Tuesday, April 18, 2006

S'More Mores...

Someone asked me yesterday about market trends.
There may be people who know less than I do about market trends but they all live in Washademoak.
So, off the top of my head I fearlessly threw out 3-5 years.
When did chic lit get hot? Some say its trend has tanked. What does the math say?
Agents will mention what editors are asking for now - which I assume means types they want to publish within the next year or two and anticipate sufficient public interest to sell through.

Paranormals seem hot right now. And urban fantasy.
This morning read a link to a writer on Candice's blog who describes how the paranormal market died in the early 90's, along with vamps.
So the market moves in waves. Sea-sickening waves if you're anchored to a genre. Up and down.
During the cold war, post-nuclear holocaust novels raged, such as: Alas, Babylon and The Last Canadian.
The book clubs loved them.
After that there was a spate of "president" novels - impersonations of the president, mad president, plots to kill the president. (No political comment, please, I'm Canadian.) And "doctor" protag novels.
Book clubs loved those too.
Noticed though that there's a "Deathlands" series in print - see cover - chugging along well past 60 books of adventures in a post-apocalyptic world.
So the disaster trend hasn't exactly died, just submerged a little.
The owner of a second-hand bookstore tells me she can't get enough time travel books, though she has lots of Intrigue.
That doesn't really indicate market trend though -rather it suggests "keepers" as opposed to "tossers."
No crystal ball.
You write the best book you can.


Savannah Jordan said...

Popular genres can be as fickle as fair weather friends; one day they love you the next day they don't.

Take erotica, for instance. Scorned, looked down upon not so long ago, is now the darling of both the digital and print text submissions world. Thankfully HS doesn't nag me too much, but my agent is screaming at me.

Get it while it's hot? Hurry and jump on the bandwagon??

Nah. "You write the best book you can."

Erik Ivan James said...

This is a good topic. Something I am personally curious about. I imagine others are too.

I know there are a few of our fellow bloggers who pay close attention to this sort of information. They watch closely the blogs of agents, etc. They are certainly much more informed than I am.

I currently am not spending much of my time reading the informational sources such as indicated above. I am just busy writing the stuff I want to write.

Hopefully, when I am ready to start the query process, what I have written will "fit" with a current trend.

Bernita said...

Funny thing though, Savannah, erotic passages in romances - I'm thinking mainly Halequin Presents here - has been a growing trend for some time.How old is that series?
I think these 'trends" are always there - they just move around from niche to mainstream or back again.

One thing, Erik, a good story is a good story. Sometimes a good story can be 'tweaked" ie. the "popular" element added when it's time without any disruption or re-writing of the plot - or a passe thingy removed.

I sometimes wonder if genre follows mainstream or vice versa.

Dennie McDonald said...

the stupid thing is w/the lag in print time what you sell might be out before it get's to the shelves - I know they try to keep up on that - but that is how the market gets saturated and folks get sick of all the same thing ala Bridget Jones and the likes (though I have never read those myself)

Sam said...

I don't really look too closely at trends, because they tend to last a long time, lol.
I'm sure they said to HG Wells - sci-fi is just a trend, lol.

Bernita said...

As I read it, Dennie, when they say the market has tanked for a certain type of book, it means that the writer market/ the publishers aren't buying because they forsee a slackening in reader interest/in the book-buying market.
One has to assume the publishers keep on top of reader trends 'cause they are left holding the bag more than writers.

That probably saves a lot of OMG's,nail-biting and hair tearing, Sam.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I like your reasoning of, "Writing the best book that you can." If you happen to hit the front end of an up and coming trend, or find that new twist for the old yarn...so much the better.

That's a reall cool cover!

Bernita said...

Thank you, Bonnie.
Those covers all follow a theme, the boots, the flower, knife or brand optional, and usually a "mutie" monster.

Ballpoint Wren said...

And write the book you like to read.

Heh! I've never written a book, and I'm not planning to, but I'm full of advice!

Bernita said...

And here, you're one who should, Wren!

That's what they say. Though some writers are eclectic or objective enough to crank out vastly different ones.

For The Trees said...

