Enjoying my drawn out metaphor yet? I'm talking about books of course. We want to be original and not follow the same formula as everything that's already out there, but we also want to make sure we stay on top of the trends so that we can blend in enough.
A kangaroo in a top-hat would just look weird in that pic, don't you think?
So what am I saying? Here are some things to keep in mind if and when you think about the potential marketing of your book. And think about you must if you're serious about this.
- Read, read, read! That's right, especially in your genre, but also without. If you don't love to read in genre anyway, you probably aren't a writer.
- Write what you want BUT figure out where it belongs. For example, if your MC is twenty you may have an issue marketing it as YA and you'll know that if you read in genre. Age him down and if it absolutely hurts the plot? Then you probably aren't writing YA. You can disregard this of course, but I'm only trying to make your life easier in the long run and chances are if you examine why, you'll find it's more emotional than imperative. Choose your battles, my friends.
- Think about comp books. Don't pick Twilight or Hunger Games. Be realistic and show you know your stuff. What's similar about them? What's different?
- Find a beta reader from the audience you're aiming for. Have your teen cousin read that YA and see if they like it. No you shouldn't say that in your query letter, but it's not a bad personal hurdle as long as you also use professional critique partners.
In the long run you have to write what you are passionate about or it won't be your best work. But if you're doing your job treating writing as a profession, you will use revisions and a touch of planning to make sure you aren't dressing up a kangaroo.