Sunday, 7 October 2012
Historical Novel Society Conference 2012 Part 3
So, what do publishers want? Well, they want concept, as I mentioned in my first report on the Conference. They want the zingingly economical pitch-phrase that they can sling at the in-house marketing folks before it becomes the hook to sell the book. They want the same but different - they always have. They want the fresh voice and the fresh angle, but the paradox is that the angle needs to be easily comprehensible as a marketing definition. The book needs to offer something that's different from the other titles on their list, it needs to have strong dialogue (always a challenge in HF) and a great character who drives the story and with whom the reader can feel involved.
Laura talked of reading-group appeal: she likes books with issues for debate, well-written yet accessible and thoughtful. This is the sort of fiction for which the patronising term 'lit-lite' was invented.
Both Laura and Jade said cross-genre novels were a current selling-point, where you mash up more than one genre, (Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, anyone?), citing an upcoming novel featuring a time-travelling serial killer. SF + thriller + HF! Cue various writers in the room face-palming - now why didn't I think of that!
Reputation is a story I really loved writing and its events take place slightly later than the era my current novel-in-progress is set in. Reaching the Final of the Award was a great morale-boost.
[Additional: links to the other four reports on HNS 2012:
A reminder: next Wednesday, 10th October 2012, is when bookings will close for my next Fictionfire Focus Workshop, I Need a Hero, on 13th October.
In the workshop we'll be exploring how to create believable and sympathetic heroes and heroines. How do we define heroes? How do we stop them from being too good to be true?
Full details of this and the other workshops in the series are at http://literascribe.blogspot.co.uk/2012_08_01_archive.html and on my website www.fictionfire.co.uk