The publishing market is shifting constantly. Trends come and go. Sometimes a genre gets flooded and then dies down for a bit before picking back up. I like to blog very honestly to give writers insight into the industry and current market. After some of my recent posts and some recent Twitter discussions a few querying authors got nervous about their own books. And well if you are an author nervous about where your book fits into the current market, I have some advice for you. Write what you love.
Focus on writing what you love and then query it once it’s ready, meaning it’s been thoroughly revised and had eyes other than your own on it. Make sure you give your query letter similar treatment. By the time you write a book, revise it, and are ready to query the market could be completely different between writing those first pages and querying. Add in months to a year or more of being on submission if you get an agent and then the time between a book deal and your book release and yeah, the market is probably going to look different from when you first started writing. Even agent wishlists change over time based on current cravings and client lists.
Once you get an agent you can use their knowledge to decide what projects to focus on and when to pivot on genres or age groups if you are excited to give something new a shot. For example, currently some authors are switching to MG because of the current demand and excitement for it, but the conversation of where your career should go is best saved for a conversation with your agent.
Knowing the current market when it comes time to query can help you position your book by knowing what to emphasize in your query, but don’t let the current market keep you from querying. Even if you are querying while a genre is tough and not currently in high demand, great writing combined with a solid story can help land you in the “yes” pile. Great writing is key no matter when you query. What happens if your book doesn’t land? You just got some great practice and skill building for your next book. Sure some of this is a bit different on the indie side where some authors release a few books a year and can have better luck chasing the market if they are fast enough, but indie publishing and traditional publishing are different beasts and traditional publishing is very slow.
And personal tastes? Don’t try to please everyone, myself included. In my recent post about what I don’t like in the thriller genre in regards to the murder opening, I tried to emphasize that my opinion hinged on my personal tastes because someone else could feel completely different than me. I blog about my tastes to help writers decide whether or not I’m a good fit for their work. Need more proof about how tastes can vary? Well here’s a list of extremely popular shows and movies I wasn’t a fan of even if I liked the idea of their premise: Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, Haunting of Hill House, Star Wars, most superhero movies, and Russian Doll. I might not like those but clearly many others do. Need more convincing? Go to Goodreads and read the differences between those 5 star and one star reviews on your favorite books.
The bottom line is publishing can unfortunately be very discouraging and social media often leaves little room for nuance. Learn to focus on your writing and find things that motivate you. Knowledge can help you understand how everything works and why a current project or genre might have a tough time of landing in the current market, but don’t take it as a reason to give up. Remember to take care of yourself, mental health included. Give yourself time to indulge in hobbies outside of publishing to get a break. Write first and foremost for yourself.
And if you want to query me check out my current wishlist. I accept adult and young adult projects.