Writing To Market: Is It Crap?

I recently witnessed a blog squabble break out between two authors I'm acquainted with. John Hartness, as many of you know, is one of my fellow players on the Authors & Dragons podcast. I've also met him in person at a number of conventions, and look forward to meeting him at many more in the future.

Chris Fox appeared on my radar mainly via listening to him being interviewed on book marketing podcasts. I've had very little in the way of personal communication with him, but I hope to get better acquainted with him as we both continue our careers.

I have a lot of admiration for both of these guys. They both seem to know their way around the publishing world far better than I do, and they each have special talents and knowledge that I envy. John is the guy to know if you're ever at a convention on the east coast, and Chris can work with data like a motherfucker.

So part of me is saddened to see these two gentlemen, both of whom I hold in such high esteem, at odds with each other. But the larger part of me doesn't give a shit and wants to capitalize on their feud. 

My special talents and knowledge mostly involve being a nerd and a dick.

My special talents and knowledge mostly involve being a nerd and a dick.

The squabble began when John published this post on his blog about Chris's book, Write To Market, and how the theory behind it might not be the best idea for many aspiring writers.
It escalated when Chris wrote this blog post in response to John's.

While the tone of John's post may have sounded a little dickish, I don't believe it was a straight up attack against the strategy Chris proposes in his book. Chris, after all, has been very successful using this strategy. I took it as more of a warning that it might not be the best path for everyone, which was something I could certainly understand.

If I tried to write any conventional genre fiction, I'm almost 100% certain I'd be writing shit. Tragically for me and other writers with similar skill sets, Amazon (along with most other major book distributors) fails to recognize "Dick Jokes" as a mainstream genre. Hell, it's not even a sub-sub-sub-category that I'm aware of.

But while I haven't intentionally used Chris's Write To Market method, as I was already established in my niche long before I'd heard of it or him, I won't say the recent boom in the rapidly growing LitRPG genre has done me any harm.

My secret formula to success: Swords + Sorcery + Excessive Profanity

My secret formula to success: Swords + Sorcery + Excessive Profanity

Then again, I see LitRPG as one of those genres that John seems to be talking about. Since finding out it was actually a thing last summer (after having written in it for four years), I've seen it grow exponentially as droves of mediocre authors attempt to cash in on it, trying to write the next Ready Player One. I've read some of the crap that's been flung against the wall, so I understand where John is coming from. Some of those crap-flingers are making bank right now, due to there being a sudden huge demand for a relatively unrepresented genre. And, strictly speaking of LitRPG, I believe John's prediction that many of these authors won't be around in five years, once there are more and better books to sate the audience's appetite.

Having said that, I can also see where Chris is coming from. Particularly toward the end of John's post, he seemed to heavily imply that Chris's Write To Market strategy involved cutting corners and shoveling out crap. I haven't yet read Write To Market, but I have a hard time believing Chris Fox would advocate anything of the sort.

In closing, I guess what I'm really trying to say is thank you for the click. 


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