f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: When to Worry About Niche

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Thursday, September 29, 2005

When to Worry About Niche

I don’t know what your writing habits are like. If I can suggest one thing it is to try and forget all but your characters and story while in the middle of writing. Self-editing and worrying about “markets” and “gate-keepers” are good ways to find yourself staring at either a very blank screen or a screen filled with words you don’t believe in very much.

There are two times that seem most fit to thinking about the market:

1.) When you’re deciding what to write.
2.) After you’ve completed your first draft.

Number one may not be an option. You may be the kind of writer who has a single burning story that needs to come out. If so, don’t try and write something else. Others may have a variety of stories that could be worth exploring. If publishing is a goal, then it’s not the worst idea to think through what each idea could mean in terms of market potential, etc.

In the end, though, please write a story that you want to write. I’ve seen lots of proposals that appear to have been dictated by the “industry.” I see far fewer that fit the industry but seem to reflect a deep passion of the writer as well.

After finishing your first draft you may see some new avenues or adjustments you could make to your story market friendly. These probably aren’t going to be big things. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to turn a story about a woman caring for her dying mother into a lighthearted chick-lit novel simply because the genre is hot.

When all is said and done, both #1 and #2 pale in importance to what happens in between. You could have the greatest idea in the world, but if the writing is incompetent, it won’t fly. The writing should still be your focus and your joy. Most everything else is the hard business of ink and paper.