Ups and Downs

on February 2, 2006

Over at Kristin Nelson‘s blog, she wrote about the state of the chick lit market

Why would a suspense writer even care about the chick lit market?

Because we’re sisters. Or brothers-in-arms. Or any other cliche you can think of.

The truth is, chick lit today is where romantic suspense was 3-5 years ago.

When chick lit first became really popular, maybe about three years ago, good writers who had a good manuscript were bought up in very nice deals across the board. Publishers were snatching up new authors right and left, and established writers with the right tone were moving into the up-and-coming market. Readers couldn’t get enough of them. Publishers couldn’t get the books out fast enough. The industry was in a tailspin, trying to meet demand with a limited supply.

But, like everything, the market became saturated. Selling chick lit became a whole lot harder. Publication dates, instead of six-to-nine months down the road, are not 18-24 months down the road. The market has tightened.

According to Kristin Nelson:

If you are new and want to break in, you pretty much have to reinvent the genre to impress the editors. I’ve been reading some chick lit sample chapters recently. The ones I’ve seen are well done and cute but that’s not going to cut it anymore.

Bingo! That’s exactly what happened to the romantic suspense market. Just like with chick lit now, romantic suspense became more competitive. There were enough books on the market to satisfy demand, so it became harder for new authors to break in, unless they were doing something a little different.

I’ve told the fabulous gals on the chick lit loop the same thing. Publishers want chick lit, but they don’t want what’s been done. They need something a little new, a little different, a little daring. Cutting edge.

And in romantic suspense, to break in you need the exact same thing.

The readers are there. Readers read, they want more books, and Nora Roberts can only write six books a year. There are spots to fill, so keep the faith: write, improve, write more, get better, do something different, push boundaries, be bold and daring.

No matter what you write, where your voice is–chick lit or suspense–there are readers for the books. You just have to shine a little brighter to be noticed.