One of the biggest discussions I see in the author realm is about Write to Market and the argument for writing for yourself. One of the things I think people misunderstand is that when Write to Market is being discussed in comparison to the two is how an individual can, without meaning to, write to market.
Writing for Yourself and the Market
Let’s take two circles, one what you want to write or will write (You) and one what the market (i.e. readers) want to read.
In the intersection between the two, we have potential sales. Not realised, but potential sales for your work. Not bad, right?
That only works if you overlap. Here’s another example.
Sometimes, you just aren’t writing what the market wants, and your potential sales are really small. This can be as simple as not having a happily ever after in a romance book or not having stats at all in a LitRPG work.
Other times, especially for a lot of breakout writers, this is what they are like:
Whether they realise it or not, they are writing to market. They understand (or just are!) the market themselves, so their work has a wide, wide audience.
Now, I did say this is all potential sales. Because we need to add one other thing:
You, the Market & Promotions
Promotions. Advertising. Letting people know what you write. If you don’t have it, you have nothing. Now, most people will do some promotions (tell friends, do a little social media posts), so this might be closer to what they’d see.
On the other hand, this is what happens when you start doing promotions, when you start doing advertising, creating a social media profile, just being out there with a good promotional strategy.
You get a much bigger overlap, with more actual sales happening where all three line up.
Now, here’s an idea. What if the market you are writing towards is smaller? Like a niche genre (example, LitRPG). Can you do as well, or even better?
With the right targetting, you can. Using a smaller budget, well focused promotions, you can end up with just as many sales if not more (see below).
Now, in the basic level of write to market work, you just pick that point where all three coincide and put works out there. That’s how you make money.
But what if you can adjust your own taste, your own work? That’s… another area of write to market (or some say write to trend). In this case, it’s not writing what you personally want, but what the market desires. In this case, maybe, it’d look something like this:
Finding the intersection between what you write, what you want to write and what the market wants to read is how authors survive.
Without writing in the intersection, you can’t sell anything.
Without promoting your work, even if your work is very much written to market or trend, you still won’t sell that well (beyond pure luck at blowing up big on a viral basis).
If your promotions aren’t targetted right, you might still not sell. Because you’re sending the promos to the wrong people.
It’s when you get all three right that you might have a career.
Hopefully, these images are useful for you all.
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