Why I Don’t Write Stories For Market

I admit that I never wrote a story thinking “Everyone’s going to love this!” By the time I started writing stories, I was 27 and aware that my taste in films and books weren’t always mainstream. Of course, there’s mainstream things I enjoy, but the stories I liked the most seemed to be less well known films or books. Indie pieces can certainly do well – and sometimes they even become big. If writing for market could make me more money as an author, why didn’t I just bite the bullet and try to write something everyone would love?

#1 You can’t actually please everyone no matter what you write.

My first book was actually a Christian fantasy novel. While I knew that it would likely only end up in Christian bookstores, I figured it would have a fair chance at being discovered with there being several Christian fantasy and spec fiction authors out there. What I didn’t know when I wrote the book was that Christian fantasy is a hard sell. I didn’t look that deeply into it, because I was so excited to finally complete a story that I was passionate about. After so many failed attempts to finish a novel, I finally did it! I started querying agents who represented Christian fantasy and one responded to me honestly saying that she loved the story’s premise, but it was a hard sell. After self-publishing that first novel, I paid for a book blog tour service and learned that many non-Christian people were quite angered at the fact that my book had a Christian message. I don’t regret writing what I did, because it was the story I wanted to write at that time and I knew that I would write many more after it.

Case in point: Check out the reviews for any best seller. There will always be bad ratings. Whether your book becomes popular or obscure, there will always be people who dislike what you wrote for various reasons. There will also be people who can see the vision you had for the story and will connect with it well. You can’t please every reader, so writing for market already starts you off on the wrong foot by caring more about what people will think.

#2 Markets can change

Any creative industry can change like the wind – trends and fads come and go. What’s hot one month or one year could be meh the following month or year. Say you start writing a book about time traveling during a time when a lot of stories centered around that are becoming popular – the trend could be over by the time you’ve finished the book. It also doesn’t mean your book will do well just because it’s in a genre that is popular. Maybe the genre is right, but the elements that a particular agent is looking for aren’t there. You can’t really predict how the market will shift or change.

#3 Writing what you love is more authentic

Writing the book you want to write will come across as more authentic to the people who do read it – whether it’s popular or not. No one’s perfect, but I think as a writer it’s far more satisfying to know you wrote something you genuinely enjoyed than wrote something just because you thought it could be popular.

#4 Many literary agents/publishers recommend not writing for market

It’s not recommended by most agents/publishers to write for trends. As I mentioned earlier, trends change and if you’re going to write something, it might as well be authentic to you because there’s a chance it won’t be represented by a big publisher. Most agents will tell any writer to write what they love then look for an agent AFTER they have completed their book (Assuming they want to be represented by a publisher).

At the end of the day, I think most writers end up writing what they love and enjoy. I don’t think anyone could literally write just for market. It tends to be the people who don’t write who recommend writing a book that most people would like, as though that were the only piece of the author success puzzle (and they think someone can just snap their fingers and come up with a best selling book effortlessly). Little do they know, many of the best selling authors weren’t trying to become famous (some began as self-published authors) and the more obscure authors are happy even when a few people enjoyed their work. I don’t think a lot of people realize how much work it takes to sell a few copies per month; if you’ve been able to do that, you’re definitely doing something right.

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Thank you so much for reading today. 🙂

25 comments

  1. That sounds like good advice. Chasing trends and markets is for people selling clothes. Like you say you should write what you love and take it from there. That creates a genuine author’s legacy. I can add I really enjoyed your books that I’ve read so far.

  2. You have raised good points, Sara. Just keep writing for yourself and enjoy the process. People may or may not like what you write, but instead of going after the trend, just follow your inner instincts, and write what pleases you.
    Happy New Year.

    • I have written a few fantasy books. :3 I mean moreso that authentic writing is based on how you want the story to go – not someone else. I’m venturing into other things. I gave writing my all and now I’ve lost interest lol! But I wanted to pay homage to all the work I did put in, and all the stories I have written. I’ll keep promoting them. 🙂

  3. Can definitely relate to this! Thanks for explaining it so clearly – some excellent reasons here well worth remembering 🙂

  4. Writing books require great patience, creative brain and highly attentive mind. Writing what you love and get appreciated for that work is a pure bliss. Though sales, is still unpredictable. Wish you luck in your writing journey as an author.

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