As I finish the last pass of edits on Wandering Hearts1 I have been watching a debate happening on one of the Facebook groups for YA authors. It looks like a few people took it very personally and it spiraled into a few different issues, so I’ve opted to stay out of it. On Facebook, at least.
The issue is one that will always come up in groups centered around writing and marketing. Do you write for the market or do you write what you want to write, regardless of the market? There were other things mentioned, such as quality and formula and repeated tropes and saturated markets, but this was the core of what I’ve been gathering from it.
To me, it all depends what you’re publishing for. Not writing, but we’ll get to that. If you want to make money off of your writing, then of course you write for the market. You use the same tropes and formulas that are popular at the moment and you churn out that thing that your audience is going to love. You figure out a large audience you can tap into and cater to them so that you will get the best chance, you make your covers look just like that thing they love and you write as many books as you can while you can ride that trend until they’re sick of it.
For some people, there is no conflict. They are already writing in popular genres, they love the tropes, they have the voice that their target audience is familiar with, all is well. For others, that is not the case as much. There were some saying they had been writing for the market and hadn’t written anything they enjoyed in a while.
Personally, I’m in that group that publishes the stories that don’t cater very well to the current broad audience. I like a reluctant hero that didn’t want to do it in the first place and by the end really doesn’t want to be here but still gets the job done. They have none of the romantic triangles and are very rarely saving the world so much as themselves and the people they’ve fallen in with. Alice is the closest I’ve come to a chosen one of any sort, but that’s not following the formula at all.2
But my goal has never been to make a lot of money publishing, or to make much of a name for myself. It was to prove to myself I could and to finally tell these stories and get them out there. And in the end, that’s what it all comes down to. Whatever you get into publishing for, pursue that to the best of your abilities and don’t worry so much about what everyone else is doing it for.
Although, if you’re looking to make a quick buck, I hear werewalruses are going to be hot next year.