Sunday, May 31, 2015

Writing for the marketplace? No thanks.

There are a great many people in the world who read books. You may have noticed. As varied as the people themselves is their taste in reading material. Of course it’s true that some genres or authors are particularly popular at any one time. But alongside those who like the current trend are—dare I say?—millions of readers who would prefer to read something else.

There are those who would suggest that it is necessary to tailor your writing to accommodate the current, dominant market. I suppose, if you are primarily interested in making money, that’s a good suggestion. Those who wish to write differently are often told, ‘There’s no market for that these days.’

This is rubbish. The potential market is huge. Somewhere out there are at least thousands, almost certainly tens of thousands, and possibly millions of people who will want to read your book.

As a writer we have two choices. We can either write what we think the ‘market’ wants to buy at this microsecond—or, at least, what someone, somewhere in the mystical, magical world of market research says the market wants. Or we can write our own work in our own way and try to reach those who will want to read it. They are there, somewhere.

None of this excuses bad writing, of course. Anyone who has been following my blog will know how adamant I am about ensuring our work is of the highest possible standard. Nevertheless, it does not have to tick all the boxes the marketing world thinks it must tick to be a winner. A genre or style of writing that is not currently fashionable can still appeal to the hundreds of thousands if not millions of readers who are not interested in the latest trends.

I am not for one moment suggesting that it is easy to tap into this potential market. I would, however, suggest that that is the real challenge. The challenge is not to write a marketable book, but to write your best book and find the market for it. They are out there somewhere, your eager readers.

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