Ever worried that the kind of novel you’re writing will suddenly hit market saturation and you won’t have a market for it anymore?
Carrie posted this question on my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page:
I have a number of ideas snowflaked to one degree or another. While they represent a number of genres (literary, mystery, cozy, etc.), a lot of them involve conspiracies or one kind or another and most of those are set in the near future, with the government or some arm of the government being the primary conspirator.
Perhaps it’s a sign of the times, but it seems like a lot of people are doing ‘conspiracy theory’ novels, from Joel Rosenberg to Seth. Even me.
Can as broad a topic as ‘conspiracy theories’ reach the point of saturation with readers, editors and publishers?
If so, are we anywhere near that point with conspiracies?
To rephrase it, how do I know my story will not be ‘just another kook fringe story among millions’?
Randy sez: Conspiracy stories have been around for a good long while. Robert Ludlum was writing them in the 1970s. I suspect people will still be reading this kind of novel a hundred years from now — as long as people don’t trust big corporations, big governments, big media, or big whatever.
While there are ups and downs in every category, some things just don’t go out of fashion.
Romance, the last time I looked, was still in vogue. Simple reason for that. Real people still fall in love.
Ditto for thrillers. Ditto for horror. Again, a simple reason. People like to be scared.
Likewise for mysteries. People like to figure out puzzles and admire the detectives who do it better than any real person could.
Same goes for fantasy. People like to imagine other worlds. The fantasy genre goes back a long, long way, if you remember that fantasy in the 20th century was begun as an attempt to return to what people called “fairy tales” or “myths.”
Science fiction will be around as long as there are people who like to wonder what the future is going to be like, and as long as science looks like it has the capacity to make our lives amazingly better (or amazingly worse).
It’s true that certain subcategories have dipped in popularity. I gather that westerns aren’t as popular as they used to be. Chick lit had a rapid rise in the late 1990s and has taken an equally rapid dive, but the same kind of book is still being written — they just quit calling it “chick lit” when the cutesy term quit being so cutesy.
As for those pesky conspiracy thrillers, I’m pretty sure we’ll have them as long as people don’t trust the government. Of course, if They ever do actually take over, They will probably crush the authors who write conspiracy novels, and then this genre will suddenly disappear. So the existence of conspiracy thrillers is actually pretty good evidence that they’re overstating the case. (Unless They decide to allow conspiracy thrillers to still be written, as a way of keeping us in ignorance that They have already taken control. In which case, the existence of conspiracy thrillers is very subtle evidence that They are already pulling all the strings.)
If you’ve got a question you’d like me to answer in public on this blog, hop on over to my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page and submit your question. I’ll answer them in the order they come in.