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frisco
02-05-2010, 07:22 AM
Just curious what genre are agents looking at these days. I have a few different stories in mind of starting, and would like to put my efforts into writing something that has a better chance of being marketable. My last novel was a horror story, but I doubt its the most sought after market agent wise.

ChaosTitan
02-05-2010, 07:26 AM
It doesn't really matter what's hot right now, because by the time you come up with a story, write it, then edit it into submission standard (I'm giving this a minimum of six months to accomplish, but many folks take longer), the hot genre will have changed.

Right now, steampunk and zombies are hot in fantasy, but will they still be in six months? Nine months? There's really no way to know.

Toothpaste
02-05-2010, 10:55 AM
To be honest, I don't even feel like Steampunk flourished quite as I thought it was going to which disappoints me a bit.

However, other than that, I agree with Chaos. Writing to a current trend is pretty useless. I've blogged about here (http://ididntchoosethis.blogspot.com/2008/06/chasing-trends.html). And then again here (http://ididntchoosethis.blogspot.com/2008/09/addendum-to-chasing-trends.html).

However. Depending on how fast you can do it, Paranormal Romance isn't going anywhere any time soon.

SPMiller
02-05-2010, 10:58 AM
Paranormal romance / urban fantasy. Vampires and werewolves and zombies.

jennontheisland
02-05-2010, 10:58 AM
Well, about 50% of paperbacks are romance. And of that something like half is the Harlequin Category/Series books.

Have fun.

Terie
02-05-2010, 12:33 PM
As others have said, what's hot now is completely immaterial. What's hot now was purchased two to three years ago....and written even before that.

Write the story that is most taking possession of you. If it's a great story and you write it well, there's a decent chance it'll get picked up regardless of what's hot or not when you start flogging it. A fresh story in the most over-saturated genre can still get picked up.

blacbird
02-05-2010, 12:50 PM
Corn-detasseling novels.

caw

Matera the Mad
02-05-2010, 03:43 PM
Whatever is hot right now, some people are sick of it already and looking for something different. Corn de-tasseling, for instantce.

Saskatoonistan
02-05-2010, 03:50 PM
It doesn't really matter what's hot right now, because by the time you come up with a story, write it, then edit it into submission standard (I'm giving this a minimum of six months to accomplish, but many folks take longer), the hot genre will have changed.

Yep.

NeuroFizz
02-05-2010, 05:09 PM
Pick the story that has the best chance of being one of those damn good stories an agent or editor can't refuse. Why try to appeal to a subgroup of people (agents and editors) whose crystal balls are just as cloudy as yours and mine? An author should write the story that has the greatest pull on his/her emotions, that best challenges his/her creativity, and that provides the best chance of engaging readers into that can't-put-it-down trance. If a writer has a strength in constructing stories in a specific genre, that should be a strong consideration as well.

Irysangel
02-05-2010, 05:26 PM
Paranormal romance / urban fantasy. Vampires and werewolves and zombies.

Zombies are done, vampires are way overdone if you are trying to break in, and werewolves are a tough sell (because again, done).

The hot stuff in paranormal romance at this VERY moment is fallen angels. But that's if you have a completed manuscript to shop around in the next few weeks, because it's pretty much saturated now that every house has bought up a ms or two. I'm already hearing word that a lot of people have angel manuscripts and are hearing "Sorry, already got one."

Here's the thing with the trends (at least in romance). One angel book makes a splash and then every house thinks, "OMG we need something like that on our list." Everyone -- editors, contracted authors looking for a new project, agents, etc -- scramble to get an angel book in front of editors. There's a mad rush and flurry for a few weeks, an angel book or two get acquired, and then every aspiring author starts paying attention because, wow, angels are EVERYWHERE on Publisher's Marketplace, so they must be hot.

