A to Z Challenge 2013

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Blog Chain - Marketing For 100, Alex


That's right sports...er...literary fans, its blog chain time. The question this time around comes care of our own wonderful Michelle Mclean (yeah, we have two Michelles on the blog chain now, so I gotta specify). She poses the following question:

Do you write for the market or for yourself? Why? Are there times you do both? Or times when you've written something specifically because it was "hot" at the moment? If so, how did it turn out?

This is a fairly easy question for me to answer because I'm the resident newbie on the blog chain (or at least I feel like one most times). You see, I am not yet at the level where I am ready to market my works, put myself out there, etc. So when I write, it's for me and me alone. Now this is not to say that I don't wonder if what I am writing will ever be marketable, but I don't feel educated enough yet to worry too much about it.

For just a moment however, I will expand my thoughts and answer the question as if I WERE ready to market my writing. Knowing myself, I think I'd still have to write what I write because it's in my head at the time. I've never been very good at writing what others expect me to write. I don't think it helps my creativity at all, and in the end the writing just comes out forced. The times when I feel like I've written something well confirm this; the writing is good because I lose myself in the words, not because I am writing something I think will sell.

I'm an eternal optimist I guess. I truly do believe that if the writing is good, it'll sell no matter what. A perfect example of this is Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet by Jamie Ford. Yes, I'm a vocal champion of his work, but that's beside the point. The story involves the time period right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. While there may be older generations who can directly identify with this time period, there are a ton of us who can't. For many people these days, the bombing of Pearl Harbor is something that happened in the history books, not something they identify with. Regardless of this fact however, it is my belief that the writing on the page is incredible enough that any generation could get happily lost in the story. I also believe (after interviewing the author himself) that he just wrote the story because it was a good story, not because he thought he could sell it.

My heart tells me this is true. The part of me who believes that good writing is marketable, no matter what the subject matter. Optimistic to the extreme perhaps, but it keeps me working at my craft so that I can improve.

Someday I hope to be ready to put my works out there, to be querying alongside all the rest of you. I'm quite certain however, that whatever I put out there will be whatever I manage to scrawl on a page. It may not be part of the current trend, and then again it might. What I hope it will always be is my best work.

If you haven't had a chance to read my predecessor Sandra's answer, you really should stop by. And tomorrow, you can read an answer from one of our newest members of the blog chain, Michelle Hickman a.k.a. The Surly Writer(she's not really that surly, btw).

What are your thoughts on this question? Do you write for the market or yourself? And no, your answer doesn't have to be in the form of a question.

16 comments:

Danyelle said...

Great question. I write, first and foremost, for myself. I do try to keep my market in mind somewhere, but that is not the driving force behind my novels. My characters are. :)

Michelle H. said...

A good point. A person should never force the words out their head. The story should come out naturally.

Christine Fonseca said...

Love this Eric - My YA daughter always says - "A good book will find a way to be published every time" - Gotta love it, right?

Matthew Rush said...

I've only written one novel, so I'm probably not the most well informed on the subject, but I have to say I write for myself - with the hope that others may someday enjoy it as well.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Sometimes even when I'm working on a project I care about, there are times when the words don't come easily. It may take a couple of passes before I can get them to work. How does the need for revision affect the passion in the writing, I wonder? Thanks for your post; you've given me something to ponder.

Eric said...

Danyelle - That's a great way to think about things. Focus on the characters.

Michelle - Yep, that's my mantra. If I try to force things, it never comes out right.

Christine - Optimism and hope at it's best, right? Best way I can think of to be inspired.

Matthew - Whether you've only written one or a thousand, as long as you're writing what YOU want to write, that's good enough. Keep at it and I'm sure there will be plenty who want to read your stuff.

Sandra - The only thing I can say is that revision is what allows us to refine what we're passionate about. It's what helps us write a passage that we can look at and say "Wow, that is good stuff."

Shaun Hutchinson said...

Very good point. I'm sure when Michael Chabon pitched an idea about two Jews, one of whom used a Golem to escape the Nazis, during World War II who begin a comic-book empire, that no one in their right mind thought, "Now THAT'S what the market's looking for." But his writing was so unbelievable that I can't imagine the world without that book.

Also, writing for yourself is the best. Don't ever do it for anyone else.

lbdiamond said...

Great post! I like your optimism--we all need more of that I think. :D

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Probably a mixture. My first book I wrote with the intentions of finding a publisher, but I wrote a story I'd always wanted to tell.
I think authors who write just for the market have forgotten why they began writing in the first place.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

I think the "professional" advice is to write what you write and let the market take care of itself. By the time your work got to market, there'd be a new market. Kinda makes sense.

Best Wishes, Galen.

Abby Annis said...

I agree. You have to write what you love. And if the writing is great, it will find an audience. Great post! :)

Michelle McLean said...

very true - whether there is a current trend your book fits in or a past trend it revives, or whether your book never has and never will belong to a "trend", if it's good, it'll sell. Great post :)

Cole Gibsen said...

I completely agree. Also, if the rest of your work is any indication of what we've seen, I have no doubt we'll see you published in the very near future :)

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

I think "write what you love" is always good advice!

B.J. Anderson said...

I agree with you on this one. If you don't write what you like, I think it will show in the writing.

Kat Harris said...

Absolutely ...what Cole said. :-)

Great post!