Oh, for God's Sake, Bernita!! Here I am trying to get my first novel completely rewritten and you go and throw out all this stuff about changing genres and trends and what's hot and what's not.

All I wanna do is write my story with an eye to having it published. I don't WANNA have to fit into anybody's mold. I've got enough mold on me allready!!

But thanks for the illuminating post.

Bernita said...

Forrest, dear, many of us feel the same way and...read the last frigging line, willya?

H.S. Kinn said...

Hee, I could spank you, Savvy, if it'll motivate you... *bats eyelashes*

In all seriousness, I very much agree, though. Write your novel the best you can, and sooner or later, they will come!

Bernita said...

Yep, H.S., there's not much sense fussing about something over which one has little control.
The market winds blow where they will and we can only hope to tack cannily - to use a lugubrious metaphor.

Savannah Jordan said...

You'd like to spank me, HS! But, you can't I live to far away... :P

H.S. Kinn said...

I have reliable transportation. I can be up there in a day. *bats lashes*

Seriously though, just wait till we have an AppleCon!

Rick said...

I think a lot of the trend whiplash is a classic case of overreaction and "positive feedback" (in the technical sense, like mike feedback).

Chicklit was hot, so editors started buying all they could get their hands on, a lot of lame stuff got published - and even the good stuff was perhaps more than the readership could absorb. So now it's cold. Urban fantasy will probably go through the same cycle in a few years: hot, beaten to death, then cold.

"Write the best book you can" remains the best advice, IMHO. Though undoubtedly there are broad elements of commercial appeal that don't go out of style (e.g., appealing characters to whom interesting stuff happens).

Gabriele C. said...

I think there's always a niche for Historical Fiction. Right now the genre seems even pretty strong but hist fic has been published during times of 'decline' as well. Other than some Romance subgenres with seem to be hot or not.

I just have to write friggin' good Historical Fiction. :-)

And if, despite trying every publisher/agent that has ever produced a hist fic book, I can't find a home for my darlings, I can still put them on my blog or have them PODed via Lulu.

I don't want to write anything else.

Carla said...

"I think a lot of the trend whiplash is a classic case of overreaction and "positive feedback" (in the technical sense, like mike feedback)"

Share prices on the London stock market follow the same pattern for the same reason. I believe it's thought to be a combination of herd instinct and mathematics.

Bernita said...

Gabriele, you do write "friggin' good historical fiction."
And so does Carla.

Dakota Knight said...

One of the biggest trends out there is marketing. It doesn't matter what you write; It matters how you're going to sell it. I've kind of heard about this, but then last week, I met with an experience bestselling author and he solidified this belief. He said, "whatever you do, make sure you deal with the marketing first."

Bernita said...

We understand a marketable book and a marketable writer, but some of the demands seem more and more like simple off-loading unto the writer.

Dakota Knight said...

I agree with you to some extent, but I also think if a publisher doesn't know how to market your book, you have to show them how. In the past, I'd heard that publishers don't spend a lot of money on first time authors. Therefore, when I got my first contract, my first thought was, "how can I market this book so it can be a success?" Instead of "What is the publisher going to do for me?" Hopefully, my first book will be successful and when it's time for another round of contracts, then I'll be able to expect more from a publisher. Now, I'm trying to get a contract for my sci-fi series (totally different from my normal fare). I drafted a 13-page marketing plan for the publisher so they could visualize my books on the market. Maybe with the plan, a publisher will be willing to invest more. We'll see.

On another note - thanks for your comments about my blog on another post. It means a lot.

Bernita said...

I think an author should do much to help market their book.
Authors sometimes have neat ideas which can be added to a publisher's marketing policies.
What leaves me puzzled is the publisher who only invites submission with a marketing plan. Are they only printers?
It leaves me bewildered ( not an uncommon condition) they are supposed to be the experts on what gets books bought, I'm only the idiot who writes them.

Frankly, any publisher who gets you, Dakota, is lucky, you've obviously gone beyond, not only what some writers are willing to do but beyond what many are CAPABLE of doing.
Takes anything I said and double it.You have a mature and interesting blog.

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