Writer’s Intuition

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How much do you rely on intuition, gut feelings, whilst you are writing, planning and choosing the avenues you will use to market your books?

I’ve had quite a few recent conversations with authors who are trying to decide whether or not they will stick with independent publishing or if they will try their hand at traditional. One of the things I have noticed during these conversations, is that these authors tend to ignore a lot of the market trends, the information about publishing or what is currently being said about odds, and go with instinct.

So, what about you? Do you rely more on what numbers, graphs and general opinion says about your odds of success in a venture, or do you listen to the inner voice and trust your feelings?

Do you ever stay away from something just because you have a bad feeling about it?



25 thoughts on “Writer’s Intuition

  1. Whoa great questions. I use my gut which has been refined by years of trial and error. (mostly error) Once I make a decision, I try to check with prevailing research and if the research leads to a conclusion that the opposite decision should be made, I go with my gut. On the “go with traditional publishing” question I don’t know how anyone would want that much pain if they are already self published. I am thinking of going the opposite direction since the rewards of a traditional indie publish route are minor.


    • I tend to go with gut feelings too. I do look at the market, but ultimately I trust my first instincts. Great response! I have been mostly on a course of errors too, but I’ve learned a lot!


  2. I think I’m more intuition and experimentation. I’ve slowly built up a collection of marketing sites that I use and I’ve dropped a few over time. There are some things that I have a gut feeling against like ‘Perma Free’. I simply don’t feel comfortable doing it because I don’t think it will help me in the long run. Could be that my experience with free periods hasn’t been helpful, but again that’s just my own feelings.

    Early on I spent a lot of time with numbers, but I don’t do it as much. I use what has worked in the past and what feels right. This comes from learning that what gets sales for one author doesn’t always work for another. So it really is about finding your own path.


    • Definitely. I don’t think there is a right way or a wrong way. Things like situation and time limitations make decisions easier or harder for us as authors a lot of the time too.


      • Good point. Some people can market all day or dump a lot of money into marketing. Others have to do stuff late at night and use free mediums. It’s all about working with what you have and determining what your goal is. An author who is focused on making a living will do things differently than one who is in it solely for fun.


  3. I’ve decided to mostly use word of mouth, hoping those that do read will tell others, to me this is the best advertisement and endorsement. In my mind it doesn’t matter how good I say my own work is, I wrote it so of course I’m going to say it’s good, but people will just tune out what I say because of my bias. Also I should not be an example of a business model for authors hoping to make a living off writing as my goal has nothing to do with making money, but with producing the best writing I can, that is where I want to put my energy. I only have so much time and energy and if I start diverting to things other than producing I will limit my ability to write in the deliberate manner which requires most of my focus.

    I spent five years in direct marketing and target marketing and I could apply those things I’ve learned if I chose to, but I find a lot of marketing is deceptive practice and return from things like ads and the like is around the one to two percent range. I figure if my works warrant it, over time it will pan out, even if it is post-humus.

    As for going with traditional publishing, I would need to maintain full creative control and final approval which very few publishers will give to an unknown author.


  4. With writing, I write what I want to write without consideration for the market. And the writing itself is very much based on intuition and gut instinct. I don’t outline much. I just start writing and see where the idea takes me. With the post-writing process … Bah! I’m souring on self-publishing for myself because I haven’t figured out how to crack that nut.


  5. I write through my emotions so that is certainly intuitive and by the gut. Marketing? I think about that more now that I am planning a series rather than a stand alone, especially changing genres. With my first book, I was so new, I really didn’t have a plan. With my last book…one that was shelved before it was finished, I DID think it would be a challenge to market it, and that may have played into why I was blocked and could not finish it. I did have a bad feeling about it. With my current series, even without the first book being edited and completed, I am rolling around the marketing ideas. I am listening to the inner voice and trusting my feelings, though, not looking at data. I know I don’t want 10,000 twitter followers if all I do is annoy them…that would be counter productive.


    • I understand what you mean about the followers. I suspect all I do is annoy mine 🙂 it is also harder with certain genres I think than others to decide which route to take. Some genres seem to always be popular whilst others seem to follow movies and only certain periods are active.


  6. I’m indie all the way, forget my instincts and forget the numbers. Maybe I was just born that way. Or maybe it’s the squirrels. 🙂

    If I have a bad feeling about something, though… well it’s pretty hard not to stay away from that…


  7. I’ve self-published my first novel and I’ll self-publish my second later this year. For me it’s a no-brainer – do I wait around for ages for an agent to respond to my application, and then again, if and when I get an agent, for a publisher to take me on OR do I publish when I want to without the wait?

    I know a lot of people would disagree with me, but self-publishing is what appeals to me most.


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