Monday, August 14, 2017

Before You Start: Does Your Story Have A Market?

I am sure every writer out there has done this some time in their past. Out of the blue, you come up with "THE PERFECT" story to be written. It is unique. It is fresh. It is hot and sexy. You can even see how the story will translate perfectly into a made for TV movie, or even the big screen. In most cases, you have even decided on who will play the characters and maybe even drafted your acceptance speech at the Oscars.

But, in all of this excitement, there is one piece you may have forgotten to consider and is necessary. Will this story even fit in the market today? Is there a place on the bookshelf in the bookstore for your story? Will anyone buy it?

Too often, writers simply start writing and then wonder why not editor or agent is interested in buying the story. They know the writing is good. Their friends have told them the story is great. But it simply does not sell. Now, part of this is that they have people who are a bit biased when it comes to the reading, but the bigger issue might simply be there was not market research done.

One of the roles of an agent is to work with authors before they commit a lot of time to a project. They don't want to dedicate too much time to a project, just to find that the story will simply not sell.

Market research is tough since we really don't know what it will be like a year from now, but there are a lot of things an author can do to minimize some of the damage.

Consider looking at the characters. Are these people who a reader would want to connect with? Are these people we would want to feel sympathy towards, or are we simply going to want to close the book and let them flounder.

Is the premise of the story something that really would work out. In other words, can we develop a plot that has purpose and meaning? Is there a real conflict in the story or is this simply a complication?

We can also look to see if this story is too similar to other projects already out there. Sure, common tropes are fine, but if someone on the outside picks this novel up and feels a sense of having already read it somewhere else, the book is not going to sell.

I know you may be overly excited about that project, but please, consider taking the time to think it through first. Not doing this may result in you losing valuable time that could have been spent on something that would sell.

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