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The Dangers of Writing to an Ever-Changing Market

A reader asks:

Jessica, interesting post that comes with a question-how often can we expect publishers’ preferences to change? Are the trends shifting and transforming every month, or rather every year, or in longer intervals? Hugs, Ana

Like everything, the publishing market is ever-changing. One day everyone is hunting around town for Pikachu and the next day they are all leaping out of planes and playing to the death. Publishing is no different. One day everyone wants New Adult and the next day they won’t even request the submission. It’s one of the many reasons why I, and many other agents, will tell you never to write to the market.

If something is hot today it could easily be gone tomorrow, or at least by the time your book is written, and there’s no predicting when it will go or even if, to be honest, it will. Trends change depending on market interests. A flood of books in a certain genre sometimes means sales drop or you get both reader and editor fatigue. You see this a lot. There are also times when publishers predict something will be hot and discover it just isn’t (this happened with New Adult).

Unfortunately, there is no predicting a change or shift in trends which is why the best advice we can always give is to write what you’re strong at and trust your agent to watch for these shifting trends and help you plan as much as you can.

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2 comments

  1. Hi Jessica,

    Good advice as always. I do know writers who successful write to the market but these are ‘light’ reads and I personally need to have passion for what I’m writing. I need to HAVE to write their story, which, I’m afraid, means I’m not able to make that purely economic decision. Ah well! Some you win . . .

    In the end I love writing.

    Thanks again,

  2. I think writing to market is a common mistake made by new writers. Easy to understand why because if you are reading the new hot thing you might decide to write said new hot thing. It is really hard, though, when you write what you are strong at and then are constantly told it won’t sell.

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