Except by the time you decide to write an angel book? Everyone already *has* one. And now they're going to wait and see how they do before wanting more. If every angel book that comes out in the next 2 years tanks like a mad tanking thing, angels will be done. If every angel book sells through the roof, the publishers are going to sit back and consider more projects -- as long as they don't compete with the existing angel projects, mind you -- and look at acquiring more.

So when you get wind of a genre starting to become 'hot', it's already winding down. If you have an agent, a good track record of sales in your genre, and you can whip together an amazing proposal in the space of about a week, you might be able to jump on board. Otherwise? You just need to hope the particular trend has major, major legs (like vampires).

Case in point -- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Did amazingly well. Everyone scrambled to have the next book. Some publisher paid a ridiculous amount of money for Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter. It came out this last week. Did you hear a peep about it? No, me either. That trend is already dead in the water.

seun
02-05-2010, 05:54 PM
Stories about time travelling zombies who are fighting to save the universe from the dreaded Three Boobed Queen of Zarrr'yu'juk.


What's big now doesn't matter at all. Write the best you can and bollocks to the trends.

NeuroFizz
02-05-2010, 06:53 PM
Stories about time travelling zombies who are fighting to save the universe from the dreaded Three Boobed Queen of Zarrr'yu'juk.


What's big now doesn't matter at all. Write the best you can and bollocks to the trends.
Just so I can get it right in the new WIP I'm starting as soon as I log off, is it the three-boobed queen who is big or the three boobs that are big?

dragonjax
02-05-2010, 07:01 PM
Just so I can get it right in the new WIP I'm starting as soon as I log off, is it the three-boobed queen who is big or the three boobs that are big?

To quote from Trading Places, "Can't we have both?"

DeadlyAccurate
02-05-2010, 07:36 PM
Corn-detasseling novels.

caw

Everyone knows that's a completely oversaturated market. First thing my agent said when I sent her my six-book series was, "But how can we differentiate this from all the other corn detasseling books on the market?"

Enzo
02-05-2010, 07:53 PM
Same as the others.
Write what you feel best about, and who knows, it might be the 'hot genre' right when you start sending your queries around.
I'm wild about writing thrillers, action, spy stories, but I could never write any romances or vampire fantasies effectively even if I wanted to. Never mention corn-detasseling literature.

seun
02-05-2010, 08:25 PM
Just so I can get it right in the new WIP I'm starting as soon as I log off, is it the three-boobed queen who is big or the three boobs that are big?

You'll have to go to Zarrr'yu'juk to find out. :tongue

NeuroFizz
02-05-2010, 09:30 PM
You'll have to go to Zarrr'yu'juk to find out. :tongue
Cool. Road trip.

scarletpeaches
02-05-2010, 09:34 PM
I couldn't give a damn which genre is hot. I write what I feel passionate about and make it hot.

HighDesertBrat
02-05-2010, 10:01 PM
You could hit all the buttons with a book about a Vampire (sparkles optional) and a Wizard (glasses required) investigating renaissance art symbols that will upset the applecart of current religious dogma.

kuwisdelu
02-05-2010, 10:03 PM
Corn-detasseling.

I thought everyone knew that.

IceCreamEmpress
02-05-2010, 10:11 PM
I'm already hearing word that a lot of people have angel manuscripts and are hearing "Sorry, already got one."

Yep, me too.

And I think it's too late for demons--demons are probably the Next Big Thing, but unless you can finish a demon book in a month or so, you'll miss the window.

So you could either try to think of what's coming after demons, or write what you really care about and maybe you'll get lucky.

Market timing is as impossible in writing as it is in the stock market.

As for corn-detasseling, I've got you all beat. My next book, SHUCKS!, is going to be huge, and let me confide that there's some interest from Keanu Reeves's production company already. He'd be perfect for Joe, the Angry Earworm.

ChristineR
02-05-2010, 10:17 PM
Mermaids, sea monsters and water nymphs.

There, you got a serious answer which wasn't "No clue." But keep in mind that if everyone is writing a mermaid book, yours has to compete with some established names. But I've heard more than once now that mermaids are "the next big thing." Vampires are over saturated, and demons and zombies are running their course.

