Things are always changing, I mean really that’s a given. Things have always changed, and yet in modern times things are staying the same more than ever. A little vague yes, so what do I mean by this exactly?
People are taking less chances with their stories, people are being less innovative and trying new things less and less. There is a real reason why the market is often times filled with very similar titles or tropes that have been tried and tested and yes work, but are, for lack of a better way of saying it, less imaginative.
This is not a criticism of other writers; it’s not a criticism of anyone. It’s just a sign of the time, as apparent in novels as it is in the film industry. Let me use an example to illustrate my point. Have you ever wondered why they are making so many comic book movies? How about movies based on best-selling novels or remakes or old classics? It’s because in today’s market it is becoming more and more difficult to turn a profit for a variety of reasons so people aren’t willing to take a chance on a zany project that might not work.
No complaints – Who doesn’t love Captain America?
This is even more apparent in the writing world, where the publishing industry is slowly dying – or so the naysayers would have us believe. I don’t like to think of it as the publishing industry dying but rather evolving and changing. Into what, well, your guess is as good as mine.
It’s not anyone’s fault. It’s no secret that money is what makes the world go round, and publishing houses and agents are more willing to take on projects that will sell rather than what won’t. That might seem blatantly obvious, but its implications are disheartening. Would Harry Potter have ever been published if it had been submitted today? I would sincerely like to think so, but I imagine it would’ve been a good deal harder.
It’s tough world out there, ask anyone who has ever tried to get a novel published. Now with the competition from self-publishing and the loss of many traditional publishers, the world is shrinking beneath our feet.
But I don’t want you leaving on a downer. I don’t want you thinking it’s all impossible and that dreams can’t come true. Instead think about what this means for you – and that does not mean writing something you think will sell. That will never work, writing is passion and love, it’s not mechanical or perfunctory, so don’t force it.
Remember we as writers have the advantage – you can cast anyone you want in your role, go to any place in the world, create any set, all for nothing, all by the power of your own imagination. So why stick to stock characters and places – go anywhere! Create vivid and diverse characters, do yourself justice, really go to your limits and then further. There is nothing stopping you.
And realize that in today’s market you will have to put in more and more work. This might mean doing much of your own publicity, it might been branching out and helping out other authors. It means reading and understanding the market – even if it means reading things you wouldn’t necessarily like or think is good (though no name-calling!)
It is a changing world and I hope this post has given you some food for thought. It’s a changing world and you either be a part of it or unfortunately it’ll leave you behind. So become a part of the revolution if you haven’t already and realize that just because you’ve been rejected, doesn’t mean your work isn’t good – it means our world is changing. And what can you do? Everything you can because no-one will ever believe in your work, or back you as much as you do?
Or in my case as much as my mum