Writing for a Market
Updated: Jul 6, 2019
I’m at a critical point in my writing life. After almost two years of writing, editing, writing, showing to friends, and re-writing I’m about to have a draft that I’m ready to query with.
Or am I?
I’ve been doing research on publishers, seems like a lot of them don’t take unsolicited manuscripts. I’ve been doing research on agents, seems like a lot of them only want to represent writers/work that can be commercially successful. I’ve been looking at local independent publishers and I think they are more of a you pay us for our help type deal. Sigh.
It’s starting to feel like connecting with the right people might be next to impossible, and probably involves emails upon emails into the great void of the interwebs. If this goes anything like those dating apps, I’ve put myself out there on, I’m really fucked. Much like in my romantic life, I’m looking for a miracle here.
I got this quote directly from an agent interview I found on a random writer’s website from England. What does she have in common with me? Well, basically nothing I don’t know if we even write similar things, but she has an agent and she is much further along than me so I’m reading her blog.
Her agent said in her interview (I forgot her name and closed the tab, sorry but I’m about to use a source I’m not going to cite but I’m not making money, so I’ll scream FAIR USE). That a big mistake submitting authors make is: “not thinking about the reader – about who they are and why they would want to read this book above all the others already out there.”
Many other sites I’m stumbling across also tell me this. I know, I know, google is like a drunk uncle at Thanksgiving sometimes in terms of life advice, but I can’t help but say I don’t want to think about my audience. I mean I hope that people want to read what I like because I like it and I think it’s funny or insightful or whatever, but am I selfish for not thinking about who would read it? My logical side demands an answer... if I don’t care about people reading my work, what is the point of all of this in the first place? I guess you should know your “market”, but do you change your story to commercialize it? I still don’t think so but, now I’m curious, how does one find their “market”.
I’ll try not to bore you with too many acronyms and studies here but when I was poking about, I found this info from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) that was interesting and had decent visual graphics. I’m sad to say that my age group (aside from the 75+ crowd) pulled the lowest percentage of adults who reported reading literature for pleasure in 2015. Come on 35-44 crowd where you at?
Also being one who stood on the gender gap soapbox as an advocate for male readers in grad school this stat also makes me sad. But now I see why it’s so damn hard to find a man that reads (they do exist).
There are all kinds of variables you can play with. Click HERE to go directly to the study data on the NEA website.
So, was this any kind of inspirational post? Not particularly. Statistically speaking I’m bound to fail, and I am no closer to knowing my intended market. I guess what you should really take away from this post is... you should read at least one book a year. If you don’t have a clue which one, visit your local library and ask for some suggestions. It’s free people, free. Or if you think all the books today suck, trying writing one yourself and you’ll realize just how much work goes into one.
Thumbnail Image cred: https://pixabay.com/images/id-1030729/