There’s a difference between writing a good book, and writing a marketable book.
A marketable book is designed to make you money, get you out of your day job, pay back that Manticore that loaned you 40 gold pieces to open your inn.
A good book is written for itself. For no other reason than to exist. They are the linchpins of the cosmos, just like any piece of art. Little thumbtacks constructed of human energy, that keep us from spinning out into oblivion.
I’m not saying that a good book can’t be marketable, or that a marketable book can’t be damn good.
I’m saying — think about who you’re writing for. Quit beating yourself up trying to match the current trends, or make your story fit into the YA framework, or the paranormal romance, or the corporate thriller — just so it can one day sell some copies on Amazon.
Because here’s the truth — we’ve all got stories inside of us. No one can tell that story but you — stop chopping off pieces, or grafting on new ones to make your unique contribution to the human race easier to sell. I read so many posts here on WP of people agonizing about making their books more marketable, or suiting this market, that market.
You are not going to sell any books.
Accept it — you are not going to sell any books.
So, why write for the extremely small probability of selling something? Write for the much larger probability of actually producing a piece of art that is a benefit to the human experience.
And, yes, I realize the irony of this statement — coming from an author who’s first novel includes a fight against a brachiosaur.
It’s a human failing to gauge success by money — I’m just as guilty as anyone else, sitting in the tub dreaming about the book-money, the me-money, the my job is to write-money.
Make your art. Make it.
Don’t let anyone else tell you how, or why, or when. Worry about selling it later, or never sell it at all.
The creation is the reward.
And trust me — I have to keep reminding myself of that, every time a check bounces.
Make better art, that’s the goal. That’s what keeps you going — not dreaming about publisher advances.
So make your art — make it!
When you’ve made your art — when you’ve made it the best you possibly can. Then you can worry about selling it.
[Sorry for the rant — this is directed mostly at myself.]