Thursday, June 20, 2013

Am I trendy enough for you now?

Trends in the book world can result in a roller coaster ride for authors and readers, sometimes with new thing sticking around for the long haul and other times with with a trend only getting it's 15 minutes of fame.

So I thought I'd have a look at some previous trends, focusing on YA, and see "where are they now" as well as some current trends and make predictions for where I see them going based on what I've seen through purchasing statistics, agent/editor participation in contests and acquisitions. And I throw in some future trends predictions. So in other words, my humble observations.

Past Trends

1) Young Adult - anyone who predicted YA would die a natural death should be eating their hat. YA
hasn't gone away, but moved from strength to strength and will be here for the long haul.

2) e-Books - I must admit I resisted e-Books for so long. But when my husband bought me an iPad, I was hooked. I can hoard books on Cloud instead of cluttering up my house and it's cheaper (mostly - e-Books are expensive for Aussies, which sucks! There's no freight costs, so stop charging us more. Okay, rant over). I also theorise that there's a lack of judgement as you can read anywhere with no one being able to see the cover. So adults are free to read YA or 50 Shades without judgement (I say adults as they are dominating e-book sales).

3) Paranormal - When I first started writing Paranormal was dominating agents' wish lists. Now, not so much. You really have to stand out with a unique premise to get away with calling something paranormal anymore. In saying that I see a lot of stories with paranormal elements that are in genre mash-ups that get attention so the love for the freakier side is still there.

4) Dystopian - It's like the YA version of Chicklit. The market was flooded and very few concepts stood up to the Hunger Games. Perhaps there's only so many ways you can play with the concept of over throwing a corrupt futuristic government. For me there will still be stories like this, but they will be repackaged under different genres.

5) Chicklit - I think it was the name that was the issue more than anything. There was a time when the term alone seemed to turn agents off. But there are lots of Chicklit stories out there now. They're simply called romance.

Current Trends

1) New Adult - I agree with people that New Adult isn't the best descriptor for this category, SLEEPER, being rejected because a few years ago stories with main characters at college/university didn't sell. Well they do now and I think it's just the tip of the iceberg (and SLEEPER is now being published). Contemporary has dominated, but I think genre NA is about to explode.
especially seeing as YA has different names in different countries. New Adult came out strong with self-publishing authors being brave enough to see the gap in the market and fill it when mainstream wouldn't. I know this from experience with my NA Speculative Fiction,

2) Contemporary - I remember when poor contemporary YA could not get a break, which was when paranormal was running wild on our bookshelves. Contemporary knows how to share with other genres and has taken a nice segment of the market rather than running rampant like other genres, so I think it's a keeper.

3) Erotica - I'm not an erotica reader. I've never read 50 Shades and I don't intend to. It's just not my thing. I'm sure a lot of people are getting a thrill out of it now, but I believe sales will decline. Of course it will never go away, but I've seen too many copy cats out there. Originality is the key.

Future Trends

1) Historical mash-ups - These have started coming out, especially in YA with the likes of Infernal Devices. But I think future releases like  The Falconer by Elizabeth May will see readers wanting more in this area.

2) Thrillers - There's no doubt that readers love the action they get from speculative fiction, but those who love the more contemporary setting and want action as well then thrillers are the answer.

3) Science Fiction - I believe Sci-Fi will make a comeback. Stories like Across the Universe and Girl Parts are showing authors and readers that there are different ways to tell scifi stories.

4) Breaking down boarders - I believe there will be more international stories getting out into the world as Generation Y and Z want to see more stories set in different locations. These generations think globally, and the book industry should too (says the unbiased Australian)

So that's my view. If you want some real trends on book buying then check out the recent Random House Notes on this, or these articles on YA sales, or this article on e-Book sales and the publishing industry.

So what's some of you're favourite trends and what would you like to see in the future?


  1. I love dystopian, but a lot of YA dystopian series are all starting to sound the same now. I'm staring to get into contemporary, even though I've always preferred more paranormal/sci-fi stuff.
    I wish I could predict the trends, but they always surprise me. Fortunately, a good story is a good story, regardless of the genre.

  2. I put down many YA dystopians because the premises were bizarre and didn't seem developed enough. Maybe that category just isn't for me.

    I'm glad historical fiction is taking hold in YA a little more. I think pretty much every sub-genre will get a YA take on it, and only time will tell what the next big craze is. It's always fun to speculate!

  3. YAY Thrillers! I hope I finish my book before that trend comes. XD

  4. Interesting post. Thanks for going out on a limb and giving us your opinion on these trends. I think you are spot on.
    On a personal note, recently I have been hearing from agents I've queried that there is a big trend for the current topic I've been writing about. (Dream travel.)
    Yay. Who woulda thought being trendy would be so darn unsatisfying?
    ~Just Jill

  5. Mary - I love your attitude of the story being paramount.

    Stephsco - I love historicial and I want so much more. I hope it's a trend that doesn't go away.

    Divelle - good luck!

    Jill - Ohhh Dream travel. Sounds cool.