Sunday, September 12, 2010


As both a reader and a writer, I tend to pay close attention to the genres and topics that are currently trending in publishing. It's important to know your competition if you're a writer, and I'm a firm believer that the more you read, the better writer you become. You don't want to be ignorant and begin querying your manuscript, only to find that it's exactly the same thing as HARRY POTTER or TWILIGHT or THE HUNGER GAMES. You have to have something different and unique to offer, which is really where keeping an eye on the market comes in handy.

Only, the problem with that is that books just now coming out were bought by publishers somewhere between one and two years ago. TWILIGHT was still in its prime, and so hopeful writers began writing books about vampires. Or maybe they already had, but began querying their project at a bad time for vampire stories.

So what do you do when your manuscript is a match for a current trend? You check to see how different it is. What makes your book different from a current NYT bestseller? If you can't really find a reason, you may want to try your hand at something else for a while. Because if your book is basically a retelling of TWILIGHT, the chances of it being picked up are pretty slim. Agents and editors need projects that haven't been seen yet. And if you're going to do vampires or werewolves, it needs to be something so freaking new and exciting that there's no way it could be compared to anything currently on the market. Vampires, especially, are too saturated at the moment. People are looking for something fresh, and as a writer, it's up to you to make sure they get it.

As an intern (I was lucky enough to be able to do it remotely while I'm back in Wisconsin), I'm getting to see the stories that might be on shelves in two years. And I have to tell you, I'm incredibly excited by what I've seen! While EPE sees its fair share of TWILIGHT knock-offs, I've also seen plenty of YA paranormals that had something new to offer. I've begun to see new trends developing, ones that I find infinitely more exciting than vampires. I'll be honest, I was on the vampire bandwagon for a while, and snatched up a good deal of them, but I burnt myself out. The more I read, the more I found that they were all, essentially, the same story. So to find that writers are starting to explore other things is really exciting to me! Here are just a few of the trends I've begun to see in the slush pile:

1. Reincarnation. While this isn't my favorite trend, I've had a few really good ones pass through my hands. I think writers need to be careful with this, just as much as with the vampire thing, because obviously your character is in the same boat as someone else's who has been reincarnated. Make sure your story is unique and imaginative, and you should be fine. All you want it to have in common with other books about reincarnation is just that: your character's been reincarnated. And that's where the similarities should end.

2. Angels and demons. Maybe HUSH, HUSH brought this on, but I'm enjoying this one. Some of the fallen angel stories can be a bit odd, but I grew up Catholic, so I can appreciate the story behind it all. And I really liked HUSH, HUSH, so I'm open to reading more on this.

3. Greek/Roman gods/goddesses who live in the modern world. I've seen a surprising amount of this. They're either trying to right some terrible wrong from way back when, or they're around just because they can't die. I've read one or two really great manuscripts that fall under this category, so I'm not complaining!

4. In women's fiction, I've noticed a lot of stories have a male MC who works for the FBI and is undercover. I didn't mind the first few, but lately I've begun to wonder why people don't try something else. I understand a man undercover can be a great catalyst for some kind of argument/betrayal, etc., but why couldn't the guy be in witness protection? Or just some lonely chef trying to remake his image? The FBI man is getting to be a bit cliche. Granted, that's just my opinion.

What trends are you particularly fond of these days?

1 comment:

  1. I have a vampire book that I've tucked away and will wait a few years before attempting to query it. lol. I'd written it awhile back, but just know its not the best time to attempt it. Plus, I can do some more revising.

    Trends are so hard. I think we HAVE to pay attention to them, but on the other hand I try not to write for them. Great post.