12 July 2012

Guest Post by JD Savage: Writing for the Market, or Just for You

Today we have a guest post from fantasy writer JD Savage, one of my fellow Literary+ luminaries whose new book "The Seeds" has just been released. He's talking about something many authors face; the question of whether writing, which like so many forms of expression is both an art and (for a lucky few) an industry, should be a product not only of inspiration but also capitalist necessity.

Writing for the Market
-Or Just for You?

Some of the authors that will be published in the wake of such a juggernaut have been writing and seeking a publishing home for years before such a thing happens. They find themselves in the right place at the right time, and boom! They get their sparkly vampire love triangle story published. Good on them. Others see the trend coming, craft a story that fits the genre, work really hard to polish it and make it a good book, and they get published, as well. Then they are doomed to an endless sea of comparisons to a book or series that may be less polished but more accepted by the reading public.

We should all be so lucky.

In the midst of this, writers are faced with choices. If they have a relationship with a publishing house, they may be under pressure to follow the latest trend. Or, they may be feeling the pressure from their own fans, clamoring for a similar story written in their style. What trends are coming, ready to be seized?

There are plenty of blogs out there that track these sorts of things. The Hub, has a list of trending topics that are beginning to emerge in YA literature, (my personal favorite, young girls that know how to kill). I have no personal connection to this site, I just thought they provided a pretty balanced list. If you are looking to make a living as an author, it may be that capitalizing on an upcoming trend is the way to go.

But, before you go and write the next happy-go-lucky dystopian shoot-em-up, consider this. Somebody started those trends. Some author wrote something that was still done in a unique way. Maybe it wasn’t wholly original, (is there such a thing?), but eye-opening, nonetheless.  It was cool enough to garner a bunch of readers, get people talking about it, and be interesting enough to start a trend.

When you first sat down to write, is that what you wanted? Did you want to take the world by storm with your unique viewpoint? Or, did you hope to be the voice in the crowd who rises above the din, doing what everyone else is doing, only doing it better?

There’s no right and wrong here. Oh, to be sure, some will sniff haughtily at the trends and think themselves too artistic for all of that. But writers, in general, are not wickedly interested in seeing you fail. Success is hard to come by, and whether you walk the well-worn path or blaze your own, most writers, (avid readers, all), will applaud your efforts.

So, the choice is yours. Read up on the trends, pick one, (or two or three…), and make it your own. Or, tell that unique story you want to tell, make it great and keep at it. The really prolific might even try to do both. Whichever path you choose, remember that you can do it. You can be the one that tells that story in the way that the public needs to hear it. You can write just for you, and people may fall in love with your voice, your style - whether you writing a time-honored tale or something totally personal.

I plan to keep writing books I want to read.  If I like it, that’s a success for me. That’s the choice I’m making. Although a story about young female assassins may not be so far out of my comfort zone…
What do you think of Katniss as a character name? … Too soon?

About The Seeds and its author:

This is not your grandmother's fairy tale. A fantasy novel that turns the genre on its head, "The Seeds" follows Trooper Angus Mayweather as he is thrust into the conflict faced by twin sisters Dartura & Varia, Generals of the Tarol Nation. As the sisters uncover a new threat from an old enemy, Angus must do what he can to help as the Tarol Nation faces all-out war.

Where to buy: "The Seeds"
Website: www.jdsavage.com
Writer's Blog: Tarol Nation
G+ profile: JD Savage