Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Heart in the Marketplace: What to Write

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?


  1. For myself, always. But also with the understanding that I want others to read it and so it has to be something others might want to read. I tell myself if it's good enough, others will like it no matter what genre it is. Which may be misguided but it works for me!

  2. I don't think I do either, in the strictest sense. I write for an audience, definitely, but I get a huge kick out of writing stories that people enjoy, so you could say that in writing for an audience, I am writing for myself.

    Does that make any sense?

  3. Right now, it's for myself. This is the most freedom I'll ever get, being unpublished :-)

  4. I think we must write for ourselves. If we don't enjoy what we're writing, how can anyone enjoy reading it?

  5. Simon, that sounds like a good philosophy :) once it keeps you writing, that's a good start!

    Paul, that does make sense!

    Sarah, I love that attitude, it's so true! We may never have this freedom again (if we're lucky!).

    Susan, Jesse Stuart said "Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it." So you're not alone in that opinion and I think it's very true. That enthuasiasm needs to be there.

  6. Hey Hon,

    I hear Chick-lit is coming back under the name woman's fiction. I believe for it to be a great story you write what your writer's soul tells you to write and they (pubs) will find a market to fit it...sooner or later.

    So write what you feel...never chase the market you can't catch it even if you try.

  7. Hi, Ellen. It's nice to meet you. I'm a new follower from the Deja Vu blog hop.

  8. Hey Hawk, lovely to see you stopping by! I had heard the click-lit label is dying - no harm really, it has been used negatively so much! I think you're right, writing should be about feeding the soul first :) I like to believe the right book will find a home eventually.

    Nice to meet you too Ciara, you have a lovely Irish name!

  9. I certainly write for myself... and an audience. I think those who are writing purely because they're looking to cash in on what's hot... well, by the time they're done, the trend will have moved on to something else.


I love comments!