I have a favorite blog written by a literary agent. He’s funny. He gets all worked up about things and he gives writer’s pretty good advice.
For the sake of honesty, my honesty that is, I’m not going to mention his name. If you’re curious drop me a line and I’ll send you his link.
The other day he spoke about the writer’s market. He brought up a decent topic concerning our books. Where does your book belong, he asked. Picture a bookstore and try to see what section of the store your book will be found.
I understood right away what he was getting at. A writer needs to sell. The agent needs to sell and the best way to sell is to understand the current market.
But something bothered me when I read this. I agree that the market will always have a strength in a certain category and later, that particular category will change and something else will take its place.
But does that mean we need to chase it?
Do we have to constantly tweak our stories to coincide with market conditions? And if we do are we sacrificing a part of our craft that we are really good at?
Do we really have to worry about that bookstore and where our books will be placed?
All of us have a certain strength. We don’t know why, we just do. You might knock a description out of the park while I write the best dialog in town but that’s not what I’m getting at.
What if we do something that doesn’t exactly fit with the market?
Do we panic and create our own bookstore or do we stop what we’re good at in order to please the market?
I have some friends who create an odd mix. Their stories are a combination of comedy/folklore/chase thriller and a few other surprises that I can’t remember.
Their style may never find a place on a particular bookshelf but they are really good at what they do.
My point to my rambling is this: We could spend the majority of our time worrying about the market or we could get to work and do what we do best:
Perfect what we’re good at.
If we concentrate on the things we do best the market will come to us. Why not be the best at that one thing no matter how weird or whacky others may think.
There’s lots of competition in this craft we have chosen. All of us need some sort of separation, otherwise we’re all the same. So if you are the best folklore/comedy/chase thriller in town why not pick it up a notch and be the best they’ve ever seen.
The market is constantly changing and it can be exhausting chasing it. But instead of chasing it, own it.
That’s how you rock the world.