Okay, I've often wondered what a reality TV show would look like for writers. Can you imagine standing on stage while someone reads part of your manuscript and then proceeds to criticize you? I get that it's not the same as singing or cooking, but dude.
I watch a lot of reality TV, and I love it. But I think those poor people! every time. Getting torn apart on national airwaves. #notmycupoftea
Anyway, I was watching American Idol last week, and Keith Urban said something that I think can apply to anyone in a competitive industry. (I also just watched Black Swan for the first time, and wow. But that's another blog post for another day.)
He said, "You're up against a lot of talented singers. So it's about making sure you find something to stand out."
I think that applies so well to writing too. With the hundreds of thousands of books being published, both in the traditional and Indie markets, we're up against a lot of talented writers. It's a matter of writing something that will stand out.
The problem is knowing what that is. Making it align with your passion. And probably forty thousand other things.
I know, because I wrote a time travel thriller that I really love. (And time travel is extremely hard to write and like afterward!) I signed with an agent for it. She couldn't sell it. We broke up. I gave it to another agent, who loved it. But, and I quote, "I can't sell this in 2015. It's not what editors want."
So we're up against a lot of talented authors, and we need to not only find something to make our work stand out, but it has to be the right kind of work. I used to think that good writing and fabulous storytelling would win out. But I have a good book with fabulous storytelling, and I can't sell it.
Just like there are a lot of great singers on American Idol that don't become superstars. It's a good lesson to learn, and I'm glad I don't have to do it on live television.
Any lessons you've learned in random places? Bits of inspiration from a commercial or something?
Lay it on me.