Follow the Market? Or Not?

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I’m often asked by aspiring novelists whether or not it’s a good idea to follow the markets.  Translated, this question might read:

Shall I follow the trends? Shall I write what’s popular?

Here’s my take on the subject (for what it’s worth).

Not My Favorite Genre

Years ago, when I was told by a writer friend that Barbour Publishing had started an inspirational romance line (HeartSong), and that they needed Christian-based, light romances, I was interested.  Actually I already had a completed manuscript in my files that fit their guidelines. (Long story behind that.)

This was not my favorite genre, but I sold that one and three more to Barbour. In a way, I was writing for the market that was available to me.  I was extremely grateful to be published and to get my name out there.  But I did not camp there. As I said, it was not my favorite genre.

Did Barbour need more Christian-based, light romances? Indeed they did. I probably could have sold a lot more. But my heart was elsewhere.  So I stopped.

In today’s market (the teen market, which is the one I mainly write for), you’ll see dozens and dozens of fantasy, paranormal, dystopian, explicit sex, and many are at the top of the charts. Making sales like crazy.

Some would say I’m missing out because I don’t follow these popular trends. But I choose to remain true to my core values. That’s why I adopted the name Clean Teen Reads.

Follow Your Heart

Some authors write in these themes because they love this kind of literature. Still others are writing to follow the market. No one can tell another writer what to write. You must follow your heart and your passions.  However, I very much like this quote by David Morrell (of Rambo fame):

Don’t try to outsmart the market. Just write a story you feel passionate about and do it as well as you possibly can.

 Do the genres I mentioned fit into a trend that will soon fade away? Who knows? But as Morrell says, You can’t “outsmart” the market.

In my long writing career — well over 30 years now — I’ve seen many “popular” trends come — and then I’ve seen them go. This is why trends do not turn my head.

Be True to Yourself

Be true to yourself.  That’s all you can ever do in this business.

How do you feel about following the market? (The latest  trend?) Leave your comments below.

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Clean Teen Reads

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