Literary-trends

Wondering what types of submissions tend to excite literary journal editors, and which ones they’re most likely to turn down? At Writer’s Relief, we spend hundreds (probably thousands) of hours tracking publishing trends in literary journals so we can give you the scoop on what’s hot right now…and what’s not.

Click the image to read on.   

10 Literary Trends that Need to Go Away

1. Lackluster graphic novel/comic book adaptations
   …the medium itself isn’t the problem here… The issue lay with the idea behind graphic novel and comic book cash-ins just because it’s the thing to do, paying little heed to the original story, the medium or both.

2. “Self-help” guides doing more harm than good
   Fun Fact: That “The Secret” thing the kids were into a few years ago? The whole “law of attraction” thing essentially foists the blame of abuse and suffering onto innocent victims. What a concept!

3. Bandwagon-jumping
   Exploiting narrative and trope trends is about as new as the Marianas Trench and probably won’t stop happening until never.

4. Self-indulgent celebrity memoirs
   Publishing resources that could go towards brand new, talented writers with something fresh and interesting to say instead supporting the same old “fame totally happened, oh man I lost everything, but yay, spirituality” narrative. These people get (or got) enough attention as it is, earned or not.

5. “Revolutionary” diet plans
   Here’s the only diet plan anyone needs. Exercise regularly. Practice portion control. Eat a diet comprised primarily of nutritious foods. No book necessary.

6. Celebrity authors who just can’t write
   Lauren Conrad, another bafflingly famous “personality” who arguably doesn’t really do much of anything…ended up on the bestseller list. Twice.

7. “Women’s literature” with reductionist views of women
   Enjoying fluffy, escapist reads carries absolutely no shame, but the problem lay with some of the disconcerting tropes. Like how “women’s literature” tends towards problems involving men and shoes, painting its protagonists as shrill, empty-headed, materialistic archetypes instead of real people. Or the fact that so many books ostensibly about the ladies always seems to involve men. Specifically, attracting, keeping and tolerating the fact that they just aren’t perfect.

8. Remixing the classics
   Although this definitely falls under bandwagonning, the added element of building on popular public domain works adds an extra literary dimension. Yeah, the cheekiness definitely amuses, but the market’s become quite saturated with them. Enough already!

9. Assuming genre fiction has nothing to say
   When it comes to science-fiction, for example, Snow Crash says just as much about the human condition and experience as most classics with a grounding in reality — and considering its technological themes (even prediction of services such as Second Life!), eerily resonates today. Rebecca and some Sherlock Holmes books really deliver academically when it comes to mysteries, but how about The New York Trilogy? And so forth. Scratching the surface makes a great introduction to different genres, but try and find examples beyond the tried and true to really diversify the canon.

10. Dismissing all self-published literature
   …self-published writers run the gamut from creative, thought-provoking and talented to those so genuinely frightening and outright offensive that linking them here would probably cause the FBI to shut this whole site down.

——–

The list is not the most well-written articulation of some of the publishing industry’s prejudices and problems, but it is well-balanced. And may I just add: NUMBERS 4 AND 9, 4&9!

Click-through to the article to read longer explanations of each point.

Literary Trends on Both Sides of the Pond



Guest blog by Isabella Woods

With Christmas fast approaching and consumers feeling the pinch of recent budget cuts, the battle is on the High St to entice Christmas shoppers inside their tinsle laden interiors to spend their precious pennies.

In the last decade, technology has dramatically affected the way that consumers read. With updated versions of e-readers and i-pad’s hitting the shelves over the next few weeks, where does that leave the likes of WHSmith’s and Waterstones when it comes to buying literature?

Slaughter of the innocents

 More than 800 bookshops have shut in the past five years, including almost 400 independent outlets, according to new figures from the Booksellers Association of UK and Ireland. Major book retailers are being forced to cut their prices and it’s not an uncommon site to see ‘buy one get one free’ deals on immaculate hardcovers to encourage that all important Christmas consumer, full of mulled wine and on his way to compare broadband deals at the pub.

In our modern world, there has been an increased interest for e-readers such as Amazon.com’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Sony’s Reader. Rather than trying to wedge our dog-eared paperbacks into our bags, we are now convenienced with downloadble novels in their hundreds within the slimline gadgets.

Sales of e-books increased by 318% in 2010 and many predict that at least 50% of all books sold within 10 years will be digital downloads. Does it really share the same sentiment to receive a gift certificate for Amazon in order to download your fiction, or is it really better to receive an old-fashioned book?

There seems to be a similar electronic landslide in the US, where Net e-book sales in January were reported to have accumulated $69.9 million in revenue for their publishers, which amounts to a 116 percent jump from last year’s total for the month. During the same period, adult hardcovers were down 11.3 percent to $49.1 million and paperbacks faced a similar reduction in demand and fell to $83.6 million, a steep drop of 19.7 percent year-on-year.

However, back in the UK, there seems to be an unlikely profiteer in the form of the supermarket. Publishers and Literary agents are more likely to keep a keen eye on what’s making Tesco’s Top 10 fiction, as sales at supermarkets and “mixed multiples”, such as high street shops like Mothercare, rose by 7% in 2010, an increase of around £14.9m in value terms.

