My MW research paper was on wine books. Part of the stated objective was to identify current trends - what's happening with ebook versus print, the most popular genres, which are the best publishers and how self-publishing compares against them, why authors write the books they do and so on.
However, I also had an unstated objective: to identify the perfect niche for a wine book of my own. By methodically analysing my data, I would discover the wine book that the world has been waiting for. I could then write it and make my fortune! When I was writing up the results of my research, I had this in my mind all the time, and do you know what I found?
Nothing. Every conceivable book about wine has already been written, often several times over. There is no ideal gap, no perfect niche, no golden opportunity.
But then ... I would say that, wouldn't I?
Honestly though, I'm being sincere. I couldn't find any convincing new angle for a wine book. So I decided to write a novel instead.
I've tried this before, and always failed, but earlier this year I resolved to finish writing a novel before I turn 40 (three years, since you ask) and figured that blogging about it will help ensure I don't give up. That's the theory anyway ...
It's based on an idea I've had for a while, and it took me a few months to develop a complete plot. I've written each chapter on a post-it and stuck them on the wall of my office so that I can play around with the timeline and start adding in more detail.
For the moment, I don't want to give too much away - but I will say that it is, perhaps inevitably, set in the London wine trade. However, I'm going to try and make wine incidental to the story rather than central, and focus on the three main characters instead - all of whom are fictional, incidentally.
I'll reveal more here as I go through the process.