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Breaking Writing Rules and RULING the WORLD!

Have you heard:
1) You can't write that.
2) That will never sell.
3) What genre does that fit into?
4) It's not a paranormal, no one will buy it!
5) Chick-lit is DEAD!

Alright! Put your hands down. We all have. But have we all listened?

HELL NO! We are writers and most of us here are self-published because we heard that our work is good, but has been rejected in one way or another. I had heard for many years "chick lit is dead" or "don't tell them it's chick lit. Call it women's fiction."


I would call that a BIG OLE LIE!!! And that is ONE thing I DO NOT DO!

Sometimes we have to go beyond the fear of what others think  and write what we want to write. Why are we listening to people industry "professionals" that have NO CLUE what readers want? Have you ever had a gut feeling to write something and you thought that you couldn't because it doesn't fit the industry model?

Most of you know me as a mystery writer, but truth be told, I'm a chick-lit writer! YES! I just admitted that I'm a CHICK-LIT WRITER!!

My first novel, Carpe Bead 'em, was written as a chick-lit. I told everyone and anyone who would listen that I was writing a chick-lit novel. To my surprise, I heard chick-lit was DEAD. Not just dead, but road kill that had been ran over so many times that no one recognized what it was and vomited at the sight of it.

I decided that I wasn't going to listen to them. I was going to blaze my own path and write the best damn chick-lit novel I could. And guess what? I did!

Carpe Bead 'em ended up going to the TOP! It made Amazon's Movers and Shakers list #1 and stayed there for three days, it is on three best seller lists, as well as made it in the top 100 Amazon paid list.

Look at the cover...come on! It screams chick-lit. It has a pink poodle, high-heeled shoes, and jewelry ~ for crying out loud! What if I had listened to them? What if I didn't break the "rule?"

I knew there was an audience for my chick-lit out there. So I got in touch with writer pal, Jessica Park (through my friend and writer pal Heather Webber) and used her editor and got some ideas from her. It was priceless. She truly payed it forward to me.

So I YELL: it's time to beat the fear!

Listen to your gut. Write outside that genre guidelines. Make up your own genre. As a matter of fact, I write the BEST chick-lit cozy mysteries and they sell! Go figure....

Another way to write fearless is twist your plot even more. Just when your reader think they have figured out your plot, step up your game by putting an extra twist in it. This may sound crazy, but your readers will love you for this. They will be hooked and think "Wow! I've never seen an author do that and it's GREAT!"

What if Jessica Park had listened to the naysayers? If you haven't read her inspiring LOVE LETTER TO AMAZON, READ IT! She wrote past the fear of not fitting in the genre rules and her novel FLAT OUT LOVE is ruling Amazon! As a matter of fact, she has been picked up for one of their imprints and they featured Flat Out Love on the front page of Amazon!

It can happen to you! Write what you want and forget the fear of what you hear and RULE THE WORLD!!


  1. Nice, uplifting tale, Tonya. Glad to read that your book is doing so incredibly well.

    1. Thanks, rdougwicker! I'm so glad you stopped by.

  2. Yet more examples of why following your instincts is almost always completely right. I've always thought, if you have a story to tell, tell it to the best of your ability and with professionalism, then let the chips fall where they may. Thanks for reminding us. :)

    1. Exactly, Debbie! Plus you end up writing a great story from your heart and you can never go wrong with that.

  3. Hi Tonya, Great article. As a writer I have to say, I write what I feel and from my heart. Example: right now steampunk is hot, but when I sit down to try to write it, I've got nothin'. I sit looking at a blank screen with a blank stare. Writing has to come natural and when I get a story idea, I run with it. I don't worry about what genre it will fit into, I just write it. I'll pigeon hole it later. You are so right on the money with this post.

    1. Thanks, Gerri! I do find that when I sit and write from the heart, the story does pour out. I can go back and tweak it to make the bare bones much stronger, which makes a great novel a few months later. I'm so glad that we have so many options now.

  4. I'll just say it, "You make me happy." So often, I feel as if you are talking directly to me, and this really hit the nail on the head, in many ways.

    There are a lot of articles about THE RULES, and it can be overwhelming, even worse, it makes me feel like I'll never measure up. So, I keep doing things my own way and hoping for the best. So far - so good! :)

    Thanks, again.

    1. Oh, KT. You put a big ole smile on my face. There are two things I want from my writing career: 1) put a smile on a readers face as they escape their crazy world into my quirky world. 2) Help my fellow writers.

      If I accomplish that in this career, I've done my job.

      What's the saying:Rules were meant to be broken?

  5. Great Post Tonya!
    Stone cold inspiring.
    I can't tell you how many times I have heard the historical is not selling, it's dead, not what they are looking for. I agree, write the story of your heart, your soul and in the end, sell or not sell. you wrote the book you wanted!

  6. Love this! And I have to tell you that I stopped by an agent blog the other day and guess what editors are most looking for? Romantic comedies (aka chick lit)! Indies have kept the genre alive and we're doing fine and suddenly Big 6 have noticed the genre never died and is bigger than ever! Ha!

  7. So glad you followed your heart. I did a writing course once that insisted there was no point writing a novel unless you knew it fitted the market. You might like it, but it doesn't mean it will sell was their logic. For a while there I believed it too and tried to work in with the market analysis approach.

    The thing is, I write epic fantasy, but not the hard out gritty stuff that seems to rule the genre at the moment. After a wobbly start, and a few goes at writing something that didn't fit me, I went back to my own voice and story. I love it, feel better about it, and am now really encouraged to hear how well this approach worked for you.

    Well done for believing in yourself - now I just need to get my hands on a copy of your book! (I may write fantasy, but I am a girl too)!

  8. Love ya, Tonya: great post, love your attitude, with you all the way. Congrats on your book doing so well, that's fabulous news and absolutely proves you right. **big round of applause** You go, girl! Thanks for sharing. xx

  9. You are so right. As one who has heard every reason in the world not to do what I have done, I have to say, Face the fear and do it anyway. Follow your passion and your audience will find you. great post, most uplifting!

  10. As a fellow Chick Lit author who was told "NO" (a million times) and was told chick lit is DEAD and my book would never sell this is an awesome post. The only thing with lower sales expectations than is Chick Lit is African American Chick Lit. But I wrote the story that was in me to tell, the way I wanted to tell it, and I too exceeded everyone's expectations. And I will continue to write Chick Lit...until I'm DEAD. (Maybe that's what they really mean. LOL) You go girl. Keep the great work coming. And I had already downloaded this from Kindle. Can't wait to read it!~ K.L. Brady


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