“There are so many wonderful plots in my head and I don’t know which one to choose!” As a writer, this is a great problem to have, but choosing which novel to write as your debut novel is very important.
Write down all of your plots. Having all of your plots written down will ensure that you remember all those amazing details. After spending 5 months or a year working on one book, the next story may not be as fresh as it was a year ago, so it will be great to have a well to draw from for your inspiration on the next book, but which one to write should you write first?
Research the market. After all of your plots and novel ideas are written down, research the market and see what is out there. As a debut novel, you need to make sure that the markets aren’t already flooded with stories similar to your debut novel. For example, writing an Amish novel would probably be a hard sell unless you had a very unique spin on it.
Importance for researching the market: I learned this one the hard way. For my want-to-be-debut manuscript, I originally wrote a story about a young woman who was a spy in the Civil War, but of course as you know, Civil War novels are everywhere, but I didn’t really think about that aspect until I had finished…newbie! My friend, who is an author, was the one who broke it to me that while he thought it was well written, it wouldn’t be my first novel and I needed to find a topic that not that many people have already written about a hundred million times. His advice was just the direction I needed. So, I made the hard decision of setting aside my first novel and started looking for the perfect niche that hadn’t been overdone.
If like me, you have already written your first novel on an inundated topic, don’t just put it on the shelf! At least try to get it published. The whole process of writing and sending out queries and proposals is a great learning experience and you never know, you might find just the right agent who is looking for a piece just like yours!
Side note: I went through an Amish book “phase” where I read every Amish book I could find by Beverly Lewis and Wanda Brunsetter. I hate to even say it was a phase because I still get star struck every time I run into an Amish person. On my road trip to Michigan two years ago, I was driving down a back road when I saw it…an Amish buggy with an Amish man driving. I almost started crying I was so excited. My husband thought I was crazy and laughed at me haha.
Here, as you can see, I was a very bad “Englisher” and took a picture…okay, several pictures as my car passed the buggy by, BUT I didn’t get a picture of his face because I know from the hundreds of Amish novels I have read that that is a BIG no-no.
Again as I was leaving the Mount Hermon Writer’s Conference this year, I saw another two Amish people just out for a stroll and the rapid breathing of star struck “ness” started up again. With that being said, there are still Amish literature readers and there is still hope for your novel. It’s just hard to go against those big names that are already established.
So, while your first novel is trying to find a home, write another novel that hasn’t been overdone. Like always, I feel like my answer to waiting is to just keep writing.
How do you research the market for your own writing? Have you had to set aside your “first” novel and start anew because of the market? Or did you beat the odds?
(Top) Photo Cred: Unsplash.com