Monday, October 29, 2012

ABC's of Writing - (K)now Your Market

Writing is a business. Your manuscript is a product you are selling to a buyer, whether that is an agent, publisher, and certainly, the readers. With that in mind, it is an imperative that you know your market and know what will sell or not.

We have talked about this extensively when it comes to submitting your projects for consideration. Today, I want to extend that line of thought simply to the actual writing of the story. When you are writing the actual book, you have to always keep an eye out for the marketablity of your project. I do think there are far too many authors out there who seem to forget this. They have started to convince themself that "if the story is good, if the writing is excellent, people will buy it." This is, unfortunatly, a huge misconception. Now, don't get me wrong. There are people out there who might buy your book. What I am focusing on here deals with "real sales."

I have sat on a lot of panels with editors who have highlighted this same thought. We are often asked what type of ideas will simply not fly with editors (and yes agents). A good example of this would be stories where kids are being killed in cold blood. We were looking at one in particular during a cold read and the author had this person who was an assassin (who, by the way, was the protagonist) killing kids off in cold blood at the beginning of the story. This simply isn't going to work.

In most cases, the best way to think about this would be situations that, for the most part, are morally objectionable.

The other angle of the marketablity is really stopping to think of who your potential consumers might be. Are there really A LOT of people out there interested in your topic? Unfortunately, memoirs often fall into this area. Telling your story, or the story of your grandmother might be interesting to you, but if there is no real "high concept"for the story, that unique thing that stands out, then the story will likely not be marketable. Sure, grandma is important to your family, but that might be where the sales stop.

Just think about this before you start writing. Really do a market research study before wasting too much time on something that may have little or no potential for sales.


No comments:

Post a Comment