Wednesday, July 31, 2013

5 Rules I Broke and Got an Agent, Publication and Film Representation: Know the Market


There. Now you know the market.
Just kidding.

Honestly, I don’t know a thing about the publishing market other than zombies and supposedly erotica. Romance, of course, is still the backbone of the industry. It’s getting ‘hotter’, thanks to the erotica genre, but it’s still basically about a couple falling hopelessly in love. I, for one, hope it never goes away.
Steampunk is a genre mentioned a lot nowadays. What’s funny about that is when I use that term around my non-reading pals, they cock their confused heads like dogs hearing a high pitched whistle. They simply don’t know what I’m talking about. You can bet your bottom fiver that they’ve heard of zombies and romance, though, so I don’t feel that steampunk is notable. Sorry to all you fans out there who are wearing goggles and top hats.

A pal of mine, David Boop, had an astute observation. He said we’re in the age of micro sub-genres (he said it on a panel a while back, so I’m pretty sure that’s the crux anyway). Very true. But there are thousands of them which dilutes ‘knowing’ the market even more.
So here’s a suggestion. Besides sticking with the classic genres, perhaps a writer should look at markets from a perspective outside of books.

When I first got the idea for Tattoo Rampage, it was based on a simple marketing idea. Tattoos are cool. I know very few people who don’t have at least one. Other than vampires, there didn’t seem to be much of a genre dedicated to ink. So, from there, I wanted to create a sympathetic hero—what I’ve been trained to do—some romance, and high-stakes. Even though there’s a world in Tattoo Rampage called Inkscape where tattoos go after their hosts die, and the tribal flames on the hero’s arm perform some slick tricks, the story is basically about a mother having to outwit a brilliant serial killer in order to stay alive for her son. When first pitching Tattoo Rampage, I categorized it as urban fantasy. My publisher wanted to call it a fantasy.  My film agent simply called it very good.
You know the movie Cars? Brilliant idea. Other than Herbie the Love Bug, living cars had not been done to death, so of course it became a franchise.  What kid 8 months to 80 years old would not have liked this charming story? My point is: there’s a market for everything. To score some kind of measurable success, I humbly offer that maybe it’s better to look for new markets like a business tycoon would rather than what’s already being done. And believe me, there are new frontiers out there.



Patricia Stoltey said...

Sub-genres, micro-genres, and cross-genre combos -- these are the times that try writers' souls.

Chiseled in Rock said...


Sisters of the Quill said...

There's a market for everything. What a refreshing idea. A bigger market for what is well written thought... Hope it is true! Karen

Julie Luek said...

I think what I like most about your posts, Dave, is the encouragement to follow your heart in what you're doing and not let the "industry" dictate everything. It's encouraging and hopeful. So glad you are finding success.