Rachelle Gardner has an excellent post today on how writers handle the conflicting messages out there: 'write with an awareness of the market' vs 'write what's in your heart'.
I am an awkward writer (I'll give you all a moment to recover from the shock of that revelation). I often write things that don't quite fit a genre. My last book was a straight-up urban fantasy. This one - well. It's a bit less straightforward. There is a supernatural element that underpins the entire plot. But the writing is much closer to chick-lit than to urban fantasy. I suspect that when the time comes to write a query letter for this one, I will cry myself stupid and bloggers in Britain will hear my screams carrying across the Irish Sea when the wind is from the west.
But I love it, and I want to write it, and I believe I can write it well. So I'm writing it. When the time comes to try to pitch it, I'll be looking at the market then and trying to find somewhere that it fits.
I think it's about balance. If I was to say to myself 'Oh, steampunk, that's hot right now!' and start bashing out a tale of - well, whatever the classic steampunk elements are, I've only read Gail Carriger - I don't imagine I'd produce anything worth reading. But that's just me - some writers are fortunate and can find scope for creativity within any parameters.
But I'm not one of those people, and so much of writing is about knowing yourself.
What about you? Do you write for the market or for yourself?