I understand the reasoning behind writing a story that fits the current book trends. Many people write for the love of it, but they also hope to sell their book once it’s done. I personally don’t write for market for a couple of reasons.
Reason # 1 Writing What You Love Will Produce Your Best Writing
Some say to write what you know and that may work for some people. I think writing what you love will bring the most authentic results in the long run. If you genuinely love what you’re writing, the people who read it will sense this and they will probably connect more with the characters or the story. If you write something just because you think it might sell you more books, the story might fall flat or will seem forced.
Reason # 2 Trends Change
Let’s say you wrote a book that’s right on point with what literary agents and popular book bloggers are asking for at the moment. By the time it’s been through the editing/revising process, that genre may already be saturated and another trend has already become more popular. Imagine writing something only because you thought it would impress an agent only to realize that they’re tired of the concept now and want something fresher, newer. This is why you should write what you love. At least you’ll love the story you’ve created whether it gets published or not.
Reason # 3 You Could Start A New Trend
There’s a saying I’ve heard a few traditionally published authors say and it goes like this: “There are exceptions to the rule, but it’s never you.” I disagree with this thought process, because people become exceptions to the rules all the time. There’s a lot of negative statements being made out there about writers who don’t follow trends or who don’t learn the rules never getting chosen by an agent or a publisher. This is of course not true. Yes, most agents are conservative with what they represent and they won’t always take a chance on something different, but some do have the liberty to take a chance on a new author with that fresh new concept.
Think of 50 Shades Of Grey – this concept was not a trend at the time that it became popular and it was actually based on fan fiction. The author published it at the right time and reached the right people, so it ended up selling her millions of copies. Is she an exception to the rule? Yes, definitely. Did some people hate the quality of the writing and think the story is crap? Certainly. But the point is she wrote what she loved and it worked in her favour. She’s not the only one who wrote from the heart and ended up getting published.
I’ve followed a literary agents blog for years. A lot of the success stories I’ve read where authors become represented focused on how unique or fresh their idea was then the agent loved it. Sometimes, it pays off to stand out from the slush pile. The key is to write what you love *well*.
Reason # 4 Being A Bestseller Isn’t Everything
All writers have dreams of making an income off their writing. However, being represented by a big company and suddenly having thousands of books out there has its own set of challenges. You might be expected to start writing for market or to write what your agent asks of you. I’ve heard of authors getting burnt out when the hobby they once loved becomes a chore that they have to complete to impress other people. It goes with the territory, of course. If a company is going to give you a $10,000 advance to represent you, they’re going to expect you to work hard and be compliant with what they want you to write.
I always liked the idea of writing a cult classic and having a smaller, but steady readership. There are small presses that may take a chance on quirkier or different stories because they’re already known for not being mainstream. I think making a modest income from writing would be a happy medium. You’re making money doing what you love, but you’re not expected to sell your soul either. Now, if only it were that easy to choose how your writing path will go. 😉
Bloggers, do you write novels? Have you published any of them? What are your thoughts about writing for trends?