May the fourth be with you.

Having got that out of the way, it’s appropriate really, because today my insecurity about my work is going to crop up again, and this time, it’s the realisation that I don’t like today’s books.

That’s a sweeping statement of course, and it would be more accurate to say that I turn over about one in twenty books on the Waterstone’s in-store display to read the blurb, and turn back 99% of those because the blurb doesn’t attract me in the slightest.

And these are the published bestsellers with professional blurbs.

This thought cropped up while I had an exchange with one of my author friends about blurbs, how difficult they are to write, and how amateur most of those we see in the Goodreads ads and giveaways appear to be.  The continuation of that thought led me to considering that if I don’t like the current genre of published books, it’s not surprising I don’t write books that appeal to traditional publishers.  Maybe my books only attract a niche within their intended niche as a result.  In fact, do I write books I’d like to read – and do I read enough books that ‘most people’ enjoy?

Occasionally we get to do an X meets Y flash fiction challenge.  Star Wars meets Casablanca led to Paradisio – I could do that.  More recently Star Wars meets Minecraft had me scurrying to Wikipedia to find out exactly what ‘story’ Minecraft was, since I knew it as a world-building game.  Which is kinda what it is, although of course there’s more to it than that.  Quite often the options I get in the X meets Y challenge I have to pass on, because although I may have heard of them, I have no further idea what they’re about.

The trouble is, I can’t keep up with all the exciting things going on, and read my TBR, and write.

I suspect I’m a budding old fogey.  I suspect I should make more of an effort to keep up with contemporary tastes.

Either that, or just carry on writing what I know, the types of story I like, and hope others like it too.

How do the rest of you insecure writers keep up to date?

Check out the Insecure Writers Support Group here and visit other members on the list.

#IWSG – Is the force with you?
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21 thoughts on “#IWSG – Is the force with you?

  • 4 May, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Stick with what’s working! Good writers will write good stories regardless, but feeling obligated to write something just to be trendy surely isn’t the way to go. And you know how up to the minute cool I am, because I just used the word “trendy” and we all know that that’s a word all the young folk use nowadays.

    • 4 May, 2016 at 7:07 pm

      Thanks, Bruce. Then again, what goes around, comes around, so maybe I should use Shakespearean slang in my scifi?

      • 5 May, 2016 at 3:51 pm

        Works for me!

  • 4 May, 2016 at 9:20 am

    I’m not sure how much the taste ever ran for comedic books but I know that my books could never compare with the popular tastes when I was writing and even when I stopped. The genre then was vampires and Zombies and it doesn’t seem to have shifted much.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    • 4 May, 2016 at 7:09 pm

      Are vampires and zombies popular because they are popular or because that’s what publishers keep giving us? Personally, I prefer comedic books 🙂

      • 5 May, 2016 at 3:52 pm

        I’m with you. And I’m very put off by the rush whenever a book is popular to bring out a whole season of knock-offs.

  • 4 May, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Hi Jemima – I’m sure it’s a problem for all of us … I struggle to keep up – let alone remotely to get ahead of the curve … and especially when I’m directed to various books – and think gosh .. so many to read – and apparently so many good ones … keep going – we can do what we can do .. cheers Hilary

    • 4 May, 2016 at 7:10 pm

      Yes, there are those we are directed to, and those we see that we like… somehow I don’t think I’m ever going to catch up on the classics!

  • 4 May, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Oh, I’m totally behind, so I have no advice on how to keep up to date. 🙂 I’m often amazed at the people who can pump out multiple books a year and I’m still scrambling to finish reading the first one. I applaud them, but boy, I certainly can’t keep up!

    • 4 May, 2016 at 7:11 pm

      Getting the first one finished is hard. Then they fall out of you for a while, and then you stop and need to catch up on everything else that’s been going on! That’s my experience, anyway 🙂

  • 4 May, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    You gotta write what you love! Otherwise, what’s the point? At least, that’s what I tell myself. =)

  • 4 May, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    I take my time and read books on the bestseller lists, or books I find while browsing through the internet library. I also receive different newsletters that keep me pretty much aware olf what’s going on out there when I am writing.
    Patricia @

    • 4 May, 2016 at 7:13 pm

      Since I stopped commuting, I don’t even know what’s on the best-seller list! Commuting has its positive side (as long as you live far enough out to get a seat).

  • 4 May, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Here’s to fogey-dom! I’m like you–I am not drawn to the majority of books being published. Happily, there are enough that even the .1% is enough to keep me reading for the rest of my life 🙂 I feel very little compunction to read stuff that isn’t to my taste (yeah, I know we get advice to read in genres we don’t usually read, read everything, yada yada. Fine, I read outside my favorite genres. But the story still has to interest me!).

    As far as I’m concerned, since I’m not trying to make a living at it, the beauty of self-publishing is that I can write exactly the books I want to write/read. And if their market niche is tiny, well, I’m trying to hang onto the pleasure I get every time someone likes one of my books and says so 🙂

  • 4 May, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    I haven’t read a lot of traditionally published books lately and actually gave up on trad YA because I got so tired of the tropes every book was using!

    • 4 May, 2016 at 7:14 pm

      Ah! It’s not just me, then. The covers are the same too. Some of the models must be doing well 🙂

      • 5 May, 2016 at 3:54 pm

        I must remember to suggest that as a possible career for my boys. Though they’ll have to hit the weight room and buff up a bit over the normal teen male look 😉

  • 4 May, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    I agree that choices are few these days, in terms of enjoyable reading. I’ve been surprised at how many I’ve found available digitally.
    We read for enjoyment, we write the same way. No need to adjust yourself:-)

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