Friday, March 28, 2014

On writing to trends

It seems that anytime I'm at a conference, the question gets asked "What's selling right now?" or "What trends are you seeing?" or some variation of it.

And even if the question came from someone who may currently be on sub, and the reason for their question was really, "Are editors buying right now what I'm currently selling?," it's always interpreted as "I want to know what's hot right now, so I can write that."

And we all know that's a bad question to ask, because the books coming out right now were bought two years ago, and whatever trend there was two years ago is no longer what's trending right now, and you'd always be behind the eight ball if you went off that.

But really, the better reason not to follow a trend is that the people who really do well in writing are the people who SET the trends. Because trying to write what people are asking for isn't always the best idea. Writing what people want, when they don't even know what they want yet is where the best successes come from.

I ran across this quote that I absolutely love, because everything it implies illustrates this so very well:

"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."
~Henry Ford

Yep. I say that like it's a piece of cake. (Or a tasty cookie. ;)) When really, it can be far from easy. *Raises cookie* Here's to hoping that we all become trendsetters!

photo credit: cacaobug via photopin cc

Have a great weekend!


Jenilyn Collings said...

I LOVE that quote! That's awesome. Thanks for sharing. :)

Rosalyn said...

I like that idea--here's to trendsetting! And I just finished Sky Jumpers and loved it, so there's that. :)

JeffO said...

Great quote. And I could use some fresh strawberries....

Adam Heine said...

"the people who really do well in writing are the people who SET the trends."

So very much this. My publishing method is:

1. Write what you want to read.
2. Write it well.
3. Get lucky.
4. If unlucky, repeat steps #1-2.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Great quote and gorgeous cookies! And love Adam's method above :)

Krista McLaughlin said...

Great quote and a valid point - we do have to think of what will be popular, since the things now were from a few years ago.

Also, that chocolate and strawberry looks delicious!

Angela Cothran said...

LOL!!! Love the quote. I'm going to remember it forever :)

Carrie-Anne said...

Since I've been different from the crowd my whole life and have never been into trends, that's a completely foreign mindset to me. I just can't understand why any writer would want to deliberately write what's trendy instead of writing what s/he wants to. It's like picking your kids' names from the Top 10 instead of finding names you really like.

David P. King said...

The better question to ask is, what areas in the market haven't been tapped into yet, which is what sets up a trend, often serendipitously. But it's also important to write something that excites you, first and foremost. :)