Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Coolhunting The Next Big Thing
I remember the first time I caught sight of the kid’s cartoon, SpongeBob SquarePants. I believe my exact words were, “That’ll never last.” The original episode aired on May 1, 1999 and it’s still on the air.
Red soled shoes. Christian Louboutin "In 1992 I incorporated the red sole into the design of my shoes. This happened by accident as I felt that the shoes lacked energy so I applied red nail polish to the sole of a shoe. This was such a success that it became a permanent fixture." Don’t be afraid to venture outside the box.
Would I have predicted the success of a television show featuring a bunch of outcast high school students who come together and find a place to belong in the Glee club? Nope. I’m a total Gleek but I’d never have predicted its success.
What about this prediction: Some fads never make it from Europe to North America, but trend watchers are betting that men’s tights will overcome the odds. Last week, Victor Fiorillo from Philadelphia magazine waxed poetic about the women’s pantyhose he bought at a drugstore, noting that they’re warmer than long johns and would look good under ripped jeans. Yes, they’re talking about mantyhose. If this actually becomes a trend it’ll have more to do with karma than anything.
But what’s this got to do with writing? Well, agents are certainly on the lookout for the next ‘new’ voice. The next great novel. Maybe even new subgenre. They must be aware of trends. It must be part of the job description.
After all we’ve taken vampires, werewolves, and other monsters and made them desirable. We’ve taken the stuff that nightmares are made of and turned them into heroes.
What about erotic romance? They continue to gain favor and have found their place in the romance genre.
Chick lit came and went.
As writers we need to be aware of trends but not let them dictate the direction of your work. To read industry articles and blogs or follow twitter links. This doesn’t mean we don’t grow, learn and expand on our knowledge base.
It’s about understanding the kind of writer you are. If, as an aspiring author, your heart’s desire to get published and nothing else matters, you’d better have your finger of the pulse of the industry and you’d better write fast. And have the ‘voice’ for it. Having a book go from being acquired to appearing on the bookstore shelves takes time. What happens if your trend dies before it makes it to the shelves?
You can’t write what you don’t love reading, have a passion for, or feel a connection to.
So follow a trend or follow your gut? Many of us wouldn’t hesitate to say, “Follow your gut.” But what if what you write isn’t popular at the moment. What if it’s unusual? What if it doesn’t mesh with current trends? Following your gut can be risky.
That’s where the quality of the writing comes into play. If you have a manuscript with a well-developed plot, characters to care about, and have taken the time to make sure it’s polished to perfection, someone will notice. You and mantyhose could be the next big thing.
Know yourself, know your style, trust your voice. As hooky as it might sound to some, trust in the universe to provide you with your heart’s desire.
What trends do you see for the future of romance writing? What trends have surprised you? Do you fear writing the unmarketable book?