Bad News and Good News for New Writers
You’ve decided to activate your passion and become a writer. The problem is, so have several million other people. Your passion lies in an industry that’s already over-saturated with writers just like you - at least, they're like you on the surface.
The internet and the advent of self-publishing models mean that the market has been flooded with options for readers.
But you don’t have to give up just because you’re not the first person to want to make a success of writing. New writers are emerging all the time despite the saturated market. How do they do it?
They carve out a niche using a set of techniques.
A saturated industry is actually a sign that there’s a lot of opportunity. What you need to do is enter a sub-market that has few competitors. Have stand-out quality.
Readers today choose from more than half a million books and e-books published each year in the US alone. Despite the apparent lack of need for more, though, new books are emerging every day. So while at first glance things look grim, it’s possible for any writer to succeed in even the most competitive fields by creating a story or delivering an emotional impact that’s distinctly different or better than what’s available - or by catering to a specific subset of the target market.
One thing that new writers can do is recognize the gaps in the marketplace that already existing books aren’t tapping into. If they're correct, they gain readers and grow. Don’t think like the established publishers who think they know better than the reader. Larger publishers that have been in business for decades are sometimes set in their ways and are slow to react new demands and tastes; new writers with less rigidity can often make quick decisions and changes.
If you’re really good at keeping your finger on the pulse of the market and the waves of change, that often sets you apart from the competition. Anyone who differentiates from what is happening already should be able to thrive in the most competitive environments. No matter how crowded your field of writing, even if it's full of major authors, you can achieve success by setting yourself apart. Whether that means reinventing plotlines, taking a new approach to genres or offering something readers can’t refuse, carving a niche in the most saturated market is possible with commitment and creativity.
But what if that’s not what you want to write? What if your books are conventional? What if reinventing plotlines, taking a new approach to genres or offering something readers can’t refuse doesn’t look possible for you?
There’s both a hard lesson and a wonderful lesson that many new writers have to learn:
The hard lesson is that the world doesn’t owe you its time. Just because you’ve spent years slogging over your life’s work, draft after draft, finally getting it to the point where it’s ready to publish or is out there on the net, doesn’t mean that readers are obliged to read it.
The wonderful lesson is that readers can be made to read things, if the right techniques are employed. You can use the secrets applied by master authors to engage readers to almost force readers to pay attention - and when they do, you can use the same techniques to grip, enthral and then blow away each and every one of them.
Yes, by all means write the book that you’ve always wanted to write. But if you want it read in a saturated marketplace, you’ll need to be an expert in grabbing readers and gluing them to the page.
The techniques are described at length in my book How Stories Really Work.