In a recent conversation with writers, the topic of “What will be the Next Big Thing?” came up. Is it Urban Fantasy? Paranormal Romance? Steampunk? Dystopias? Serial Killer Novels? The writers in question had varied thoughts, but the two most successful (defined here as A. Making their living from writing and B. Having lots of books published) both opined that one doesn’t chase trends.
Why not chase trends to be successful? First, the long process of publishing makes trends hard to catch, and it seems to involve luck. Second, because the next big thing is in part an artifact of a publisher pushing for something to be the next big thing–money is made by providing what is desired, so craft the desire towards what you have. Third, don’t chase trends; Do what you love, tell the tales you want to tell, hone your art to improve it on what you want.
On further discussion we reached an interesting point. The publishing world has contracted, fractured, been redefined, genre shifted, and been driven by new technology all at once. Who really truly knows which way is up, or where the future trends come from?
In an attempt to find trends, an experiment was tried: Take two or three themes, combine them, then look on either Amazon or Goodreads for books of that sort. If you want to go deeper, look up tropes, and construct your combined genre from them.
Our first attempt was for Harem Romances. This returns a surprisingly large number of books. So, let’s mix it up: Reverse Harem Romances. Wait! This has a MAJOR following in Anime areas, including lists of good/bad/hated, and lists of sub-tropes: Blind to love, Dense, Villainess…
So, let’s add one more: Paranormal Reverse Harem Romance. Dystopian Reverse Harem Romance. Steampunk Reverse Harem Romance. Each of these will return a list of books, and commentary on the field.
My conclusion so far? Write what you will and what you want to read – there is an audience out there for it. Now getting to that audience–well, write it first!