Of course what you really want to do is write a book that will be the next big thing just at the moment when everyone realizes what the next big thing is. Kind of hard to do.

M.Austin
02-05-2010, 11:41 PM
This was last weeks road trip wednesday. Take a look (http://williamabell.blogspot.com/2010/02/road-trip-wednesday.html).

HConn
02-06-2010, 12:27 AM
Western Spy Alien Abduction Erotica.

Get to it.

Jamesaritchie
02-06-2010, 12:54 AM
Take teh smart approach. Figure out how long it's going to take to write and polish your novel, and then assume that hwatever genre you're writing in will be the hottest one out there the day you start querying.

Really, hot genres can get you in big trouble. When a genre is really hot, a lot of writers get published before they have a topnotch book, and when the genre cools down, tehse are the first writers dropped. Such writers frequently nver get picked up again.

Getting published is easy. It's staying published that's tough, and the last thing you want is to have a book published not because it's really good, but because a genre was so hot publishers start taking on mediocre novels.

Just write what yoou love, and if you do it well, the market will be there.

kuwisdelu
02-06-2010, 01:14 AM
Western Spy Alien Abduction Erotica.

Get to it.

How did you know what I'm writing??

Word Jedi
02-06-2010, 07:22 PM
A writing teacher once told me, "There is always a market for a great story. If it's written well, genre means nothing."

scope
02-06-2010, 11:49 PM
It doesn't really matter what's hot right now, because by the time you come up with a story, write it, then edit it into submission standard (I'm giving this a minimum of six months to accomplish, but many folks take longer), the hot genre will have changed.


That's your answer.

Renee Collins
02-07-2010, 01:17 AM
True, one shouldn't try to write the trends. However I don't think there's anything wrong with having an eye on the market and knowing what kind of ideas sell, so that you can know which of your ideas to work on.

I recently wrote a post on my blog about choosing story ideas that work. I used as my guide the Hedgehog Concept, found in Jim Collins' bestselling book Good to Great. I found it very helpful, anyway. Here's a link. (http://midnightmeditations.blogspot.com/2010/02/how-to-be-great-3.html)

kangolNcurlz
02-07-2010, 01:46 AM
Sci-fi is about to be the next big thing, especially YA sci-fi.

Or, at least I'm hoping. :)

kangolNcurlz
02-07-2010, 02:10 AM
Case in point -- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Did amazingly well. Everyone scrambled to have the next book. Some publisher paid a ridiculous amount of money for Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter. It came out this last week. Did you hear a peep about it? No, me either. That trend is already dead in the water.

Is it this book (http://www.amazon.com/Queen-Victoria-Demon-Hunter/dp/144470026X) that came out in 2009? I don't think I'd read it either after reading some of the reviews. Looking at the others...Mr. Darcy, Vampire, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, eh, I'll pass! Jane Bites Back: A Novel looks like it might be a fun read, though.

frisco
02-07-2010, 03:56 PM
I understand a lot of it depends on the story, but it seems really tough to even get agents to look at a query for a horror story these days. My last attempt went out to 20 agents. I have 16 agents saying its not what they are looking for, 1 asked for a complete a month ago and I havent heard anything, and the other 4 havent responded after a month so it probably doesn't look to promising.

My basic interest is whether one genre is more likely to attract the interest of an agent. Maybe if the next book I wrote was a romance novel perhaps agents would be more willing to consider reading the book to see if they are interested.

I'm fairly confident in my writing ability, but at the same time if the agent won't read the book then the best writing in the world won't matter.

the_Unknown
02-07-2010, 04:33 PM
Twilight still appears to be going strong, and the male counterpart to Twilight, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

I guess in a nutshell, it's writing over-idealized/emo fantasies of the opposite sex.

