By Jennifer S. Wilkov, host of the “Your Book Is Your Hook!” Show on WomensRadio
As authors and writers, we’re always learning about resources and industry tools that we can use to improve our book project performance and the enjoyment of our writing and marketing experiences. Today let’s talk about why writing for the genre you love can make for a great writing career.
One of the consistent tips offered by agents, publishers, editors, industry consultants like me and other successful writers and authors is this: write about what you love. We all repeat this over and over again during our conversations on this show, at industry conferences and talks, and during individual consulting sessions.
Too often writers who feel desperate to get published want to write about the trendy topics because they think they’ll get published faster. The downsides of writing about trendy topics are:
1) What’s trendy and hot right now may not be by the time you get published. Remember: if you choose to get an agent and you want to be published by a larger traditional publishing house, your book will take 18 – 24 months to hit the stores after you get an agent to agree to represent you and your project – however long that process takes for you. If you choose to self-publish or go with a smaller publishing house, it could take you 6 – 10 months on average before your book is available and on the scene. That means you could miss the scene entirely with your book if you’re looking to hit the top while the topic is hot.
This can most easily be understood by looking at the vampire books. Before the Twilight series from Stephenie Meyer, there were the popular books by Anne Rice. Nowadays, agents continually say that vampire books are passé and more often than not will receive an automatic “no” from agents and publishers. As per a recent post on Ayesha Pande’s Twitter account @agent_ayesha yesterday: “Dear Authors: it’s official. The publishing industry has vampire fatigue.”
2) When you write about trend topics that are not your passion, it shows in your writing. When you write and speak about something you love and are bonkers about, it shows! The way you express yourself exudes the joy you feel when you write, talk and read about it. After all, it’s cliché: it’s written all over your face. In our case, it’s also written all over the pages of your book. And that passion, my friends, is hard to fake.
3) One trendy book does not a career make. When you write solely on trend, you have to recognize that trends change. Some of the most successful authors write about topics in the same genre because that’s what they enjoy writing and it’s also what they enjoy reading. They’ve built their following and fans because of their consistency. Readers can count on their books being a good read in the genre they love so they continue to stay loyal to the author because of this.
Examples of successful authors who have done this include Debbie Macomber in romance and women’s fiction, James Patterson in mysteries and thrillers, Dave Ramsey in finance, Marci Shimoff in women’s nonfiction and others.
4) Writing for the trends does not an audience make either. When you write for the trends, chances are, you’ll find your liturgy of books all over the place and you’ll constantly be seeking an audience for your work instead of building a consistent community and fan following with the work you love.
Writing about what you love opens your heart and the window to the world of creativity that is bursting inside you, just waiting for an opportunity to come out. Sometimes, when you write solely for trend topics, you may find that you have to force that creativity window open instead of letting it fly open so you can let loose.
And as a gentle reminder: reading the genre you love is just as important as writing in it. Get familiar with those who are successful with their books in the category you intend to write about it.
If you’re serious about building a lasting writing career and you want to use your books as your hook to entertain, educate and enlighten others, then choose the genre you love and start writing.
Jennifer’s show can be heard every week on Tuesday mornings at 9am when it is broadcast on WomensRadio.com and syndicated on Google News and Live365.com. Each show is archived for replay listeners in different time zones and countries.
For more information on this Education Corner topic and others, please refer to www.YourBookIsYourHook.com/blog for more articles and resources to help you with your books.