Thursday, 8 December 2011

Trends in Literature

I should have posted these a few weeks ago but I have been writing and rewriting and submitting. I am only now catching up with blog posts.

Here are a few bullet points from a talk given by The Society of Young Publishers back on the 25th October 2011, in a very cramped room in London. It was really hot and crammed with bodies so most of this is from memory and people who 'live-tweeted' the event.

Trends in Literature
Society of Young Publishers
25th October 2011

The panellists were Jo Rodgers (Literary Agent), Carrie Duffy (Author), Kate Bradley (Commissioning Editor, Harper Fiction), Emma McArthur (Bookseller), Kirsty Schaper (Commissioning Editor, Bloomsbury) and Sam Copeland (Literary Agent).

  • It’s the job of an agent to ignore trends – you can’t predict trends.
  • If you spot a trend then it’s probably not worth trying to write for that trend because it could be over by the time the book is over.
  • Series publishing is on the way up – easier for readers to stick with what they know – Mills and Boons are on the way up.
  • Recurring characters / sequels are the next big thing.
  • Richard and Judy have changed people’s perception of reading. More people want a challenge when reading.
  • Publishing is all about connecting the author with their readership.
  • Debut novelists need to build up a readership / have fans like long-term novelists. The best thing to do is have an internet presence e.g. blogs, Twitter, reviews, Facebook page. Need to be interactive / approachable.
  • Brands aren’t important to agents – they just want the publisher to be enthusiastic about the author. Publishers are concerned about brand but people aren’t ‘imprint’ loyal.
  • The panel believed that Amazon can’t do what Publishers do i.e. nurture careers.
  • Trends are unpredictable.

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