You have poured your blood and tears--literally--into getting your novel finished. You have spent hundreds of hours and dollars getting the book edited and ready to place in an agent's hand. You even manage to land yourself a great and supportive agent!
What's next? You sit back and wait for the book to appear at your nearest book seller so you can drag the family out to show them the proof that someone out there really likes you! But what if the agent says your book is great, but you are not getting any publisher interest because the market is already saturated with books like yours?
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I was naive enough to think that just because I got an agent that the rest would fall easily into place. I certainly hadn't been thinking strategically, that is, I hadn't thought I should be predicting the market and writing with the idea of being on trend. I was simply writing what moved me. So it got me thinking that I should see what's out there to understand how market trends work. I'm not thinking that my next novel will be written be on trend necessarily, but I wanted to be better informed as a writer. Every author hopeful owes it to himself or herself to be as knowledgeable as possible about the industry they are hoping to get into.
Having done the research, however, I'm not exactly sure what moves the market. Perhaps there is a monthly cabal of agents who decide that psychological thrillers are now at their height in the market and that were-rabbit shifters is the next big trend. You can find some of the popular trend on agent websites, which usually describe what a particular agent will and will not accept. But, sometimes this information can be quite stale or by the time you complete your novel, will be irrelevant. Some of this information also can obviously be found on the publisher's website that reflects what types of genre are currently on its list.
I have been reading a few websites written by bloggers and freelance writers who seem confident they have a handle of what's on trend in the market right now for 2018.
Let's talk children's books and young adult books. Diversity, which includes strong female characters, and realistic fiction are really popular right now in these two genres. Perhaps we can see the influence of social trends (i.e. # MeToo) in these developments as well? By the way, for a great historical perspective on where we have been in the last ten years or so and what is likely influencing some of this saturation check out the Nerd Daily blog I discovered recently.
According to Kirkus in its Word on the Street section, other trends being predicted for 2018 by agents, publishers and books sellers include political thrillers, true crime and underrepresented and marginalized voices. Indeed, I seem to see a lot of #diversevoices and #diverseauthors similar hashtags on twitter quite often.
Psychological thrillers--in the wake of Gone, Girl Gone and Girl on the Train, may finally be losing steam, making room on the market lists for political thrillers, which, according to some reports, may be predictable in current political climates.
Finally, the darling champion of the book industry seems to be going the way of the dinosaurs as traditional publishing appear to be ceding this expertise to the indie authors and self-publishing authors.
I'm not sure I have any greater clarity about what trends make the most sense to be focusing on right now but it is interesting to see who got these Nostradamus predictions correct as we take a review towards the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019!