I hear what you're laying down Laura. When I wrote the piece I was using how readers react to some of the stuff I blather on about. Take for instance my Henry James series. As you know, fiction rarely gets a whole lot of traction on this platform. Even so, I can tell whether or not one of the series is doing better than the other by the number of reads (used to be by claps) each of them gets. Usually, I get around ten or fifteen reads per piece (I know, not very many) but there have been some that only get 2 or 3. IMHO, the reader is telling me P.G. you didn’t hit it on this one.
I survey the entire body of work, try to figure out what went wrong or better, what went right, and build my next piece on that. Now out of my fiction genre, I’ve actually had some success crafting pieces about writing, and the writer’s life. Those (I ain’t bragging here) have actually been getting curated and the read count is far above on a single piece than what I see on an entire Henry James series.
So, there are two perspectives here. Am I selling out, by catering to the higher reads on the opinion pieces? Probably. I still need to pay the bills right?
What I’ve started doing is both (really a ton of work). I write a piece on the writer’s life and I do a Henry James piece. In a way, I see it as listening to what the reading community is telling me and pleasing my own inner fiction demon as well.
I loved your comment about the warning label and you’re right. As a lover of the arts, one would expect an artist to “stay in his/her lane” when it comes to their endeavors, and it’s often shocking when you read or listen to a piece which is on the other end of the expectation spectrum.
A “hey, folks I’m going country or heavy metal on this one or I decided to write poetry instead of my usual bang, bang shoot ’em up novel.” warning label would be nice.
Thanks for the read, and thank you so much for the input.