The fiction market today is as mercurial now as ever before. Working as a ghostwriter, I have watched those shifts first hand.
The ghostwriting fiction market that we explore today is vastly different than the one that will greet us tomorrow when the manuscript is done. This reality applies to everyone along the publication food chain. Everyone from authors and ghostwriters to publishers and agents and editors must navigate an ever shifting landscape in order to put fresh books on the shelf.
As unpredictable as the fiction market may be for a ghostwriter there remain a few simple guides that if you follow them, you exponentially increase your chances of success.
After all, readers remain hungry for new material and here is how you can get that to them.
Four Truths For Increased Success In The Fiction Market:
Rule #1: Accept That There Are Rules:
Ever hear that acceptance is the first step? That counts in for ghostwriters too.
One of the things I try and inform my ghostwriting clients is to play by the rules. We all relish heroic stories about rule breakers but the fiction market is very competitive.
You can break all the rules you want on the page (as long as you do it artfully). Your contact needs to feel comfortable working with you as well, or else they will move elsewhere.
Where I advise my ghostwriting clients to play by the rules is in how they engage people in the marketplace. For example, if the publisher is seeking female driven romance manuscripts there is no use in sending them volume one of your geopolitical thriller series.
So many authors apply a blanket approach though but a wide net is never as successful as a targeted on. It is important to remember that everyone from the author up is doing a job.
Rule #2: Regard For Self Publishing Is Increasing:
Dreams of a big publishing contract? We all have one and it’s OK to indulge it…
Just don’t let that get the best of you.
As a ghostwriter, I advise my clients to at least consider self-publishing. Over the last five years, self-publishing has become a vital proving ground for story property and new talent.
When I go to conferences these days (at least a few each year) I invariably hear stories about successful authors who self-published the first book and off of that success, they earned their first commercial break.
If you follow a strong game plan, self-publishing is as viable as any other avenue.
Rule #3: Think In Worlds:
The classic Hollywood ending is mostly a thing of the past. Walking your hero off into the sunset only kills the goose that lays the golden egg.
What readers want is vital characters and stories they can follow for multiple books (and movies and comics and TV shows and… and you get the idea). If you’re hiring a ghostwriter or development consultant to work on concept, discuss with them on how to give your story a life beyond the back cover. Answering the question of what comes next for your story world after your book is done is one you will answer at least a hundred times. Have a good answer.
Rule #4: Be Open To Form:
A hundred years ago, many books were published in serial form. Classic literature came out in installments in magazines and newspapers and in many ways, those days are back.
Now, I’m not going to tell you to hire a ghostwriter to break your novel into ten parts for the local newspaper BUT consider a series short stories. A novella.
A novel is a mighty undertaking. The market is increasingly looking for “proof of concept” from new authors. If you can publish a hand full of short stories in that market, you can feel confident in bringing that editor or publisher a proven story.
They’ll listen. You have, after all, done some of their job for them. Everyone loves that, right?