It’s been said (many times, many ways~) that you should write what you love. It’s the sort of advice a lot of people know and assume as obvious, and yet, just as many people stumble over the idea. I know this because I see so many people, including myself, stopping to ask:
“What’s the market like?”
“Who are you writing for?”
“Is this what publishers want?”
Don’t get me wrong. These are asked because they are important, and I don’t think anyone mistakes the publishing industry for a charity. Money is the bottom line.
But if we really stop and do some searching, we’ll realize a few liberating facts.
1. The market is always changing. This might be for the worst in some cases, but just because something is out of fad now, it doesn’t mean people won’t come back to it later. These things tend to be cyclical.
2. Trends are set by someone. And, hey, that someone could be you. High fantasy was for “geeks” until the Lord of the Rings movies took the world by storm. And I bet at least one person you know (if not more) is as consumed by Game of Thrones as I am. No one knew we needed YA dystopia was something we needed till Hunger Games burst out like Athena from the head of Zeus. And do we even need to mention Harry Potter? None of these rode the trends – they paved the way. And however seemingly out of trend your book may be, it may be the next thing we didn’t know we needed.
While a smart writer knows there’s more to the process than just what words you put down, I think it’s vital to remember that books are, above all, an art. I think it’s sad sometimes that seems to be forgotten along the way. But if you want your work to really touch people, you have to believe in it. And you can’t do that if you’re not pleasing the most important person you should be writing for – yourself.