Sunday, March 2, 2014
WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?
WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?
This is not me asking you. This question is about what your reader wants from you. When someone writes a book, they usually do it so that they might lift spirits or entertain someone else. Hopefully many someone elses.
There’s a rare bird who will say I write for only myself. This post isn’t about that person. Once you decide you write for more than yourself you must consider what others like. To know what others like you must realize that tastes are constantly changing. Therefore, it is wise to keep your finger on the popular pulse. Goning-by-the-way-side are the days when a publisher will dictate what you should write, partially because they’re not elastic enough to change quickly (this is changing) to keep up with people’s tastes and also due to the growing interest in indie-published books (truly elastic marketability).
You might say, ‘I’m not a whore.’ I’ll tell you, we are just haggling over the number of people (‘price’ in the old joke).
Hollywood has huge resources they apply to knowing what the public wants and giving it to them. Whether it be a Screwball comedy set in the depression where a down and out meets a rich girl (It Happened One Night) or take a look at the best picture nominees (today). I.e. Twelve Years a Slave is a good example.
On TV the average age of the viewing public has jumped from 41 in 1993 to 54 in 2014 (baby boomers rule and spend).
Records or songs have always been bought by the young. Many of these are love songs and quite beautiful or entertaining. Although the young buy records, the older listen as well and so should the writer of romance listen.
Keep your finger on the public’s pulse. Hopefully, when you write what interests you, you’ll also write what interests the readers. So you can afford to buy a record, see a movie, read a book.
I’ll leave you with a true story (and then a song). I wrote a romance novel which used 9/11 and NYC as backdrops. I waited to query agents/editors until after Hollywood gave the green light to movies that also used 9/11 (Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close) and TV (Blue Bloods) etc. After major disasters, the media typically waits ten years, as was the case with the Titanic (anyone remember?). I was told no thanks because the subject was taboo. Someone wasn’t keeping their finger on the pulse. Plenty of romances have war and horrid events as backdrops. So what did I do? I’ve hired a Harlequin freelance editor to work the story over. I’ll give the agents/editors one last try and then I’ll publish it myself. Those of you who have read it or portions of it know the story has merit and IMO is a terrific romance.
WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME by Adam Lambert (a San Diegan) can also apply to the artist’s struggle to make love to his audience, whether it be the fantastically talented Adam or you. 2009.