I've been in and around this industry a while. I've learned a lot over the years. Things like:
Don't mass mail queries.
Don't start a book with a dream sequence.
Clichés are clichés for a reason.
Writer are the best friends you could want.
Trends change and circle back.
Don't pitch your book to the agent you cornered in the bathroom.
The list could go on and on. I've been studying this industry long enough to have a degree in it by now. There are so many things I could say, pieces of advice I could give. But the one that has been resounding over and over in my brain is--
Write what you love.
Dude. I get it. More than most of you in the trenches, I get it--every book I self-pub is a several hundred dollar investment (on the low end) and I need it to earn out. Making money would be great. So the temptation to write what's selling hot at the moment is there. And This Love did well.
But the stories I love are the ones that I spend the most time in. Beyond Chains and Stars took god only knows how many revisions and eventually landed me an agent. It's the story that I've been wanting to read--the character driven, flawed and wonderful heroine-centric SF--since I was a teenager.
The book I'm writing now has my publicist more excited than either of my previous UB novels. It's fresh, it's different--dark and sexy and dangerous--and so much damn fun I don't want to quit working.
That's my advice, you guys. Screw the trends and what's selling and what's 'over'. Write the story you love. Pour your heart and soul and everything else into it--leave it all on the paper. If you don't, what the hell is the point of this?