Queen Henrietta Maria
I have been asked to review a new novel for the Historical Novel Review Blog that is about to be published by a UK company. This is a second novel and a sequel to the author's first - an historical family saga. It's a great story, beautifully written and the kind of thing I love reading, and writing. However, I am told that publishers, in particular UK ones, won't accept family sagas, especially historical ones as they are considered 'unfashionable?'
So we are back to the old question, do authors write for the market, or simply what appeals and hope publishers will like it enough to buck the trends?
On a personal level, I have found that publishers often say they like my story/writing style/author voice etc, but still don't feel my novel 'fits with what they are publishing at the moment'.
According to agent blogs I have read lately, publishers are looking for short, [80k to 95k wordcount] romantically centred works. Writers should avoid taboo subjects like, rape, incest, kidnap, an evil hero, terminal illnesses, and terrorism. The guidelines state stories should include: 'wonderful characters, a strong plot, high levels of tension, and an ending that will make the reader swoon and wish she were in the heroine's place.'
Hmm.. easier said than done when you are trying to fit that in with historical events and real people - it makes me masochistic to say the least! That doesn't mean I won't keep trying though.