Trends are everywhere. We see them in architecture, government, obviously in clothing. Ever wear jean jackets with a pair of jeans? Or maybe daisy dukes? Trends are why my hair had the big ’80s wave and the Jennifer Anniston. I’m an avid Tumblr reader and blog viewer so I see a lot of trends.
Do you see what I mean? They’re everywhere. With the relative ease of access the internet has to clean toilets trend cycling increases. This is March 2013. Already, we’ve got gifs, screaming goat videos, Gangam Style, Harlem Shake, grumpy cat, and I’d say meteoroids are another. That’s a short list.
What you want to do as an author is to spot the trend, then decide what you want from the story you’re telling. So let’s use some EVAL-U-A-TION
- Do you want $? Sure. But is it the primary reason you’re writing this story?
- Do you want to tell your story, no matter the trend?
- Do you want to tell a story that will be popular now?
- Are you writing specifically for an agent?
- Get it out there now! Do you want to self publish?
- Do you want to write something enduring that can stand the test of time and space?
My caveat? Chose your path wisely.
1). Money. Then that’s easy. Look at publishing trends announced by Scholastic, Random House and Penguins and write that trend. Find an agent looking for this trendy story and go for it. Make sure that you don’t burn out your genius for the other stories you want to tell, though. Every book takes research, writing, editing, then re-editing. Again this is 2013. The year of YA and MG scifi, according to informed and deciding choices. I even have one of those in my head, but it’s not out of my head yet. Not even plotted. The nascent kernel rests in my head as two much louder stories vie for publication. But since this is the trend, should I write for the trend? That’s up to me.
2.) Do you want to tell the story no matter what the trend? Then do it! That’s what Olivia is for me. I want to tell this story and it doesn’t fit anywhere. So I’m writing it to get the story out of my head. Once it’s satisfactorily written, I’ll move on to the next project. Well, as long as I can write the new scifi at the same time.
3.) Do you want a story that will be popular now, no matter that you don’t have one in your head? Then take that trend and follow the 1.) up there. Write the story the trend needs, then get a publisher/agent for the trend. Best of luck to you. Publication is a wonderful achievement!
4.) If you found the agent that you know you could walk down the beach with and both enjoy the sound of the ocean and wind in your hair, write for that agent assuming you have what the agent is looking for. Every agent has a list of interests on their agency’s site, a blog, and most have twitter accounts. Find out what that perfect agent wants in a story. And like 1 and 3 up there. Write it. I really hope that it’s a match made in heaven and that you enjoy writing that genre. If you don’t like the genre/story style, you will eventually burn out and become unhappy in this relationship.
5.) Get it out there now! You’ve written the story that came from your heart or mind and you want the world to see it. Well, you can always self publish if the manuscript is polished to perfection. Don’t push the publish button too fast, or you’ll be re-uploading pretty quickly and get reviews about your editing skills. But you have a great story, and you just can’t wait to share it? I say share away!
6.) If you want to write an enduring piece that will stand the test of time, please tell me how. The greater concerns (love, life, society, health, death) and characterization will overshadow your setting. The feels will keep me tied to the story, no matter what your character is driving. I am no Shakespeare, but I believe this is a difficult task that could go traditional or self-pub. This story takes part of it’s author with it as it flies into the world. Drop me a line so I can have a look when it’s out there.
Ideally, you have a fantastic story in your head, and it’s either timeless or in the early movement of a trend. You have polished and sent the story to agents or publishers, and if one of the traditional routes doesn’t feel that it’s right for their company, self pub is a legit way to go.
So long as you’re not looking to publish werewolves, vampires, or zombies in 2013, I’ll read what you’ve got out there, too. I mean, vampires and zombies are over.