There’s no doubt that every trend eventually fizzles out. Harry Potter brought on the wave of MG fantasy with wizards, fairy tale creatures and magical portals. Then Twilight marked the debut of the vampire craze. The Greek Gods and Goddess stories seemed to pop out alongside Percy Jackson. The Hunger Games drew attention to dystopian. There’s Fairies and Werewolves. And what about the remakes (classic lit or fairytale) with a new spin?
I think every writer asks themselves how their book will fit into the market place.
However, it’s never a good idea to write your manuscript based on current trends. Don’t write in a certain genre just because it’s ‘hot’. Publishing professionals can feel that coming off a query from a mile away. But if you happen to write in a hot genre because it’s a genre you’re well versed in, and sincerely love writing in- that’s a different matter.
Trends tend to decline after they’ve been milked by the industry for a year or two. By the time you find an agent (which can take awhile) and the agent tries to sell your manuscript to a publisher, your book genre will already be ‘oh so two years ago’ and, unless your premise is really different and unique somehow, you just might have to start from scratch.
My advice is to write the story you want to read but can’t find anywhere. But before you begin, MAKE SURE it can’t be found anywhere- check amazon lists with keywords. Google the premise. The last thing you want is to write a story that’s already been written and published. It does happen.
Also, it’s not so much the genre that’s the hook. It’s the premise. Paranormal and supernatural might be overdone but the important thing is that it’s STILL being done for a reason. Writers keep coming up with unique characters, conflicts, and journeys that have lovers of those genres coming back for more.
Figure out what makes your characters different. Figure out what makes their conflict different from anything else you’ve ever read or heard of. And I don’t just mean slightly different - like ‘my vampires don’t sparkle- they turn smurf blue in sunlight!!!’ different. There has to be more to it.
We are all avid readers and writers so I’m asking you:
What do YOU think the next big trend will/should be? What would you like to see more of? What genre are you entirely sick of seeing? What premise have you noticed being double and triple used in the last year or so? (For me, I’ve noticed a redundancy in the ‘bad charismatic boy is actually from the underworld and has come to take the girl back with him’. – I’ve seen this premise in at least four different novels in the last two years. Sometimes it’s a fallen angel, or a deamon, or the ruler of the greek underworld. But to me it’s all the same. Been there. Done that.)
I'm over the angel books. They just aren't interesting or different, at least the ones I've read. I'd like to see something different and new.
Def. the girl who is really part angel and the striking boy she meets is either from the underworld or an angel too.
Though I absolutely love Addison Moore's Ethereal series on Kindle. Love it.
I don't care about trends. If the book is written well, I'll read it.
I'm terrible at predicting trends (therefore I don't), however I've heard time and time again NOT to follow the trend, so I've taken that advice.
I learned it is extra pressure to write your novel and push it out. It doesn't allow time to revise, learn your craft, etc. Writing what you feel and what you know really helps out. If it happens to fit in the current trend, well, then BRAVO! However if it doesn't, there's still a chance one can make it... after all, agents say they seek originality!
I'm getting tired of dystopian. Unless it's totally unique or I love the characters. I was at a conference on Friday. The agents commented on the same thing. Their advice write what you love. It shows.
Honestly, you almost can't follow a trend. You have to figure that the books which are trending were written 12-18 months ago, and that's how long it will take YOUR book to pubbed if it were picked up RIGHT THIS SECOND. So write what you want. You'll be the most passionate about it, and it will show in the writing. Forget trends. Start your own!
I think that trends can be misinterpreted, too. When Twilight came out, everyone was focused on the idea of the vampire/werewolf themes...and they helped bring in a wave of amazing fantasy and paranormal books. But I think the other thing that fans were crazy about was (obviously) the love story, or the love triangle. And a series that followed the same characters as they grew and changed through four books also really excited people. That is something I am doing with my published; working on a great love triangle and following the characters through several books. As the reviews come in for my first book, I keep seeing, "Can't wait for the next book about them!" So I think you have to look closely at the book and see if the appeal isn't something less obvious than it might seem.
I'm the type of reader who will read just about anything...as long as it's good. Plain and simple. As far as trends, I tend to go against the grain and write what works for me. NO predictions here...
I definitely write what I want and not for trends. So I hope that works out for me. :)
I read most genres. I'm wondering what the next trend will be!
