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.
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!