Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Are you buying it?

There’s been talk (when isn’t their?) about what sells a book. Is it the author with their awesome credentials? Bahahaha, what a thought – if you count Snooki, JWOW, Theresa Giudice I wouldn’t say their credentials were awesome.

However they are being smart. If I was a trashy girl or one who loved being Italian and landed myself on a show you bet your ass I’d take full advantage.

Is it adding a paranormal aspect? Stephenie Meyer seemed to have it going on.

But what does it take to be a newbie? What makes you the next Sophie Kinsella or Suzanne Collins? What pushes as us writers to find that brilliant book idea and write it?

You’re told to be unique, but not too unique. They want a fresh take on an old idea. How the heck do we pull that off?

With the what if’s in life.

What if the sun stopped shining? What if there was a boy who had a gift to give the world light but he had to stay recharged? What if that same boy had parents who did nothing but abuse them? How could someone so unhappy provide light to the world? The one person who can help is someone he considers his own sunshine, the girl of his dreams, but how do they meet when they know nothing about one another?

Will that be the idea that sells?

The truth: No one really knows. An agent or publisher reads your work and goes with their gut. It’s all in the words, the uniqueness, the fresh take, and a whole lot of personality. They’re not sure what they’re looking for. More or less they know their tired of vampires… however that doesn’t mean the vampire book you just completed isn’t the one. You’re fresh idea on them might be exactly what they need.

I guess what I’m saying is you never know what won’t work. If you’re still loving the books you pick up from the bookstores then there is a chance that the book you write someone will love.

Are you still buying books? Are they the ones your writing?

41 comments:

Joseph Eastwood said...

Great post, as usual! I'd like to think I was a very versatile writer, so I read a lot of different genres. However, the book I've just finished writing hasn't any books like--well, I don't think so and my beta readers are the same--is that a good thing?

Anne Gallagher said...

Jen, THAT idea about the light boy was great! I know if I was an agent I'd look at it. You should write it.

I'm still looking for the books I want to read. That's why I'm writing them.

Samantha Vérant said...

I know what will sell! The Snooki vampire story! Sadly, she gets killed off.

Jess said...

I thought the idea where the sun stopped shining was AWESOME!! I was seriously waiting to see what would happen next!
And yes, I'm trying hard to cram in as many YA books I can find!

Jen Daiker said...

Aren't you all sweet! I randomly thought up the what-if. I'm not sure if it'll ever be an idea that evolves but it definitely does sit in my pile of 'maybes'

Thank you all for stopping in!!!

Sarah Pearson said...

I always think the best thing about being unpublished is that it's probably the only time you can truly truly write exactly what you want, for the sheer joy of writing. This is what I tell myself anyway :-)

Clarissa Draper said...

I don't think it's the plot. There are only a few of those. It's the rest of the writing. The voice, the unique characters and putting it all together in a way that keeps the reader reading. Simple? No.

lynnrush said...

I am still buying books. Both paperback and e-book. :) They're mostly in my genre, yes, but not all of them. Mostly it's be reading back cover blurbs that I get intrigued, along with recommendations from my friends.

salarsenッ said...

Gosh, so true. That's the reason we need to keep plugging away at what we love to do. There are many variables that come into play and at some point our stars will find their alignment. :)

Christine Danek said...

Oh so true. That's why I keep writing. I want to write a book I would want to read. There are plenty out there that are completely out of this world, but I would like to see my book next to them. :)
I agree with Anne. Write that light boy book.

Slamdunk said...

I think your message is important to all those pursuing a writing dream. Be genuine, don't try to be another author. Having the right timing and breaks are as much a part of success as anything.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

You always have such perky posts, even when they have more serious content. This one is another brilliant one!! :-)

Carolyn V said...

Love this post Jen! I'm always buying books. And it's so true, no one really knows what will work in the future and what won't. ;)

Bethany K. Mattingly said...

It surprises me how many different types of books intrigue me. I'm not a one genre reader, so I guess it makes sense that agents aren't really either.

LTM said...

good stuff here, girl! Yep, still buying, still loving and still writing!

And hey, you should write that sunshine book~ :o) <3

Julianna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You're the second person to talk about the what ifs this week when it comes to writing. I wrote what I enjoy reading. And hopefully some day all of those Star Wars fans will find me!

Jen Chandler said...

Oh how I needed to read this!

You're so right. No one can know what will work, what won't work.

Some of the best writing advice I've ever received was "don't write for the market". In other words, don't go out there, see what's selling now and write it.

You've got to write what you believe in, what you're passionate about. It may not be "popular" but vampires weren't all that popular when Meyer hit the scene. Who knows? Those zombie werewolves could be the next big thing after all!

Cheers!
Jen C.

Stephanie said...

Very true. We just have to go with our guts and write what we are inspired to write. So much of this business is just having the right story at the right time.

Cherie Reich said...

I like the idea for sunshine boy. *grins*

It's very true no one really knows what sells. We just have to write and be passionate about what we write. :)

Michelle Fayard said...

