Saturday, May 02, 2009

Dear Editor, Have I Got a Book for You !

Have you seen the recent explosion of YA vampire books on the market lately? They're multiplying like ... well, vampire sailors on a three day pass! Twilight started it and it seems to me that ever since every YA author is trying to match wits with a Utah housewife who hit the jackpot with her first book. Stephen King might have said she wasn't a very good writer, but even he said she tells a heckuva story.

The same thing happened after J.K. Rowling finally encountered an editor bright enough to see what a gem a book about an awkward, bullied wizard truly is. Suddenly the shelves were full of stories of young wizards and witches thwarting evil demons and boring schoolmasters.

The phenomena isn't limited to YA novels either. The romance genre is rife with people who saw something that worked and tried their dead level best to improve on it. Of course mainstream media seems to think that is all we do. However, I refuse to be insulted by a bunch of people who live to discover the next big scandal and thrive on exploiting the misery of their fellow man. I don't write for cynics and bullies. I write for dreamers, the people who hold the world together, do the work of saving the world and the people who keep believing in all that is good and wondrous about the human race.

Still, all of this meandering does have a point. I wondered - Do you write the stories you want to tell, the stories you want to read, the stories you feel compelled to tell OR do you try to write stories that are marketable? What does worrying about marketability do to the creative process? Is it something you consciously think about? Why or why not? Inquiring minds want to know !!

If you get the chance, check out this link and the thought-provoking post by Allison Brennan, romantic suspense author.

I did, and it really got me thinking. A dangerous thing to be sure !!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to work on my newest book. It's about a teenaged Amish vampire who discovers he's a wizard and has to go to school at Buggywarts to learn to control his powers. Should be a bestseller!


Kris Kennedy said...

Hey Louisa,
What a great question! I'd say that, nowadays, I write the stories I'd want to read.

Upon a time, I just wrote and had fun. :-) But now, I find myself thinking, "No, I'd be bored by this if someone else wrote it."

So, glorious as the writing is (and of course, it always is glorious, stunning prose, right?), I definitely try to write what I'd want to read.


Annette said...

I write the stories I want to write, but I do it with the reader in mind. Not the market, the reader.

It's nice if the sales team at the publishing house knows where to direct your book, of course, so some awareness of the market is needed. But I don't think about it while I'm writing draft 1.

M.V.Freeman said...

I tried to write for the market and it failed.

Now I write the stories I want to read and I LOVE all the paranormal stories, vampires, shapeshifters, magic, etc. So for me, as a reader and writer I will always gravitate toward them--so technically there is always a market in me...:)

Louisa Cornell said...

Hey, Kris ! Welcome home from Germany! I like the idea of writing what you want to read and being able to look at your work and say "No, I'd be bored by this if someone else wrote it."

Louisa Cornell said...

I think you've hit on it too, Annette. If you think about the reader then your book will be created to appeal to the reader. And as we are readers ourselves, if the story is one we LOVE then there is a good chance our potential readers will too.

Louisa Cornell said...

You are onto something there, M.V. ! The paranormal market is here to stay which means you will always have something to read AND you will always have a great market to sell too. Write the paranormals you love and I know they'll sell.

Carla Swafford said...

I write what I like to read and thankfully mostly what I like to read many others do too. Now all I need to do is find the right combination with my own twist that will hold an editor's interest.

Karen Beeching said...

Interesting article! Most of the great writers tell you to write the book of your heart. I totally agree. I can always spot those stories. They make me laugh, cry, and hang on for dear life. High concept is great and very important, but without the heart (and I don't mean romance), something is missing and I definitely won't be coming back for more.

Louisa Cornell said...

Your time is coming, Carla! I just know it!

Louisa Cornell said...

You are so right, Karen. Without that intangible something, that story core that reaches out and touches the reader, a devout reader can spot a shell of a story produced in the hope it copies what the market SAYS it wants and they just won't buy it!

Christine said...

I write the stories that pop into my head and hope that they will hit the mark after I polish them about a zillion times. If I tried to chase trends, I'd never catch up. I am already questioning the timeliness of my third book's plot because the world has changed tremendously since I wrote the first draft. But people like to escape reality when they read, so I hope this book will hit the mark. If not, on to the next story.

For me it is about the people in the books. And I am just learning how to bring the voices in my head out on the paper so my readers will love them, too.

Louisa Cornell said...

Christine, I love the idea of your characters being the driving force behind your stories. With that kind of outlook I just KNOW they are going to sell. The truth is, especially these days, people are definitely looking to escape into an alternate reality. I want to believe the only limits on what we can write are those we set ourselves. The public will gravitate toward whatever we write if it is skillfully written, and written from the heart.