Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Watching For Trends To Write To Market by @vscotttheauthor

by Veronica Scott

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to look into the future and know what the hot trends were going to be in the scifi romance field? Especially if you were trying to write to market?

I do a New Releases report every week on my blog, and have been doing it for well over a year now, and through that lens I can kind of see the trends as they develop, if not in advance.  Because of the sheer volume of new releases I look at in three genres every week – SFR, PNR and FantasyR – and the many sources I use (including authors sending me information) I do get a feel for what may be ‘hot’ soon. Reverse harem stories for one. I’ve been seeing a gradual increase in the number of them across all genres and in fact just interviewed some RH authors for my USA Today Happy Ever After platform. Definitely a growing favorite with a lot of readers.

Dragon shifters – I saw that one coming and sure enough, every week I have more and more dragon-themed stories. There are certain authors I watch (my little trade secret) and I have no idea how they figure it out, but if one of them suddenly starts releasing novels with a purple penguin shifter hero (to be ridiculous), I’ll know that’s the next hot place to be if you’re trying to write to market. In all honesty, I think the dragon craze may have been helped by the popularity of the character Daenarys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons in the ‘Game of Thrones’ TV series. Always a good idea to pay heed to what’s being presented and getting a lot of buzz in the movies and on TV.

Time travel is on a slight uptick…hello, ‘Outlander’….and probably also due to many really well done historical programs which are piquing reader interest in past times.

I’m seeing a new trend right now, of using the standard tropes from category romance – secret babies, billionaires, stepbrothers, fake fiancées and on and on – and just moving them bodily over to the SFR and PNR genres. And putting all those key words right into the title!

I hear whispers that cozy SFR will be next and when you figure that formula out, let me know because I want to write something that can have one of those adorable cozy covers! I do think the Ilona Andrews Innkeeper series could almost fall into this category. It’ll be interesting to see how ‘cozy’ gets redefined for scifi romance if it happens.

And I’m betting on the continued popularity of fairy tales and the whole “marry a prince” trope, thanks to Harry and Meghan.

I don’t write to market, as it happens. I write what I write – that’s what my Muse presents to me to put on the paper (or into the computer) and what I enjoy reading the most as well, so I’m only an observer of these specific trends. The nice thing about being independently published is that if I did want to try to jump on a hot trend, I have the flexibility to do so and get a properly edited book out in 4-6 weeks, versus the much longer timetable at a trad pub house. And once established, a popular subgenre like cyborg romances tend to remain favorites with readers for a long time and as they evolve, creative authors think of new twists and fun developments to keep the stories fresh.

What trend do you see coming? Or wish would take off with readers?

There was fortune telling of a different sort in my most recent scifi romance, The Fated Stars, with my hero Samell being an alien empath held captive and forced to deliver fake fortunes while he was actually spying. Here’s a short excerpt from the book where Samell and Larissa, my kickass space mercenary heroine, are discussing what he does. The conversation is taking place mind to mind, in a dream. Samell is speaking

“The most venerated legends of my race are about warriors and priestesses, and the noble deeds they accomplished together. Rarely, if ever, do the stories feature a priest and a female warrior, although we’ve had many famous women fighters in our history. You intrigued me, Larissa Channer, on many levels.”

“You can cut the flattery—it doesn’t work on me. Better men than you have tried.”

He surveyed her from head to toe with open admiration. “Their loss.”

“I’m gonna wake myself up in a minute, if you continue this chatter. Or touch me again without my permission, even in a dream.” She took a deep breath because despite her stern warning, she was craving his touch and wanted to run her hands freely over his body. Her attraction to him was scary in intensity, so unlike her. “Stick to the facts.”

“As you prefer. I told you the truth—I’m a prisoner and Kinterow forces me to do his bidding. I extract information from certain minds, as the controller commands. I deliver meaningless ‘fortunes’ to anyone who enters the tent, based on what my power to read emotions tells me the person most wants to hear.”

“So you’re a telepathic empath.”

“You can categorize my gifts from Thuun as you wish.”

“Why did you lie to the sheriff? Why didn’t you take the chance I gave you?” She couldn’t keep the bitterness out of her tone. “You let me take big risks for nothing.”

“I’m one of many kidnapped from my world. Kinterow threatened the lives of the others if I said anything but what he commanded to the sheriff. He says he holds many Tulavarran imprisoned.”

“Did you ever consider he could be lying?”

Samell leaned closer. “He also threatened to have you killed in the prison if I disobeyed.”

She snorted. “I’d like to have seen him try.”

The story:

Larissa Channer, a tough no-nonsense mercenary in the Sectors, is celebrating success on her last job and a big bonus, with no slightest thought of taking on another assignment anytime soon. Out for a night of carousing with her friends at a third rate carnival on a backwater planet, she walks into the tent of a fake fortune teller and finds herself confronting the most intriguing man she’s ever seen. But something’s wrong, ominous currents lie beneath the surface of their encounter and Larissa can’t leave well enough alone.

Samell, a powerful, high born empathic priest, has been kidnapped from his own primitive planet along with a number of his people, and sold to the shady operator of an interstellar carnival. Kept enslaved, pretending to be a fortune teller while forced by his captor to steal information from the minds of all who come before him, Samell despairs of every breaking free.

Until Larissa walks into his tent and he recognizes the warrior who might mean the difference between life and death.

The situation becomes dire when Larissa and Samell come to the attention of the Shemdylann pirates who kidnapped him in the first place and the deadly Mawreg, aliens who threaten the Sectors. Can she save herself and the empathic alien noble, and derail the Mawreg plot against the Sectors? And will the soldier end up with her prince when all’s said and done?

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USA Today Best Selling Author
“SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happy Ever After blog

 Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances!

 She was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I agree with you -- there are certain trend-spotter authors who always seem to be ahead of the curve. You're in a good position to jump in early!


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