I think the paranormal trend will stick around for a while longer. I think ghosts are the new hotness. One thing I see a lot of is the bad boy and good girl falling for each other. Demon and angel, or something non-human and human.
I never get tired of reading about people falling in love, but it rubs me the wrong way when the guy insists the girl is "different from other girls" and that's why he loves her... when in reality, she's just really hot.
I also can't stand the whole bad boy thing... who wants to date a jerk? I just don't get it. And why does the plot of every dystopian novel consist of effed-up society/oppressive government until ONE TEENAGE GIRL makes all the difference (and usually finds love in the process?)
I write paranormal thrillers and I have always done despite trends. I think you must write about what really interets you and gets you're juices flowing. Nice blog - I will follow with interest.
I can't predict trends but wouldn't it be good to set a trend rather than follow one;-)
New follower here. Can I just tell you -- the name of your blog cracks me up. Love it!
I've heard we're in the sea folk trend right now. I didn't even realize it.
Trends are an issue with paranormals. Are there trends within comtemp? I'm not sure if there are. Maybe that's why I write it. Then I don't have to worry about someone having the same idea as me. :D
Those trends seem strongest in young adult books, which I don't read.
When I was writing my first book, everything I read said science fiction was dead. I wrote it anyway. Glad I did now.
Man, trends are tricky, eh? I think there are ideas running through the collective consciousness and several things, quite independently, will come out at the same time. That is when it pays to be the author with an agent and interested publisher already.
My next book I write involves a character who talks to the dead. I had the idea last winter and have jotted notes now and again... do you know how STUNNED I was when two YA finalists has MCs who could talk to dead people. (thankfully my twist makes my story pretty darned different--because both of their stories will hit 'publishable' sooner... being written and all)
Hm, I think it also depends what types of books people read. I wish I had more time to read a few!
(that would be in the ABNA contest, by the way...)
I'm so untrendy I don't even know if I have any sort of finger on the pulse! But I'd like to think that things tend to turn fashionably retro!
I'm sure I've said this before - about 6 years ago my first ms won a critique from an established big agent person in this comp. He loved my ms but then said "paranormal" is a tiny market close to unsellable and suggested I remove all the paranormal stuff from my ms and make it more "chicklit". Fool that I am I did follow this suggestion but my heart wasn't in it when I tried to turn my ms into something I couldn't write! Before you know it - paranormal is bang on hot potato! Silly me!
I have to say I am tired of dystopia.....I don't know why. I like to read a variety of books so when these trends hit and it seems like thats all that is out there I feel like I am reading the same book over and over.
so on! i'll read a book that sounds interesting, and trends don't often matter.
i write stories based on the characters that pop into my mind.
I believe dystopia will remain strong. There is so many avenues and storylines it can follow that it will remain fresh to the reader.
Another well-worn storyline is vampire/demon/angel hunters. That is way past the saturation level.
True, unfortunately, especially when what you really want to write DOES fall into one of those categories!! I'm going to say Sci-fi and thrillers are the next YA craze, but who REALLY knows?
I think sci fi might be the next big trend.
I'll admit - I don't follow trends. I didn't as a kid, I didn't when I was "just" a reader, and I don't now. I focus on following my muse whenever he leads me and writing a story I'd like to read one day. Sometimes that works - and sometimes it doesn't (my last project was an angel book at the WORST possible time).
The next trend? Werewolf-zombies. I see it coming. ;)
But I do love the dytopian. I think it's my fav so far.
I'm tired of vampires and angels. Ugh. I think we're going to see more water stories - mermaids, selkies, and all sort of waterly beings.
I'm going to guess more Medieval non-fantasy. I haven't seen that yet.
I'm sick of paranormal romance. They start to feel the same to me.
Thanks for stopping by my blog today :)
I'm seeing a lot of the same relationships in books between characters, not as much genre stuff. I'm ready for a book that doesn't have a love triangle in it.
I don't follow trends, really, I read what interests me. I'm seeing a number of witch-related books with humorous twits to them--they look interesting.
I write my vampire novels because that is what I've always written and have been into. I believe my premise is different, in that my protag (a touch clairvoant) is NOT into letting the vampire bite her, and she is not another ass-kicking supernatural. She's more querky and I enjoy writing her adventures in a "closed world".
As far as the angel-type stories I liked Angelololgy by Dannielle Trussoni, it was 100x better than Fallen by Lauren Kate.
