Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Market Update

It's been a while since I've posted on a market update and while I've been meaning to get to it all day it isn't until now that I've finally had a chance, when I’m sitting at home and enjoying a magnificent glass of Cantina Faccagnini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. So please excuse any and all typos.

I've been very busy the past couple of weeks. I took on an exciting new author and helped her sell her book to a great publisher--as well as let a number of other editors see her work (I promise to discuss this in more detail later). And I helped a more established client make a very successful switch to a new house, at auction nonetheless. Needless to say it's been a very exciting August and a lot of fun for me.

One of the things I like most about selling and submitting books (besides the obvious of course) is that it truly gives me an opportunity to find out what editors are actively looking for. Often I've learned that what they say is one thing, what they actually do is another and when I submit them something is when I truly discover what they want.

So what am I hearing these days? Funny paranormal romance is all but dead. Okay, maybe not dead, but really scaring editors off. Some publishers are saying they've seen a slip in orders on those types of books and, specifically, those chick lit/paranormal romance type covers (think Mary Janice Davidson's Undead series--although I know her sales haven’t slipped). What they're looking for instead? Dark, sexy, romances (and covers do and will reflect this). Does it mean you should simply shelve your funny paranormal? Not at all, but you might want to consider making it darker or even spinning it into a mystery since mystery editors are still very actively looking for this type of book.

And guess what romance lovers? Historicals are back! We've been predicting it and waiting and guess what, it's here. But it's not necessarily the historical of days gone by. No, of course not. Nothing is ever that easy. Editors (and of course agents) are looking for darker, sexier historical romances with a historical voice. While I do think the more contemporary voiced historicals are doing well, that really strong historical voice is back. Think Elizabeth Hoyt. I've mentioned her work before and editors are talking about her too. Of course they are also talking about our own Sally MacKenzie.

And in terms of romance I'm hearing it again and again. Romantic suspense. Everyone is looking for it and it's not easy to find. We're a picky lot, agents and editors, and we want dark, we want scary and we want it to be original and different. Not an easy task I know, but we are all actively seeking romantic suspense.

What to do if you're not writing in one of these areas? Don't worry. This is just what is being talked about today. Tomorrow can be entirely different. And of course this is just a small segment of book market news.

I've also been talking to a lot of nonfiction editors and green books are hot, but maybe too hot. Lists are filling up fast on this subject and already editors are starting to move cautiously. One editor compared it to the yoga craze. Every publisher jumped on board and jumped on with five different books. Almost instantly the bookshelves were overflowing and they fear the same with "green" books.

No news right now on mystery, suspense or thrillers other than to let you know that editors are looking for that something special that sings. I'll keep you posted...



Jennifer McKenzie said...

I love seeing the part about Romantic Suspense. As always, I wonder if I can offer "original and different".
Thanks for the update.

Aimlesswriter said...

Thanks for the update!
What about time travel? Forever dead? I don't write it but like to read it. Good ones are few and far between.

Liz Wolfe said...

I'm so envious of your wine, Jessica. Although I usually like red wine when it's cooler out. But for that one,I'd make an exception.
I'm really pleased to hear that historical romance is making a comeback. I've always loved it and the more historical, the better.
Can you give us a little more about what defines a "historical" voice from a "conetemporary" voice in historical romance?
I gotta go pick up a book by Elizabeth Hoyt. She sounds like an author I'd love.

Unknown said...

I love seeing the romantic suspense part too, but the trouble with being "different", that you're different.

I know somebody has to be first, but you've got to be freaking fabulous to break the mold, and then next thing you know, you're no longer different because you're simply number one. It's like with regencies. There used to be "regencies" and then came Mary Jo Putney's historical regencies. Now, the field is mostly historical regencies and regency-regencies are a smaller sub-group.


Anonymous said...

As a writer this is good news since my as yet published novel "A Touch of Ice" can easily be marketed as a mystery.
As a reader this is terrible news. I relax with light-hearted, romantic comedy...nothing dark or serious.
Editors are mysterious and amazing people.
Thanks for the update, Jessica--and I too envy the glass of wine.


Mitzi said...

Thanks for the update. I'll keep pitching my amateur sleuth paranormal with romantic elements - how's that for a genre?

Stacia said...

What about dark, scary, sexy paranormal historicals?

Anonymous said...

I've been a quiet reader of your blog for the past few weeks, and am posting for the first time.

I have a question about Romantic Suspense. I read quite a bit of it myself - I'm a big fan of Julie Garwood's more recent pieces, beginning with Heartbreaker, and I also like Linda Howard and several other authors of that nature. I've noticed, though, that they almost always heavily involve the military or law enforcement or secret agents. Are there any examples of romantic suspense out there that don't involve these elements?

Sharon Page said...

I don't know that particular wine but it sounds decadent and delicious. I know it's been a thrilling August for me.