Summons from His Grace

Summons from His Grace
Regency Anthology

A Scandal To Remember

A Scandal To Remember
Regency Romance

Crazy For You

Crazy For You
romantic comedy

To Love and Protect

To Love and Protect
Romantic Suspense

Dangerous Kiss

Dangerous Kiss
short story

Kisses Of Fire

Kisses Of Fire
contemporary romance

Spanish Eyes

Spanish Eyes
American Historical

Queen Of Hearts

Queen Of Hearts
Historical Western
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What's hot now? What's not?

Is it me...or are there others out there who are clueless to what the public wants to read?  A year (maybe two) ago I thought Regencies were popular, so I created a three-book (possibly four) series, thinking that publishers and agents were just going to grab my stories and run with them. 

Then after I had the story written and started querying, I began a new story - my very first pirate story!  I knew for sure this one was going to go quickly, because once again, it can be a three book deal. So once this story was completed and I started making the agent rounds with this one, here comes the rejections for my Regency. What???  Why rejections?  I thought Regencies were hot. (and of course you know MY books will have a lot of sexual tension, so they will be hot...or at least sensual. lol) Now, almost another year later, the rejections for my sensual pirate story start pouring in.  Eh?  What's going on?  I thought these topics were hot.  Apparently not...

So then a few months ago, a friend of mine started submitting her Christian romances to publishers...and OMG, they went wild over them. Several agents requested to read her story.  Now she's with a publisher (her book due out the end of this month in fact and will be in major book stores) plus she has another one contracted and one on the way to being contracted.  What's up with that? 

So tell me...who knows what is hot out there and what is not?  HELP ME????



Ginger Simpson said...

I think reading trends change like the wind, but I have no idea what influences the popularity of one genre over another. Years back when I started writing historical westerns, it was a hot topic with mainstream. When I went in the stores, I saw cover after cover featuring a hot cowboy or a hulky Indian. The popularity fizzled, and now it seems everyone is hooked on vampires, werewolves and shape shifters. The release of movies tied to theses elements doesn't hurt pump up the popularity. I can't write things I don't believe in, so I'm feeling just as lost as you. I'd love to submit a "Christian" story, but my books are all character driven and I have to wait until some chaste little miss pops in and gets me going in that direction. Kinda sucks not being in control of my own head. *lol*

Mona Risk said...

Phyllis, yo have a beautiful blog. I have no idea what is or is not hot.

Chloe Vale said...

For me, you can never go wrong with a good contemporary romantic suspense. I think they are popular with many different types of readers because they are fun to read, and most people can relate to a fantasy where you meet some really hot guy and solve a crime or mystery with him. You can make them as steamy or sweet as you want, add in crazy sex scenes or not, it's just a matter of your taste and what you think will appeal to your readers.

Lesli Muir Lytle said...

I'm sure we'll hear something at Nationals. I'll let you know!


Zach and Sarah Baker said...

I think some historical periods are evergreen, like medieval and Regency, but definitely go through ebbs and flows. I wonder if we're seeing an ebb in traditional historical romance in favor of the paranormal or vampire stories. Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's that Christian books are 'hot' so much as publishers have tapped a new market. It started a few years ago with novels aimed at teens. Now those teens are older and they want romances that star people like them. Other people want romances that portray a fantasy life or that are an escape. That might explain vampires and menages. Mostly, I don't think people's reading tastes change al that much. I think publishers just like to flood the market with a lot of the same thing, like throwing pasta at the wall and raking in the dough when one sticks. If someone sees the same thing twenty times, that thing stick with them. It's a form of advertising. Write what you like to read and you can't go wrong.
-Michele Zurlo

Jannine said...

As we're told in the many workshops we take, we shouldn't write for what's popular now. I doubt editors or agents know what trend will take hold next and which ones will fizzle out.

Write what you love, and one day you'll find that editor or agent who wants you.

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

I'm with Mona, I have no idea what's hot. But what's hot today, won't be hot by the time my book is written and ready to be pitched, so I don't try. I write what I like, which at present seems to be historical and comtemporary cowboys.

Allison Knight said...

Historical westerns always seem to be popular, but I have a feeling Civil War stories are coming back. Keeping my fingers crossed 'cause I have a goodie I want to write.

Mary Martinez said...

