Monday, May 11, 2015

If Something Isn't Working, It Might Be Time To Change

I get it. Change is tough. But change is going to occur and we always have to find a way to go with the flow of things, and yes, this does mean you might have to change too.

In the publishing world, as we talked a lot last week, what is selling and what works is dependent on the consumers. If the consumers are buying the genre you write, then you are sitting pretty good. But, if that genre is not the "in thing" right now, then you have two choices.

  1. Stick with what you are writing and hope things get better.
  2. Make a change and adapt to the market.
Either option is entirely up to you. No one is forcing you to make a change. But each does have its pros and cons.

Sticking with your genre might mean sales are simply not there. You cannot just think you are going to continue writing what isn't selling and make the readers buy it. Remember, they too have a choice and if the market says they aren't buying, then they aren't.

We see this a lot with "fan lit", or some of those more specific sub-genres. These are those stories that come out of the blue and suddenly become all the rage. And yet, as fast as they come into the light, they disappear just as fast. Consider the Jane Austen rage a while ago. Authors really made a killing if he or she could duplicate that Austen voice. But eventually, the market moved on, If an author didn't move on as well, they ended up with a lot of unsold books and contracts that didn't sell to their full potential.

Now the change in the market can also be tough. It doesn't have to be though. Let's look at the hard shift first. If you are in one of those "fan lit" genres, and you try to shift to a newer "fan lit" it means you have to learn that whole new style. This is going to take a lot of time and, unfortunately, when you do figure it out, the market may have shifted again.

But let's take a look at the easier shift. Let's say you are writing in the historical genre. You are writing in the Regency period and the market is starting to shift to later and later times. Maybe as far as Victorian. Yes, the times were different, but you are just progressing along with the same changes your characters were facing. Downton Abbey did a great job with this as they moved people closer and closer into the 1920's.

When we said change was tough and writing was tough, it wasn't so much about the actual writing or the marketing. It is more about the tough decisions you have to make as an author.

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