Who should you write for?

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.

Having what it takes to be a writer – success and failure.

The other day I was just surfing the web when I decided to look up not people who were successful writers, but people who were failures at writing. It was the first time I’d looked at writer and the publishing industry from that perspective before.

It’s probably a good thing I did because I came across some pretty interesting stuff. One site has a funny description on 6 types of fail writers, which made me a bit scared because I have a few wisps of them in me. The site even has counter article of 6 types of successful writers and when reading it I’m like Victoria Mixon you know my soul.

When evaluating what is success and what is failure in terms of the publishing industry and writers, the terms can be a bit blurry. A publishing house accepting your manuscript is a success, but that manuscript only sells a few copies out of the 3000 (yes that is around the average print run in Australia atm) printed is considered a failure. A person writing and editing their own story to the point where they self publish it on and sell a few copies is considered a success to them. While others feel that because their story was rejected from a traditional publishing house then they are a failure. Having a best selling book is considered a success, but if readers look at it and pick up numerous errors over and over again then that in itself is a failure.

When I was younger I once read an author note in a kids book saying how the author, who had been published before, was not satisfied with the end product for her first book. My first thought was that was interesting, you don’t hear that every day. And my second was ‘well you can’t complain because the fact that you were published in the first place is quite an achievement’, but now I think ‘hmmm, this author’s idea of success was not meet’. And while there are a lot of other things that went into that statement like loss of control etc. the fact remains that what is failure and what is success is relative. Your success is another person’s failure and another’ failure is considered a success.

Remember that you should plan your success, but also plan for when failures occur because they will happen.