Just when I think I know what the trends are, they either change or I find out I'm wrong.

I do not even try to figure them out. I usually learn something about them at Nationals. If Lesli doesn't let you know, I will!

Donica Covey said...

I'm with what several of the comments said: write what YOU love--what moves YOU. Everything else will fall into place. I LOVE writing a good suspense/action thriller and they seem to have pretty good receptions.

The main thing you always have to keep in mind is just writing the best novel you can.

I have my share of rejections on novels I was CERTAIN would rock the editor's world...disappointing true but when the "trend" seems to return to that style you have something you can whip right on out and try it again.

Good luck!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Phyllis,
If only I knew, I would be on the NY best sellers list and have a top class Agent. Wish I had a crystal ball, but I haven't - boo hoo. I personally think it is luck, being in the right place at the right time.



Diane M. Wylie said...

I think I agree with Margaret Tanner. You have to be in the right place with the right story at the right time. There is no way to predict what the fickle market will buy.

Even if you think you are writing a truly unique story (agents and editors always say they want something fresh), it may end up being too unique. Then they call it unmarketable!

If you can figure out what the next big thing is, please share!

hotcha12 said...


Ciara Gold said...

Sadly, I think the publishing houses dictate what's hot and not the readers. When an author sells well in a particular genre, they go - hey, let's find more in that genre when it's really the author folks are going gaga over. Seriously, I have a hard time finding what I want to read just because the market is flooded with genres I'm not interested in. My tastes haven't changed. I still want to read historical westerns and there are very few to be found on the shelves. And yes, I'm reading more e-books because of this. At least the e-publishers know to offer wider variety.

T said...

I completely agree with Donica. Write what feels good to you and do your best. Everything else will work out. As an editor and reviewer, I see many different genres... it's hit and miss from month to month but it will come. PS: Love our blog and love tonights topic! Thank you, T.

MarthaE said...

I can't say either what's hot or not. But somewhat surprising (pleasantly so)it seems that 4 out of 5 participants at my blog would rather go with sweet to sensual reads than erotica. I think some publishers are realizing that there is a big market for sweet romance and for romance that doesn't cross the line - which is a floating line at best! So I guess an author can choose to seek publication with a publisher who is known for erotica or seek publication in non erotica houses.
Historicals are always good for me even though I like to vary from historical to Rom Susp to Inspy to fantasy and back again. :) Best wishes with your work Phyllis - you have always had a knack for the tension!

Phyllis Campbell said...

WOW! Thanks everyone for your great comments. I soooo appreciate them. I will definitely write what's in my heart...and hope it's the right time and place for that story to get picked up. (grins)

You guys are AWESOME!


Brenda J Weaver said...

I don't really care what is Hot etc..because right now...paranormal everything is hot...but besides that...I don't write trends...I write what is in my heart and needs to be written...trends or ghost that I doesn't matter what's hot today...tomorrow it will be something else entirely off the wall. So write what you want because will be hot once again. I've been blessed and so have have all of us just for the plain fact we are published. JMHO...take care...

Anonymous said...

Interracial/interspecies are selling well right now at my publisher, and have been for quite a while.

Teresa Reasor said...

I think to try and write to fit the trends would be like pushing a jelly bean up a mountain with your nose.

But, Romantic suspense has been popular for 35 years, so for a sure thing, I'd write that.

Paranormal for anything but vampires seems to be going strong right now. (of course I'm more interested in horror right now so--)

Male on male erotica has gone crazy just in the last little bit, or so a publisher friend of mine tells me.

But the main thing is--I believe that if you write the book of your heart, the one that means the most to you, it will sell.

I've enjoyed the debate on here.
Write on,
Teresa R.

Celtic Chick said...

It's hard to predict what is going to be hot so I would write the book you want to write, it will be 'hot' at some point.

You might also want to look into e-publishing. They seem to like a variety and don't follow the same trends as the traditional houses. I think Regencys are still popular in the e-pub world.

Best wishes! I am sure you will sell your stories.

Sylvie said...

I stopped by hoping for answers lol so you know right off I have no idea what's hot. I just keep writing what I write, contemporaries, and hope some day something I write will be HOT.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif said...

What I can't believe is that vampire romances are still hot. And werewolves. Everyone thought the fad would die about a year ago, and yet it's still going strong.

