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Old 17th October 2007, 10:55 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: What makes a work commercial?

The fact is, Simon, that you have talent. Your talent and the readers' taste (call it market) walk hand in hand.

It's always about talent. Someone's talent doesn't correspond to another's, but it is always a tale of talent.

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Old 17th October 2007, 11:09 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: What makes a work commercial?

well said Simon

always do you r own thing,not someone else's
It's ALWAYS about talent Gio
sometimes people benfd their talents to the public taste

sometimes "the market" moves in a certain way,and the temptation is to move with it

if you're a hack,that is

i dislike hypes
intensely
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Old 17th October 2007, 12:38 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: What makes a work commercial?

I tend to write the stories that want me to write them and not worry too much about the commercial aspect. I figure, if the one I'm doing isn't commercial, perhaps the next that comes to me will be.

I do have a feeling that the book I am shopping now sometimes falls into that "I don't think there is a market for this" category. Funny thing is I think it would make a good YA book (even though it doesn't have a YA character and I didn't write it thinking of it as a YA book).

It's a comedy about goofy superheroes, and I do think some agents might think of a book about superheros that isn't based on a comic book doesn't have a market. (Personally, I think of it as a comedy first and everything else second.)
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Old 17th October 2007, 02:55 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: What makes a work commercial?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Giovanna Clairval View Post
The fact is, Simon, that you have talent. Your talent and the readers' taste (call it market) walk hand in hand.

It's always about talent. Someone's talent doesn't correspond to another's, but it is always a tale of talent.
Don't know about that - I certainly started from a low base. When I look back at my earliest short fiction attempts they were all pretty dire. The early version of my novel was awful too, and I had no idea about the mechanics of dialogue.

But I've always read a lot of fiction, which helps, and I have a large collection of how-to books on everything from plotting to character to ... yes, the mechanics of dialogue. Over the years I've read them all cover to cover, underlining and highlighting as I attempted to fill large gaps in my education. (I went to school in Spain, after moving there with my family. So, although English is my first language, I did most of my education in Spanish. Fun, but not ideal. Fortunately, schools don't teach you a whole lot about plotting or dialogue either, so I guess it didn't make much difference. In fact, a school education usually isn't enough if you want to get published, which is one reason I still hit the learning books.)

By the way, on the subject of how to write I seriously recommend Stephen King's "On Writing"

You don't have to buy all these books, either - public libraries often have a good selection.
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Old 18th October 2007, 12:35 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: What makes a work commercial?



But, talking about something I don't like, let's take Dan Brown. Horrible writer, isn't he? But he is a great novelist, after a fashion. I mean that his story is grabbing and intriguing, even though it is poorly written. And the novel is neither gory nor hot.

]Heay! The film addaption of The Da Vinci Coad had Gandalf in it!


ok.....back to the topic.
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Old 27th November 2007, 08:37 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: What makes a work commercial?

If we look at 'commercial' fantasy, it has included, over the last five to ten years, George R R Martin, China Mieville and Scott Lynch. All different, all commercially successful, all intelligent. Tolkenesque fantasy has had its day - in terms of new writers - so anyone cynically writing about little people, magic artefacts and Dark Lords is likely to get short shrift. If someone doesn't actually LIKE fantasy or SF (or any other form of literature) and is trying to write it simply to turn a buck, it is obvious from the first word.

Publishers have to use a mix of personal and professional thoughts when considering a book by a new writer. Is the writing enthralling enough; do they get a pricking of their thumbs as they read; is it in an area of the genre they can sell successfully to the book chains. Over 90% of the typescripts they see fall at that first hurdle. But publishing is subjective so, as others have said, there is no simple template. You should certainly write what you like - but if you are trying to write in an area of the genre that the big bookselling chains won't stock because they can't sell it in large enough numbers, be aware that publishers probably won't take you on. Market research is always a Good Thing, if mainstream publication is your aim.

It's a commercial business.
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Old 27th November 2007, 10:41 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: What makes a work commercial?

I'm not sure I totally agree with you there, John. People still like Tolkienesque fantasy. Look at Trudi Canavan, for example. I'd say that her writing falls into that bracket, and she has sold successfully into both adult and YA markets. My next series is all dragons, dragons, dragons. I reckon dragons have been done to death, but readers from this website shouted me down. I took the advice of the readers and pitched a four book dragon series (admittedly for the YA market) and it was snapped up in preference to my much darker, more magically based proposal.

I guess there are some things that the market place cannot get enough of. I'm sure it helped that I put a rather unusual spin on the story - sort of "Biggles meets dragons", which when being pitched by a pilot with over 5000 hours of flying behind him (and two previous successful series) might have made the proposal slightly more appealing. The point remains, though, that there are some constants in what the readers want. Surely the publishers are grown up enough to recognise this?
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Old 28th November 2007, 08:32 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: What makes a work commercial?

I think Trudi has moved away from the classic Tolkien tropes, Mark - but epic fantasy, in all its forms, certainly sells well. And dragons were around long before Tolkien. They ain't going away!
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Old 24th January 2008, 11:11 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: What makes a work commercial?

I'm confused. Trudi Canavan doesn't seem Tolkienesque at all. It's not EPIC fantasy to start with. Maybe I don't know what epic/high fantasy is.

So, who are Tolkien's true descendants? Im' sorry if this question was answered before, but I'd like to know which new writers can be put in that category.
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Old 24th January 2008, 02:15 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: What makes a work commercial?

As far as I'm concerned, Tolkienesque fantasy needs lots of point-of-view characters, different races (Elves and Dwarves are obvious examples), wizards (of either sex), a sweeping story with many sub-plots and the classic Tolkien tropes. Robert Jordan is Tolkienesque. Tad Williams' DRAGONBONE CHAIR and its sequels are. Less so are the new bestsellers of he last decade, who have moved away from those tropes.
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Old 24th January 2008, 02:41 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: What makes a work commercial?

I've always thought the Iron Tower Trilogy by Dennis McKiernan was about as Tolkien as you can get without being the man himself. One thing I found interesting was the damaged protagonist, with Frodo and Tuckerby both leaving the story at not 100% health.
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Old 24th January 2008, 02:49 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: What makes a work commercial?

Yes, and interestingly McKiernan has never been published in the UK. I remember discussing him with WH Smiths' main genre buyer around 1994 and the feeling was he wasn't sophisticated enough then for a market that had moved on to Jordan and Williams, both of whom were seen as far more literate and adult in their thinking.
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