If you write your book with your soul, I think it will have a much stronger chance for success. An excellent post, Jen!

Heather said...

This is a great question, one I wonder about as an author. Personally, I buy the books of people that I know or have an online social connection to, first. From there it's usually based off books I find on my favorite book reviewer blogs.

Hannah Kincade said...

I try not to think about it in this stage. I refuse to be influence by fads and just write what I want. When I'm ready to begin querying, I'll start looking closer at the market, but for now, I'm just sticking to whatever the Picard is telling me to write.

Great post as always. I've missed you!

The Golden Eagle said...

I like the idea about the boy!

I read a lot of different books. It probably influences my writing in that I've tried several different genres (though SF is definitely where a lot of my heart is), and I love finding new styles. I agree, no one knows what will be the next big thing--but it's nice to be able to dream your own could be the one. :)

Johanna Garth said...

I still believe the old adages, good writing sells and there's nothing new under the sun, just new ways of talking about it!

Will Burke said...

After so many years orking part-time, I still find my books in the "Reduced" section, or second hand. It opens me up to more variety (in that I'm less picky), but it's still similar enough to what I'm writing. Also, reading what my Blogger buddies release opens me up to whatever's in their worlds.

Myne Whitman said...

Yes, I'm still buying, still reading and still writing. At the end of the day, that's all we can do really.

Amy Saia said...

Jen, I have to agree, your light boy story rocks. You need to write that quick!

For me, I just like the sound of story and that's what sells it. A person doesn't have to have great credentials, but knowing they have a good track record doesn't hurt. I've thought about this a lot lately, as my time will come to promote and sell.

Laura Pauling said...

I'm buying more now than ever and reading current top sellers that I've absolutely loved are affecting my writing in only a good way!

Nicole Zoltack said...

You should definitely write about light boy!

Stephsco said...

You're right, it's almost impossible to know what will stick to get published. What's encouraging to me so far is reading as much as I can. I pick out what I like most about my favorite books. It's usually interesting characters and a unique or well-researched setting.

For YA contemporary - or any contemporary really - how do you make everyday like unique? Hasn't it all been done before? I struggle with going beyond cliches. And yet, I've read recently pubbed books full of cliches. ???!!!???

Laura said...

Great post. I'm still reading! and I'd say, just like for the agents and publishers, the writer needs to go with their gut. To double guess what they should write it to curb their uniqueness and their ability to trust in their work.
Lxxx
PS congrats again on the FULL!

Jordyn said...

"Are you still buying books? Are they the ones you're writing?"

YES and YES. I think this is an interesting post... nobody ever knows what will sell, what will become big, but I do take solace in the fact that there are so many books I love that aren't super-popular but the authors still have a measure of success and maybe someday I can be one of those authors even if I never have a bestseller.

Melissa Pearl said...

Excellent post. I really like your story idea about the boy and the light :) Have you written it yet?
If you haven't, I hope you do. I'd totally read it.

I find myself attracted to the books in store that I like to write myself. It's definitely worth constantly keeping an eye on the market. New ideas are inspired from current works and as the cycle continues, more and more cool stuff is written.

E.R. King said...

Well said. It's so subjective, it's hard not to get caught up in the "what if's" but they do kinda run the industry. You never know if you'll be the exception to the rule.

Sandy said...

Hey Jen, Thanks for popping over to my blog and leaving a nice comment. I loved this post and also feel like you have to stick to your authentic self and just write what brings you joy and gives you that "happy buzz," that we all get sometimes. Hopefully it crosses someone's desk who say's, give me the phone I must call this person immediately, hey it could happen :)

Tiffany Garner said...

Some great thoughts here.

As in everything, you shouldn't do it unless you absolutely love it. I'm a bit believer in that. Don't write a book because you want to sell a book--write a book because you love a story, and sell that to the agents and editors. If you don't like your story, than who will?

And I definitely still buy books. I have to give myself a monthly allowance so I don't go overboard. :)

Shallee said...

Love this. Whenever I get excited-- like, can't sleep because my brain is whirling excited-- about an idea, I know it's one that I need to write. Because I love it.

But will anyone else? Who knows. I guess that's why we keep writing new books. :)

Angela Ackerman said...

So much of this biz seems to contradict itself sometimes, doesn't it?

The thing I have noticed is that the farther you get down this path, the more all of it becomes...noise. That's all it really is.

Here's what we really need to worry about: becoming better writers. We become as strong in the craft as we can, we write the story that we feel passion for, and we know what our market is and what readers are reading and asking for. If we do these things, our books will find a home. I really do believe that. :)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Ashley Stone said...

I think that the books that sell are the ones that people can relate to. The Twilight Series, the Hunger Games... all unique ideas that all had the common theme of having characters that deep down, we can all relate to. Characters that love, lose, and are flawed like the rest of us. ; )

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

You're so right, Jen. I think a lot of it comes down to finding your niche-- that mix of caring passionately about something and finding other people who care for it, too. Very, very hard to do. A whole bunch of trial and error required, that's for sure!

Amy