Monday, February 28, 2011

Coping and copping out

My first children’s book was set on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts; my second in Jamaica and the third is set in Trinidad.

When I completed the second book, a friend said to me “that was smart, setting this one on a larger island so you will have a larger potential audience.”

I must confess that I had no such motive. I envisioned my characters in these places and so, off they went.

Now I find myself torn between writing what comes to my mind and writing for the market. With my current WIP which is based in Ghana, I am concerned about turning the publisher off by making the plot more complicated than the children’s books she typically publishes. I know, I know – if she does not appreciate my work, she may not be the right publisher, and so on, but in my reality, the pond has very few fish. I have decided to write it as I see it, but, because I understand her reality, I am prepared to rewrite if the publisher is interested in a simpler story line.

On a more basic level, I wonder whether I should begin writing books with more mainstream appeal instead of focusing on the Caribbean and Ghana. That issue, I have tabled to tackle another day, perhaps in another post.


Charles Gramlich said...

Selling is important. That's certainly true, and I think you can combine what you want to write with what is likely to be commercially successful. Still, in the end I generally go with what I want to do rather than what I think will sell specifically. I guess I'm lucky in that I don't have to make a living from my writing so I don't have that added pressure. said...

You never know.

My friend Chris Benjamin, here in Canada, has made a tremendous splash with a novel about a kid growing up in Malaysia.

KeVin K. said...

If you try to shape your vision to fit the market, your manuscript will look like every other book on the market. You are a writer, not a marketer; the market it outside your purview. Write well -- your own vision in your own voice -- and let the rest sort itself out.