By Calista Taylor
I think we've all been there—you hear a certain genre or type of story/character is selling, so you debate whether or not you jump on the trend. It's hard to resist when you hear agents are all looking for a certain thing, and you know writing it could increase your odds of getting published. But should you?
Many say that by the time you're done writing to a trend, it'll likely have passed, or you'll just be one of many who had the same idea. Or that if it's not really a genre you know and love, then you likely won't do a good job at writing it. Honestly, I think both these points have merit.
So when should you jump on a trend and try your luck? I do believe that there are times when you can ride the wave, but the one thing to always remember, is that there's usually more than one wave. If one genre doesn't suit you, then look around. There's almost always something else coming on the horizon that could be a better fit.
Catch the Trend Early!!—There will certainly be times when you can see the wave just starting as a tiny swell, and there's a good chance you can catch a trend before most people take notice. It can be hard to do, especially if you're looking at books that have already sold and are doing well, since it can easily take up to two years to go from querying to getting a book published. By the time a book is a success, most publishers have moved on to what they think will be the next "big thing". An alternative is to self publish, since you can have the book out and in the hands of readers, as soon as you can write and edit your manuscript. Some indies will also have shorter lead times to publishing.
Should you?—The most important question is should you write a genre just because it's gaining popularity? If it is not a genre you read or write (or even like in some cases), then chances are you likely won't be successful at it. But if you're still determined, make sure to do your research—and by this I mean read the genre extensively. Also, try and find an alternative genre or sub-genre that might suit you better. Can you make use of a trend but carry it over to a genre you DO write?
Keep it Fresh—If your story is fresh and different, then it will stand out whether you're writing to a trend or not.
Have you tried writing to a trend? Were you successful?
Calista Taylor is a romance writer and crafter when she's not making book covers or growing things in a bioreactor.