I'm writing a satirical novella of sorts, based on the current American political climate. I'm exploring themes of race, political polarity, and youth. I do want to finish and possibly publish this novella, but I don't know when is a good time to do so.

If I publish it before the next election cycle, will it be too on-the-nose? If I wait, say, three years, will it be dated or irrelevant if something drastically changes within American politics?

  • 3
    What exactly is your goal with publishing it? What audience, what effect on them? In terms of timing, look how much things have changed in three years. So yes, hard to say what things will be three years hence. Satire on nightly talk shows is very much in the moment.
    – SFWriter
    Jul 13, 2019 at 19:51
  • @DPT My goal is mainly to bring attention to what I view as human rights violations in the US from the point of view of a young person of mixed race.
    – user34214
    Jul 13, 2019 at 19:52
  • So--you could go either way. If you want to impact the election, now. But ACLU exists because of ongoing, ongoing violations, and the BLM and movements with similar heart speak to divides and violations that span generations.
    – SFWriter
    Jul 13, 2019 at 20:00
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    I can't see any consequences to being too timely...
    – wetcircuit
    Jul 13, 2019 at 23:33
  • If I wait, say, three years, will it be dated or irrelevant Just publish it before Trump's second term. It's likely irrelevant already, so it's better for you not to sit 3 years on it.
    – Battle
    Jul 15, 2019 at 14:07

2 Answers 2


Satire is best served hot.

In my opinion, you should try to publish it as soon as it's ready.

If you find an agent or a publishing company interested in the novel they'll give you their (probably very valid) inputs on how to market it and when it would be best to publish it. Chances are that they will have good insights on this, since it's their line of work.

But from your side of things, I don't see how waiting could be beneficial. You're not writing an essay, you're writing satire; and satire has to kick a punch. A lot of people will still remember today's political climate in three years (because, unless the Earth doesn't gets blown in pieces, our memory isn't that short).

But yes: it will be less relevant. If the problems you're going to point out with your satire are getting better, or are solved, you'd be late. If they are worsening, you would still be late, and maybe your book will lack depth. And of course, in any given time, things change, what's relevant now won't be relevant forever, yada yada.

So, since you stated that you want to raise awareness, I'd say don't wait. Take the time you need, but no more. If you happen to publish it late, it will still be value (probably in retrospective) as most books have value to us regardless of age, but there is no point in purposedly wait.


Liquid's excellent answer gives the right advice, but I wanted to add the fact that there's a good general rule that covers all such questions:

The more current something is, the quicker it goes stale (and the more dated it will seem in the future). This goes across all genres and even across art forms. If a story is ripped from the headlines, if a song uses the most currently popular beats, if an image is created with the very latest technologies, if something is in the very center of current interests and obsessions, it can potentially be very popular right at that moment, but it will begin to look quaint and out of date almost immediately after.

However, there are ways around this. A satirical novel with a timeless plotline can hold up even after all the references expire. We still read Plato, for example, despite the fact that his dialogs are littered with pop culture references that we no longer have any hope of understanding or appreciating. In general, however, the more timely something is, the more time is of the essence in getting it out the door. Nothing that is purely timely improves with age.

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