Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fiction is a Much Maligned Market

Karen Cole Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc. is my guest blogger today and she has her opinions on Fiction and Non-Fiction and conventional vs. indie publishing.  

Welcome Karen ~

Fiction is a Much Maligned Market-
Nonfiction is what sells, they all say. Depending on whether or not you’re an atheist, here would you include the Bible in that area? It sells more copies than any other book on the face of the planet, and it’s in dispute whether it’s a work of fiction or nonfiction. Which one do you think it is? Meanwhile, another best-selling book is Lord of the Rings, and there’s no dispute as to its category: fiction. Harry Potter: fiction; Star Trek: fiction; Alice in Wonderland…etc.

So you’d think there’d be more of a genre or niche market for general, original fiction. But it does tend to be the absolute niche markets that attract fiction writers nowadays, namely steampunk, urban fantasy, cozies, chic lit, fan fiction, etc. And the last market on that brief list doesn’t usually entail professional writing. Instead, the idea is to have amateurs write stories based on someone else’s characters, and mostly just have fun in the process. That’s all my daughter does when she writes, add to the growing fan fiction base of work.

Is there such a thing as a real market for fiction? Since it can be hard to go through the slush piles at agenting and publishing houses, and since once you get an agent it can be slogs again to find a publisher, a lot of people think the way to go is self or independent publishing. This way at least you can get a book in hand to show to your family and friends, maybe your coworkers too, and although it’s not a best seller you did indeed get it published. Some say ebook and independent publishing is how to go about getting a fiction book published nowadays.

I’m inclined to agree. Unless you can get an “in” with a literary agent, which entails practically inhabiting writer’s workshops and parties, it’s very hard to get hold of one of those erstwhile personages. It’s doable, and there are ways, but they usually involve building relationships over time with such people. Not the easiest way to go for a new author with a new idea, who’s never, ever published any books before.

It helps to have a swami mentality, building up a “feel” for when you can find an available agent who isn’t too persnickety to listen to you, but those can be as rare as finding a pearl in an oyster at a sushi bar. 

Still, you can try for it, but I’m starting to like self-publishing. Agents don’t always lead to publishers – if they don’t find you one, you have to break your contract with them and start over. And their lists of demands can be outright mean, even pathetic. Try to hang in there and make contact with a particular agent if you can, but you might want to consider indie publishing as well.
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If you need some help getting those stories written and polished, Karen's Ghost Writer, Inc. offers ghostwriting services for dreamers who should be doing.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. A great post! Lots of helpful information. I know that non-fiction sells, but I almost always by some form of fiction!


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