Writing for Yourself vs the Market


S.C. Farrow

2/6/20242 min read

a woman with a pen and a pen in her hand
a woman with a pen and a pen in her hand

As an author, navigating the path between writing for the fiction industry and writing for oneself can be a profound conundrum. The first question that often arises is: who should be the audience of your literary endeavours? Is it the market, eagerly awaiting the next trending narrative? Or is it the internal compass of your creative spirit?


Tailoring your work to market demands can lead to broader readership and increased commercial success. Writing with the market in mind may open doors to traditional publishing avenues, providing exposure and validation.

However, adhering strictly to market trends may compromise the authenticity of your voice, diluting the unique elements that make your writing distinct. Following popular genres might mean competing in an oversaturated market, making it challenging to stand out.

The heart of the matter lies in the balance between personal satisfaction and commercial viability. Should one write to please the market's palate, or should the narrative primarily be a reflection of one's creative desires?

Writing for yourself allows for the unbridled expression of personal creativity, fostering a genuine connection with the work. Liberating yourself from market expectations opens the door to exploring unconventional and unique themes that may not conform to mainstream trends.

However, the path of writing for oneself is not without its challenges.

Work that deviates significantly from market preferences might face challenges in finding a widespread audience, potentially affecting financial returns. Self-publishing, while liberating, comes with the responsibility of navigating the intricacies of the publishing process, marketing, and distribution.

For those leaning towards individualistic expression, the journey of writing for oneself unfolds with its own set of advantages. Self-publishing grants unparalleled control over the creative process, from writing to design and distribution. Without the constraints of market expectations, self-publishing allows for the exploration of unconventional formats and themes.

Self-published works might struggle to gain visibility in a market dominated by traditionally published titles. Navigating the complexities of marketing and distribution can be demanding, requiring additional skills beyond writing.


For those inclined towards the fiction industry, there are distinct advantages that can propel a writer's career to new heights. A market-aligned piece has the potential to tap into widespread reader interest, translating into financial success. Conforming to popular genres increases the likelihood of gaining attention from literary agents and traditional publishers.

Yet, like any path, writing for the marketplace carries its share of challenges and drawbacks. Adhering too closely to market trends may lead to formulaic writing, risking the creation of forgettable narratives that blend into the literary landscape. The market is dynamic, and what is popular today might not be tomorrow. Writing solely for trends can be a gamble.


Ultimately, the decision between writing for the fiction industry or oneself is deeply personal. While the marketplace offers potential commercial success and visibility, writing for oneself preserves artistic integrity and allows for unbridled creativity.

The key lies in finding a balance that aligns with your goals, values, and the stories you are compelled to tell. As an author, your unique voice has the power to shape narratives that resonate, whether that is within the confines of market expectations or beyond them.

Embrace the journey, for in the world of literature, the beauty often lies in the exploration of the unknown.

  • Writing for the market

  • Writing for yourself

  • Writing authentically