Friday, February 5, 2016
When to Write to the Market
So this week, we're wondering when we should write to the market? Well, hell. That's easy. You should write to the market when you're asked to. It doesn't happen often, but occasionally it does still happen. An editor will approach you with a hole in his or her calendar that must be filled with a certain type of book by a certain date. If you can produce on a truncated time frame and to spec, grab that opportunity. It's tough to accumulate a ton of good karma in traditional publishing (where this scenario is the most likely to go down) but this is a sure way of doing so.
Other than that, I agree whole heartedly with my fellow Word Whores. Writing to the market for the sake of cashing in on a thing is a gamble offering some really crappy odds. Spoiler: Those odds aren't in your favor. It's mostly a timing issue, so if you are indie pubbing, you can tip the odds your way a bit with super fast turn around. If it sounds like a fun challenge to you, go for it and more power to you. I suspect sometimes someone hits on a story that resonates and brings out all the copycats trying to cash in on the wave. But like Jeffe said, if what you want is to get rich, there are millions of easier ways in this world to go about that. So, for me, the only time I'd jump on a bandwagon and write a story copying the flavor du jour would be if the flavor du jour REALLY lit my fire. If I could sell Firefly fan fic, I'd be right there. I think we all of us have our specific, geeky 'OMG I MUST WRITE THAT' story (only we don't recognize it until someone else writes it and we read it and want to hop on that band wagon.) In that case - write to that market because it's fun and because you honestly love that market.
I did have another writer tell me once how to anticipate the market. She said to go to a bookstore (when there were such critters) and look at what's lined up on the best seller shelves in nonfiction. Do it often enough and you'll see themes. These are the things people are interested in and they show up in nonfiction about a year before the same themes show up in fiction. She took her own advice and realized that almost all of the nonfiction books on the best seller shelves were about angels. She got busy writing angel books. Hers were some of the first novels with and about angels to hit the paperback market. She did very, very well. So there you go. The secret sauce. Maybe. Good luck with it.