Good post. Personally, I don't pay attention to trends - if the story is good, it's good. Wish I could look into my crystal ball and call the next trend, though. :)
I am tired of bleak dystopians. I'd like to see some unusual fairy tales. I think sci-fi will be the next craze.
I think trends with books are the same as trends with clothing, write (or wear) what looks good/feels good. It's not so much about trend as it is about style. Trends get old but style doesn't.
Publication is dependent on a two key things: preparation and opportunity. I heard that when those two things meet, the stars align. :)
Ah, Vampires, Wolves, Zombies, Witches, Wizards... hmm twisted fairy tales - I love the world of the Paranormal and Supernatural. Possibly whats over done is the the witches and wizardy ala HP followers. I think HP - JK Rowling has pretty much taken that to the market and its hard to beat - so for I think its best to find something you love writing about and not try and follow a trend. Be innovative. That is all. ;-)
I can't get interested in anything with vampires, werewolves, demons or demon hunters, unless it's just spectacularly original.
I write what I want to. On the upside that makes me happy. On the downside, that doesn't always sit well with professionals who only want to consider non-controversial, marketable stuff.
Great post and I agree with you about not writing to trend. I can't predict what the next trend will be, because they tend to be cyclical...and some last so much longer than others. Although Twilight re-sparked vampires, their allure has never really gone away.
I do know this - I am writing a book that I am desperate to finish because I KNOW it had yet to be done...but I'm terrified with every passing day, it will get done. The pressure kind of gives me writers block.
That said...quick story. I sat across from a NY Times Bestselling author in his home office and told him about this book I wanted to write, a novel I was certain would make the "list". He sat and listened with a total deadpan face, smiled when I finished, leaned over his desk and grabbed one of his books. "I think it would make the 'list' because mine did five years ago..." My premise was almost identical. I was red faced and completely shocked, but he assured me that even if I wrote the exact same premise, it would have a new spin on it.
I'm tired of Insta-love. An attraction, okay, because that is often instant. But a relationship needs to develop. Call me old-fashioned, but I like the chase, flavored with a bit of snark and denial.
paranormal feels WAY overdone to me, but meh. What do I know. You're right, though. Write YOUR story, regardless of what/where it's set~ :o) <3
Snort--->"My vampires don’t sparkle- they turn smurf blue in sunlight."
I don't want to say what I hope the next trend will be. Because I want to start it! But it's a secret.
I'm sooo tired of good girl meets bad boy and they fall in love. I want to scream, "Honey, he will make you miserable. Move on already!"
I think dystopians might pave the way for sci fi. Or horror. I've read that a bunch of agents want horror.
I don't write to trends - I write what I want to read.
Great post! I try not to write for trends either. I write what I like/feel drawn to writing. Even if I wrote an angel book now, I figure in a few years they'd be back in style. Good job I haven't had an 'angel book' idea yet. lol. *grins*
I never write to trends. I love just writing what I want to write about and hoping it can find a place in the market someday. You know? And I read just about everything. If it has good writing and a good story, I'll read it. I'm a little done with vampires though. And angels. For now. I may go back to them someday though. :)
I came back to answer your question- yes, I was at UConn for 9/11. I didn't know anything had happened until I got out of class (ironically, it was Publishing) and went back to the dorm. My roommate happened to be walking down the hall and said her mom was freaking out and wanted her to go home, and I had no idea why. She told me what happened, and said they were calling it a terrorist attack. I watched the coverage for the rest of the day and I remember they held a candlelight vigil that night.
I want more contemporary, for sure. I'm definitely over vamps and werewolves, but I wouldn't mind finding more YA witch books along the vein of the TV show CHARMED. Also, I'd like more male Contemporary books.
Hi, Katie! I gave you a shout-out on my post today. Thank you for following me. I hope to visit more after I get some work done in the house.
I love contemporary, as both a reader and a writer, so that's what I want more of, for sure.
I realized I'm pretty sick of dystopian. I think it's just too bleak for me, and it really needs to be special to keep my attention.
So true! I only write for myself now because as soon as agents say "This is what I want" then a MILLION authors start producing that same thing. Great post!
I'd like to see more books about deeply good characters. It's so much more difficult to make a decent person interesting than to take a tormented angel/vampire/werewolf/corpse/demon/badass and give them an intriguing story, but I think that makes the result much more satisfying.