LuckyH
02-08-2010, 05:37 PM
I stupidly listened to my agent a few years ago when he suggested that I should write something different to my usual detective stories which were not selling as well as we had hoped.

I wrote a story about the end of the world, right from one big bang to the next. I had to change my name after that.

ChaosTitan
02-08-2010, 06:46 PM
I understand a lot of it depends on the story, but it seems really tough to even get agents to look at a query for a horror story these days. My last attempt went out to 20 agents. I have 16 agents saying its not what they are looking for, 1 asked for a complete a month ago and I havent heard anything, and the other 4 havent responded after a month so it probably doesn't look to promising.

Only a month? That's like a week in the publishing world.

If you're getting a pretty across-the-board No response on your query, it's possible that it's a problem with the query and/or you're targeting the wrong agents. Horror has never been a huge market, but books are still selling.


My basic interest is whether one genre is more likely to attract the interest of an agent.

Good chance, yes. Agents have reading preferences, just like the rest of us. If they are actively looking for clients who write a certain genre, they are likely to give those queries more careful consideration (and I say likely, but this doesn't mean all agents will). But I hear agents say that a solid query with a good hook with catch their attention every time, sometimes even in a genre they don't normally rep.


Maybe if the next book I wrote was a romance novel perhaps agents would be more willing to consider reading the book to see if they are interested.

Maybe, but that doesn't mean you can write a good romance novel. And I say that because there is this strange notion going around that writing good romance is easy. And it's not. It's a pet peeve of mine.


I'm fairly confident in my writing ability, but at the same time if the agent won't read the book then the best writing in the world won't matter.

This is, unfortunately, very true. And it's why crafting a good, engaging query is so, so important. And why including engaging opening pages is so, so important. Query writing is like advertising--you have thirty seconds to get an agent's attention before they move on.

It's also important to remember not every book sells. Not every book lands a writer an agent. Twenty agents isn't very many at all. Write another book, and when you've exhausted all possibilities on this one, start querying the next.

Rinse, repeat. :)

Jamesaritchie
02-08-2010, 07:09 PM
My basic interest is whether one genre is more likely to attract the interest of an agent. Maybe if the next book I wrote was a romance novel perhaps agents would be more willing to consider reading the book to see if they are interested.

I'm fairly confident in my writing ability, but at the same time if the agent won't read the book then the best writing in the world won't matter.


Of course some genres interest agents more than others, but how does that help? You can't write to the market. If you love reading a given genre, and if you love writing a novel in that genre, you stand a chance of writing a pubishable book in that genre, but you'll probably write that book no matter what agents want.

If you do not love reading and writing in a given genre, you almost certainly can't write a good novel in taht genre, even if all the agent out there want one.

I wouldn't give up on horror so soon. It's certainly not the hottest genre out there, but new horror novels get published every year. I think you're taking the rejections too literally. Rejections all mean no, and the reason is often made up on the spot. We aren't looking for horror, or SF, or westerns, etc., is a stock rejection phrase. So is some variation of "the market is tight right now", it's very difficult to sell this kind of fiction right now", etc.

The only rejection you can believe is the form rejection.

It also sounds like you aren't researching agents well enough. You should know what they want before querying.

Irysangel
02-08-2010, 08:01 PM
Is it this book (http://www.amazon.com/Queen-Victoria-Demon-Hunter/dp/144470026X) that came out in 2009? I don't think I'd read it either after reading some of the reviews. Looking at the others...Mr. Darcy, Vampire, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, eh, I'll pass! Jane Bites Back: A Novel looks like it might be a fun read, though.

Did it come out in 2009? that's actually worse...heh.

Jane Bites Back looks like it's marketed more as quirky Austenite fiction, which is a little different (and will probably allow it to break out a bit more).

Kweei
02-09-2010, 12:42 AM
Zombies are done, vampires are way overdone if you are trying to break in, and werewolves are a tough sell (because again, done).

