February 3, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Friday Poll; What kind of books do you REALLY want to read?

If you’re a regular follower, you’re probably scratching your head and wondering if it’s your imagination that you’ve seen this poll before.

It’s not.

I run this poll every six months or so because the market changes just that fast (and sometimes faster) and because it’s a matter of professional curiosity for many authors. The truth is, we’re all told not to write to the market, that we should write the story we want to write and trust that it will find an audience if it comes from the heart.

But you know what? It’s kind of bullshit. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we get lucky. Sometimes we write the story of our heart and it DOES find an editor and a publishing house and a readership. Just as often, it doesn’t Just as often (and really, maybe MORE often, because I don’t know too many writers who AREN’T writing from the heart anyway), we write a story from the heart and are told the moment has passed for a particular genre, the market is over-saturated, people have supernatural/paranormal/Dystopian/contemporary fatigue. Even for those of us who have a significant audience in a specific genre, it isn’t at all uncommon to be told editors don’t want to see XYZ genre right now.

Which kind of sucks. Because I want it to be about the reader. I want it to be about what YOU want. But publishing a business, and if publishing houses fear a trend is winding down, they’re going to hedge their bets by making a very hasty exit from said genre.

Then we have to face the very harsh reality that a book we loved, a book we slaved over and literally pulled from the depths of our soul, is going to remain on our hard drive, unread, forever.

I don’t know what the answer is. Certainly, it isn’t to chase every market trend. The publishing business moves so slow that by the time you write something, get notes back from your agent, revise, sub the damn thing, and see it on shelves, chances are that moment has passed anyway. I think the only thing we CAN do is to write from the heart and keep our fingers crossed, despite the obvious (and sometimes financially crippling) downside.

Which doesn’t do anything to alleviate the near-constant speculation. Right now, this very second, authors and agents and editors are trying to figure out what the next big thing will be. It’s almost universally acknowledged that paranormal/supernatural is on its way out (and in the words of some; dead). Ditto Dystopian. With the exception of a few big names, contemporary still seems to be spinning its wheels. If not those things, then what?

Tonight, again, I’m asking YOU, dear reader. What do YOU want to read? What would make your ears perk up with excitement? You can choose as many answers as apply. And trust me, you’ve got authors hanging on your every vote right now, so please weigh in with this week’s Friday Poll!

<3

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15 thoughts on “Friday Poll; What kind of books do you REALLY want to read?

  1. Catherine says:

    To be honest, I just want to read good books. I’ve been disappointed quite a few times in the past year with books across all genres. I’m just sick of reading the same basic story with the same characters just with slightly different window dressing (and, unfortunately – maybe I have bad luck – an unfortunate amount of sexism etc.).

    Everyone seems to be too concerned with the trends and That One Formula and it’s just frustrating. :/

    1. MichelleZink says:

      Agreed, Catherine! And yet authors are often told a book is “hard to place” or “hard to market” if it’s too different. Honestly, sometimes it all feels like a huge shot in the dark, and you never REALLY know until it’s time to try and sell it, after which you’ve already devoted months or years to it.
      O_o

      MZ

  2. Jason Black says:

    Perhaps I’m atypical, but anymore, I don’t care what genre I’m reading as long as the book is _good_.

    I really don’t. So I buy books now not based on who wrote them, or what genre they are, or what’s hot right now, but by whether I have some reason to believe that the book contains a compelling story written to a high standard of craft.

    That’s all. Don’t give me genre. Give me quality. Is that too much to ask?

    1. MichelleZink says:

      No! And it sounds like a great system for book buying. Thanks for giving your thoughts, Jason.
      <3

      MZ

  3. Orchid says:

    I agree with Catherine, more good books are always needed.
    Although, I would not mind seeing an influx of high fantasy and historical fiction books (two of my favorite book types to read).

    While I do like paranormal/supernatural the past year has me just a bit burned out on them…you know to much of a good thing is never good.

  4. Like Catherine said, I really just want to read good books. That being said, I seem to find “good books” in the paranormal/supernatural, historical and contemporary genres the most often.

    I love a well written dystopian, but I feel like those are few and far between. For all the world building and the reason for the society to be a dystopian one to be believable, that takes a lot more skill from an author than to “just” write about a normal high school romance, or at least that’s what it looks like to me as a reader. There are so many weird/unbelievable/over-the-top dystopian settings out there, and that takes away from the rest of the story for me.

  5. I get a little irritated with the “genre saturation” problem. One or two books have success in a genre then we spend the next year and a half cramming anything that has even one element of that successful book into that “genre”. I’d like to see genres broken up a little more and the focus shift to individual books. I cringe anytime I walk by the “paranormal romance” section of a bookstore – 2/3 of the books in that section don’t belong there. No wonder editors don’t want to see any more of it.

    1. MichelleZink says:

      I’m totally with you, Megan.
      <3

      MZ

  6. Kate Fall says:

    Agreeing with Nina here. A real dystopian is extremely hard to write and can even be hard to read. The worldbuilding in some recent releases has been window dressing, making me wonder why the author made the dystopian choice at all.

    Personally, I’d love to see a resurgence of the Western, focusing more on women and teens. Wouldn’t that be fun?

    1. MichelleZink says:

      My 20-year-old son just said the same thing!
      <3

      MZ

  7. Lena says:

    I know, I know! Who isn’t writing a dystopian novel nowadays? I don’t care! I love dystopia, and I cannot lie. 🙂

  8. I don’t think it’s so much the genre as a lot of books recently just have too much in common. There isn’t enough variation within a genre. I think Paranormal Romance is the worst for this. A lot of them have the same major plot lines, it’s just the small details that vary. The books tend to blur together when that happens and a month after you read them you can’t differentiate between them at all. I guess what I’m trying to say is Originality is what counts with me, not so much the genre. I want to be surprised. 🙂

  9. Dana Lee Burton says:

    I don’t think the genre is important. As long as it has a good story line, I’ll read it!

  10. Sabrena says:

    With books, there is ‘too much of a good thing’ fantasy and paranormals are the worst of the lot, the reason P.N. Elrod’s Vampire P.I. series works so well is because she has mixed three genre’s together, paranormal/mystery and historical fiction. The best books IMO are the ones that blend genres, they have a far more lingering presence than single genre ones.

  11. krystal says:

    For me I’d like to read a good book. One day when I was buying a book I didn’t know what to get I was just going to get a familar author but then this book called Kalyna’s song got my attention. I’d never read anything so well that I could relate to i wish the authour would write another book because this one was so good. I normally wouldn’t of bought it because i like sticking with familar authors. But one thing I am tired of hearing about is Vampires and werewolves. I love my historical fiction but I really think that too much has been done on England and Henry VIII and the Russian Revoultion. I’m starting to think I need to find a different time period and stick with that for awhile. Like i did with Michelle Moran’s books which were on Egyptian history.(thanks for reminding me to update my goodreads) but i love my historical fiction and fantasy every fantasy series for me is different Michelle Propecy series is different than Michael Scott’s Nicholas Flammel series which I love. I haven’t really ventured out into any other genres and I love biographies. I guess I just need to explore a bit more.

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