It was murder!

I recently had the opportunity to hear a bright, young(er than me) editor speak about publishing today.

She said some interesting and candid things and I appreciate that. Plus she was funny and I always like that.

But I take issue with a couple of things she mentioned. One is the old adage, “don’t write to trends.” And of course she cited the death of chick-lit as an example.

But the death of chick-lit isn’t an example, it’s an isolated case which everyone points to as evidence that trends come and go because it’s pretty much the only recent case. If I think back, family sagas were big in the 80s, as were “glitter” novels. I miss them.

But lately, which of the predicted trend deaths have come true? That vampire novels are dead? That historicals are history? That steampunk will sputter out shortly? Uh, no. I don’t think so.

So I had an epiphany—that those dead “trends” didn’t fade away of natural causes. They were murdered!

Back in the day when the publishing gate-keepers held all the power to decide what people wanted to read, they would open and close the doors at will. “Nobody wants to read chick lit anymore,” they declared. Which isn’t true at all. People who loved chick lit are still looking for it, and finding it. It’s just now known as humorous women’s fiction, buried in romance, or, add a werewolf and call it urban fantasy.

But not long after the murder of chick lit, e-publishing came along. Tell any successful epublisher that vampires / zombies / shifters are dead genres and they’ll just laugh. Dystopian YA isn’t going anywhere and steampunk has only just begun to explore its boundaries.

Self-publishing only opens the floodgates further. You can write and publish any damn thing you want. And readers, you can find any damn thing you want. I especially enjoy cross genres. Don’t know where to shelf it in a store? Who cares? The internet is one giant database and you can search for something a myriad of different ways. My short story FEW ARE CHOSEN is a humorous, young adult, multi-cultural, GBLT, paranormal, character study with a strong romantic subplot. The fact that it just won a prestigious Bookie award indicates that other people like cross-genre stuff, too.

So the gate-keepers are losing control. Perhaps they’ll soon be as dead as chick lit.

And readers will get to pick from everything, not just what they’re told they want to read. Long live the reader!

 

Gina's actual bookshelves (2 of them, anyway)

Gina’s actual bookshelves (2 of them, anyway)

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About Gina X. Grant

Gina X. Grant writes ingenious plotlines with twists, turns and sometimes magic. She is represented by Rosemary Stimola, the agent who also represents the Hunger Games series. Gina’s RELUCTANT REAPER trilogy is available from Simon and Schuster’s Pocket Star imprint. She lives in Toronto, Canada, just blocks from the house she grew up in. She’s married to a friendly curmudgeon from a mining town in Northern Ontario. They have one rescued hound, Storm, named for Gina’s other pen name. Storm Grant—the writer, not the hound dog—writes engaging action adventure with two heroes. Since 2007, she has published with a variety of e-publishers and more recently, self-publishes. Gina’s and Storm’s books are available at all your favorite etailers, such as Amazon, Kobo and iTunes. Visit ginaXgrant.com or stormgrant.com to find out more.

Posted on September 28, 2013, in Opinion, Writing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on Sherry Isaac, Psychological Sizzle and commented:
    Holden Caulfield had no patience with phonies, and neither do readers. When we are genuine, when we write our heart, then, we write to market. With that in mind, I just had to reblog fellow TRW chapter member Gina X. Grant’s genius post, It Was Murder!

  2. Gina, I love your bookshelf. It looks a lot like mine combining books and knickknacks. My bedroom bookshelves a re a bit more crowded but that’s because they’re smaller and include my favourite DVDs too.

  3. I totally agree. I hate being pigeon holed into a ‘genre.’ No pigeon holing allowed in reading and writing. After all, you can’t pigeon hole people! Great post.

    • Thanks, roughwighting. I just had my first experience with a Big Five publisher and I’m thinking of going a different direction in future. Just “liked” you on facebook. I’m a lot more interesting over there.

  4. I found you through that Psych Sizzle chick (and bestie!), Sherry Isaac.

    Loved your genre loopy-de-loop on your Award (!) Winning (!) short story. Well deserved, I’m sure. And, I’ll soon confirm that for myself.

    With the time it takes to craft a novel, query, rewrite, sign, and hit the shelves via traditional routes, chasing current trends would keep all writers in rewrite hell.

    Oh! Chick Lit is dead? Add sex. Lots of sex. And, make Shopaholic Becky’s MasterCard statement mysteriously reflect a negative balance, courtesy of a mysterious, other-world visitor who has a mission to lure her into bed a web of self-destruction. Then, bed.

    I already have an over-active blather of an inner editor. I call her Gracie. I don’t let her read what market trends say about what’s hot at-the-moment.

    Write what you love and people will find you. Few of us got into this writing gig to become rich and famous. We got into it because we love telling lies creating characters and living vicariously through them. We love the craft. The big payoff is writing “the end.”

    Would I love tons of frosting on that payoff cake? You bet. We all would.

    In my imaginary world (You should visit sometime. It’s a happy place.) I also make a decent living doing what I love.

    • I recently read that agents don’t want to see even “a whiff” of dystopia. Bite me. The readers are dying for the next “Hunger Games.” I’m just finishing an adult m/m novella set in 1910 with steampunk overtones, then I’m off to write a YA dystopian steampunk. Who says you have to stick with a single genre?

      No rules!

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