The hot stuff in paranormal romance at this VERY moment is fallen angels. But that's if you have a completed manuscript to shop around in the next few weeks, because it's pretty much saturated now that every house has bought up a ms or two. I'm already hearing word that a lot of people have angel manuscripts and are hearing "Sorry, already got one."

Here's the thing with the trends (at least in romance). One angel book makes a splash and then every house thinks, "OMG we need something like that on our list." Everyone -- editors, contracted authors looking for a new project, agents, etc -- scramble to get an angel book in front of editors. There's a mad rush and flurry for a few weeks, an angel book or two get acquired, and then every aspiring author starts paying attention because, wow, angels are EVERYWHERE on Publisher's Marketplace, so they must be hot.

Except by the time you decide to write an angel book? Everyone already *has* one. And now they're going to wait and see how they do before wanting more. If every angel book that comes out in the next 2 years tanks like a mad tanking thing, angels will be done. If every angel book sells through the roof, the publishers are going to sit back and consider more projects -- as long as they don't compete with the existing angel projects, mind you -- and look at acquiring more.

So when you get wind of a genre starting to become 'hot', it's already winding down. If you have an agent, a good track record of sales in your genre, and you can whip together an amazing proposal in the space of about a week, you might be able to jump on board. Otherwise? You just need to hope the particular trend has major, major legs (like vampires).

Case in point -- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Did amazingly well. Everyone scrambled to have the next book. Some publisher paid a ridiculous amount of money for Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter. It came out this last week. Did you hear a peep about it? No, me either. That trend is already dead in the water.

Dammit. Angels and demons are what I write and I am most passionate about. Bah.

Cranky
02-09-2010, 01:09 AM
Darn, I knew I should've finished that angel book I started two years ago! :D

Gillhoughly
02-09-2010, 02:07 AM
I was told my first book would not sell because the genre was dead and over and sewn up tight by a single big name writer.

But I did something different with it and landed a multi-book deal. Twenty years later I am STILL selling books in that "dead" genre.

Every how-to book on writing in my library said write what you're passionate about, never to a trend or to a genre you don't believe in.

Agents are looking for GOOD WRITING. That's the only catch. Some may specialize in one genre over another, but those books are the ones they can get behind and be passionate about when they sell them for you.

Anyway, by the time you finish a trend book, the trend has burned out and will lie there, a smoking ruin, until someone re-invents it again.

If I can believe current "trends" then the hot stuff is for BADLY written potboilers about codes and symbols and/or angst-riddled under-aged teens in love with century-old "flawless and perfect" vampires. :Shrug:

I'll pass on both and get back to my WIP.

willietheshakes
02-09-2010, 02:22 AM
Twilight still appears to be going strong, and the male counterpart to Twilight, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

I guess in a nutshell, it's writing over-idealized/emo fantasies of the opposite sex.

WTF?

blacbird
02-09-2010, 02:40 AM
The genre that is hot for you, right now, should be the Genre of What You Really Want to Write.

caw

Kweei
02-09-2010, 03:13 AM
I was told my first book would not sell because the genre was dead and over and sewn up tight by a single big name writer.

But I did something different with it and landed a multi-book deal. Twenty years later I am STILL selling books in that "dead" genre.

Every how-to book on writing in my library said write what you're passionate about, never to a trend or to a genre you don't believe in.

Agents are looking for GOOD WRITING. That's the only catch. Some may specialize in one genre over another, but those books are the ones they can get behind and be passionate about when they sell them for you.

Anyway, by the time you finish a trend book, the trend has burned out and will lie there, a smoking ruin, until someone re-invents it again.

If I can believe current "trends" then the hot stuff is for BADLY written potboilers about codes and symbols and/or angst-riddled under-aged teens in love with century-old "flawless and perfect" vampires. :Shrug:

I'll pass on both and get back to my WIP.

Well, this makes me feel a little bit better. I don't try to write to trend. There are just certain themes/topics I like and those are the ones I want to write. Those are the ones that excite me and it shows in my writing.

