Thursday, 4 August 2011

Reading Is Research

Have you ever read a book and think, boy, I'm crap? Give up the story telling now!

I am trying to read as much as I can, generally in the romance/chick lit genre for research purposes. One thing I learnt at the RNA Conferece is to study the market, study who you think your book will sit beside on a shelf in the likes of Waterstones (but not in the context of surnames! lol!... Crikey, I'll be quite close to Sue Moorcroft).

Currently, I am reading Harriet Evans 'The Love of Her Life' (which I hope to finish today) and last night, the big twist was revealed. (I will leave a review for this book, I have mixed feelings about it).

Admittedly, The Wedding Favour is a uncomplicated romance story, in that, there are no major twists really, (not like the one I've just read in The Love Of Her Life anyway) just conflict thrown at, well, the hero mainly. And it's a case of them realising they are perfect for one another. My story is told in the hero's and the heroine's POV (point of view).

Anyway, I'm reading this book (The Love of Her Life), thinking is this really the genre I'll be submitting to? I can't quite work out if it's chick lit or romance (for me the genre gets hazy). Is this relative?

I know every book read is not a book wasted. If you want to write, you need to read - it just doesn't always give me confidence. But when I've got such a limit on time, how long will it take to find where my book 'sits' in the market? Because at the moment I'm having trouble spotting it.

I can't decide which book I should read next. Which book will help with my research?  I would like to start submitting The Wedding Favour... but haven't the foggiest where.

Now we are in August, over half the year has gone (how depressing), I've decided that I am going to read different authors under different publishers... which means, the likes of Love And Freedom by Sue Moorcroft sitting on my shelf will have to wait (sorry Sue). I've read 3 of Sue's books now - this year! - so I consider her well studied. I do need to find another Katie Fforde, though, as I enjoyed her book, and liked her style - I want to see it in another story. It's very hard for me to say my style is similar, without thinking I look arrogant. Katie Fforde is an established, best selling author ...

Someone, who's read The Wedding Favour, said my style was similar to Jill Mansell. Hmmm... I've read one of her books, and I'm not so sure. She's very good too.

So are there any tips to researching the market and publishers more quickly? Or do I just keep on reading and hope for the best. And do I just submit and keep everything crossed?


  1. All the time! (In response to your first question!) I've been doing some reading for 'research' purposes just yesterday. I was told by and agent and publisher that you need to know where your book will be on the shelves. Placing yourself in a genre is a good thing when it comes time to pitch a manuscript. I was also told not to delve too deeply into what the market currently has. If you write for the current market, it'll be long gone and onto something new by the time you pitch. So, know your genre, know publishing guidelines, and write from the heart....those were the words given to me. Hope they help. I don't know if they work yet, but I'm working on it! :)

  2. Hey, don't discount the being near to, without being mistaken for someone big in the genre. I read that historical romance writer Julia Quinn chose her name to be near Amanda Quick, so there's something in it.

    Hmm, not sure about researching. Since mine's still a niche genre there were only a few publishers to consider. I'm unhelpful! But at least with romance it's all so stratified that you don't have to read everything from a likely publisher, just what seems to be similar to yours.

  3. Thanks, Veronica, it is helpful. I heard similar advice at the RNA Conference. The thing is, not really knowing which publisher to aim for, doesn't help me in reading some of the writers they publish lol!

    Which sort of answers Becky's comments too. I think I'm fretting because I know publishers like to think you've done your research.

    I like the idea of being near Sue Moorcroft and Jill Mansell ... gosh fancy a trip into Waterstones now to see who exactly I would be in between :-P

  4. Hmmm, I don't know. I just read what I like, which lately seems to be mainly Erotic Romance with a few M&B's from favourite Authors thrown in for good measure. I find reading inspirational, no matter what I read, even if it just crystallized for me, where I do not fit.

    As for submitting, my advice would be just go for it. If it doesn't fit it will be a rejection, but you will never know unless you try :-)

  5. Thanks, Doris.

    Yeah, I read what I like, too... but I'm trying to also read to get an idea of what different publishers are publishing.

    Yeah, I'll get around to submitting soon. I think I'll be more ready once the kids are back at school, and I have daylight hours to concentrate on it all.


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