Monday, April 5, 2010

Chasing the Market: Who Do You Write For?

It's time for another Blog Chain, and this time we have some new members! Make sure to follow all the links in the chain to read everyone's responses ;).

This time around, Michelle asked:

Do you write for the market or for yourself? Why? Are there times you do both? Or times when you've written something specifically because it was "hot" at the moment? If so, how did it turn out?

This is a question I think every writer should ask themselves at least once. Do you want to try to chase a trend? Why or why not?

When I thought about this, I came to a two conclusions:

1) Publishing is SLOW. Mud pit, prehistoric, glacial kind of slow. Slow like a sleep deprived snail covered in molasses. This means that by the time you spot a trend, write a book about said trend, and send it to agents... that trend will have been over for two years. Everyone will be saying "ugh, that is SO 2010!" when they read your manuscript.

2) If I try to write something I don't LOVE, it's going to suck. Could I really spend six months to a year writing about something I'm not fully, passionately, head-over-heels about? No. Could I face rejection on a manuscript I'm not in love with? No. Is it worth my time? Yeah... not so much.

I think the most important thing in this business is to enjoy the journey while keeping your hopes practical. Don't waste your own time. If you're not loving what you're doing, then what's the point? It's not about the destination, as corny as that sounds, because let's face it. We might not get where we want to. Will it still be worth it to us? Only if we're doing it out of love, and not chasing after trends ;).

What do you guys think? How would you answer this question?

Stay tuned for Shannen's answer next! (Link coming soon..)

21 comments:

Dawn Embers said...

That is a good question. I don't write trends and I rarely read them either. Like the whole vampire one, not interested. On the other hand, I have an idea for a series where the main character (and the rest of the species) has some similarities to vampires. I didn't think of it because vamps are hot, and in fact I refuse to call them vampires. But I'm writing it because the idea wants to be told, and it's one of few novel ideas I have that has a female main character.

It would be hard for me to be trend fitting in general because of one major character detail that almost every single main character has (and there are many characters and books planned). Almost all of them are gay/bi/lesbian/transgender. Gay is the predominant one. Hard to imagine that being a trend, though I can wish (since I think there need to be way more books that are much easier to find with those types of main characters).

國男皓云 said...

以簡單的行為愉悅他人的心靈,勝過千人低頭禱告........................................

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I wish the spamming trend would go away! But yes, you make very good points.

Michelle H. said...

I've never fit into the current trend for anything. Why break my winning streak now? Good post.

Slow like a sleep deprived snail covered in molasses

Why, that is slow!

Christine Fonseca said...

NIce!

Mandy said...

Great post Rebecca! I think you're right, you've got to keep your expectations realistic no matter how hard that might be. Passion is essential to an authentic story and the reader will know if you don't like what you're writing about.

Robin of My Two Blessings said...

Excellent! " If I try to write something I don't LOVE, it's going to suck"

Couldn't agree with you more. A big part of writing is the passion and if I don't love my subject, it will probably show up in my writing. Have seen that with class papers - they come out stilted, but good enough for class. Different mind set for writing creatively. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

T.S. Bazelli said...

I completely agree! If I didn't write about something I cared about I don't think I'd ever be able to get to the end of the story. The market will be completely different by the time the book is published so it seems pointless to worry about.

Nisa said...

I completely agree with your assessments. Great answer!

Ann said...

It has to be about what we love or else what's the point. Nice post.

lbdiamond said...

Great post! I completely agree--by the time you finish what's "hot" for the market, the trend has passed. And if it's not what you love, it's really hard to go through the process of revising twelve thousand times...well, maybe not twelve thousand, but, you know. ;)

Michelle McLean said...

very good point - life is too short to spend so much time on something you don't love :) Great post!

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

I was trying to explain the whole "publishing is slow" thing to my husband the other day - maybe I'll just have him read your excellent description here;)

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Great post. I'm in the "I have to write something I love" club. When I started my current project I did it because I needed to know what would happen, who the characters were etc.
I don't think I could have spent the last six months writing something I didn't love.
I agree about trends too.
I was in a bookstore the other day and a guy asked his friend why there were so many vampire books out. That's why I won't write to trends. By the time everyone else's book comes out people are getting sick of the current hot topic. lol.

Shaun Hutchinson said...

So right with this. Especially the part about writing something you love. I've been in that situation where I was trying to work on something that I just wasn't loving. But I kept trying anyway. The harder I tried, the more it sucked. If you don't 200% love what you're writing, people can tell.

Abby Annis said...

Great points, Becca! :)

Sarah Bromley said...

This a great post, Rebecca! And, yes, publishing is incredibly sloooooow, which points out why writing for the trend is akin to spinning your wheels.

B.J. Anderson said...

Absolutely!!

Doreen McGettigan said...

I have been writing so much sadness..I am so excited to be jumping into a happier subject!!

nomadshan said...

Agree! I'm a firm follower of "write what you would want to read." If you write it well, there are bound to be other people who want to read it, too.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I'm like nomadshan, I write what I like to read. In my main character, the undead Texas Ranger, Samuel McCord, I can write anything from historical fantasy {RITES OF PASSAGE set in 1853}, alternate history {AN ARIA FOR HITLER,} to urban fantasy {FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE} to YA told through the eyes of a 12 year old detailing his adventures with the undead Ranger {CAPTAIN OUTRAGEOUS - which is a bit of AUNTIE MAME, TWILIGHT ZONE, and JONAH HEX.}

But if your heart is not in your writing, it will show. And it will be a terrible chore. Why do that to yourself? Roland