Do you second-guess the market prior to writing?

(6 Posts)
PenelopeLane Sun 29-Jun-14 02:05:37

I am interested in your advice on this, especially from those of you who have published or managed to secure agents. I've started a dystopian novel about teenagers, and while I really like the characters, plot and world (and finding it easy to write compared to my other novels), am very aware that it may be hard to market and sell when complete for a couple of reasons - it's probably a bit late to jump on the Hunger Games bandwagon, and while the characters are teenagers, it's not really YA as it's quite grim and it doesn't have any 'love interest' story lines. This has left me wondering the value in continuing.

I probably will anyway, but was interested: do you try and second guess the market before you write, or just write?

threedeer Sun 29-Jun-14 16:18:33

Not sure I'd think of it as second guessing, in that you wouldn't have much fun writing something just to fulfil a set of criteria, and most of writing a first novel on spec should be the fun of doing it. But I think I would try and gain a sense of where my writing might fit and make sure it did fit there if getting published via a mainstream press was the goal.

But there are so many more choices these days - you can e-publish, self publish etc and so, why not just write the book you really want to write, that you are proud of and concern yourself with its marketing once it is as good as you can make it? Then, if it doesn't fit in with a conventional publisher's idea of what a book should be, you can go it alone and get your own cult following of readers who like to read what you like to write.

spiderswilldescend Sun 13-Jul-14 19:03:04

I think you would have a much better chance of publishing if you did - for example, most agents are looking (quite openly) for 'Gone Girl' books just now (many are specifically asking for them on their websites).

So - I think it does help to be genre aware, but, at the same time, most writers are uncomfortable to some extent with looking as if they are just following the market.

YA very profitable at the moment though according to reports out next week, so looks as if you're in the right place anyway! Good luck smile.

PenelopeLane Mon 14-Jul-14 00:38:32

Thanks for the advice! I think I'll continue although am thinking of turning the teenagers into adults as some of the themes are quite grown-up, although there is something about the setting of a school which works very well re social dynamics I may not be able to replicate in an adult world.

I wonder what they mean by Gone Girl type books? I thought that Gone Girl's appeal was partly the fact it was quite different, but I suppose the publishers know what they're talking about!

I think I'll just keep writing - it seems a shame not to give my ideas an airing ...

spiderswilldescend Mon 14-Jul-14 11:10:05

I think with 'Gone Girl' they want thrillers that appeal to women and have a twist (although the twist in that one was pretty obvious and it seemed a rip off of Linwood Barclay to me). It didn't seem very different to me, it was just marketed brilliantly and had all the celeb-placement/reading on holiday thing going for it.

From what I can tell, when something really grabs the market ('Gone Girl' or '50 Shades') they all want on the bandwagon for a certain amount of time, so you either go with that or come up with something that is so different it sets the trend. If anyone can work out what that is, they've got it made of course . . .

Fantasy doing well just now because of GRR and Joe Abercrombie too.

schmalex Sat 19-Jul-14 07:18:18

Thing is, there's such a time lag between writing a novel and it coming out, if you start writing what they want now it will be out of date by the time it's published.

I think it's just best to write what you want to write.

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