I just read an article about the ins and outs of a publishing house and Jesus, the whole ‘traditionally publishing a book’ is really depressing. Thanks, Ian. But on a side note, it is a really good article.
When I was younger I went to uni to learn how to be a better writer. I think it was there that I first heard the advice that you should try to write what the publisher wants (or think they want). It makes sense because if you wanted to get published you’d have to appeal to them and their system. But that doesn’t mean they know what the audience wants. They just want something that is mass marketable, aka most profitable. They just want to cash in on the dumb masses (Which is why brilliant literary fiction doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. The average person is not critically equipped enough to recognise/value it).
But I always had the idea that I would write what I like because if I’m going to spend god knows how long on a novel, then it’s going to be on something that gives me happy feelings. I mean why would I write a story I don’t like?
Now I’m coming across advice that is in tune with what I’ve always thought. I mean how else are new genres going to appear and expand. The days of single genre books are over.
If you are unsure of what you should write next or if at all, my advice is to write what you want and write what you love. You’ll be more committed to it and you will spend more time on it. You’ll edit more, spend more time on character development and you will not ditch it for something else. There is no point in spending all the time and effort in trying to create the next Harry Potter/Twilight/50 Shades when that market is already awash with similar books. It’ll be the next unique storyline that’ll take over.
And don’t hold back.