Boy, I'll tell ya. We have a thread entitled The Next Big Thing over at the AbsoluteWriter forum and it's a interesting foray into the crystal ball skill of predicting what the reading world will latch onto in 2014. We've run the gamut of everything to horror to New Adult. It is/was like predicting the genre of J.K. Rowling new book that came out a while ago. Everybody was taking a stab at and, of course, it ended up being a mystery.
It's fascinating to note that the scuttlebutt from the agents and editors, from the micro-press on up to the NY monsters, is that paranormal romance, dystopian and apocalypse stories are so yesterday and off the target. There seems to have been glut for the past couple of years and the submission piles are still filled with the stuff. And to add insult to injury, the Young Adult spec market has completely drowned the editors and agent's desks with a tsunami that hasn't even crested yet. To break it down, YA dystopian books are so dead they're fossilized. That's what they're saying. I know we've all heard that there are cut-backs on vampire and werewolves, but we've been hearing this for a decade. There are hints that zombie novels and shorts just might get stepped on and ground out like bad cigarettes as well.
Sorry, I forgot the source, but it was featured in the Yahoo news wire and it was a review of the five most popular YA books. I think it was YA?! Or the books that everyone was reading right now. Here's the list:
Vampire Academy (Paranormal thriller)
Steeheart (SF superhero)
The Selection (Dystopian)
The Fault In Our Stars (okay, contemporary)
Then we've just had a big breakout deal for The Bone Season, and Witches is climbing the ranks.
Don't forget the huge movie franchises like The Hunger Games and all of the dystopian, SF, apocalypse and paranormal/supernatural blockbusters that are slated for this year. Caveat: if it has a different slant or unique voice, then it's an exception (gawd, how many times have we heard this). Well, there is sure is a lot of exceptions going on, dontcha think?
So, are the agents and editors lying? I don't think so, not all all. I think the agents are just plain tired of reading the stuff and the decision-making power is out of the hands of the editors. As far as the big books go, I think the marketing departments are making the ultimate choices. They're staying with what's working. And these so-called "fallen out of favor" genres have never been stronger or pulling in more bucks and readership than ever before. Just when we hear that dystopian and paranormal is on the wane we witness an auction where five or six publishers are driving up the bid into the stratosphere.
You know what's kept me from writing a new YA dystopian novel? All these half-assed, needless and insufferable rumors. I've been spooked for the past six months and haven't punched one plastic key to create any new fiction. I'll tell you what I'm going to do is to muff my ears and don the blinders. I think I'm going to write whatever the hell I want. Hell's sake, I've got a YA distopian coming out this year. Do I think that publisher was nuts? Hardly. I think they just might have a finger on the real pulse in the industry. This year is going to see another wave of everything that's supposed to be dead or dying.
That's my prediction.