Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Is Publishing all about Trends? By Jannine Gallant
And what about trends in books? What does the new year have in store for those of us in the business of writing. Heaven knows we've seen changes galore in the publishing industry, but do those changes reflect what people are reading? I ask because I have a book that needs a home. Season of the Witch is a historical romance, a sweeping saga that takes the reader from England across the sea to the new world. My heroine has the sight and sees glimpses of the future, none of which are reassuring when she finds herself in Salem, Massachusetts during the witchcraft trials. My hero is torn between love and duty. There's lots of action, adventure, and angst. A small press didn't feel like the right fit for this book, nor did a dive into self-publishing. I had a sneaking suspicion this story wasn't trendy enough to garner any attention in either venue, which would mean dismal sales. So, I sent it off to one medium sized press and a bunch of agents with long lists of successful clients. (Might as well think big, right? LOL) I received feedback from both the publisher and one agent, and they both said the same thing. They thought my writing was great, but they felt the book would be a hard sell. Early American history isn't a hot commodity.
Does this mean, as authors, we should write what's trendy if we want any chance of making money? I've heard over and over that you should follow your heart and write a great book. Well, I feel I've done that only to be told it isn't timely. Do I hold onto this manuscript for a few more years and hope the trends change? As readers, have your tastes in fiction changed over time, or do you simply read what's out there? Do you ever find yourself saying, "Why don't people write books like that anymore?" Would Kathleen Woodiwiss be a flop in today's market? What about Margaret Mitchell or James Michener?
So, does beginning a new year mean there's no place for something with a flavor of the past? Tell me your thoughts, and by all means, suggestions are welcome. If anyone knows the perfect home for Season of the Witch, speak up!
Have a happy new year!
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Posted by Jannine Gallant at 12:01 AM