Monday, November 25, 2019

What & Who You Should Be Researching

When you talk to authors about researching, they often focus on things they are doing for their current work in progress. There is, however, a different level of researching that every author, published or not, should be focusing on. This would simply be authors and titles in the genre you are writing. You have to keep up with what is going on in the industry, who is doing what, and how the stories are now being crafted. But remember, you don't just read anything or anyone. There is a science to this.

And for those of you who are still waiting to get "the call" this is infinitely an important skill to learn.

Let's start with who you should be reading. Too often, new authors read those powerful best-seller authors. While this is great reading, it is not where you should be reading and the reason behind this is pretty simple. They are so established, they can pretty much get away with doing what ever they want. This is not going to give you a sense of trends or patterns. Focus instead on those newer authors. These are the people who are really still under the full guidance of those editors. This is how you get into the heads of the editors and publishers.

The other reason for reading these newer authors is that it gives you a sense of what the editors are currently interested in. Again, those established authors can do what they want. Your focus is what and why those editors just signed a particular author. You can also do this by following deal trackers such as those in Publisher's Marketplace. Once you see what a particular publisher signed, go to that author's website and see what they are doing.

Now, let's focus in on what you should be looking for. Go beyond the plots. Yes, that is a good start, but also focus on the style of the writing. This would be things such as use of plot devices, which tropes seem to selling, use of backstory/narration, use of secondary characters and so forth.

I would also encourage you to focus in on the publisher you are interested in working with. Reading everyone is not going to help. If you want to write for Kensington then read only Kensington. Get a true sense of that voice.

Trust me. Good research WILL help!