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Author Topic: Target Market  (Read 4410 times)
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Ed
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« on: February 05, 2006, 11:14:41 AM »

Who are you writing for?  Imagine an image of Kitchener pointing out from a billboard and asking you that question.

What’s your answer?  Should your writing, style and content, be aimed at a certain readership?

I’ve been thinking about this for a while – yeah, me – thinking!  whoah  And I reckon a truly skilled, professional writer will be able to write to suit a given market.  Look at all the writers out there who author titles for commercial markets – the ones who write for Mills and Boon, and TV series novels, like the ones for the Star Trek and all the others.  I bet their original goals had nothing whatsoever to do with writing stuff like that, but they use their skill to satisfy a specific section of the reading population. 

Is that bad?  Is that selling out?  I don’t think so – I think it shows how skilful they are.  To me, writing a Mills and Boon romance novel would be pure torture, because the genre doesn’t interest me one iota, but people do it, and they do it well enough to satisfy their customers, to a flat fee and writing to a strict set of guidelines.  I’m sure most have to drop a few notches of ability to do it as well.

All that said, how many of us aspire to writing stuff that doesn’t inspire us or move us in some way?  I don’t.  I write what I feel like writing, and I write it in a way that I feel comfortable with.  So I guess my answer would be that I write for my own pleasure and then hope my readers will enjoy my efforts.

Is the motivation behind your writing important – should every writer have a market in mind before they set fingers to keyboard, or should you just go with the flow, maaan?  What do you reckon?

Thoughts?
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« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2006, 11:39:43 AM »

I think it's a combination of both, Blunt. My short work, Winston the Wonder Dog, was not fancied by Dog Fancy, so I'm subbing it to a personal essay contest.  A story I wrote for Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul (rejected by them), just got an honorable mention with Long Story Short's Make Me Cry contest.  A story I wrote 2 years ago, was rejected by Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction magazine, re-written twice, and just accepted for the September 2006 issue of Aoife's Kiss.

As we sub a story out, I believe we should be thinking of the next place it can go--if and when it's rejected. I've been tracking my subbing for the past two years. So far out of 75 subs, I've had 27 pubs or wins, a 36% hit rate. I'd love it to be higher, but know that each story is a new opportunity to re-write and hone my skills, and to try a new market.

Oh, and try not to take it personally.  Wink

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« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2006, 02:33:38 PM »

You are both right. I suppose we all start off writing to satisfy that inner scribbler who wants to realise that book we all have inside us - allegedly.  Escaping Reality was that book. Hence I couldn't place it with a conventional publisher - they just don't like mixed genre, especially humour and thriller even though it screamed inside me to be written.

So I took their advice and wrote a more straight thriller. I took more commercial advice and made the protagonist a feisty young female and limited it to 80, 000 words. In fact once I started I couldn't help myself slipping in my brand of humour even though I thought it was under control. I also found that I really enjoyed writing Hot Air, which my agent has and hopes to place it soon. Scroll a little way down to see the Hot Air concept and taster http://www.geoffnelder.com/GNsamples.htm

My shorts and odd flash are really from inside me. But again, my Left Luggage SF trilogy is farily commercially market targetted, but it has grown on and in me. Once again I'm dreaming in it!

So the answer is a mix of both.

Geoff
« Last Edit: February 05, 2006, 02:34:11 PM by Geoff_N » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2006, 07:28:20 PM »

One of the principal pieces of advice to new writers is to write the sort of stories you enjoy reading. To this end, I'm hovering around suspense / horror / crime. I think I've given up trying to write lit fic. I think I know what it is, I think I know it when I read it, but I sure as hell can't write it. And I do want to be a commercial writer.

So, now I'm starting to write again, I'm looking at genre markets for short fiction, as well as looking at continuing my novel-length writing too. To this end (I don't know if it's already been mentioned), there's an interesting thread at EotW (for a change) about genre markets.  http://www.eastoftheweb.com/uncut/node/view/27627
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2006, 08:31:14 PM »

Ta, Mr G! That's great info!  afro
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« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2006, 07:16:44 AM »

So I guess my answer would be that I write for my own pleasure and then hope my readers will enjoy my efforts.

This is how I am, too. If I don't enjoy writing it then it's just going to suck and there's no way around that. I write the kind of thing I would like to read and hope there's an audience for it. If not, then too bad for me-- at least I had fun writing it. I've tried writing to a certain genre before, even aiming for a given crowd, but it just isn't worth it, and damn hard to compete with the writers that love that particular genre. Their love shines through in their writing, as does the lack of interest/conviction in my own efforts. The reader can tell the difference.
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« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2006, 01:20:27 PM »

Yep - I think there comes a point where 'fun' becomes just another form of 'work', if you're not careful.  I still enjoy learning and writing and, as long as that's the case, I'm happy to continue afro
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« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2006, 01:54:27 PM »

I wonder if Messrs King, Koontz, Kellerman (not to say Brown and Rowling)  et al feel like that?
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« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2006, 02:22:53 PM »

I doubt it - writing is their work - their job.  To me it's a hobby and to be worthwhile as a hobby it has to be enjoyable, otherwise I'll be working in my day job and then spending all my 'spare' time working too.  That's a good way of sending yourself to an early grave, IMO grin
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Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
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