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Keeping Up with a Rapidly Changing Market

You wouldn’t expect a new restaurant owner to open her doors without first researching what’s hot in the food world. Jello salad and tuna noodle casserole just don’t have the same sales potential as, say, a hamburger or jalapeno poppers.

Authors, as business owners, should be just as vigilant about researching and keeping up on the publishing industry. Chick lit doesn’t have the same selling potential in today’s market as domestic suspense. Keeping an eye on the market and understanding market conditions will assist you when building a career.

I’m not blind to the fact that market research is sometimes overwhelming for authors. A question from our YouTube video on the importance of reinvention for authors asks this,

If what’s selling changes so frequently, how do I write keep up?


Knowing how things are changing and potentially modifying your style accordingly is what builds a long-term career. It doesn’t mean writing to the market, it means shifting as the market shifts. The same way your favorite restaurant changes the menu to remove dishes that are no longer selling.

If you’re a chick lit fan and that’s the only thing you know how to write I would suggest looking into women’s fiction. Is it possible to modify and grow your voice and style to change from chick lit to women’s fiction?

Making these changes shouldn’t change who you are as a writer as much as it should help you grow as a writer, which is the goal I hope.

Knowledge is power and while we’ll always say write what you love, understanding the market is what will also help you create something you still love for a market that will love it too.

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2 comments

  1. How about being ahead or slightly offside of the market?

    Now that I have written several books in different genres–two have been professionally edited–I’m hoping to find an agent.

    They are quite all different from one another…

    The first is a childhood summer memoir, next a SciFi/fantasy (with a hopeful premise), then a murder mystery, next a light mystery, and finally another memoir (this one in the works). The memoir and the SciFi are ready to be considered.

  2. Thanks for this.

    It occurs to me that any novel begun now will likely enter a changed market when completed. Though whatever is thought ‘hot’ now may have gone out of fashion and back into fashion by then!

    Of course, we are all part of the market, as readers, writers, and particularly as agents and editors. Our responses to the market affect the market. Reaction can be useful and necessary, but also action and initiative. Some people change the market.

    I am reminded of Henry Ford’s famous reply when asked why he thought little of market research. He said that if he’d asked people what they wanted when he started they would not have asked for the Model T. They’d have asked for faster horses!

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