You'd think that once I got my book deal I'd be feeling much less anxious about what to write next because I've managed to write something that is publishable once before...but that would be where you're wrong. No matter what stage you're in: published, unpublished, or anywhere in between, figuring out what you'll write about next can be anxiety producing. By the time agents start requesting a certain genre or topic--unless you've alreay got something on that genre or topic--you're probably already too late to try to take advantage of it. In truth, there's no real way to figure out what's going to be hot several years from now. I mean, you can avoid the stuff that's saturating the market currently-which would be a wise decision unless you have mad skills and a killer take on it that'll blow everyone else out of the water. You can stalk agents and see what is currently flooding their inboxes so you can avoid those topics too, but at the end of the day, you still won't have a clear picture of what trend is coming, only what trend is already over. It'll narrow down your options, but not give you a path to take.
So what's a writer to do?
I can't speak for everyone, but for me, it comes down to writing about what I'm interested in and most passionate about writing right now. It takes me just about nine months to a year to write a novel and that my friends, is a huge committment to a story...not to mention the year after that one when it will go through several rounds of edits with a publisher (if I'm lucky enough to have them pick it up). If I'm not completely head over heels for an idea, I won't pursue it, because I know for sure that somewhere along the way...several times over, in fact...I will fall out of love with whatever I pick, no matter how passionately I love it to begin with. So a mediocre "meh" from me at the outset means I won't be able to sustain. After that I shut out all the talk about trends and what's hot/what's not and just write the book to the best of my ability. Because when it comes down to it, that's the only thing I have total control over. I can't predict whether or not my agent/editor/friends/fans(not that I have these yet, but a girl can dream) will like something. I can only hope that they do and strive to out write myself every time I sit down to a new project. And if I end up picking something that doesn't sell? Well I have to be ready to pick up the very next project and try again. What people like at any given time is subjective, fickle, and ever changing. I have to be willing to throw darts one after the other, not worrying whether they fall short until one sticks and hopefully over time because my ability continues to improve, a lot more stick than fall short. In other words: committing to a project is a lot like jumping off of a cliff. You hope that you'll be able to fashion a parachute along the way, but are prepared to get up and hobble back up the cliff for another go if you can't. So figure out what you're passionate about writing next....and just JUMP.
Amy Christine Parker's book, GATED (formerly THE SILO), realeases with Random House Children's Fall of 2013 and follows a teenage girl named Lyla who has been living in a religious cult after the disappearance of her sister. While her parents are hopelessly under the sway of the group’s leader, Pioneer, Lyla is drawn into a dangerous situation when she begins to question Pioneer’s prophecy about the impending apocalypse. You can find her on her website, on her blog, and/or follow her on Twitter. She would absolutely love it if you added GATED on your to read list on Goodreads here.