Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Something to Consider

Writers are often told it's pointless to chase the market. By the time your book is ready, the market will have moved on. Write a young adult book about wizards and everyone wants religious symbol thrillers. Write one of those and the world has moved on to vampires. Write a vampire story and it's minotaurs everyone wants.

"Write what you'd like to read." Makes sense, since you're going to be reading the hell out of it for a year or more. No point going over and over something you don't want to read in the first place. There's a catch to this, too. What if your tastes aren't mainstream enough?

For most writers, I'm willing to wait for the paperback to come out. There are a small handful for whom that doesn't cut it. I want the new book as soon as it comes out. (Sooner, if I can wrangle an advance copy out of them.) Only one has a secure income from writing alone. One works a day job. Another works his ass off as a freelance writer, doesn't even have a contract now. Another has just written a book that I think nudges its way into masterpiece territory, and may lose his contract.

Most of their books don't sell well, though all of them write rings around me. And they're who come to mind when I sit down to "write what I'd like to read." Explains a lot about my level of success.

1 comment:

Charlieopera said...

This is interesting. I recently had a conversation with my agent about new writing territories and honestly thought I might pursue some (or all) of them. I went out and asked some reviewers I trust to recommend some books in those venues. I ordered them on amazon and started to read a few but could not finish them. I'm sure they aren't bad books (and the authors are certainly doing better than I am) so I suspect they just weren't for me. Then I tried something else new (I had long tried a few literary pieces and two have (or remain) close to being hawked--which is not the same as sold) ... so I'm giving it an honest effort but don't expect anything ... in fact, I may be going to dog grooming school (I need something else for my distinguished resume). Why dog grooming school? Because I'll never work 2 jobs "on the books" again because of the taxes they took from us two years ago (to give Goldman sachs) and I'm too old to be a macho asshole "connected" guy any more ... and besides, my old fantasy connections are either in jail, just getting out or in witness protection--and the times, they have changed pretty dramatically in that industry. At least this way something of what I earn can go south (and I can earn my keep).

My advice is make it (writing) a hobby (and pursue it with all your heart and soul--you have more than enough talent) and hope it turns into something lucrative down the road ... but write what you know and experiment however you want ... just enjoy the process and make the best of it. Don't sweat out the small stuff (like making a living)... it's seriously overrated.