"Wherever men have lived there is a story to be told." Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Who Do You Write For?


One of the biggest decisions a writer faces is whether to write for herself or to write for the market. We've all heard it said that you should write the book of your heart, and, if it's good and well-written, it will find a publisher. Ah, if only that were true. Perhaps there was a time (many a light year ago) when that might have been the case, but today's publishing industry, for the most part, revolves around trends, high concepts, and genre markets--the latter requiring a degree of formula writing that must be adhered to. There might not be a lot of room for creativity or to write outside the box. However, we are also told not to write to the latest trend because by the time you get your book written, the trend will be over.

So do we write what is in our hearts and risk that it will never be published or even read by anyone other than those in our critique group? Or do we write for the market and plot stories that will fit the latest trends and formulas? In the end, it's each writer's call, a risk each writer has to take. If you're strictly in it because you want to be a published author, then write for the market. If you've got something to say, write that book of the heart and maybe it'll get published by an obscure small press with a print run of 500 books. Then again, perhaps it will end up being the next New York Times bestseller or the next Pulitzer prize winner. Writing is a crap shoot. You'll never know what's going to happen until you roll the dice.

6 comments:

B.J. Anderson said...

Very true, very true. It's hard to think about putting months of work into something that you may not ever see published. But, that's the life of a writer! :D Good post!

quixotic said...

Great post. I swing back and forth on "why i write."

You are so true, not matter what you write for, getting published is a crap shoot.

Deb@RGRamblings said...

I'm attempting to tailor my writing to fit the trends-with publication as the end goal.

I'm a little concerned that I may have chosen the wrong sub-genre, but I suppose the only way I'll ever know is to roll those dice and shoot it out there :)

Thanks! Loved the post.

Anonymous said...

Good post, Linda, and how true it is. I suppose the books I have written would come under the category of "writing what you're passionate about" with the hope they will catch the market.

Linda Sandifer said...

Out of my twelve books published by New York publishing companies, only "The Daughters of Luke McCall" wasn't written for a market. I wrote it simply because I wanted to, believing it would never find a publisher. But I had a determined agent who just happened to love it and who wasn't about to give up. For everything else I've written without a specific market in mind, it has remained unpublished.

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