Trends in the market are a hot topic among writers, but mostly in the negative. Over the last couple of weeks I've seen a lot of anti-trend rumors on paranormals, for example: no one is buying them, the market is flooded, don't even go there.
There will always be people lining up to tell you what not to write. Have you noticed that?
Before I get into this, trend watching should not make you a rumor slave. Rumors are not data, they're rumors. Also, if you've written an amazing book, no matter what subject/genre/trend it is, there is an editor out there who will buy it.
Trends in genre fiction are like fashion or fads. Most enjoy short-term popularity and fade out almost as soon as they show up. Others take a couple of years to wear out. A select few will hang around for a decade or more, and those are the ones most likely to create a new sub-genre. Trends very rarely stick around or change a genre permanently.
Judging the endurance of a trend is tough. Yesterday Michelle asked me as an example "...how long will erotica or paranormal 'boom' before they 'bust'? Are they established enough now that the genres will become cyclical with both downswings and upswings?"
Erotica (or romantica, as the romance genre version is now being called) is an old, sort of homeless genre presently disguised and packaged as a trend. Writers have been writing erotica since the first cave dude drew a picture of himself and his woman rolling around the furs. Until we lose our fascination with sex (hint: never), erotica in some form or another will always be around.
The trend of what's being packaged as romantica is snowballing, and because so many publishers are requesting it, it should have a very strong presence on the shelf for at least three to four more years.
Paranormal romance, especially the vampire sub-trend, seems to be following in the footsteps of romantic suspense. Five years ago, all editors wanted to see were romantic suspense proposals, with a decided preference for trilogies. We had a dozen authors become established reads within a two-year period. Now there are so many talented romantic suspense writers in print that editors currently aren't as eager to buy them as they were even two years ago.
This is the down cycle in a trend, and it's when the rumors start, but it's not that no one will buy vampire paranormals. It's that the market demands better, stronger books than most writers can write to compete with what's already out there.
Rumors are one thing, opinions are another. I like listening to what other writers think is happening within their genre. I went over to Jim Winter's weblog to bug him about the mystery genre and he offered some thoughtful insight on why thrillers are hot and cozies are not at the moment.