Novelists handle every kind of subject one can think about. The most favourable subject for song composers is love. This is closely linked to the commonest subject for creative writers. It is social matters particularly related to social interactions between man and woman, be that interaction in falling in love and falling out of love, real and deceptive love, marriage, infidelity, ideal companionship, misunderstanding between male and female values, getting children and bringing them up, business relationship and so on. Novelists have also a love for writing social and political commentaries and criticisms, mysteries, science fiction, crimes, historical occurrences, and many others.
But in whatever subject they choose to write about, the presiding subject is the kind of presentation which would attracts people and make them want to read. Nearly any subject has the potential of attracting readers. It depends on what the writer intents to present and the degree of presenting it. Of course and generally speaking, some subjects are more popular than others; some are simpler to write about than others. Detective fiction is much more demanding because it touches on a highly specialized field. In whatever subject you choose, the question you should first ask yourself is what is it that you are actually going to say in order to impress your reader and why do you think you can impress the reader?
You have decided to write that novel based on the experiences of your life which you think it is interesting. It may be interesting to you but what is it is so special to make people want to read your book? Your novel will not attract readers certainly because it merely talks about the problems of your life. Everybody has experiences of many problems in his/her life. Yours may not be as special as you think. However, if your life has been subjected to extraordinary experiences you may have a good reason to think your book will attract readers who want to know more about challenges of life and how to tackle them.
If you are walking in the street you are only attracted to look at extraordinary people and things. People don’t read books for the sake of reading them. We read in order to solve various problems. We read to quench our curiosity. We read because we are bored or we are worried about something and want something to keep our mind busy and away from thinking about those problems. Unless you are sure that the subject of your choice is going to quench the curiosity of someone else, don’t attempt writing about it.
You must have a philosophy behind writing your story. For example, if you know the problems of being unemployed and how to solve that problem, surely you have got not only a story to share with unemployed people, but a way of solving unemployment problem. In other words, your novel should have a foundation, an ideology, target and achievement.
As a beginner, you will be better off in handling subjects within your range of experiences and knowledge. If you are a medical doctor, for example, you would be more qualified than a non medical doctor to develop fiction based on health problems. If you are a young person who is unmarried, you would be deemed to failure if you attempted to write a novel handling fights between married couples be those fights related to how to bring up children or how to handle parents in-law. The reader of your novel must be convinced that you know your mathematics in that subject very well.
Committed writers put their work before money. As they say, if you take care of cents shillings will take care of themselves. Unless your book has been read, particularly if it is your first publication, you cannot know whether you will be successful in making money through that book. Many writers approach writing with high expectation of making big money only to be shocked by reality.
The same thing happens to musicians. That composition may or may not be a success. The story about writing is that you may write and publish many books yet you make little money. To have a book published is not a guarantee of making money through it. Or you may write one book and that one book strikes gold immediately. There are people wrote a few books and became millionaires. Good example are those whose books have been made into films. Or think about that small international best seller the Animal Farm by Orwell. Chinua Achebe’s first book Things Fall Apart out-sold all his later books and, up to know, he is best known for that book. The secret may be in timing, contents and style.
Furthermore, a lot regarding why the book should or should not sell may also have something to do with the book coming at the right time to address a particular needy issue. Over and above, you may write a book and it fails to sell today only to surprise you many years after its publication when it suddenly starts selling like hot cakes. There is a story that you may write a book which is ahead of its time.
The thing is, when you start to write nobody can guarantee you that you will be a successful writer. You can take writing as a profession or writing as a pastime exercise. As it has been always the case with professionalism, the more you write the more you discover your capabilities and develop a unique style of writing that makes you very successful because you write like nobody else in the world. In music no one can sing like Michael Jackson or like Miriam Makeba. Nearly four hundred years after Shakespeare died nobody has written like Shakespeare. That is, the character in you as a writer may surprise the world. You are the only one who can surprise the world by sticking to your sense of creativity and thought.