What Publishers Are Really Looking For
The truth is, it’s not about creating something brand new and stand alone anymore. It’s about taking something old and putting a new spin on it. Publishers like the ‘tried and true’ method. They’re taking a risk on your book, but they want to take the tiniest one possible. From a business stand point this is extremely logical. But is it from a creative one? I believe it is and it isn’t.
As a voracious reader, and a writer, I often find myself veering towards the same tropes. None of the stories are the same, but basic similar plot elements can be found in many of them. The simple fact is, people like what they like. In order to meet this need, it makes sense to provide the reader with various options (all different, but yet with that connecting factor). Personally, I’m a fan of romantic stories involving shifters or fantasy elements. The fact that there’s a giant market for this, and as such plenty of books coming out with such elements, means that I’m rarely wanting for reading material. That being said, in order for a niche in the market to open up, it stands to reason that someone must take the risk of publishing the brand new. The unexplored.
Having multiple versions of the same basic trope (vampires, werewolves, meet cutes, the end of the world) isn’t a sign of flagging creativity. If anything it’s a sign of just how creative writers have become. They’re fighting to stand out amongst a sea of similar work, to make themselves appear different and unique, while writing about an already populated topic. If you want an example of this, you need only to look at the film industry. In the past several years the film industry has been plucking apocalyptic novels and science fiction novels out right and left. They operate on the same basic premise, but they’re all unique. And they’re an overwhelming success.
Taking all of this into account, if you have a truly unique, never been done before, idea: go for it. It may take time, and you may have to go through a pile of rejections, but your novel might just be the start of a whole new trend. You just have to find someone willing to take the risk. Sometimes though, it’s fun to take a common concept and put a new spin on it. No matter what you decide to write, the important part, as a writer, is to believe that your book is worth the risk it presents to the publisher.