Monday, December 22, 2008

Following the Market

This one is always a tough one with me (and with many authors). If a writer wants to be commercial and write for a living, it is crucial that you follow the trends that are out there. This means that you can not always write what you want to write, but write what is in demand.

Now I know what you are thinking. What about the concept of not following trends. You need to understand that I am an not saying to follow the trends. Continue to write in your own genres, but within those, see what is acceptable out there. You have the freedom to push boundaries but within a limit. If the market is not ready for that approach in your writing, you just will not sell it.

Again, this is a tough thing to consider. We want to write what is in our heart. I talk to writers that feel this way all of the time and it is very disappointing when they see a story idea, they are all enthusiastic about it, but then find the story will not work, at least right now.

I will tell you though, sometimes the only people who will know are the marketing people within the editorial houses. Everyone may love the idea, but it might not be strong enough to withstand the marketing department. They're the ones who run the numbers.

So, before you dive into your next project. Before you continue any further with a current WIP, stop and ask yourself if the idea will work. This is the best you can do. And also remember, just because it isn't on the shelf right now does not mean the story is in demand. It might mean the story is just not going to work with the current audience.

Happy writing.


  1. So you're basically saying we should try to be marketable?
    Have a great holiday!

  2. It is amazing how many people write stories that would never sell in the least bit. I see this a lot with people who write non-fiction and especially biographies. I met a person at a national conference that was writing her biography. I kept asking her what the market would be and her only answer was, "but my story has to be told." I agreed with her but the question was simply, who, other than her family would be interested in it? Nothing personal but there has to be a market. You know, I think I have a great life and love to tell people about it, but I honestly don't know who would really be interested in it.

  3. What I've learned about writing to "The Market" is to look at continuously popular tropes (in my case, historical romance) and find a way to make them unique and my own. For example, long before the Edwardian era began to grow acceptable, I would look at popular Regency plots and try to work them into the 1890s/1900s. Writing to the market is a lot easier than it sounds, IMO.