would be able to tell rather quickly that its an Oster-book simply by my writing style, I don’t typically have just one type of story I want to tell. And although I think I could tell stories like the ones I’ve been telling for a very long time, as they can be a ton of fun to write, I typically try to go where the muses (and the money) tells me to go.

So, I’ve also considered the idea of writing under several different pen names. To give each of these different styles of writing a separation, especially when it comes to my kid-friendly fare and the adult stuff. But, considering how difficult it is to build a name for oneself in the publishing world already, this seems counter-intuitive.

Which puts me at the crossroads I’m in now: The Unfocused Creative label that I’ve been using on this site for the past little bit. It’s not that I’m not focused. In fact, when I start telling a story, I tend to become hyper-focused on that story and it becomes all I can think about. Just ask my wife about how many times she’s had to hear me work through a story problem while using her as a sounding board, while really just wanting to hear myself speak it out loud. But, I’m not focused in a type of story. I don’t want to be nailed down to a genre or an audience. I just want to write stories.

Which is probably why I’m such a hard guy to market.

But, if you want to read tales that come from a place of pure inspiration and excitement for a story that needs to be told, then I’m your guy.

In fact, the book that I’m currently trying to figure out how to market to the world appropriately, it’s one I’ve been working on for longer than I’ve been writing books. It started as a far different idea, involving a young drunk guy, which would have been filmed and felt a little more punk rock, and morphed into this folksy tale about an old man who just wants to be left alone, written as a book. It’s a story I’ve wanted to tell for forever, but couldn’t figure out how to piece all the pieces I needed it to have together to make it work in the way it needed to work, until a few years ago.

And when I finally figured it out, I plowed through the writing and then simply became terrified of ever reading it again for fears of it not being anything like what I wanted it to be.

And when I finally returned to it, I realized how much more it could be than it already was, rewrote the whole dang thing, and now have this book that I truly feel marks a drastic change in my skill as an author. And makes me that much more excited for the next stories I have to tell.

And I guess that’s really all I’ve got for marketing for you right now. That whether or not my stories fall within one specific bucket, they’re all stories I’m absolutely passionate about.

And I hope that comes through in the reading of them.


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