Saturday, March 6, 2010

What to Write?

That's the big question, isn't it? What indeed. I know what I like to write, and I know what kind of books I like reading. Unfortunately, those aren't the easiest kind of books to sell. Agents usually have no interest in hearing about them and publishers only want to hear about books being represented by agents. So, here's how it breaks down:

You need an agent. So, you must write something that is easily publishable. That means a genre that is popular and profitable. In the U.S. and Europe, that means either creative non-fiction or romance novels.

Which to choose? Creative non-fiction is tough to break into, especially if you don't have a recognizable name and/or a Ph.D. Romance is the one genre that new book writers are most likely to get into. The genre makes up about half of the paperback book market, and you don't need an agent to break into it. So, romance novel it is.

Uh, oh- they suck. And detour- you don't know how to write one. So, you have to read a few to figure out how to do this.

Problem- they're boring and there are so many different sub-genres that even if you could think up a boring story, you have to make it fit into one of those sub-genres. Many of the sub-genres are bizarre, like medieval Scottish lord stories and NASCAR romance. Those are seriously both sub-genres.

So, you take a look at what is actually being published. That's what every book tells you to do, so you do it every so often to get a feel for what's being released. You know what's being released? Vampire romance books. Every major print publisher and every major ebook publisher is being dominated by them. If you want in, you have to have a damn vampire in there somewhere.

So, what do you get? You get Twilight, that's what you get. You get this instead of this. It's not even this (which is now available in two languages). It's more like this. Foiled! I think I'll mostly stick to my own creative projects for now, even if they don't sell.


Adam said...

Hey! Great post. I found your site by way of the Just Write blog carnival. Very interesting stuff.

It's funny, actually, because my mother and my girlfriend both love Vampire Romance novels. The Twilight trend seems to be in full swing. I suppose the best, and probably luckiest, point of action would be to write the novel that starts the sub-genre trend. I wonder if there's a resource available that show's what books began trends in the various genres? That would be neat way to try and predict the next big trend.

Anyway, great blog. I look forward to reading more. Thanks, Adam - Words2Words.

L. Shepherd said...

Have you been to a bookstore lately? It's wall-to-wall vampire novels. I've never seen a trend take over so completely. It's either join the bandwagon or try to fight your way into one that isn't selling right now.