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174 - Writing to Market and Writing to Trend

Create If Writing

09/06/19 • 30 min

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I hear a lot of confusion about writing to market and writing to trend. In this post, I'm going to explain MY personal view and my experience with both writing to market and writing to trend: how they're different, how they're related, and help you figure out what's right for YOU.


Chris Fox coined the term "write to market" and talks about it in his book called ... (wait for it) ... Write to Market. In the Introduction, Fox states that the book will teach you "how to analyze the market, and to use that information to write a book that readers want." (Check out the book HERE.)

Often, writers start out by writing that story that's in their head. They have that one idea that they just can't shake, or the story they HAVE to tell. That's writing for love and it's author-centric.

Writing to market shifts the focus from the author to the reader. What does the READER want?

I mean, we all WANT them to want that story that's been on our heart to write, but that isn't always the case. (There are, of course, happy accidents where this happens, sometimes in a big way.) We learn what the readers want when we study the trends of what's selling on Amazon.

Indie authors can do this better, because we don't need two years to publish a book once it's done. I've decided to write a book to market and had it published in six weeks. It's a little harder if you're hoping to secure an agent, because if you study what's hot NOW, realize that in a few years when your book has been through the whole process, it won't be hot anymore.

So, we clear on the idea of writing to market? Study what readers are buying. Find a space that's selling and that you also love. Write that.

More resources:


I want to be CLEAR about this before we continue. Writing to market is not selling out. Most people who write to market find a market selling well that they LIKE. But even if not, even if you're an author who needs to write in a market they don't LOVE because you have a mortgage to pay, THAT'S OKAY.

Some people write for the love. Some for money. And some for both.

I'm okay with all three of those choices. As long as you're okay with YOUR choices, then go on with your bad self.

But I want to be VERY clear that if you think "writing to market" is a dirty term, this probably isn't the space for you. Or, maybe you should reframe the conversation. Remember that writers are writing for themselves, but also for readers. Writing to market is serving readers what they want to read.

If that's wrong, maybe I don't want to be right.


Writing to trend is something that I hear people talking around a lot, but it's not always called the same thing by different people. To me, writing to trend is taking the principles of writing to market, but applying them to a particular niche, genre, or trend that is HOT now ... and may or may not stay hot for long periods of time.

As I'm writing this, there is a hot trend for bully romance. Essentially, that's just what it sounds like. A guy (or group of guys) bullies a girl and she falls in love with him/them anyway. Not my fave trend (kind of an extreme example of the enemies to lovers trope) but one that went WILD this year and has made some authors serious bank.

Will this be around next year? Gosh, I hope not. But who knows. Another trend in romance (reverse harem-- one main girl with a bunch of male lovers) was thought to be a hot trend and is still going strong years later. There is a big tie between reverse harem and bully romance.

You don't always know how long a trend will last or when it will fizzle out. But trends tend to show up more suddenly, become THE thing, and might gain ground or lose steam. For a little while, at least, their star burns brighter and hotter than the others.

And they can make a LOT of money if you can hop on while they're hot.

Other resources:


When I launched my Emma St. Clair pen name, my goal was to write to market. I made some mistakes (notably in covers and some tropes early on) but quickly figured out that romance needs a happy ending (ha!) and that adult clean romance readers like faces on covers, while photos without faces tend to be either more women's fiction or YA fiction.

My first few books eventually had the right covers, the right trop...


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