I’m not a trendy gal. In fact, I have been known to run the opposite direction in order to avoid a trend. As a reader and a writer, I don’t pay much attention to trends either. I read for the stories and the characters, and if the main character is a ghost or a wizard or an alien, I go with it. Sometimes, publishing trends coincide with things I like, and for a while I’m happy.
For example, I love dystopian novels—which I describe as utopian gone awry. Somebody had an idea for a society that seemed perfect at the time, only in practice it has turned out horribly wrong. Hunger Games. Nineteen Eighty-Four. Matched. Fahrenheit 451. All dystopian. I love a really good dystopian. However, in recent years, the market, especially the Young Adult (YA) market, has been saturated with this genre, and it’s grown a bit tiresome. Especially dystopian trilogies. Now, in order to catch my attention, a new dystopian has to be highly recommended by friends or other authors. Otherwise, I’m kind of over it.
Also trilogies in general. Sadly, the market is run by the need to make money, and I think what happens is publishers get a little greedy. They launch the first book with huge acclaim and publicity budgets, and often the first book is really, really wonderful. Here’s where the greed enters in: I think that the publishers push the author to write the second and third books quickly in order to get them out while demand is hot. Often resulting in rather lackluster books. Several trilogies I’ve started in the last few years kicked off with a bang, but the second book was so uninspired that I didn’t even open the cover of the third. (If you’re a publisher and you’re reading this, please feel free to dispute my claim.) Possibly the subsequent books in a trilogy aren’t as good because the author put in ten years writing the first, and only six months writing the second. I don’t know. But I’m kind of over trilogies.
I’m also over YA “issue” books. You know the ones. This is a sex abuse book. This is a cancer book. This is a runaway book. I just want a story, not a sermon, not a cause. I can say this with a grain of salt, because some of my books might be categorized as issue books, but I didn’t set them up that way, so I hope they are just good stories.
I never really got into the zombie/vampire/paranormal trend in the first place, so I can’t even say I’m over that. But I am. Over it. Same with teen romance. I think you know the one (with vampires).
Which begs the question: what am I NOT over? I’m not over historical fiction—although I am definitely over the ruthless monarch who wants to marry daughter off to gain world power. But other kinds of historical fiction, along the lines of Between Shades of Gray (never to be confused with—UGH—50 Shades of Gray) or The Diviners (which has a paranormal aspect, sorry). I’m not over good stories about teens who are trying to figure out life. I’m not over funny stories.
In writing, the tendency to buck a trend is a good thing. Because usually by the time a trend in publishing hits the bookstore shelves, publishers really aren’t buying any more manuscripts in that genre or subject. So it’s usually too late to jump on the bandwagon. Yay for ignoring the trend. I just keep on writing what I write, and hope other people want to read a good story without any vampires or magic or romance that oozes disgustingly out of the pages.
BONUS NOTICE: the Utah/southern Idaho region of SCBWI is holding The Great Critique event. It’s free, but there is an opportunity to sign up for a paid critique by a publishing professional (editor/agent). Basically, if you sign up, you’ll get to critique and be critiqued by other authors in your geographical area. This is a fabulous opportunity if you don’t have regular critique group or partner, or even if you just want your manuscript read by a fresh set of eyes. See http://thegreatcritique.eventzilla.net for details.