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Write Faster, Write Smarter #3

Write to Market: Deliver a Book that Sells

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Many authors write, then market. Successful authors write TO market

Have you written a book that just isn’t selling? Would you like to write a book that readers eagerly devour?

Many authors write, then market. Successful authors write TO market. They start by figuring out how to give readers what they want, and that process begins before writing word one of your novel.

This book will teach you to analyze your favorite genre to discover what readers are buying, to mine reviews for reader expectations, and to nail the tropes your readers subconsciously crave.

Don’t leave the success of your novel up to chance. Deliver the kind of book that will have your fans hounding you for the next one.

67 pages, Kindle Edition

First published February 5, 2016

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About the author

Chris Fox

75 books626 followers
By day I am an iPhone developer architecting the app used to scope Stephen Colbert’s ear. By night I am Batman. Ok maybe not. One can dream though, right?

I’ve been writing since I was six years old and started inflicting my work on others at age 18. By age 24 people stopped running away when I approached them with a new story and shortly thereafter I published my first one in the Rifter.

Wait you’re still reading?

Ok, the facts I’m supposed to list in a bio. As of this writing I’m 38 years old and live just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in the beautiful town of Mill Valley. If you’re unsure how to find it just follow the smell of self-entitlement. Once you see the teens driving Teslas you’ll know you’re in the right place.

I live in a tiny studio that I can cross in (literally) five steps and don’t own an oven. But you know what? It’s worth it. I love developing iPhone apps and if you want to work in San Francisco you accept that rent for a tiny place costs more than most people’s mortgage.

If you and about 2 million other people start buying my books I promise to move out of Marin to a house in the redwoods up in Guerneville. No pressure. Wait that’s a lie. Pressure.

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5 stars
770 (57%)
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398 (29%)
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136 (10%)
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27 (2%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 293 reviews
Profile Image for Swrp.
662 reviews
January 17, 2021
Write and market, or Write to market...

Chris Fox's Write to Market is a quick and useful read for all the new and upcoming writers.
Profile Image for Rose.
18 reviews2 followers
February 10, 2016
I've been firmly in the camp that thinks that "trope" and "writing to market" are tar and feathering offenses, mostly due to too much personal experience with writers who thought a checklist of TV Tropes made any kind of cohesive story, or that turning out a Harry Potter/Twilight/Hunger Games/etc clone would net them the cash if they could just hop on the bandwagon fast enough. It makes me want to tear out my hair and scream and I'm unutterably tired of the endless parade of clones of whatever the last big blockbuster was. Tired of reading them, and despairing that I could ever write them - and why would I want to? It's pointless to force myself to write what I already hate.

Chris Fox is the first person to clearly define those words - "writing to market" - in a way that very specifically did NOT advocate churning out carbon copies. He clarifies what it really means (the answer is "do your research", "read", and "think about the psychology of the reader", not just mimic) and did so in a way that I can actually heartily embrace and endorse. I feel like several of his points need to be tattooed on the foreheads of the indie publishing community, and I love that he dissected his own progress, both what worked and what didn't, and how he's consciously taking those lessons to heart now. This? Is a writing to market that I could actually do, instead of gagging every time I hear the phrase. Excellent book.
Profile Image for Bon Tom.
856 reviews55 followers
August 28, 2019
I will do unusual thing. I'll give 5 stars to the book in which I don't think I like a single word or thing that it says. Because I accept and realize its teachings as perfect truths.

So. If you're budding writer, this book will put you in contact with some cold, harsh realities of business. And if you want to profit, you better apply it. When you "pay your dues", as the book says, you can have your pleasure of writing books that you want, how you want.

