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Georgette St. Clair

NYTimes Bestselling Author of Paranormal Romance

BBW romance, paranormal romance, and just all kinds of romance

More thoughts on writing to market

So, I’ve been writing for about a year and a half now, testing out pen names and genres.  The genres that I’ve written in included one New Adult novel (not under the Georgette name), various short erotica books, billionaire romances, cowboy, mystery, and now, paranormal.

My conclusion on whether it makes sense to “write to market” – yes, absolutely. Possibly.  With a caveat.

Let me explain.

In the past, with traditional publishing, it didn’t make sense to write whatever was selling well, because by the time your book was published and on bookstore shelves, two years would have gone by and the trend would have passed long ago. Now,  with self-publishing, if you write quickly, you can spot a new trend and write a book that follows that trend within a month, and publish that book as soon as it’s written and edited.

But should you?

I have tried writing to market in genres that I don’t normally read. It was okay, but not anywhere near as much fun as writing in genres that I do read, and the books didn’t do that well.

I think it’s hard to write well when you’re writing in a genre that you don’t enjoy. Not only that, but there’s no need to jump on the trend-wagon of a genre that you don’t like, because I guarantee you that there are also bestselling books that you do like.  Emulate those. They may not be the current trendiest type of books – remember how Billionaire BDSM was all over the charts for a while?  But at the same time, there were plenty of other types of books that were selling very well, and if you hate billionaire BDSM, it makes much more sense to look elsewhere on the bestseller lists for inspiration.

You like mysteries? There’s cosy, historical, paranormal, thriller, romantic, alternate universe, contemporary, hardboiled detective, procedural…the list goes on.

You prefer romance? Paranormal, inspirational, erotic, BBW, contemporary, New Adult,  New adult with rock stars, cowboy, science fiction/fantasy,  Regency, Victorian, Highlander…I haven’t even scratched the surface.

My point is – if you are a writer trying to increase your odds of selling well, by all means study the bestseller list and figure out what is currently succeeding. That’s what I did.  That’s what a lot of successful authors do.   But be sure to pick a genre that you personally love, and make the story your own.   That’s also what I did.  When you write what you love, you will write a much better story, and your readers will sense this, and what I personally found was, the books will sell much better than if you force yourself to write a book only because you’re trying to follow the trends without also writing to your strengths.