I just know I can't ignore the marketing aspect either. That is a bit depressing.

blacbird
02-09-2010, 10:38 AM
I was told my first book would not sell because the genre was dead and over and sewn up tight by a single big name writer.

But I did something different with it and landed a multi-book deal.

Which was what?

caw

blacbird
02-09-2010, 10:39 AM
Take teh smart approach.

Yeah. Figure out how to spell "the" properly.

caw

the_Unknown
02-09-2010, 03:16 PM
I was told my first book would not sell because the genre was dead and over and sewn up tight by a single big name writer.

But I did something different with it and landed a multi-book deal. Twenty years later I am STILL selling books in that "dead" genre.

Every how-to book on writing in my library said write what you're passionate about, never to a trend or to a genre you don't believe in.

Agents are looking for GOOD WRITING. That's the only catch. Some may specialize in one genre over another, but those books are the ones they can get behind and be passionate about when they sell them for you.

Anyway, by the time you finish a trend book, the trend has burned out and will lie there, a smoking ruin, until someone re-invents it again.

If I can believe current "trends" then the hot stuff is for BADLY written potboilers about codes and symbols and/or angst-riddled under-aged teens in love with century-old "flawless and perfect" vampires. :Shrug:

I'll pass on both and get back to my WIP.

This is a very good point.

I don't think markets can be sewn up by a big name. If anything, big names bring more fans to the genre. But I do think they can be over saturated because of limited shelf space (ie, there are only so many at about eye level).

blacbird
02-10-2010, 01:04 AM
I don't think markets can be sewn up by a big name. If anything, big names bring more fans to the genre.

King and Koontz kind of did that, to Horror. I know people who profess to love Horror fiction, and will only read King and Koontz. They are both so prolific that they can satisfy a huge readership, all by their lonesomes. Publishers reacted accordingly, and that made it very tough for a new Horror writer to break in. To some extent, this situation continues today.

caw

Jamesaritchie
02-10-2010, 04:17 AM
King and Koontz kind of did that, to Horror. I know people who profess to love Horror fiction, and will only read King and Koontz. They are both so prolific that they can satisfy a huge readership, all by their lonesomes. Publishers reacted accordingly, and that made it very tough for a new Horror writer to break in. To some extent, this situation continues today.

caw


King and Koontz, along with Peter Straub, Jack Williamson, and four or five other horror writers, were survivors of the horror market crash in the early nineties.

Nothing they did made it tough for other writers to break in. Bazillions of other writers did break in, and an unGodly number of horror novels were being published for several years.

Most of the books were bad, the public got tired of bad, the bottom fell out of the market, and only the cream survived.

Koontz really hasn't been much of a horror writer for many years now. Most of his writing falls under suspense, and has for quite a while.

Horror, except for that brief period, has never been a lareg genre, but a surprising number get published each year. It isn't just King, Koontz, and Straub. There are a fair bunch of horror writers out there.

Jamesaritchie
02-10-2010, 04:20 AM
This is a very good point.

I don't think markets can be sewn up by a big name. If anything, big names bring more fans to the genre. But I do think they can be over saturated because of limited shelf space (ie, there are only so many at about eye level).

If the genre is truly small, and in a coma, one or two big name writers can almost sew it up. But a good book will always make it into print, no matter how small and dead the genre. It's just the small and deader the genre, the better the book has to be.

I don't see this as a bad thing.

childeroland
02-10-2010, 05:14 AM
Are there any genres that have been particularly cold for a long period of time?

Jamesaritchie
02-10-2010, 06:00 PM
Are there any genres that have been particularly cold for a long period of time?


The traditional western has been ice cold for quite a spell.

childeroland
02-10-2010, 06:07 PM
Any others? What about epic fantasy?

lucidzfl
02-10-2010, 08:44 PM
Are the ebbs and flows as large with mainstream literary (not genre specific) as there are with hardcore genre entries?