Unless you're all too pretty to pay your bills, of course. Then you better find your sugar daddy (or mommy), but that's entirely other book (which exists - written for the market!).
Profile Image for Suzannah.
Author 27 books472 followers
September 11, 2018
Starting the New Year right with some indie-authoring wisdom ;)

Like most sensitive artists with literary pretensions, "write to market" sounded like a horrible way to prostitute my art. Maybe it is. Then again, maybe it's not. Chris Fox did an excellent job in this book of laying out a method of choosing a genre, discovering what the readers in your genre want to read, and researching, writing, and packaging in such a way as to meet those desires.

This is less about turning out carbon copies of bestsellers than it's about knowing the usual tropes of your genre and using them in a creative way. I can definitely see how this kind of thing can help me rather than box me in as an author, so I'm going to do the exercises and see what happens.


Thoughts on a second read-through:

Here's what I've learned from doing the exercises in this book and thinking about this "write to market" advice.

1. I don't want to write to market. Not for the books that are close to my heart. For those books, my ideas won't fit into genre boxes unless I lobotomise them. And I'm not going to do that.

2. Doing the trope exercises in this book was an amazing way to enrich my books. Sitting down to ask myself "what are readers going to hope to see from a series set during the Crusades" helped me identify a whole new bunch of really, really exciting possibilities. While I won't use Fox's advice to limit myself, I'd recommend doing the exercises as a way to get myself dreaming a little larger.

3. Just because I don't want to write my most beloved stories to market doesn't mean I'll never write anything to market. On the contrary, writing the odd book to market could be a really good way to finance my passion projects. Last year my bro told me about the 20-80 rule - you make 80% of your income off 20% of your time, and he reckons the key to surviving as an artist is to find a commercially lucrative way to spend that 20% of your time so that you can free yourself up to work on the passion projects in the 80%.

At least, that's the theory.
Profile Image for J.A. Cipriano.
Author 91 books579 followers
February 9, 2016
I was lucky enough to receive an Arc of this book.

Let me just say, if you want to read one book about how to succeed in today’s market place. This is the one you should read. Not only is it crafted in Chris’s excellent voice, but it’s written for the here and now. This is not something that worked in 2011 or even 2013. This is something that worked in January of 2016.

Here’s what will happen when you read this. You will begin by saying “It shouldn’t be this way.” Then you’ll think about it for a while and say “I’ll prove you wrong, Chris.” You will then begin to craft a book following the procedures outlined in this book. It works for any genre. It will be surprisingly easy to do because Chris lays it out step by step using a space opera as an example. I mean, that example alone is worth the price of admission.

And, even though it shouldn’t work and shouldn’t be the way, it will work. It will give you a book that will be a solid moneymaker. Trust me when I say this. You will not regret reading this one.
Profile Image for Eldon Farrell.
Author 14 books95 followers
February 22, 2019
You ever been in a bookstore, or digitally browsing the shelves at Amazon, and wondered to yourself why so many books seem like just variations on a theme? Chris Fox has the answer - and may have helped contribute to it.

His book Write to Market implores authors to find the market first, then write the book tailored to it. The advice is sound. And while, it may clog up the shelves with slightly similar reading material, it also lines the pockets of several authors. If you want to make your writing dreams a business, this just may be the way to do it.

So why the middle of the road rating? Fox also espouses a dangerous notion that I cannot support in any fashion. He tells indie authors they don't need an editor. Spend your money elsewhere, because in his view it won't increase your sales. I say, not the point. One of the major problems readers have with buying indie books is the low quality of so many of them. Mr. Fox seems to have helped contribute to that as well.
Profile Image for Traci Loudin.
Author 7 books52 followers
June 25, 2016
This book changed my entire philosophy on writing. Build it and they will come just doesn't make sense. I love blending genres, but before I can build a cool career of genre-bending books, first I need to gain a fanbase and prove I can deliver what readers want to read. Unfortunately, when I read this book, I'd already finished writing Book 1 of an epic fantasy series. So now I'm trying to retrofit what I learned from Write to Market to this Book 1, even though it's an oversaturated market. At the very least, I've decided adding aliens into my epic fantasy isn't a good idea if I want to gain fans while I'm still a newbie author. But you can bet I'll be applying the knowledge I gained from this book on my NEXT series.
Profile Image for Kenya Wright.
Author 98 books2,209 followers
May 20, 2019
All the information was valuable. I just already knew it, but I think this is a must-read for any new, emerging INDIE author. There are clear tools to success. Some things discussed in the book are controversial, yet unfortunately with this industry. . .those tools are spot on.

