5. Write for the market only.

Now let’s talk about one of the biggest keys to a novel that really has no chance. Start by chasing the market. Study the bestseller lists and try to identify a trend and jump on it.

There’s a saying in publishing that the moment you spot a trend, it’s too late to join it. By the time you finish writing something you think will be popular because it’s popular now, that ship will have largely sailed.

Ignore that saying, or you may end up with something agents and editors look for: a fresh voice.

Such writers are market conscious. They know that publishers are in this business to make money, a return on their investment in a new writer.

But they still manage to bring something new to the table, namely their own heart and passion filtered through a craft that enables readers to share their vision.

Yes, vision. Any genre needs it. As super agent Donald Maass says in The Fire in Fiction: “What the hell are you trying to say to me?”

Writers with fresh voices:

  • Explore all facets of a story. They concentrate on feeling the story as well as writing it.
  • Read a wide variety of material. These writers read outside their genre—even poetry!—not to find out what’s hot, but to expand their stylistic range.

But just beware that if you do find your voice, that means you’re not not writing your novel.

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