Publishing houses are governed by what will sell, so understanding the trends is important—both for the houses and their writers. With that in mind, let’s look at what’s hot, and what’s not.
- Romance: prairie romance, in particular
- Contemporary women’s fiction (dealing with issues of the heart)
- Action/Suspense/Thriller: This genre is really hot right now. Stories that keep readers up at night will always be in fashion!
- Comedy: Romantic comedy has seen a surge in recent years.
- Amish books/stories: What can I say? Amish/Mennonite stories are everywhere.
- Sci-Fi, Speculative, Fantasy, Allegory (vampire stories, magical stories, etc)
- Edgy is trendy, even in the CBA (Christian Bookseller’s Association)
- Juvenile fiction: The market for this genre is not as big as you might think. If you do write for kids, make sure you’re writing about relevant topics. No “simple” kids stories (they want real issues/real world)
- Biblical fiction: This genre went though a boom in the 80s and 90s, but is rapidly declining.
- Cozy mysteries: This is a tough time for who-dunnits, no matter how beautifully written.
GENRES THAT WAFFLE IN AND OUT:
- Cozies will always have a small audience. Not a lot of houses publish them, though.
- Chick-Lit: When Bridget Jones’ Diary hit theaters, the world of chick-lit writing blossomed. First person novels about twenty/thirty-something fashion-forward females went ballistic. It’s getting harder to sell chick-lit, however. If you’re interested in selling first-person novels for women, give them a romance slant.
HOW DO YOU PREDICT TRENDS?
- Don’t look at what’s popular now. Even if you sell a book today, it’s going to take a couple of years before it releases.
HOW CAN I STAY ON TOP OF THE CHANGES?
- Subscribe to Writer’s Market Guide (www.writersmarket.com). You will stay on top of all info related to publishing houses and their needs.
- Conferences/editor panels will bring you up to speed. They’ll tell you what they are and aren’t looking for (you’ll know what to pitch and what not to waste your time pitching to a particular editor/house)
- Consider taking an online writing course that caters to published authors. There, you can stay on top of trends.
FINAL NOTE, IF YOU WANT TO STAY TRENDY: BEWARE OF PRODUCT USAGE:
- Products run in trends, too, and can “date” a book.
- Avoid using particular brand names and/or specific styles of clothing
- Beware listing television shows or song titles as “contemporary” if you want your book to have longevity
There you have it! What’s in today will be out tomorrow, so stay on top of things if you want to impress that editor!