Write Different, but the Same

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There are two things that sum up what agents and publishers are always looking for: different and the same.

I mean, it kind of makes sense, but it really doesn’t.

On one hand, they want something they’ve never seen before. That’s what we all look for in a book, isn’t it? At the same time, they want something that can be neatly boxed off into a subgenre or a type. They want something they know they can sell. From a business standpoint, I totally understand. The business of publishing is a business and business needs a product that will sell.

That just economics.

It is true that readers want something familiar. Just think of how many times you’ve seen a book compared to others on the back flap. I swear if I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen “The Hunger Games meets” or “for fans of Game of Thrones” on a book cover, I’d be able to rebuild Alexandria by now.

The thing is, readers go for that. It’s evident in how well books sell when they can pull this off. It’s really good business.

On the writing side, I mean…

Authors are expected to write stories that are at once 100% original and instantly recognizable. In Star Trek terms, this is the Kobayashi Maru. It’s really hard to win here!

What I’m trying to say, is that it sucks and this is a rant.

I salute the authors who battle the gatekeepers and get the agents/publishers. You guys are slightly masochistic hardcore.

As for the authors who march off on their own…the world is scary. You’re braving it on your own. You lot are pretty damn crazy badass, too.

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