In What Kind of Writing Do You Want To DO? I said you have to make a decision between fiction or non-fiction.
Of course, that’s not really true, but when you’re breaking in most find it easier to focus on one type of writing or the other.
Since I’m a non-fiction writer (who dreams of maybe getting a detective novel done as soon as I figure out how to plot) this blog is mostly about non-fiction writing and marketing.
I also believe that, on the whole, non-fiction is easier to break into.
Fiction has fewer paying markets. /t least fewer that are tracked. There were, according to Work Product, of the 274,000 books published 2007 only 43,000 were fiction. These numbers are extremely squishy but the ratio is probably close. The magazine market for fiction is worse I think. I don’t have a feeling for paying fiction markets on the web, but my sense is they are fairly rare. Which doesn’t mean you can’t make a living writing fiction. Obviously some people are able to do it. But fewer markets means it’s harder to break in. And do note the updates at the end of that post – the ratios seem to be about the same.
Non-fiction writing markets keep expanding. The most obvious expansion is the web itself. While it’s true there are a ton of fiction sites, it’s commerce that’s driving web growth and that generally means non-fiction and copy writing. Although there are still lots of places you can write and get poorly paid, I’m finding it easier and easier to get well paid for web writing. I think business owners are realizing good writing is worth paying for. Plus the economic downturn has meant more brick and mortar businesses are hiring freelancers to get their writing done. Self-publishing has created a bigger market for those of us who ghostwrite books.
There is a huge variety in the kind of non-fiction writing you can do. The Non-Fiction Wikipedia lists about 30 different kinds of non-fiction. While you or I might disagree with some of the list and even add additional types, just the fact of 30 points to a large market. And they don’t include writing for magazines. While it can be difficult to break into consumer magazines like the one’s you see at news stands, most trade magazines (those written for specific job categories) welcome new writers. Plus business writing which covers everything from press releases to sales letters.
Breaking into non-fiction isn’t particularly easy. You’ve got to write reasonably well and you’ve got to market your writing.
It always gets back to the writing and the marketing. There are, however, way more opportunities in non-fiction which means it may be easier to break in.
What kind of writing are you doing? Why?