I think the part of writing and publishing that every writer hates is the business aspect. We're artists, and business is a tough necessity in our lifestyle. But all we really want to do is write ourselves sick (is that possible? must investigate) and then have our books read by eager, happy people. The in-between, the nasty gritty business stuff, is vastly annoying to us. I've already written a post on the dynamics of how to get published, which covers just the very tip of business work when it comes to writing. It gets much, much worse.
That is why today, now that we've got our Christmas spirit lingering in the happy space in our tummies, I'm going to go off on a rant about publishing trends.
So what are publishing trends? The answer is that publishing trends, at least the ones I'm referring to, are those annoying little things that happen when suddenly someone's book gets really famous and becomes a phenomenon. Suddenly publishers (and readers) are about this new trend, publishing mega amounts of the genre. It doesn't take long for everyone to get sick of that trend, and by that point, the publisher is already out there looking for the next one.
Publishing trends are the bane of my existence (and many other writers), because they make it very difficult at times for good, well-meaning authors to get published. A writer will have written a book in a particular style, you see, and then suddenly a book in that genre will become a phenomenon, and now no publishers will take their work because it's already too late for that genre--at least for the next few years. So the writer is left crying out in the desert, cursing whatever book just ruined their chances.
The problem with this is not only that it leaves some very decent works and writers in the lurch for a while, but it makes a lot of writers turn to the dark side: they begin trying to write to trends. Just like the businessy publisher people, they try to keep ahead of the curve, writing the next big thing. This never turns out well, because writers are artists, and artists don't do business. They do heart and soul and art, and every writer has their own area to focus in on. For example, me with teenage fantasy/sci-fi. If I tried to write a cowboy story, or a mystery, things would probably not go well. Realistic fiction and I have also proven ourselves not very compatible. So if I tried to do one of those, believing that publishing people would consider it the next trend, it just would not work out.
Also, by the time you've found significant proof of a new trend, it's probably too late. The last thing I heard, zombies were considered the next it thing, which means that probably anyone writing a zombie story is out of luck today. Another genre out of luck right now--dystopians, particularly those YA sci-fi things that happen to have a very strong main female character and a love story central to the plot.
Yup. The Hunger Games set off that one. If you're at all familiar with YA fiction, you've probably noticed that trend. I bet you could name a few recent books other than The Hunger Games right off the top of your head. I mentioned that myself in a post a while back. So you dystopian writers who are struggling right now, you can blame Suzanne Collins. But try not to riot too much, because I do really like her and her work.
I became aware of this issue in my freshman year of high school when I was trying to publish THE PSYCHIC STORY, which is a YA fantasy romance. It just kept getting rejected over and over again. That's not anything new for me, and I'm not saying it necessarily would have been different had this not been the case (no, guys, I'm the best writer in the world), but the reason I decided to stop sending it out and move on is because of a publishing trend. Can you guess which book got in my way?
Yup. That is what I'm blaming for me not being published right now. Twilight came in as I was writing THE PSYCHIC STORY, threw everything into chaos, and made paranormal romance a trend that publishers were no longer looking for. I think it's still iffy for paranormal romances in the market right now.
So that is why publishing trends are of the devil. Someday, I will be published and I will become a bestselling phenomenon, and then writers can weep as they find themselves suddenly unable to publish their awesome speculative fiction about psychics.
SO THERE, WORLD.
Did y'all have a great Christmas? I hope so! I did. :) I got an acoustic guitar, a Rogue Dreadnaught Sunburst, whom I've named Rogue, and a lot of new music. A. LOT. I love music. I love it so much. It inspires me a whole bunch in writing and life. Which almost but not quite makes up for stupid publishing trends.
See you next time!
Image via Goodreads.
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