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Thursday, January 5, 2017

What's Hot and What's Not

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I get asked this question all the time.

Writers everywhere want to know what's popular, what they should focus on for maximum profit, what sells, what will sell, now, and in the future.

They think there might be some great oracle out there who can answer this question - or that maybe publishers and agents on the inside might know this information and are somehow keeping it to themselves.

Would that this were true!

Think about it. Five years ago, could you have predicted what you are doing now?

Most of us don't know where we're going to be living in five years time - and even if we think we do, events conspire to change our plans.

Life is organic, some might say unreliable.

Even two years ago, is there any way you could have foreseen today's news?

Could you have known which celebrities or politicians were going to be in the spotlight?

Or which ones had faded from view?

Of course not.

It doesn't work that way.

The bestselling books and movies that are with us today were conceived and written AT LEAST two years ago - many much more than that.

Sometimes an artist, writer, or director may have been working on an idea for decades before the final product reaches the public.

What's hot now may have seemed a completely dumb idea five years ago - but the idea was pursued until it was fully formed and ready for the public.

Writers have a responsibility to write what's important to them - without forever casting nervous eyes at the marketplace and wondering if they're misguided or somehow missing the boat.

Because it's the writer's vision, dedication, and enthusiasm for his or her chosen subject that will eventually resonate with the public.

It's simple really.

People like good ideas that are well expressed, no matter which genre or subject matter is currently trendy.

Think about the books, movies, writers, and the artists you like.

They have a timeless quality, right?

Being a slave to the market doesn't make a creative person better or more successful.

We see many people who try to jump on bandwagons - but do we respect them for that?

Do they last?

Rarely.

It's a person's work or their personality, their uniqueness, that we respect, relate to, and ultimately cherish.

Your personal integrity is important.

It's your love of a subject and faith in your unique vision that will carry you forward.

It's these same qualities that will inspire publishers and readers to believe in you.

There's no point in thinking, Oh, JK Rowling and Dan Brown were successful, therefore I should do something like that - because that's precisely what publishers and readers DO NOT want writers to do.

You have to think in terms of YOU.

Your own creativity - and what you are drawn to - is what is important.

Not, is there room for another ---------- ? (insert author's name here), but there is room for --------- (Insert your name here!)

It's being passionate about your work that will, if you're serious, willing to work hard and okay, get lucky too, that will make YOU the next big thing, YOU that hot new trend that other writers will no doubt aspire to emulate.

Life's too short to be forever trying to predict trends.

If it were at all possible to know the future, we'd all have won the lottery by now - or we wouldn't have wasted time with all those nasty people we wished we hadn't met!

The best we can do is write from the heart, and keep on writing to the best of our ability.

Accept rejection as positive criticism. Learn from failure.

Rewrite and rework ideas until they're strong and incontrovertible - until they shine with an inner light that can't be doused or ignored.

Most of all, believe in yourself and your work.

Do that, and the rest will follow.

Keep Writing!

Rob Parnell

Your Success is My Concern
The Writing Academy
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