Another hot item is romantic suspense. And urban fantasy seems to have taken off.

I think historicals/regencies have subsided somewhat, but like everything it's cyclical. They'll be back. :-)

Cherish D'Angelo,
author of Lancelot's Lady (romantic suspense)

Lilly Gayle said...

Sometimes, I think timing is everything! I've come so close to getting published on more than one occasion in 2 different genres, historical and paranormal. I've even had 3 different agents! My last agent "peddled" a historical she "loved" and when it didn't sell right away, she asked me to re-write it as an inspirational because they were so "hot" at the moment. I did. And she rejected it! She then asked if I could write an Amish historical because they were so "hot!"

We parted ways. If an agent can't love what I write, then she is not the agent for me. Besides, the only Amish story I knew anything about was from the movie, The Witness, starring Kelly Preston and Harrison Ford.

I started writing my paranormal/vampire romance in 2005 when vampires were so "hot." I was almost published with a NY publisher--went through 3 sets of revisions with 2 different editors. But the first editor loved the story more than the second one did. Then the line changed and my story was no longer dark enough.

So, What's Hot?

It changes monthly and sometimes, it's not about talent, it's about being at the right place at the right time with the right story and the right editor. Lucky for me, all those factors came together when Lill Farell read my submission of OUT OF THE DARKNESS and requested the full.

My advice to anyone interested in getting published?

In the words of Jason Nesmith from the movie Galaxy Quest: "Never give up. Never surrender."

Keep writing and keep submitting!

Savanna Kougar said...

There are trends, but most importantly write the story you want. Niche markets are coming into their own more and more.
So what if you're not mass market, or don't sell to a mass market publisher. Mass market is biz model that can't survive without major changes. And, it's in the process of downsizing.
If you enjoy writing an Inspirational, go for it. But, really, it's only one more genre in the romance novel market as a whole.
If you can gather enough of a reader base, regardless of how you publish or who you publish with, that's your best bet for the future, imo.
I only write what I enjoy reading. I mean, why would I ever bother with a story I don't like? Heck, after all the editing, etc...well, I'm not going through that NOT liking my story.
I'm doing the final approval line edit on my latest release now. And, I'm enjoying! the read through immensely.

Janice said...

That's the thing, no one really knows for sure what's hot.

Most agents and editor will tell you there are way too many Vampire and Were stories out there. I've been told don't write a paranormal unless you can bring something new to the genre, and yet they're still buying them.

The only thing I can advice is write what is in you to write and then write with all your heart. If you do it will come through in the writing.


Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Phyllis,

I agree with several of your other commenters. Don't choose what to write based on what's popular. Write what feels natural and right to you. The result will feel more genuine; you'll produce a better book.

Don't assume that your books were rejected because the genre is no longer "hot", either. You may have just submitted them to an inappropriate publisher. As demonstrated by the variety of responses that you've gotten to your question, different segments of the market like different things. Find the publisher who sells to the readers who like what you write!

All the best,

Melissa Bradley said...

Interesting topic for sure. I think that Christian romances aren't so much hot as much a new niche market that will run hot for a while and then level off. Vampire romances are kind of holding steady, not so much growing anymore. Shifter stories still seem to be hot, though, as well as faerie stories. From what I've been seeing, Paranormal (non-vampire,non-shifter)and Urban Fantasy seem to be really hot right now. Steampunk, Cyberpunk and Dystopian are picking up speed. They're still fairly new, though. Then there is the contemporary romantic suspense and regular contemporaries that are always around like historicals. In erotica, the trend seems to be menage, BDSM and m/m stories. These are just things that I've noticed as I go into bookstores and shop on-line. I'm not an expert. I could be all wrong. LOL

About Me

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Phyllis Campbell is an award-winning, multi-published and best-selling author of romance; from the dark and mysterious hero who sends shivers up your spine to the fiesty heroines who somehow manage to keep them in line. She's published with Bookstrand Publishing, Champagne Books, The Wild Rose Press, and most recently, The Dark Castle Lords Publications. Most of her reviewers have given her the title of “Queen Of Sexual Tension”. Married with kids (and three grandchildren), Phyllis has lived in Utah all of her life and enjoys family activities when she’s not writing her next sensual story.