Don’t Ask Me About Trends
We’ve talked a lot on this blog about trends in publishing, what’s hot and what’s not, and the fact that agents and publishers are always basing acquisitions for the future on what has sold in the past. Because of this, people are always asking me: So what’s hot? What are the trends?
But I’m admitting right now, I don’t love talking about trends.
I stay on top of what’s happening. I hang out in bookstores and watch bestseller lists and cruise around the web, and I talk with other agents. More importantly, I watch Publishers Marketplace so that I know what’s selling to publishers right now (to be released in a year or so) and I talk with editors often, finding out what they’re looking for, what they’re tired of, and what their thoughts are on the future.
BUT… there’s limited value to all of that. I think we have to stay on top of trends, yet at the same time, take them with a grain of salt. Here’s why:
→ The moment I conclude that a certain genre is “out,” I’m usually proven wrong by a big sale or a big bestseller.
→ Slavishly following trends limits creativity and the possibility of finding something fresh and exciting.
→ The truth is, nobody really knows what’s going to be hot in the future. We are all just guessing. Basing future expectations on events of the past has limited success—it’s not always correct.
So this is why you don’t see me writing posts explaining “what’s in and what’s out.” I only sort of believe in the trends. I need to make a living so I’m constantly assessing whether certain projects seem to have viability in today’s market. Yet I also believe in trying to find great books and get them published regardless of—or in spite of—the trends.
Plenty of agents write great blogs about current trends. I read them and you should too. But I’m rarely going to write one – sorry!
What do YOU see as current or upcoming trends in books?
Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent