I stumbled across a piece on the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency’s blog today about what book editors want to see in 2013. The answers run the gammut, including “quirky books,” “popular subjects like World War II,” and “good books that sell.” And that last answer illuminates the problem: no one really quite seems to know what will sell and what won’t. The answer is one part good story, several parts good marketing, and a fair amount of good luck.
We writers can do some marketing ourselves, of course, and what we do can make some difference to a book’s success. We do make our own luck, too, by continuing to believe in ourselves – and sending out our work! – long after a reasonable person would have ceased to do so. But the only part of that recipe a writer has any real control over is the story. So I stand by the belief that we ought to write stories that stir our own passions.
If you want to see the fuller answers to what editors want, you can read the answers American editors gave. I confess I did give it a quick read, even though I could call up my editor and ask her myself. Go figure.
The image run with this post, by the way, is what I hope READERS will want in 2013! It’s a sequel of sorts to The Wednesday Sisters, which the sales numbers suggest fell into the category of “books that sell” – this one of the characters-who-read-books-and-form-a-writing-group variety which certainly, given its ending, also qualifies as “quirky.” Thank you all: I am eternally grateful for your support in the sales part of that, and for the support of the brilliant marketing team at Ballantine.
Happy writing in 2013! – Meg