5 Reasons Why You Should Not Follow Genre Trends
Genre trends and writing trends come and go. From vampires, to dystopian novels featuring overpowered, totalitarian governments, to New Adult romances featuring musicians or tortured bad boys who love motorcycles. The list is endless. And here is the truth: you do not need to follow them. Twilight spawned a long list of novels featuring the controlling, over-worried boyfriend who overwhelmed the physically weaker, but incredibly smart heroine. But, before that, were vampires commercially popular? Not unless you count the Dracula movies, and even that is debatable. The truth of the matter is that there are several reasons why you shouldn’t follow genre trends, and below you will find out what some of those reasons are.
1. You don’t have the time
The publishing process can take a while. From the moment you finish your first draft to the moment when the book is published, if you are getting published the traditional way, it can be up to a year – but in most cases, two, three or more. If you have never published before, chances are the process of finding an agent, and pitching your book to publishing houses will take a lot of time. So if you are chasing a trend that is very popular today, by the time your book is published, the trend would be replaced by a new one.
2. Posing creative limits
When you are determined to write a book that fits a particular genre, or features elements of trends that are popular at the moment, you are preventing yourself from indulging your creativity and imagination. As such, you are creating limits to your own creativity, not letting yourself venture in directions that would make your story unique and more entertaining. Chasing a trend is futile in nature, but this can cause you to lose years working on a book while not allowing yourself to be as creative as you can be. Stifling your creativity in such a way is never a good idea for a writer, who thrive on what-if questions. You would be preventing yourself from creating the best, most unpredictable stories that diverge into new directions, even if the finished works do not fall into a specific genre or trend.
3. Losing an opportunity to set the trend
As we said above, vampires were not commercially popular before Twilight came onto the scene. When it comes to setting a trend, it involves a weird alchemy of what the people want to read, a compelling story and characters that are just as compelling as the story and evoke emotions in the readers. When you are chasing a trend, the characters and stories you would create will be reminiscent of the characters and stories that set the trend in the first place. For example, if you are writing a dystopian novel, having a totalitarian government suppressing the masses is a given, so no matter how unique your story is, it will always remind the readers of similar novels – whose number grows by the day.
4. Overcrowding the market
When it comes to chasing trends, overcrowding the market with the same or similar books is one of the worst consequences. First, this prevents readers from picking up unique stories because they think that the story will be the same. This is where self-publishing gets involved. Agents and editors might have moved onto the next big trend, but writers now can use Amazon and other similar platforms to self-publish. In some cases, books that haven’t undergone proper editing get published – and readers notice that. As a result, books that are actually unique but self-published and belong in the same genre and follow a trend do not attract the readers – in fact, readers feel that the only way they would pick up a book that follows a trend is if the book is traditionally published by a big publishing house. However, recently, even big publishing houses lose points when they pick up a book that clearly follows a trend. Which leads us to the worst consequence you might face – losing credibility.
5. Losing credibility
Like it or not, some readers out there will think that you are writing, or you have written, the novel just because it matches a popular trend. They will get the impression that you are not writing a unique story, but that you are matching the trend and offering something that you know for sure a lot of readers will want. In other words, you will lose credibility as a writer. Even if your story is unique, even if the only similarity to a popular trend is belonging to the same genre and featuring the same fantastical creature, government, or romance hero and heroine. In that case, you can wait for the trend to pass and become not so popular and not so easily recognizable, and then publish your book. That way, your novel will not be so easily pegged as following a trend, and in that case, the readers might find it more attractive and take a chance on reading it.
Also published on Medium.