I frequently hear writers complain that publishing professionals are out of touch with lifestyles outside of the East Coast, or more specifically, the New York area, and that a very high percentage of fiction is set in these areas. Obviously my view on this might be a little distorted because I am a publishing professional, and certainly in the life of my career I’ve been shocked by the publication of some books that I knew would never sell because they were just too regional. But is the industry as a whole too regional? I tend not to think so. In fact, without even thinking about it, I can certainly come up with a long list of authors who stay very far away from New York or even the East Coast.
Certainly chick-lit books were set primarily in the New York area or London, but that was sort of the nature of those books. They tended to be about young urban professionals living the dream, and the settings coincided with the lifestyle that was expected of the heroine. That and the fact that the first successful books were set in London, the UK version of NYC.
As a native Minnesotan I tend to seek out what might be popular in other parts of the country, and in fact, one of my recent sales was a Bunco mystery series, a game I know is incredibly popular in the South and the Midwest, but not that well known in the New York area. Believe me when I tell you that I sent that book around with some facts and figures about the popularity of Bunco.
But you tell me. Do you feel that we are too regional in what we publish, and if we are, what do you feel we’re lacking?