Doing it all wrongI know, I know. A writer needs a platform. Readers need to look at your name and think, “Oh, yeah, I’ve heard of Anne E. Johnson. She writes [fill in the blank].” They should be able to imagine what your next book will be like.
Sorry, marketing gurus, but that’s just not me. I am the very definition of peripatetic. (Actually this is the very definition of peripatetic.) I wander and sample my way through life. I have what they call an “eclectic background,” which includes performing folk music, teaching classical music history, studying Greek and Latin in college, and apprenticing with a tap dance company. Therefore, I see no reason why I won’t have an eclectic future as well.
I’ve done all manner of writing over the decades: non-fiction books for kids about everything from British genealogy to the indigenous peoples of Indonesia; music journalism for the New York Times; a scholarly article for an encyclopedia in Germany. No wonder, then, when I started writing exclusively fiction a few years ago, my genre choices were all over the map.
It’s been my great fortunate to have published stories and novels for young kids, middle-graders, teens, and adults. The genres I work in include science fiction, historical fiction, paranormal, and romance. Within science fiction, I’ve written two humorous, noir-inspired novels but just finished a much more serious YA space adventure. Within historical fiction, I’ve written two medieval mysteries for tweens, but also have a sensuous (for adults but not ADULT) medieval romance coming out this month.
Not for one moment do I doubt the wisdom of the straightforward writer’s platform. That, without question, is where the money is. But here’s the thing: writing fiction full-time is the work of fools (that’s me, raising my hand). If I’m going to be a fool and put myself on display, I might as well give my whole self and be as foolish as possible. It keeps the joy in the process for me. I can’t change who I am, and I love being a crazy kaleidoscope of writers all in one person. I’ll take happiness and free creativity over marketing wisdom any day of the week.
Anne E. Johnson has published in a wide variety of topics and genres. She's written non-fiction books for children with the Rosen Group and feature articles for adults in serials such as The New York Times and Stagebill Magazine.
As the author of nearly thirty published short stories, she has won writing prizes for both children's and adults' short fiction.
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