Resuming writing 102, we've gotten our idea, designed our plot, paced our conflict, created character bios, have written a few chapters, and started to build a fan base. In our last lesson you decided if you want to publish the old or new way. Now you have to make some adjustments for that. C'mon kids, it's time to sell out!
 


To sell out: (v) To place the goal of making money over any artistic merit or construct. Surprisingly effective


  

Writing is an art, but it is also a business. Never forget that. On the business side we have to pander and make concessions, it's how you get paid. Do you want to sit on your high horse and make no money until after you're dead, or do you want to actually earn a living? Selling out is the way. Finding a balance between commercialism and art is the key.

You have to go about it the same way no matter which direction you are going, but with different goals. you're going to have to read, read, and read! Let's start with the traditional publishing route (getting an agent, using a publisher).

First you're going to have to determine what is selling right now. This means you need to check out top seller lists like the NY Times Bestseller List for fiction. If you do this now and see the top 3 spots are filled by E.L. James absolutely fucking schlock of 50 Shades shit, try not to kill yourself. It gets worse. See, you need to force yourself to read the top 3 so you cn see commonalities between them. Rarely are they all by the same author as they are the week this was written. And for that alone, FUCK YOU AMERICA. I'm moving, seriously, SERIOUSLY how can anyone stand that shit!?!
 




  
 

Okay, rant over, you should also check out the Amazon Bestseller List.Go the next step and click on the specific subgenre of the book you're writing and look at the top three. You should have 5-6 books on your list. Now get off your ass and walk to the bookstore. NO EXCEPTIONS, and actual fucking bookstore. Look for these books, read them there if you don;t want to buy them, and look at books nearby that the staff have faced front. Ask the staff for recommendations based on if someone liked these books. 

Now read them, read as many as you can, and take notes. What do they have in common? Is it tone, protagonist, plot, writing style...whatever they have in common, figure it out. That's the key. Figure it out and then apply it to your book. If it's that they all have female protagonists who rely on Deus es Machina (sadly common) rather than their own abilities, well, then... add that to your own novel. Remember it, it's going to be a selling point. It's something you'll need to mention in your query. Figure out the commonality and then apply it to your work. It will hurt, God, will it hurt, but it's how you sell.
 


"Yeeeaaaah, I want new books like 50 Shades and I swear it's for this writing course. Really." "Sure, fuckwad."


  

For those of you lone wolves going the eBook route, it's similar. First go to the Amazon Bestseller List, then the Barnes & Noble Bestseller List, and then finally the Smashwords Bestseller List. Notice how...different they are? First off, discount any large-selling books from a publisher, like Stephen king, anything published in print by a publishing house with an eBook version. Stick to the eBook only authors on the list. Try and find 2-3 in the top 10.

Now click on those books and figure out was this the author's first, second, third, or fourth book? If it's not the first, research the author. How well dd the first do/ How did they build their fan base? What are they known for? again, read these books and write down what they have in common. Here you are not reading the recommended books, you're reading the entire body of work for best selling eBook authors. Write down the commonalities and once more,insert them into your book.

Take the extra step of researching the author, how they marketed themselves. Try and follow in their footsteps. There is no shame in following the path of those who have been successful.
 


"The top 3 books now are some trilogy...can't be all that bad...HOLYFUCKMYEYES!!!!!"


  

Those are the two ways to research what the market wants and determine how to tailor your work to meet the demand. This is not an easy process and try to do it as soon as possible. If you wait until you've written more than 3 decent chapters you're getting into dangerous territory.

Enjoy the reading, and good luck with it. At this point, stop writing and read. The next two lessons should also be covered before writing resumes. In our next lesson we will go over researching publishers and agents for both publishing routes, and in the lesson after we'll go over proper formatting. Until then, happy reading!