Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Should Authors Write For The Market?

There are lots of e-mails being exchanged recently in groups and forums that encourage new writers to ignore the fickleness of the current market and write what you love. To write from passion for your subject and remain true to our characters who demand their story be told, not to fit any criteria set by the publishing market.

Noble perhaps, but not very practical when the competition for authors has never been this fierce and publishers not only demand a genre specific story that is atmospheric and original, but perfectly written too, so they don't need to spend time and money on editing your work.

Write what you love is fine when you are already on a publisher's list and have some leeway to be adventurous, but as a relatively new novelist, I can't afford to be too reactionary. If I follow a few genre rules and write for the market, this may get me recognised, then that market might allow me to indulge my passion for a story that, although it may not tick all the boxes, might open up a few more.

I am currently trying to write a novel that fits what is required, but I have set it in an era I love and know something about. My imagination is being stretched as I get into the head of a subject I may not have chosen otherwise, nor had sympathy with had I met her in the 17th century royal court.

I'm growing to love her though, and hope I can portray her as she really was.

5 comments:

Jen Black said...

You seem to be writing several stories at once according to the graph on the left! It will be interesting to see if you love/hate your new character in six months time.
Jen

N. Gemini Sasson said...

Perhaps another way to look at it is to ask ourselves whether we're writing something solely for ourselves or something for others to enjoy, as well? I think it's entirely possible, as you mentioned, to keep the reading audience in mind while finding something within that range of what's selling that will inspire us as writers.

Lisa Yarde said...

You know where I stand on this one, Anita. If you're not passionate and interested in the subject or characters, it's even harder to sell. But this is probably why I'll never be published at this rate. If you can the balance between what you love AND what sells, then go for it.

Carolin said...

I'm with Lisa on that one. I admire you for being able to a) write more than one story at a time, and b) for adapting to the genre requirements of our times. But if I'm not interested/passionate about the character/story, I can't write convincingly. Don't get me wrong, I'm trying to incorporate all the various tips I get from you and others and improve my writing, but I determine what the story will be and what ingredients I consider necessary. So maybe, like Lisa fears for herself, I may never get published.... Ah, well, that's why I keep my day job :-)

Anne Whitfield - author said...

Great post, Anita.
Passion is the key. I know you can do it!

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