I've read the statement, write the kind of books you'd like to read. I've also read, forget writing from your heart...just write commerically. All authors have one goal in common, we're telling a story. So how do some stories strike like a wicked bolt of lightening and begin flying off the shelves or filling e-readers around the world?
The answer is—there's no answer.
The truth is however, everyone buys a book for a different reason and your book not selling doesn't mean your writing is bad, it means you haven't found your audience and or gained enough exposure. While getting on the front page of ENT or Pixel Of Ink will give your book a boost..it's pretty much momentary. As your post slides down the feed and disappears so do your sales along with it. Some sales will lag along..but without taking any action you're pretty much back to 1-20 sales for the month again.
But back to my topic's title. Earlier this week while watching "The Voice" with my wife, I heard a guy sing the song, "I just haven't met you yet." (That may not be the title) He sang great, he was spot on the notes pretty much, but no one turned around. I was surprised by this unil I heard one of the judges tell him..."All I heard was you singing a song." And I thought...well isn't that the point? But no it wasn't. Anyone can sing a song, good or bad, but it's what you do with those lyrics that are going to make the judges hit that button and spin those chairs or not. Same rule applies to writing. Your judges are readers and even though some never turn their chair, try not to take it personally, consider you might be singing in a genre they don't care for.
Before I began to write novels, I wrote comedy for the live theatre. Full length plays. Mostly British farces. The shows I wrote from my heart, the shows that made me laugh while writing them, usually were hit shows and audience pleasers. The shows where I forced the comedy and TRIED to be funny, usually fell flat on it's face. The audience knew and so did the reviewers. Readers can tell when you're putting them on. But it's not always bad news to write something that isn't your best work because it teaches what not to do next time and hopefully if you do start to do it again, you will recognize it and avoid it.
So, my current novel, "Forever ME" is from the heart. So much so I actually cried writing the final two chapters. I allowed myself to become consumed into the world I created and it was an experience that far exceeded my comedy writing. "Forever ME" is inspired by true events, when I learned about a group of amazing girls from a Texas high school who took the subject of how you look and turned it on it's head, I was awestruck. The five minute segment on the morning news was all I needed to be off and running. The book is now just beginning to gain some ground, but at the same time, it's my desire to keep alive the message these young women so boldy embraced. Will this sell more books? Who can say, but if I never sold another copy, I learned and grew as a writer and that is always a step in the right direction.