Blog Hop, Insecure Writer's Support Group

What the People Want

Insecure Writer's Support GroupSomething I’ve been thinking about a lot, is writing to market. This is when an author either picks up on a current popular trend, or predicts an upcoming trend, and specifically writes for that market, to, hopefully, hit upon a bestseller by simply writing what the people want.

Among authors, it’s actually something of a controversial issue with accusations of writers ‘selling out’, or not being true to their craft. Honestly, I feel conflicted myself. So often, the act of writing books, of creating worlds and characters, of giving flesh to your dreams, so often, that feels completely at odds with the actual business side of selling books. The marketing, the numbers, the accounts. I know many writers for whom, once their hobby became their income source, they lost all joy for the act of writing.

Creativity and business seem to be uncomfortable bedfellows.

But, at the end of the day, it is a business, and it has to be run as a business if it’s going to succeed. Last year, I published a collection of short stories set in a post-apocalyptic world. I largely wrote it just to get it out of my head, where it was like a niggling thorn in my brain. And then I didn’t think much more about it. Until it started selling. And it sells well, and regularly. And my business brain said “You need to take advantage of this.”

So, yes, I’m now writing to market. A full-length post apocalyptic book I’d never intended to write. It’s a different thing for me; both the specific genre (although it’s not that far from dystopian fiction), and writing to market. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all turns out (especially as the story and characters seem to be insistent about taking it in an interesting new direction!)

Do you write to market?

This post was written as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.

12 thoughts on “What the People Want”

  1. Write to market? I’ve never thought about it.
    The trick is to find a way to make creativity and business comfortable bedfellows… something to think about.
    Happy IWSG Day!

  2. I’ve been reading a lot about writing to market as well. It’s a fascinating debate. I say that as along as you enjoy the book you’re writing and it’s quality writing, then who cares if it’s for market or not. The whole idea of a market means that there’s people out there who will enjoy your book and that’s the important thing in the end. Telling a good story that people want to read.

    1. Totally agree. It doesn’t have to mean selling out, and I’d never write something I wasn’t into myself. I wouldn’t be able to do it justice.

  3. Honestly, I think that’s the key. Put stuff out, find what sells, then make more. And there’s no shame it that. Super congrats for finding your corner of the market. Own it.

  4. I agree that even if a hobby, you are writing to sell books. I mean that’s why people have to jump through hoops to get ideas that will grab an agent, or publisher’s attention. Even if it’s not a conscience thing, every word written is to market to someone out there, even if only a niche group. You weren’t out to jump on some bandwagon, we’ve seen that with an influx of books of a certain subject matter when one ‘takes off’. You wrote something on a whim of sorts, it worked out, and now you are doing as any good writer would, build on that fan base you’ve gained! I don’t see that as ‘selling out’ at all. Best of luck with your project.

  5. I think writing to market, if you can do it, is a wonderful idea. I wanted to go in that direction myself, but it just doesn’t work out for me. I wanted to write romances, but my brain wouldn’t comply. It seems to consistently gravitate towards magic and fantasy, away from love stories, and ‘no guy necessary’ is the usual modus operandi for my female protagonists. 🙁

    1. I’m the same; whatever I try to write, it comes out dark, and feminist, and with magic. I could never write romance!

  6. Writing to trend is nearly impossible from a timing standpoint, especially if you’re writing novel-length fiction. But if ‘writing to market’ means writing to genre expectations then absolutely a good idea. I don’t view this as ‘selling out’ or dampening creativity. Take your average cup of coffee. Now think of the countless of varieties of beans, or roasting methods, and brewing techniques, and the endless concoctions that feature the brew. The expectation is coffee. The variations are creativity. It’s an awkward analogy but you get the idea. Nice post!

    1. I actually know indie authors with a two month turnaround on books. If you write fast enough, or pay enough attention to see what might be coming next, you can definitely keep up with the trends.

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