"Write what's popular, write what's selling!" it was telling me (heavily paraphrased on my part), and I furrowed my brows as I kept reading. "Don't bother writing what isn't popular."
I couldn't believe my eyes! My common sense told me that this was ridiculous.
My common sense also noted that the writer of this guide-book wasn't a novelist, but a marketing expert. This was shown to me on the other half of that same page. I won't say that the entire book was useless; there was plenty of useful information on how to go about promoting and selling my book. But that one paragraph, that one idea threw me off my guard, and I will explain why now.
What makes a popular book? What makes a next big hit, a sensation?Who knows? There's no formula, reason, or rhyme. Right now, supernatural romance books seem to be the big thing (especially among young woman), but one writer had to go outside the flow of popular fiction barrier and write it. Several years ago, a writer broke ground with a young wizard with a great destiny ahead of him. Many other writers followed the flow and published similar subjects afterwords.
But popular fiction trends change, just like fashion does with the seasons. So while writing a book in a popular genre might make it more likely to sell (and even then, it might not!), is it really the only road to take? I find myself shaking my head.
I write, first and foremost, for pleasure. I have ideas running amok in my head, waiting to leap out and share with the world around me. I want to sell these ideas, but I also want to enjoy the journey. I don't want to despise my writing down the road, because I'm fighting my natural niche (see this post on niches to understand more). I don't want to end up hating myself, because I let the world dictate my creativity.
So what do I do, now that I've decided to step outside of the safe zone?Well, I figure I'll still market my book. There were many great ideas in that book about how to do that. I can still use the advice, while disregarding the ignorance of the writer.
The moral of this blog post? Don't let another person (or even the world!) dictate your stories. That's your character's job.