I would just say make sure you remain true to yourself in doing certain tactics. All and all, excellent book. No regrets. Sometimes I need to be reminded, so this remains in my library.
Profile Image for Karen Wingate.
Author 7 books23 followers
June 17, 2020
Writing To Market Makes Sense

Chris Fox gives the advice writers don’t want to hear but know is true. 1. If you want to see your work succeed, then study the success and failure of others and of your own books. Look at the data, the hard numbers. It takes time but time well spent. 2. Readers want a balance of familiarity and a fresh look. If you want your writing to sell, this is not the time to be a maverick. Write what satisfies, connects with, and inspires your readers. It’s just that simple. I would like to have had more explanation about troupes in his book but for the most part, this book was very helpful.
Profile Image for Juliann Whicker.
Author 43 books161 followers
June 28, 2017
Wow this was disappointing. I should say that I am disappointed. I just read 5K/Hr and LOVED it. Here are the things that I loved about that one and hated about this one. 5K, finally a writing book that wasn't filled with shameless self-promotion! Wow, a book where the cross-purpose of marketing their other books wasn't a constant interruption to what I actually wanted to read. This book, so much about the author's other books. So much.

Look at me, I wrote a bunch of books and I'm writing a bunch more and I'll give you ten minutes of actually helpful information although the whole book is so short you won't mind dropping four bucks on it. I do. I mind. I understand that he wants to use his own books for analytical purposes and I suppose it's better than another writing book that breaks down Star Wars as though that is the only story any how-to writing author has ever read, but he could have stuck with other books and not gone on about his own. It's what I hated about Write. Publish. Repeat.

This book had a completely different tone from 5K, much more similar to Write. Publish. Repeat. I also didn't like his language. 5K felt respectful to readers and writers and showed it in language and editing. Man, the editing was not so good in this one. Two missing words in one sentence on the chapter about not needing an editor. And I'm not the kind of writer who hangs onto the sanctity of using pro editors for every step. But two words. He could have listened to his computer read it aloud to him and caught those. The cursing I could do without. Maybe it's coming out from his sci-fi space thing he's writing. Yeah. We get to know all about that.

I was really looking forward to this book, to liking everything this guy wrote because it would all be as lovely, useful, and readable as 5K, but it's not. As far as I can tell, this writer has officially broached the 'How to make a million, write a book about how to make a million,' only this is, 'How to write a best-seller? Write a book about how to write a best-seller.'

I'm sure the information is good. I actually have some things I could say to validate his findings. My first series did not make it. Amazon promoted it a ton and it was incredibly awesome. Everyone who read it and made it through the whole thing said so. But it wasn't written to genre. I still can't nail whether it's paranormal, urban fantasy, horror, or literary. Yeah. Try designing a cover to communicate that. I am right now because I'm finally wrapping that monster of a series up and it has about a dozen readers. I love those readers. They are absolutely the best. But it's not making money. My other book, a little less convoluted, YA chick lit fantasy romance actually sells without the freakish amount of effort my other series required. I've realized that simplifying genre helps to be able to market clearly what your book is about, and it's easier to write. People like it more. I don't know if that means better, but I only ask whether my writing is good if I'm not doing it. I wrote 7,700 words yesterday so I have no doubts. Today I haven't counted. Man, this is a rambling review. Now I have to give a glowing five star to 5K.
Profile Image for Jennifer Ellision.
Author 34 books378 followers
March 10, 2018
Some interesting ideas here... my biggest takeaway is still write what you like in the genre you like but analyze which books in your sphere are selling really well and figure out what tropes they have in common and tweak accordingly.
Profile Image for Gareth Otton.
Author 6 books74 followers
February 25, 2018
I'm on the fence about this book. The artist in me wants to tear into it and call it nonsense. The author in me who wants his books to do well and recognises logic when he sees it can see that there is at least a little merit to be found here.

