I'm lazy and decided to do some re-posts this week. .... Enjoy!! :)
When I began this journey last year, I was the most naive person you'd ever met regarding the publishing industry. I knew about agents and publishers. I knew I would have to work hard to sell my work. I entered contest after contest with the hopes that an award would boost my career. *laughing hysterically* I daydreamed of my first book deal and how I would spend the money. *laughing hysterically again* My goodness, this writing thing certainly hasn't turned out to be what I thought. For whatever reason, I didn't imagine query letters, synopses, outlines and begging for food. And I don't know why, but I never thought about needing to write what was popular, in demand, needed.
Which brings me to the eternal question burning in every new author's overworked, word-building brain. Do I write what I want or what the market wants?
I have seriously thought about this as it is a question I see pop up on other writer's forums. I have differing opinions. Don't you love that? Of course we hear, "Write what you Know" which I feel is the most misleading statement of all time. I'm a mom, but I don't want to write about mothers or demanding children. I know how to crochet....big deal. What I know is pretty boring, to be honest. But, what the market wants is something different. It's not about writing what you know (unless it's nonfiction, then you research until you know), it's about writing what the masses are asking for, already buying and predicting what they want in the next five years. That's tough!
PRO: If you have the ability to look at a subject and want to write it. DO IT! If you can see that right now YA is selling out of books and for some odd reason it's all about aliens, but you feel you could write that story and write it well....Then WRITE IT. All professionals cater to their audience/customer base. It's how you catch a group of people.
CON: Here's the thing, if YA aliens are all the rage, but I usually write poetry, why would I think I could write a novel about aliens? If it doesn't interest you, then you probably can't. Writing to someone else's standards/ideas can drain a person of all their creativity. You might get stuck in the box of only writing what the market calls for in a very drab way. You won't sell anything like that.
In conclusion-it's your personal decision. Let your heart guide you. If you look at what's selling these days and you shake your head in confusion, don't bother trying to write it. Or, you might see that it's a market you can write without too much heartache and then you should go for it. Personally, I'm taking a course in writing for children and teens. While I have written several children's books...I don't think they are stellar-I think they are fairly mediocre. So, I haven't even tried to query or sell those. I have drifted to adult and then realized I could fit most of my plot ideas into a young adult genre. YA is doing very well right now. So, that led me to the decision to do a novel for YA. Vampires are also very popular right now, but I really, truly, honestly, do not care a lick for vampires or werewolves for that matter. Therefore, I do not write about such things. I don't care if someone else does, I just know that it wouldn't come out of my writing soul with power and ease.
Now that I know the less than glamorous side of publishing, writing and agent hunting....I still can't wait. I still daydream, although I've decided that the Lexus probably won't come with my first book deal. *sigh*