Read what sells: Write what sells


I was reading one of those “How to Write” books when I came across some interesting advice. “Read what’s currently selling.”

So I got on Amazon to check out the best selling books and here’s what I’ve deduced.

Fantasy readers want:

Vampires, shape-shifters, assassins, time travel, forbidden magic, and dragons.

Ok, my book has . . . none of those things.

I know I’m not selling myself now. On the plus side, some of the top selling books were more like Game of Thrones or Fools Quest, books mine might be comparable to.

You know what I saw none of in the top 100 list. Elves. I guess people aren’t reading about elves anymore. I guess I can see why. The books I’ve read recently are just dreadful and hokey.

For those of you who thought the vampire fad is dying out, go check out this list. It seems like the logical thing to do would be to turn my elves into vampires or shape shifters and–tada–I’d have a best-seller.

But I can’t do that. I don’t like to write about vampires.

So what’s a girl to do.

Time travel is big now with Outlander and The Winter Sea.

So … a time-traveling vampire falls in love with a shape shifter.

But that’s not enough.

This is the book I should write.

9734da2af1e6154e709fc711dca5e25dA vampire, hired to assassin shape shifters (because their power is forbidden), falls in love with the shape shifter he is hired to kill (using dragons that travel through time.).


There you go.

I wouldn’t read that, so why would I write this.

This is why I believe in write what you want to read. Hopefully at the end of years of hard work and the birth and death of many words, someone will be interested in reading it too. So if you like the vampire assassin, traveling through time on his dragon to assassinate a shape-shifter, my book is not for you.

But if you like adventure, epic fantasy, battles, dynamic characters, romance, epicness, and awesomeness, you will like my books when I’m finished.

For those of you who haven’t checked out Amazon’s best seller rankings, I encourage you to do so. You won’t find my books on that list … yet.

11 thoughts on “Read what sells: Write what sells

    • I’ll second Jon’s comment and add, unless you can write a novel a lot faster than I can, there’s no guarantee that the current trend will still be ‘current’ when you write ‘Fin.’

  1. Pingback: This! | Sloopjonb
  2. I’d read that book, but purely because it sounds like a blatant parody of everything out there currently. On a more serious note, that premise doesn’t really sound that whacky, and it’s a book when, if written with perfect stoicism, I wouldn’t touch at all.

    I think the “Write what’s selling” is simply a motto for those looking to just cash in. I think we should write what’s true to ourselves, regardless of whether it’s destined to be a best seller or not. Obviously we all wish we could hit the big time, live off our writing, but it certainly isn’t worth the cost of writing something that bores me to utter tears. Or worse, makes me cringe!

    Great post!

  3. You so neatly sum up the struggle all writers go through, I think. At least all of us who feel drawn to writing for reasons OTHER than making it onto the bestseller list. I firmly believe that each of us can only tell the stories we feel drawn to tell. If that doesn’t include vampire assassins–so be it. Tell your story with enough heart, craft it well, and you will find your readers!

  4. I completely agree that we shouldn’t be so focused on writing what’s selling. Yes, I do think there is a smart way to market your work, and you should pay attention to what’s selling if only to get an idea for patterns in the marketplace (and maybe some keywords that are trending). However, writing what is near and dear to your heart is almost always the better option. If we can’t be honest in what we write, and incorporate our passion for that topic, it will show in the writing. Awesome post!

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