Well, you looked at your bookshelf, but still can’t decide what to write. You’ve also determined the key elements to develop your author brand. What’s the next process? You begin looking at what’s hot in the market and who the trendsetters are in the publishing industry.
If you were looking at who’s trending right now, there are the blatantly obvious writers that are currently unstoppable juggernauts. Who’d you think of? Suzaane Collins? Check. Robert Kirkman? Check. George R.R. Martin? Check.
Yes they are doing amazing work, like designing zombie fighting vehicles or making people go crazy over the shock and awe of who they kill off. But they are the exception, not the rule of what writers should expect in terms of outcome.
Trends are easy to follow, they’re heavily discussed and because it seems so easy to capitalize, as book after book is published and sales continue, you begin to wonder if you should write a book in a genre or style that is on fire right now.
You can also look at Susan Sundwall’s article on Writing to Trends, which analyzes much more than just the writing world.
For unpublished writers there are so many reasons you should not do this.
- If you haven’t been published, or aren’t represented yet, think about the timeframe it will take you to write the book, revise it enough to be of a publishable quality, find an agent, go through those edits, then try to get the book to a publisher, go through more edits, then get the cover design, create the marketing plan for where the book will be sold, and then finally hit shelves. Do you think that trend will still be hot? That’s what I thought. Of course, Calista Taylor had a bit of a counter-argument if you can catch the trend early.
- Will the trend be something you’re simply trying to cash in on, or is it something you’re truly passionate about? Because unless you want to read it yourself, you shouldn’t write it. And if it were jumping on the “50 Shades of Grey” phenomenon, would you actually want your name on it, or take on a pen name? I personally say, unless you want to shout from the rooftops that you created the work, it’s not worth your time. Margie Brimer, of The Write Niche, has a marvelous analysis of both the good and bad and poses many of the same questions.
- What happens if it works? What happens if, by some chance, you publish a book in the latest trend? Then what? You’ve established that you are a writer of a temporarily hot item. After that, you’re going to have to shake that moniker if you want to write anything else.
- Wouldn’t you rather be the next trendsetter as opposed to another follower?
Instead of simply writing for trends or what the market is looking for, create a work that is so irresistible, it will sell even if the subject is seemingly outdated and taboo. There is always a market for incredible work. Blog Trends even says, write what you know.
So where do you stand? While pretty firm on the topic, one could always be swayed via logical argument. Sound off in the comments section. Feel free to kick of a Twitter debate @thomasafowler with #WritersConquest.
Be sure to check out last week’s topics as well: