Is your writing in, or out? That's always the big question in a world where every publishing house is looking for the next big blockbuster. Often company execs think they want one type of book, and by happenstance, publish another that shoots to the top because readers are captivated by writing they've never seen before — or not in a long time, anyway — or by beguiling characters. Publishers immediately start looking for another such bestseller, with thousands of writers attempting to copy that success.
The question becomes, should you write for the market, or, as countless writing instructors suggest, write what you love?
This question is worth contemplating, because the answer can help you address your anxiety level as well as your attempts to get your work published.
Writing for the Market: The Pros and Cons
If you write for the market, you might have a better chance at getting published. You're also much more likely to 1. read that type of literature and know the key elements and/or formulas for success, 2. know who publishes what you write, and 3. be able to compare your book to bestsellers. Then again, you might be competing with hundreds or thousands of other writers who are attempting to cash in on the trend. That and if you don't write quickly enough, the trend may pass before you've had a chance to jump in.
Not Writing for the Market: The Pros and Cons
Deciding to write what you want is a decidedly noble gesture. You're going to buck the system, strike out on your own, earn your success on your own terms. Who could not find such an exertion of individuality stimulating? Besides having the satisfaction of passion about what you're writing, you're also much more likely to be innovative. The downside, however, is that you're less likely to get your work published. In a perfect world, creating something new would be rewarded. But alas, publishers often don't buy work they don't know how to market.
Rather than choosing one or the other, you could do as my friend Martha Alderson, author of Blockbuster Plots, Pure & Simple, suggests and determine what you want to write, then incorporate key elements that appeal to the current market.
What do you think? How do you decide what to write?
Need some help? Here are a few resources:
Deciding What to Write in an Editorial
Article Writing: Deciding What to Write About, Quickly and Easily
How to Write a Resume That Gets the Job Done (very applicable to query letter writing)
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