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Monday, July 9, 2012

Catching a Trend

by Marcy Collier

I went to the Pittsburgh Pirates game over the weekend. For those of you who don’t follow baseball, the Pirates have struggled with 19 consecutive losing seasons, the longest in North American professional sports history. But as of today, they are in first place! http://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Pirates-stay-hot-beat-Giants-13-2-3691712.php

As I think about the ups and downs of our home team over the years, I'm reminded  of how we struggle as writers to get that first novel published.

Every single one of my writer friends has vowed that he or she will quit writing at one point or another in their career. Some of them have, but the ones who really love it, breathe it, live it, have to write. They don’t have the option to quit because it’s a part of them. Like baseball players who love the game, even after such a long losing streak, they keep working hard, playing harder and if they’re lucky, eventually see a winning streak. They play because they love the game. Even during a rain delay when the tarps are rolled out over the field.

I finally sent my manuscript off to a few agents. I’ve received comments like:

 “I’ve read your sample pages and like the writing. However, the premise of the story is late to market so it would be a hard sell. I’d be happy to look at any other work you have.”


“I’m sorry to say we see too many teens with abilities novels just now, and I worry yours may have trouble standing out.”


“This isn’t feeling like a match for me.”

So what do you do when the novel you’ve labored over suddenly becomes a hot genre as you’re writing the draft? Do you hurry to finish so you can catch the trend wave? Do you vow that you'll never write again? 

No way! You keep running with your head held high, just like the pierogies during their race to the finish at the Pirate's games. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pierogi_Race)

The novel would not have been polished enough to have gone out to catch the trend. As writers, we have to write from the heart, not what’s hot. If you’re lucky, you’ll be the writer who sets the trend and becomes a race contender.

So what to do now? I’m going to do more research, keep submitting and start writing my next novel and hope that I don’t have 19 consecutive losing seasons before that first win.


  1. I've already caught the trend, Marcy, both as a writer who has tried for years to have my first novel published, and as a longtime Pittsburgh Pirates fan who has watched in agony most of those 19 years. I'll continue the trend with my writing, even if I don't become a published novelist, and I'll continue to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates even if they don't break their losing streak.

  2. I've read your novel, Dave, and I KNOW it will get published! Your hard work will pay off. And it would be great to have a winning team, although we'll continue to watch too.