What I eventually concluded was that what you get out of this book depends on what kind of writer you want to be.

This is essentially a book that tells you how to work/game the system so that you write books that sell. It involves figuring out what readers want on the surface level, and writing a book based on those wants. You'll be relying heavily on identifying and sticking to tropes, and you're unlikely to be breaking new ground. I've read a lot of novels that do exactly this and I have a lot of fun with them, so there's certainly nothing wrong with it. If that feels like your kind of book, then this book is definitely one for you.

However, I don't fall into this category. I started writing because I love storytelling, exploring new ideas, and trying to create original concepts. I don't always succeed and I am sure that a lot of tropes find their way into my writing. However, the goal remains the same, I am striving to create something new and wholy original and I don't think you can do that by starting out by trying to create a story about things that have been done countless times before. I might end up being less successful because of this, but that's a price I am willing to pay for the freedom to write the kind of books I want to write.

So like I said, this is a mixed book. Go into it with an open mind and there'll definitely be a lot you can learn from it. However, all that said, this still wasn't the right book for me so I removed the first star in this review.

I'm knocking a second star off for the fact that this book is (in my opinion) far too short. This is a chapter/part of a longer book, not a book in itself. A little less padding and it could have even been just a long essay.

So overall it's 3 stars.
Profile Image for Julie.
449 reviews20 followers
July 20, 2016
This is a short book, with a lot of exercises in it. I honestly wish the first exercise was a little more clearcut. That's sort of the most important one. Finding a subgenre that has readers, but maybe not enough authors in it yet. I'm not sure how far to dig down in subgenres... just go by the bestseller lists, or find sub-subgenres at the bottom of a book's page? And what rank was I supposed to be looking for again?

And I have the Kindle Spy Chrome plugin, so actually a bit about how to use Kindle Spy to achieve the same results would've been useful to me.

I do look forward to digging into the exercises in more depth.
Profile Image for Tim Niederriter.
Author 58 books15 followers
May 1, 2016
Time tells

This book feels like a bare minimum. I wanted both more instruction and examples. Over all I was disappointed in the book.
Profile Image for April Wilson.
Author 42 books921 followers
February 18, 2017
A compelling argument for how to write commercially successful novels. If you're struggling to find your audience as a writer, this book may show you the way to financial success.
Profile Image for August.
Author 7 books12 followers
June 18, 2017
Amazingly helpful. Yes, you have to be in a certain place to hear the advice in this book, but if you are, it rings true. And it's practical. It's a great reminder that writing is hard damn work, and if you don't put in the effort on the 20% of things that will gain you 80% of your success (Pareto and all that), you won't publish books that sell because you won't publish books at all. Highly recommended to authors who are interested in making a real career out of self-publishing.
Profile Image for S.E. Chandler.
Author 10 books9 followers
August 5, 2022
This book is a home run for any author wanting to make a living at being a writer. Fox is unapologetic and candid about what it takes to break down your genre for the best possible outcome while still writing what you want for your book. His language is clear. The exercises are step-by-step.

Say what you want about writing to market. I'll be living my dream as a full-time author two lifetimes sooner following his advice.
Profile Image for Angela R. Watts.
Author 26 books197 followers
January 10, 2021
Super useful book and easy to read. It helped me find tips on writing to market without "selling out" and reminded me that you can get paid well and still enjoy what you write. That's how it should be! I can't wait to apply these tips!
Profile Image for Heather Gilbert.
Author 35 books745 followers
May 31, 2018
This book was worth every penny and a whole lot more. Great indie publishing advice for 2018. Definitely got my wheels spinning. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Suz.
2,263 reviews67 followers
August 26, 2018
Relatively simplistic and easy to understand. I'm going to run through it again in the near future specifically to do the workbook stuff.

