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.