Saturday, October 26, 2013
Write What You Love and Publication will Follow
Back in the 80s a book was published called "Do what you Love and the Money Will follow." I never got around to reading that book, but I always was intrigued by the title. Sometimes I thought it was genius. Other times ... well I don't use that type of language. But the older I got, I began to see the true meaning of that comment.
We too often get our careers backwards. We start with what has the highest salaries instead of what
The same holds true of writing. I've had writing students come into class with the first question being, "So, what is selling now?" It is as if they are saying, "I am not a unique person with a unique vision to share. I am simply a merchant looking for the right product to sell."
Certainly, one needs to be aware of publishing trends. Selling cozy mysteries, like I write is a bit harder than selling the more hard boiled PI or police procedural. That means I have to find my audience and be creative in reaching them. It also means, I'll have better luck with indie publishing or small publishers than with the Big Six who tend to play it safe with the trends.
What it does NOT mean is that I should not write cozy mysteries. There is a market for them. I just have to find them. But more important than that, I am likely to be more enthusiastic in my writing of a cozy, than a police procedural. That means I will do a better job, which in turn means, more people will recommend my books to their friends which will lead to more sales.
I know, some of you are saying, that's all well and good if you are an indie and control what does and does not get published yourself. But what about traditional authors? Well, this is where the indie publishing revolution can help traditional authors. Go ahead and write your passion. If your publisher or agent doesn't like it and you do, tell them you will just go indie with it. You might frame it as "test marketing." But you are no longer held hostage to a survey showing a decrease in sales of cozies nation wide. You can prove an interest in solid sales.
However, even if you do not go that route, your writing will be better if you write what you love. That means you will get a better reading from an editor or agent than if you just turned out something to fit into a trend.
Yes, if you write what you love, publication will follow, but more importantly you will also love what you write.