Retailer Analyst, Kate Clavert, said: “I think there is a general trend of supermarkets taking an increasing share of the non-food spend. They can also pitch their pricing lower than the high street, which is something they can do economically. Amazon.com is now selling more e-books than paperback books, so their business has shifted too.“

Public libraries - now available in pocket size

Since the spending cuts have been introduced, libraries are facing a bleak future. Are they an easy target for government cuts or are we as a society not using the services of this institution as we once did? I regularly visit the library with my young children, but other than children, students and the elderly, are the books really being borrowed as much as they once were? The libraries are pulling out all the stops to bring back local support it seems, with more in-house events such as film clubs, book clubs and craft fairs being held. There has also been an increase of computers for internet use installed within the library itself. It does seem ironic while a few people scour the shelves for a book to read, a queue is forming for people to log on to the available computers in order to check their e-mail accounts.

According to Public Libraries News, “More than 360 libraries and nearly 30 mobile services in England are under threat of closure this year as councils respond to the recession and government funding cuts.”

I hope that the libraries stay open. I take full advantage of borrowing books that would ordinarily cost me £10 from a book shop. I haven’t yet dipped my toe into the future of e-reading, I am hoping that the likes of Waterstone’s shop windows continue to burst with eye-catching books to entice me inside. But, on a recent train journey, I couldn’t help but notice a plethora of commuters sat tapping on their Smartphones or engrossed in their Kindles, a random few with a paperback or newspaper. Will the book become obsolete, down the same path as vinyl or VHS, is the future really Kindle?

Isabella Woods is a professional writer for numerous websites and publications.
Filed Under: Nose-stalgia

As the literary world creeps into the cloud, it’s normal to feel a sense of nostalgia for the thick glossy covers and crisp printed pages of times past. But thanks to Demeter’s Paperback Cologne, you can keep some of that irreplaceable reading experience alive. Reminiscent of your favorite read, the perfume blends aged paper scents with hints of violets and potpourri to keep you (or whatever you spray) smelling authentic, but not too musty. Priced between $6 and $40, you might as well grab a bottle while you can and recreate your favorite library spot. At the very least, save some so your future grandkids will be able to know what “real books” once smelled like. 

Literary Trends on Both Sides of the Pond



Guest blog by Isabella Woods

With Christmas fast approaching and consumers feeling the pinch of recent budget cuts, the battle is on the High St to entice Christmas shoppers inside their tinsle laden interiors to spend their precious pennies.

In the last decade, technology has dramatically affected the way that consumers read. With updated versions of e-readers and i-pad’s hitting the shelves over the next few weeks, where does that leave the likes of WHSmith’s and Waterstones when it comes to buying literature?

Slaughter of the innocents

 More than 800 bookshops have shut in the past five years, including almost 400 independent outlets, according to new figures from the Booksellers Association of UK and Ireland. Major book retailers are being forced to cut their prices and it’s not an uncommon site to see ‘buy one get one free’ deals on immaculate hardcovers to encourage that all important Christmas consumer, full of mulled wine and on his way to compare broadband deals at the pub.

In our modern world, there has been an increased interest for e-readers such as Amazon.com’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Sony’s Reader. Rather than trying to wedge our dog-eared paperbacks into our bags, we are now convenienced with downloadble novels in their hundreds within the slimline gadgets.

Sales of e-books increased by 318% in 2010 and many predict that at least 50% of all books sold within 10 years will be digital downloads. Does it really share the same sentiment to receive a gift certificate for Amazon in order to download your fiction, or is it really better to receive an old-fashioned book?

There seems to be a similar electronic landslide in the US, where Net e-book sales in January were reported to have accumulated $69.9 million in revenue for their publishers, which amounts to a 116 percent jump from last year’s total for the month. During the same period, adult hardcovers were down 11.3 percent to $49.1 million and paperbacks faced a similar reduction in demand and fell to $83.6 million, a steep drop of 19.7 percent year-on-year.

However, back in the UK, there seems to be an unlikely profiteer in the form of the supermarket. Publishers and Literary agents are more likely to keep a keen eye on what’s making Tesco’s Top 10 fiction, as sales at supermarkets and “mixed multiples”, such as high street shops like Mothercare, rose by 7% in 2010, an increase of around £14.9m in value terms.

Retailer Analyst, Kate Clavert, said: “I think there is a general trend of supermarkets taking an increasing share of the non-food spend. They can also pitch their pricing lower than the high street, which is something they can do economically. Amazon.com is now selling more e-books than paperback books, so their business has shifted too.“

Public libraries - now available in pocket size

Since the spending cuts have been introduced, libraries are facing a bleak future. Are they an easy target for government cuts or are we as a society not using the services of this institution as we once did? I regularly visit the library with my young children, but other than children, students and the elderly, are the books really being borrowed as much as they once were? The libraries are pulling out all the stops to bring back local support it seems, with more in-house events such as film clubs, book clubs and craft fairs being held. There has also been an increase of computers for internet use installed within the library itself. It does seem ironic while a few people scour the shelves for a book to read, a queue is forming for people to log on to the available computers in order to check their e-mail accounts.

According to Public Libraries News, “More than 360 libraries and nearly 30 mobile services in England are under threat of closure this year as councils respond to the recession and government funding cuts.”

I hope that the libraries stay open. I take full advantage of borrowing books that would ordinarily cost me £10 from a book shop. I haven’t yet dipped my toe into the future of e-reading, I am hoping that the likes of Waterstone’s shop windows continue to burst with eye-catching books to entice me inside. But, on a recent train journey, I couldn’t help but notice a plethora of commuters sat tapping on their Smartphones or engrossed in their Kindles, a random few with a paperback or newspaper. Will the book become obsolete, down the same path as vinyl or VHS, is the future really Kindle?

Isabella Woods is a professional writer for numerous websites and publications.
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