Friday, April 16, 2010

Write a Dang Good Story and Start a Trend

Despite what many people seem to think, I do believe that editors (and yes, agents) follow trends. The funny part is that they start the trends and then follow the trends, even though we all say we don't.

Let's examine this for a moment...

Twilight comes out and suddenly editors are begging for more teen vamp stories because the buyers are just digging Edward and Bella. Outlander came out and we were flooded with timetravels. You get the idea. The thing is, someone comes out witha great story that is truly unique and that person starts the new trend. We're not saying the writer wrote something totally bizarre but all of the pieces of the puzzle was there for the reader. You hooked us.

When we sit on agent/editor panels and are asked about trends, we tell you what is selling right now. Does that mean you should jump on that bandwagon? I still say no. I lean in the direction that many editors and agents take with this answer. "I want you to writer a dang good story. I want characters we fall for, a premise that is unique, a plot that keeps me going. I want a good story - simple as that!"

I do admit that as an agent, I find writing this as being very difficult. I'm really caught in the middle here. I am sure the editors are finding the same thing. They want to buy that new and unique story, but they simply can't run the risk of buying something that won't sell. Financially, it isn't worth the risk. But then there is that other side of me that says let's see what happens. Let's take that chance and gamble. Who knows. The story might be the next greatest thing. Maybe this time it will be the big one.


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  2. Hoo boy. Thanks for being the first one to actually tell the truth about this issue. Agents beg for "fresh and different" and immediately turn down F & D because it doesn't sound just like a S. Meyer or D. Brown story. And of course the industry is invariably caught off-guard by what actually DOES become a bestseller every time. Every time! So after the fact they are all chasing hysterically after what appears to be the next Brown or Meyer clone.
    I have no idea how to deal with this. All I can say is that it's nothing personal, and it is not. Now, who is holding the Prozac?
    This would be one more reason to SP. Check out the progress up the charts of "The Fiddler's Gun," a beautifully written and produced SP book that is climbing fast.
    If an author does not believe in his story, who will? Bet he gets an offer from the industry now. Nice job there.
    Perhaps this is the future for most new authors. Publish it yourself first, and after the fact, if it catches on, an agent may actually take second chance on the thing.