I'd much rather read about awkward Ella of Frell breaking the curse that binds her than some babe in highschool snagging a fallen angel, and I'd rather have decent, honest Harry Potter than a hot immortal with a thirst for blood.
But, yanno... maybe it's just me. :) Great discussion!
Thanks for visiting and following my blog. I followed you back here and I'm hooked! :) Tired of the whole vampire thing. Enough already!
Such good advice! I love your point about the hook--that definitely can set a book apart, even if it is part of the current trend.
I agree with everything you posted. It's hard to find, for instance, unique vampire stories out there anymore. It's easier to put your unique stamp on something when you're not using a crowded genre or subject matter.
I LOVE your blog, but it does make me miss France...le sigh.
If we write what's in our hearts, I think that comes through to the reader in a story that shines ... Follow your heart's trend :)
Awesome advice. It can be discouraging looking at the market and seeing just about everything done, or spending a year on a novel then it trends before you get it out there. But I think you hit the nail on the head. Write the book you love, keep you head down and focused in your story. Good stuff!
All the supernatural trends get rigt on my nerves but if was going to pick the next trend it would be sexy genies.
If you forced yourself to write whats trendy, wouldn't it be too journalistic? I would think you'd have to write where your passion lies. Of course, what do I know. I'm not a writer, I'm a writer groupy. Thanks for stopping. Nice to meet you.
Hi! Thanks for following my blog. I'm so glad I found yours. Great stuff here. I love this post. Somethings are SO overdone. It gets old. I totally dig unique - personally, I think the whole vampire craze has gone overboard. I love the Twilight series, but wow - too much vampire stuff now.
I'm not a trendy person, I don't go around setting trends and I'm no good at figuring out what the next book trend will be. If the bok sounds interesting to me, I'll read it.
You're right following a trend can be tricky because what happens when the trend is over and you've invested months and months writing a book not because it's your passion but because you've been following a trend. Now if it is your passion, I say to go for it!
I'm seeing more historicals out there, which makes me happy!
I take issue with trends. First of all, who's setting them? Readers or editors? I wrote a YA time travel and was told a couple years ago by an editor from Disney that time travel YA would NEVER sell. Well, two years later it is. But now I'm told,(through two agents and a year of subs) we only want dark-edgy time travel, not light-funny. How do they know what readers want? No Time travel? No light and fun? Tell the author of Ruby Red that. Or Hourglass for that matter.
This is why I'm going it on my own with this book. #onlypushesalittlebutton
there's a lot of formula stuff out there.
I go with my gut reactions when I'm reading. I'm turned off by certain books because the writing seems forced and the book appears to be following a trend.
No matter the genre and if the writer's following a trend or not, I appreciate well-written books that have a natural flow.
I personally much prefer the idea of making my own new trend ;) Being a trendsetter in my writing, so to speak. But I'm still going to write what I want to, not what I think others want to read.
I hope the newest trend in YA will be more contemporary. I am a bit tired of Angels, but I could still read a good vampire story any day. Go figure.
My YA is 20th century historical fiction, and I'm always in the minority for being a historical fiction writer. The current trends of paranormal, fantasy, and post-apocalyptic just don't appeal to me, and a lot of the premises start to sound all the same after hearing so many of them.
I wonder if a lot of the people writing to these trends were genuinely interested in writing those genres, or they were only following trends. It's the same way, as a name nerd, I have to question it when a name gets really popular and suddenly everyone is claiming s/he always loved that name, even though no one had ever heard of it or considered it useable on anyone under 80 five or ten years ago.
It's so hard to say. I enjoyed reading everyone's comments here. Great post CQG! Loving your blog, too!
I keep going back to the pee-in-your-pants scary! As least that's what I like to read! Whether it be paranormal, supernatural or Silence of the Lamb-freaky. If I lie awake at night, afraid to look under the bed, it's my kind of read.
Great post, and you make some excellent points. I'm sick of hearing about the paranormal types, actually. (Like you said, the bad charismatic boy who falls in love with the girl type--or the girl falls in love with him.) Still, I enjoyed SHIVER even tho it was basically TWILIGHT with wolves.
I have an original idea for my agented novel; I think it's gonna make all the diff in getting a publishing contract. Well, I hope! I kind of think in order to be original, the next "trend" will be mixing genres. Combining two unlike but compatible genres into one for a new twist. :)
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