Should you study what’s getting published and what’s selling and set out to write a book that runs along the same lines?

Yes and no.

You definitely need to know the market you want to write for. Know the lengths of a typical book in that genre, the tone and the usual topics. Then set out to write something with a fresh take on that genre–that is, if that’s what you’re in to.

If you hate fantasy but think you might want a crack at ‘Ol JK’s tax bracket, think again. You have to be passionate about what  you write for it to come across on the page. You can’t just throw in a nerdy looking kid with glasses and give him the power to fly around like one of those Wizard of Oz monkeys and think the royalty checks will start rolling in.

Hey, Nicholas Sparks and I went to same college a few years apart. We’re both black belts in the martial arts and we both like to write. Problem is, I like to write about social workers, basset hounds, boxing, Elvis and suspense. Nicky writes romance that makes women weep and call Barnes and Noble impatiently.

I couldn’t write like him if I wanted to.

My buddy Konrath is always killing victims in his book in sick and twisted ways, probably because Joe is sick and twisted. Me, the gruesome stuff? Not so much.

So what if you like to write 200,000 word paranormal romance Star Trek gay erotic noir? You can, but you may want to compromise a tad to have it fit what’s being bought. Maybe the market wants 75k word Star Trek suspense but they really don’t want the guys falling in love and turning into vampires.

Go ahead and write it and tone down the parts the market isn’t interested in.

‘Course, I’d be curious to see what you do with Spock and Scotty in the hot scenes.