Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Art of the Barfly

I just returned from a weekend long writer's conference in my hometown. One of the great things about conferences is that writers can network with big editors and agents and even meet their own editors face to face. You get to pick and choose which workshops you want to attend and chat it up with other authors.

Funny thing is, at events like this, I love being a barfly and listening to industry professionals gab about the latest trends, best sellers and *gasp*...pitches from starry eyed writers. Barfly is the appropriate word too, not because I'm as much a part of the scenery as the bar stools but because I become like a fly on the wall. After a long plane ride, tons of workshops and hours of pitches, editors and agents want to relax too. And what is it about this profession? Many of us enjoy a good cocktail...or two or three. This is a great time to either strike up a conversation...not a pitch....big no no...but schmoozing with some of New York's finest is a big perk at these events.

So, do I have your attention now? Do you want to know some of the trends I'm hearing right from the mouth of the holy, holy agents and editors? From the very mouths of the folks that sign us? Listen up.

Number 1, paranormal is not going anywhere. Yes, I've heard that the market is saturated too. I've heard editors and agents will puke if they have to read another tale about a shifter or a vamp or a dragon or a fairy. Wrong. Big myth. From what I heard last weekend, paranormal is strong and growing, especially in the YA market. And it's not slowing down in the adult market either. Now we have erotic vamps too. How sexy is that? We even have mermaids lusting over vikings. Not to worry...if you're a paranormal author, you're red hot right now.

Number 2, Want to know what industry professionals are hungry for right now more than ever? I did. And I don't write it either but you might. Write it down. High concept science fiction. And hold onto your seats folks....this is a genre considered dead right now by many...thought I never thought so...I know many, many readers that love it and I don't ever see it going away. Historicals. Keep writing those babies. What kind of historicals are agents and editors hungry for right now? Erotic regency. So if you're talented enough to write these..uh...I wrote one and the research nearly killed me...go for it.

Number 3, Want to know what editors and agents are sick to death of seeing land in their inbox and pitch sessions? Sexy cops. Men in uniform. The industry is truly sick of the detective, fireman, policeman that comes to the lady's rescue. It's a tired old plot. From what I hear, don't even try it.

So, to recap...Paranormal is here to stay for Adult and YA. High concept SF is gaining steam and the NY elite are slobbering for ultra sexy historicals, especially regency. And no cops, detectives or men in uniform. Boring, boring, boring.

So, you see, there are more benefits to drinking red wine. Become a barfly like me at your next writer's conference. You won't be sorry.


Sandy said...

Hi there,
Saw the link to this post on the DARA group. I'm glad to hear paranormal isn't going away, and very, very happy to hear there's an interest in sci-fi, though I don't know if what I have is "high concept". It's more genre-crossing.

Thanks for sharing!


Alisha Paige said...

You're welcome, Sandy. I learned quite a bit by just listening to other people talking. I like to blend genres too. I'm happy to hear SF is coming back as well. I have many author friends that write SF.

MK Mancos/Kathleen Scott/Kate Davison said...

As far as the cop thing goes - I think it all depends on where you're sending. I don't see Harlequin or Silhouette doing away with them anytime soon in their category lines. They've been a main staple of their stable for a very long time.

SF- yay!!! Got that - lots of it. But what pubs are looking for it? I know TOR will read it, but who else? Do tell.


Mark Alders said...

Oh, Alisha, you are a gem. I write paranormal and sci-fi!!! Win/win!!!!




Tierney O'Malley said...


Thanks for sharing. I've never been to a writer's conference before. I have a YA Para waiting for my attention for months now. I better work on this baby.:)

Alisha Paige said...

Kate ~ I think you're right. I don't see the cop stories going anywhere either. Readers love those stories for a reason.

Mark ~ You're super hot! Isn't it cool to know you were writing for the market even when you didn't know it?

Tierney ~ Oooh, yes..work on that baby because paranormal YA is scorching hot. Strike now!

Gracen Miller said...

Wow, what an interesting blog today, Alisha. Thanks for sharing with us! Like Mark my main focus for writing is paranormal, but I do have a SF book I've been needing to edit for months now. Makes me a little more hungry to get back to it!

BTW, loved the last picture. Very gothic, vampirish, sultry looking.

Thanks for the info!

Regina Carlysle said...

This is fascinating!!!! Glad to know paranormals are hot and will probably stay that way. I still like mixing in a little contemporary, too. And erotic REGENCIES???? YAY...I write those. So glad they want them. We've been hearing for year that historicals are dead and dying but I've just never bought into that.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Great post- thanks for the info...

Any news on the return of humor???

Sierra Wolfe said...

Thanks for sharing Alisha! I've never been able to attend a conference, but I'm very excited to go to one.

Dana Fredsti said...

I'm not sure which I enjoyed more - the content of your post or the picture at the end of of it!

Given my love of red wine, I think I'm going to try your barfly approach at my next conference...

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