How’s Your Fashion Sense?

When I was kid I didn’t give two hoots about fashion. To be honest, as an adult, I don’t really care. Give me a pair of jeans, my Doc Martin boots and a t-shirt, and I’m a happy lady. As long as I’m comfy and the mirror doesn’t crack when I look into it, I can walk out the door feeling confident.

I don’t read magazines, I don’t follow any particular fashion trends and it’s always stood me in good stead. But is not caring about fashion really a good thing?

Let’s talk writing fashion for a moment…

I’ve noticed recently on a few comment threads, within one of my Facebook groups, that the authors who have just released books in the New Adult Contemporary Romance genre seem to be taking off. It hasn’t taken long to work out that New Adult Contemporary is one hot genre in my circles at the moment.

(From what I understand, New Adult is a new genre that squeezes in-between Young Adult (for teens) and Adult. So the romance is a little racy without the full details, if you know what I mean.)

It’s got me thinking, do I drop what I’m doing and quickly pump out a New Adult Contemporary, because it’s currently popular?

It’s a good question to ask, don’t you think. I mean, where’s the line between writing for love and being market savvy? If we are serious about making writing a career, do we need to consider this? Do we keep an eye on the market and write what’s hot?

I’m really interested to hear people’s opinions here.

These are my thoughts…

– It is important to keep an eye on the market, but I’m not dropping everything to pump out a new adult. I’m sticking to my schedule for the year and finishing up my fantasy trilogy.

– It’s all the luck of the draw. If I did drop what I’m doing to quickly produce something popular, who’s to say it will still be popular by the time I’m done? Some people get lucky with timing, others don’t. It doesn’t make my book any less awesome than someone else’s, they just struck it lucky on this one and it might be my turn next.

– It’s important to write what you love, because if you don’t love writing, why the heck are you doing it? I remember reading a comment from Nathan Bransford (author) (link: once and he said that as soon you don’t enjoy writing anymore, get out of the game.

– Quality continues to be vitally important. Reading is a subjective thing and trends come and go, but if you’re producing quality then your books will stand the test of time, your fan base will grow and new people who discover you will check out your back list.

So – how’s your fashion sense? Are you a trendsetter? A trend-follower? Or do you ignore all trends and keep doing what you’re doing in the hope the trend will one day swing back around to you?

What do you think is the most important thing when deciding what to write next?

Author: Melissa Pearl

Melissa Pearl is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited and author of multiple novels spanning a variety of genres, from YA fantasy and paranormal to romantic suspense, including award-winning novel, BETWIXT. For more on Melissa, visit her blog or her Amazon author page.

24 thoughts on “How’s Your Fashion Sense?”

  1. I wouldn’t call myself a trend follower and only history can say if I am a trend setter. When I started my debut novel, The Card, I wanted to write something that would appeal to primarily male teens that wasn’t vampires, werewolves or zombies. There wasn’t much out there like that. Not sure what that makes me.

    After zombies, ghosts are supposed to be the next “big” thing, I can’t see myself doing that just because it will be popular. I agree with your bullet points.

    Great post!

  2. Judging by what seems to sell and what I see most of I must be in the least popular genre there is. Still, it’s what I love and I don’t see me jumping on the fashion bandwagon any time soo. I don’t read those so why would I write them? I’s probably mess up because I don’t dig those genres. So – I continue to write what I love – and starve. 😉

  3. A really messed-up factor in this is that much of the bandwagon is driven by agents. Girl With Dragon Tattoo sells a bunch and suddenly you see agents saying they want “Scandinavian crime” books. Why? Because people who liked that will like any book out of Scandinavia? Rather than, say, any book with an intriquing female lead, perhaps a hacker?
    My feeling is that you can’t trust what agents say they are looking for… and not at all what they claim publishers are or are not looking for. Even if they were right, which they are often not, are readers going to be look for that two or three years from now when the book comes out?
    It might sound odd to hear somebody say agents are full of it with their wish lists, but take a scan of agent sites and AgentQuery profiles some time. Ask yourself how many people really want to read the stuff they want to see. Half of them want “Judaica”. How many people read “Judaica”. How many people outside of Manhattan care about it? Same goes for all the little ethnic niches they say they want to see. You can’t trust it. I had an agent tell me publishers no longer want to see a series of novels about the same hero. Not fashionable. Obviously that is idiotic advice. But hey, a real agent said it, so….

    Sales figures are more valid. But the thing is, if you write a zombie or vampire or “50 Shades of Abuse By Rich Creeps” book, you’re going to be one of jillions of other copycats, and late to the trough.
    And if you DO get accepted as a buyable author in that niche–is that what you want to write the rest of your life?

  4. As far as “what wil be the next thing”… have you ever seen them be right about that?
    Did they see Harry Potter coming? Did they see “50 Shades” coming? “Girl With Dragon Tattoo”? “Wool”?

    How many remember Nehru jackets?

    1. LOL, unfortunately, I remember them…and those awful leisure suits, as well. As far as the thread…I think an author has to write what he writes, what’s inside. I’m a horror novelist; I couldn’t write a romance novel if I tried … at least, not and do it well. That’s not what drives me. I don’t think the market should dictate an author’s writing unless they’re gifted enough to step outside themselves and do it well.

      1. Excellent comment, Tom. I think most authors prefer to stay in that zone where they can write what inspires them and gets them excited about the whole process. Forced writing can take all the joy from the experience.

  5. I don’t even try to follow publishing fashions. I aimed for urban fantasy/paranormal romance with my current series, but now that I’m finishing up book 4, I’m not sure the series fits either label. Oh, well, it’s been fun anyhow…

  6. I actually tried once to deliberately write a specific, for the trend, genre story. When I say I tried, I mean I wrote a couple of chapters of crap (not really crap when I see some of what passes muster in some of the current trends), before running completely dry and hating myself for even trying. It took so long for me to feel that beautiful, creative meter begin again that I started to wonder if it would ever return.

    Excellent post, Melissa.

      1. This post makes many excellent points.

        I love fashion, great food, wine and cocktails … That is why I started my blog years ago. It was only after writing about what I love did I realize I might want to try writing a novel like ‘Gosford Park on Montauk.’ I loved doing it!
        My vampires were not planned. After surgery for a nasty kidney-stone and lots of drugs I thought of the story. Gay, tango dancing vampires who compete in member/guest tournaments. I don’t believe this has been done. The book was a hoot to write. People are enjoying it, and that is what matters to me.

        It shows, I believe, when someone is forcing a topic. If you don’t love and have a command of the subject it will be apparent, especially in the world of fashion. 🙂

  7. I like your analogy. I think many people who truly love fashion love it for the artistry and how they feel when they wear it, and their confidence in it is what wins over the critics– whether they are wearing something a million people have worn before or they are completely avant garde. It seems to me that the ones who get panned the most are those who are obviously trying too hard, either to play it cool or to play it safe.

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