Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stare deep into the crystal ball...what do YOU see?

My selection for Juli Fennell's 'I Love Your Blog Award' goes to The Seekers, an awesome group of writers who hang out in Seekerville http://seekerville.blogspot.com. Chuck full of timely information, tons of encouragement, lots of guests--and lots of laughs, Seekerville is a must for your list of favorites! Stop by and tell 'em Bullet Hole sent you!

Now to today's blog.

As many of you know, I'm at a crossroads in my writing career. With my Calamity Jayne series on hiatus (sadly despite the daily emails I get from readers begging me to continue the series) I'm branching out in several directions--and all at the same time. (Think the literary version of Twister here. So not a pretty picture.) I'm retooling a western historical romance, the very first book I wrote. I'm doing rewrites on a hard-boiled, police procedural/women's fiction series opener. I'm writing a two stand alone romantic mysteries. I'm waiting for a YA editor at Penguin-Putnam to read my Young Adult Middle Level book. And I'm working on a children's book series with my kid.

How do you say diversify?

When I got to thinking about it, writing strategy isn't all that different from investment strategies. Our financial gurus are constantly preaching the wisdom of broad asset allocation and cautioning against putting all our eggs in one basket. So, maybe the same theory holds true for selling in today's increasingly competitive writing market. Look for new and promising opportunities and get in on the ground floor. So to speak.

In publishing, the million dollar contract question, has always been how do you predict what the next exciting trend in publishing will be. What genre(s) will be best represented on the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller lists two year down the road. What type of fiction will capture the rapt attention of multitudes of readers? Will paranormals crash and burn? Will rom-com make a comeback? Will historicals reign supreme?

So many questions...so few answers.

Hence the crystal ball and seer at the top of the page.

There is some evidence that all is not doom and gloom for those of us who write romance or many of its sub-genres. Recently Jay Leno observed that while book sales may be down due to the tough economy, there is one exception: Romance!

It makes sense. Historically during difficult times in our nation's history, there is a renewed sense of family and more focus on the simple pleasures to be found in loving relationships.

There's no doubt folks are hurting in America. And it's likely to get worse before it gets better. But we all know there's no greater escape from our troubles to be found than on the pages of a good book. But escape to WHERE?

So, grab your crystal ball, tarot cards, oracle bones, or use the wisdom and savvy you've acquired by writing and reading (or both) stacks and stacks of books and weigh in with your prediction about what readers will be looking for most in the stories they select or buy.

I'll go first. All-knowing and all-seeing Psychic Kathleen (snort) predicts that inspirational romances will see a jump in sales, as well as historical romances as readers will seek an experience that takes them away from the trials of contemporary life. I also predict a new, less restrictive sub-genre of inspirational stories that includes fewer taboos and more contemporary implications and applications will emerge. Perhaps surprising, I also see a re-emergence of political thrillers, as well as mysteries, on the publishing horizon.

Now it's your turn, seers of seers. Prognosticators of prognosticators. Make your predictions on the future trends of publishing. What's in. What's out. What's hot. What's not.

Okay. You're wondering whether Psychic Kathleen sees any more Calamity Jayne stories in the future? Right?

Wait just a second.

Shake. Shake.

Okay, Bullet Hole's Magic 8 Ball says, 'Reply hazy. Try again.'

Stay tuned...

~Bullet Hole~

15 comments:

Gemma Halliday said...

I'm going to predict a comeback for comedy books. The recent trend in mystery/suspense has been the darker and grittier, the better. But I know when things suck in my life, I'd rather read something funny than dark. So, considering what we all write here, let's cross our fingers for a comedy comeback!

~Gemma

terrio said...

Gemma beat me to it. I was going to say the Rom-Com would make a comeback. And I think simple stories. Less para creatures and more ordinary people. Then again, I really have no idea. :) I am certain, though, that book sales in general will pull through. Anything that lets people excape reality right now is going to be popular.

Kristi said...

I don't know what the trend is going to be, but I read a wide variety of books. I like urban fantasy, paranormal, romantic comedy, mysteries, thrillers, and some historical fiction.

I do think that paranormal has a huge following though and getting bigger every day.

Kathy Bacus said...

Sounds good to me, Gemma! I gravitate towards lighthearted reads when life bites, too. Of course, there is the argument that reading the darker, more angsty stuff can make you feel ever so much better about your own circumstances to consider...

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

You're exactly right, Terrio. Simple pleasaures are the best. And I predict that great, rich stories--albeit with a more narrow focus--might be just the ticket for that little getaway everyone is yearning for.

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

While I don't read a great number of paranormals, you make a good point about them, Kristi. By virtue of their world-building nature, they offer pure escapism--a balm during uncertain times. And at a fraction of the cost of a vacation.

Or mental health professional.

~Bullet Hole~

Bookmobiler said...

"Okay, Bullet Hole's Magic 8 Ball says, 'Reply hazy. Try again.'"

We must have gotten the same lot number of Magic 8 Balls.

I don't know what they'll be publishing in the future. I just hope it includes a lot of books by my favorite authors. Present company included.

While I read a wide variety of books: romance, mystery, Science fiction, fantasy and historical fiction I've always been partial to books with humor.

I know from past experience that even if I have to search harder for them somebody somewhere will be writing and publishing books I want to read.

And if you buy as many books as I do there's always re-reading.

Kathy Bacus said...

I don't know what they'll be publishing in the future. I just hope it includes a lot of books by my favorite authors. Present company included.

Ah, shucks, Bookmobiler.

No worries. Somewhere someone (present company included) will write the books that appeal to our collective funny bones.

And I have a collection of 'keepers' that I often reread--including but not limited to my collection of Victoria Holt novels.

Good times...

~Bullet Hole~

Tina M. Russo said...

Dude!!! Thanks for the award!

Keri Ford said...

Well, since I've got a regency in several different places, I'm pushing my mystic powers towards historical :O)

M. L. Kiner said...

"The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.
www.StrategicBookPublishing.com/TheHongKongConnection.html

Anonymous said...

Try action-thriller Wired Kingdom:
www.rickchesler.com

Kathy Bacus said...

My pleasure, Tina!

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

Since I also have a completed historical--albeit western--and a proposal for two more related books, I'm with you, Keri. Let's apply all our powers of psychic persuasion towards stories of yesteryear!

Concentrate. Concentrate...

;)

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

Sounds like a compelling read, M.L.!
I'll have to check it out!

~Bullet Hole~