5 Reasons to Write the Book You Want, Not What’s Popular
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Girl power. LGBTQ. Middle grade. These may sound familiar to you because they’re trending book ideas that have been buzzing around agents and editors A TON lately. However, you shouldn’t focus on the trends. You should write the book you want.
This can be very tempting to skip over and push off, but I’m serious. Chasing trends will not help you get your book published any faster. Unless of course you are a self-publishing author who is ready to publish that book right now!
5 Reasons to Write the Book You Want, Not What’s Popular:
I know that it sounds like agents and editors aren’t accepting anything other than what’s popular right now. And it’s true, they do want certain things they know they can sell right away. However, they’re still publishing professionals, which means they will want to publish ANYTHING that has the promise of greatness.
But why shouldn’t you chase trends? Here are the main reasons to avoid following what’s popular:
1. Trends are old.
The biggest thing to remember about the world of publishing is that it’s SLOW. Slower than your Nana scuffling across the tile floor in her slippers. Slow.
This means that most of the trends you’re hearing about were actually picked up months, if not YEARS, ago! Most books take 1.5-2 years to hit the shelves once they’ve been acquired. So if you pitch a book when a trend is hot, you could be submitting as the trend is fading and something new is in.
Then you may have trouble selling that book for a long, long time, if ever.
2. You have to spend time writing.
If you’re using the trend forecaster to help you brainstorm ideas, that can be a recipe for disaster. Not only has the trend been around for a while but you have to dedicate lots and lots of time to writing your trend-chasing book, rather than writing the book you want.
Which means you could get bored and may even give up. Especially if the writing becomes more of a chore to you rather than an escape from reality.
3. Your voice may falter.
You can always tell when a writer loves what they’re writing and when they’re just going through the motions. (You may even be able to tell that out of MY writing, but hopefully not!)
There can be a big difference in the character of a voice that you’re trying to create because it’s what you think someone wants to read. When you write the book you want, the voice is stronger and your readers connect more to your characters.
4. It’s still a long road to publishing.
You know that it takes a long time to get published and you will receive a lot of rejection letters along the way. Writing something that’s trending won’t surpass that land of denial.
But it might lead you to give up.
The exact opposite of what we want to do. We want to love and be excited to sell our book. Not give up because we wrote something ho-hum that we may not really care about.
5. You have to think about what’s next.
A published author came to speak at my writer’s group this month and said something that totally took me back a minute:
Whatever you publish first is what people will expect you to always write.–Katie Kennedy– very wise YA Author
If you’re writing something that’s trending, but you’re not quite passionate about, and you get it published, you might have to KEEP WRITING about that kind of stuff! WHAT?!
That hit me hard, because I have a very important series that I want to write, but is not ready to submit yet. Meaning, that’s where I should focus instead of on shiny writing topics that keep catching my eye.
So write the book you want. Whether it takes you years to write or even longer to sell. Overall, you will enjoy the writing process more, not want to give up when you hit snags along the way, and will be excited to tell the world when the book’s coming out.
Trends are a great way to know what’s selling and what readers are hungry for, however, they will never be better than the story that’s DYING to be told. The story that lives inside of you.
Here are some more articles that will help you with your writing journey:
- An Open Letter to the Author with Self-Doubt
- How to Find New Ideas to Write About
- How to Find a Really Good Story Idea
- How to Know if You have a Bad Story Idea
- Find Time to Write and Not Feel Guilty
- 10 Things All Writers Know to be True
Gah, I LOVE this, so true and helpful. Writing is so fun, but it can be easy to get sucked into what’s hip. Thanks for sharing and reminding us what’s really important 🙂
Oh, that makes me so happy to hear you loved it! 😍 Yes!! It’s so easy to get caught up that we forget why we started writing in the first place. Just have to keep pounding the pavement until people buy the stories we’ve been dying to write!😉