Profile Image for Justin.
Author 24 books235 followers
March 3, 2023
The only thing I got out of this is realizing the themes within a genre and writing to market in the sense of writing to your distinct niche genre.
The rest of it insists upon itself from the authors failure coming off as egotistical nonsense and examples that are more rubbish than they are helpful. Thankfully I got this book for free because to pay for an author to gloat about themselves while giving contradicting and misleading information would've been alarming.
Profile Image for Gwen Mitchell.
Author 6 books50 followers
March 18, 2017
Really Useful

I had been doing a lot of the market research described in this book in an attempt to somehow absorb it all and make sense of it. The way it is organized and outlined here makes perfect sense and whether you decide to "write to market" or not, the exercises alone are worth it.
Profile Image for Amy Wells.
Author 17 books19 followers
October 25, 2018
Great ideas. I will definitely be using these ideas when determining my next book to write.
Profile Image for Brian Menue.
Author 2 books2 followers
February 9, 2017
This is a quick read with very helpful information. I have a new focus on goals and knowing my genres than I did before starting.
Profile Image for Patrick Sherriff.
Author 66 books85 followers
May 21, 2016
"You write books, right?"
"How come only your friends and family read them?"
"Well, it's not only them..."
"But mostly, right?"

Damn the wisdom of children. There are many reasons why my books aren't tearing up the bestseller charts, but essentially the answer is I haven't written them to market. I've written them first, then thought about the market second, if at all. What Chris Fox proposes is to get scientific about doing market research on Amazon then writing books with the tropes that readers want to see. Not bad advice, and this direct, concise book lays out a blueprint for applying market research into your own fiction. Not for the delicate artiste, but if you are interested in selling books, this manual offers some sound, if painful to hear, real-world advice on turning writing from a pastime into a business.
Profile Image for Leanne Hunt.
Author 6 books43 followers
September 23, 2016
This book was very helpful. It motivated me to research the authors writing in my genre and think about my market in concrete terms.
I gather there is rather a negative attitude amongst authors about writing to market but I struggle to see why this should be. A restaurant owner studies his market when deciding what food to serve, a film maker studies his market when choosing a script for his next movie, and a producer of advertising content studies his market when setting up a campaign. In the same way, n author needs to study his market in order to be well-received and build loyalty. Art and craft are essential elements, of course, but as Chris Fox points out, it is no good being the best artist if no-one ever gets to see your work.
This book will appeal especially to writers of genre fiction as it gives good guidelines on the things that genre fiction readers are looking for.
Profile Image for Stephanie Bibb.
Author 12 books18 followers
August 25, 2017
Write to Market: Deliver a Book that Sells is a fairly short, concise read that covers Chris Fox's methods for targeting a particular audience. He includes examples, and there's a lot of good information here about how to evaluate the books in the market you're considering targeting, as well as what to look for. Now, I haven't tested the theories for myself or completed all of the exercises, so I'm not sure how useful it will be in the long run. But I've been considering the various strategies and how they might be helpful.

Personally, I would have liked more examples from across different genres, but as a basic guide, I found it informative.
Profile Image for Emma Sea.
2,184 reviews1,064 followers
March 25, 2016
It's short - 905 locations - and even then the guts of it is just chapter four; analyzing sales rankings to identify under-served genres. I haven't implemented this advice about writing to market yet, but I will, so I might come back and report in.

Maybe the most valuable aspect of the book is giving a writer permission to do things they might have decided on their own e.g. 80% is good enough. Don't spend another six months polishing the last 20%. Let go of the book, learn from it, and write the next one.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 293 reviews

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