I was talking yesterday about a writer finding their "bliss" -- what they enjoy writing. And that I think that's what they should write, regardless of what's currently "hot" in the publishing world.
In another incident of co-incidence, there's a blog at Romancing the Blog by Lori Devoti about whether or not a writer should write "for the market." In other words, write not what they love the most, but what will make money, assuming the two are mutually exclusive.
Lori Devoti uses an example of a writer who's already had some success, and whose sales are slipping or stagnant. That's a little bit different from what I was talking about yesterday. I had an unpublished author in mind.
However, her example is a good one. It's not that the writer is a bad writer, or doesn't have an audience. It's just that the sales aren't climbing. Her editor has suggested she try a new, "hotter" sub-genre, a suggestion her agent is keen for her to follow. What's an author to do?
I've been in a similar situation. Fortunately, I had some other options that made it possible for me to keep writing what I loved, and my family isn't dependent on my writing income (this is a huge luxury for a writer). So what do I think the author in the example should do? Write for love and no money, or write for money and lose some of the joy?
I agree with those posters over at Romancing the Blog who suggest the writer should look on the suggestions as an opportunity (the editor is still keen to see work from her -- that's nothing to sneeze at!), and try to tweak the suggested setting into something more in line with what she enjoys writing.
What will I do if I'm told my publisher doesn't want more historicals from me? You can bet your booties I've considered that. I consider that quite often, actually -- any time I hear of an author being let go by any publishing house, any time I hear of editorial changes at my publishers, and especially when it's time for a new contract. So I have Plan B. I also have Plan C. In fact, I have many plans, and the last resort would be to quit writing and renovate and redecorate the house.
Writing is all about choices, whether they're choices you make for your story, or for your career. That's why it's such a mentally taxing, stressful occupation. But that's also what makes it interesting and exciting. And when your choices pan out? Wonderful!