Many writers write for the experience.
Others dream of having a number one best seller. Both are wonderful reasons for writing. What many fail to realize is that these two do not have to be mutually exclusive. With a little research, you can enjoy writing incredible stories and see to it that they generate a profit.
The first thing that is needed is a business like attitude toward the process. From day one you must:
1) Know your niche.
Research which books are popular in your genre. Go to bookstores and start reading popular authors in your field. Also pick up writing magazines and see what publishers are looking for today.
2) Know your audience. If you are writing for children, for example, know the developmental stage that a child reading your book needs to be and cater to them.
Ex. A five year old would not be a good candidate for a chapter book.
You can also talk to your future readers and find out what really sparks their interest.
Ex. If you are a sci-fi writer, you can go into sci-fi chat rooms and ask what books are the most popular and why.
Also ask what they feel is missing in this field. Do they want a return to some of the earlier styles of sci-fi books are an even more futuristic approach?
3) Write from this knowledge.
Once you know what your audience wants, create your story and characters around that theme. Give them what they want, what they crave and you have a better chance of creating a book that they and publishers will love.
4) Pre - market. If you are self-publishing, you can give away a free chapter of your book on hundreds of sites to spark an interest and get feedback. You can also send out press releases right before your book is about to be releases. Prweb.com is a great place to send out free press releases.
5) Network - Contact the webmasters of writing sites online. Submit your book for pre-review. Go to writing chat rooms and offer to answer other writer's questions about your book or writing in general. Do book readings at your local library or bookstore. The more people that are exposed to you and your book, the better the chance of it being a success.
Those are just a few examples of pre - marketing. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of other free ways to gather interest and get feed back.
The more information that you have before you write, before you market and before you go to press, will determine your chances of creating an enjoyable and profitable book.
Remember you can be creative and profitable. Just start from a place of knowledge and the rest will follow.