What’s In, What’s Out
Many of my blog readers have expressed frustration about current trends in publishing.
Memoir is out unless you’re famous.
Chick lit is dead.
Literary fiction doesn’t sell.
Nobody wants books over 100k words.
Yep, these are all trends. And if you send me a query for a book in any of these categories, I’ll probably send a pass letter saying, “Sorry, I can’t sell this right now.”
Those are the breaks. You might need to wait until the trends cycle around again, or… write something else.
BUT: There are always books that buck the trends. Memoir might be “OUT” unless you’re famous… or unless you write a book that knocks my socks off, and I decide to represent it against my better judgment because I love it so much.
Same with literary fiction, or chick lit, or very long books… or whatever else that is trending “down.” In general it might not be popular or selling well; but regardless of the trend, if I love the book, I just might decide to represent it.
I might not be able to sell it. I might do a lot of work for no paycheck. I’d be doing it for love, for the sheer hope and joy of getting a fantastic book published. If it doesn’t work out, the author and I will both be deeply disappointed, but at least we tried.
Unfortunately there are very few hard and fast answers in the publishing journey. Everything always has an exception. That’s why it often seems we’re giving conflicting advice:
“Know the market.”
“Don’t worry about the market, just write your book.”
It’s up to you to figure out how to walk the line between these two pieces of advice. There are trends. But there are exceptions to trends. There are market realities, then there are always surprises.
Keep doing what you do. Eventually, you’ll find your market or you’ll figure out something else to do with your time and talent. Just try to enjoy the journey, okay?
(By the way, memoirs aren’t really “out,” they’re one of the most popular genres. But because so many people write them, and they’re difficult to do well, the bar is high and the competition tough.)
P.S. Don’t forget the Blog Challenge is still on until this Friday!