Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Trend Versus Fad

I'm not ready to come back to blogging quite yet, but I've been thinking about this subject quite a bit lately and decided to post about it.

Now that I've got a little distance from the process of writing Bad Boy, my second novel for NAL (a division of Penguin), I want to talk about changing markets. While my genre is erotic romance, I believe the concept is universal to genre fiction.

It's been three years since I wrote Bad Girl and more than a year since its publication. I began writing Bad Boy during the holidays last year--about two and a half years after writing the first in the series.

In that period of time it seemed to me that erotic romance had experienced a significant shift. When I first began writing erotic romance--and when I was one of the founders of Passionate Ink, the erotic romance chapter for RWA--there was a distinct difference between erotica and erotic romance.

The distance between the two has shrunk considerably in the thirty months since. What I would have once considered erotica is now generally accepted in erotic romance.

In other words, the erotic romance market has become much more graphic and much more hard-edged. The result is that the novel I would have written a year ago was not the novel which will be published next spring.

We always hear the advice given to writers to read widely in their genre and to know their market.

The thing is, markets are not static creatures. They evolve and change. This means that writers must pay attention to that evolution.

We also hear not to chase markets by trying to write something that is popular at this moment. I'm beginning to thank this is dangerous advice because it may result in a writer confusing a sea change with a popular trend.

I'd be interested to hear from other writers . . . and readers.


Stephen Parrish said...

Who creates new trends but the writers themselves?

Maya Reynolds said...

[grin] Excellent, Stephen!