In a recent blog post about how Timing Counts when sending your material to agents, I said, “At the time of the original query the proposal fit those guidelines. By the time it landed on my desk, however, the holes for that kind of book had been filled.”
And based on that comment one reader asked for more specifics. He said that he would like to see more posts on what exactly those holes are and what hooks are in vogue. He said he doesn’t want to hear vague answers like “looking for more historical romance,” but instead specifics like what hooks editors are looking for and what holes they need to have filled.
Unfortunately, the answers to what those holes are, are vague. Editors don’t say to me, I have a hole on my list, but to fill it I need a historical romance in which the heroine only wears pink dresses, eats donuts, and swears like a sailor. No, all of us, always, are only looking for really great books. What I meant by “holes” is that times have changed and trends have changed. Two years ago, for example, I might have been looking all over the place for really fabulous erotic romance. Now publishers have filled a lot of those holes, and while they are still actively buying new erotic romance, they aren’t buying as actively as they were two years ago. Because of that, the way we all look for and at erotic romance has changed. My guess is that if you look for what I was posting two years ago I was telling readers that publishers were looking for erotic romance.
I think I do keep you up to date on those trends and what those holes might be to the best of my abilities. Unfortunately, there’s no magic answer to getting the timing right. The best thing I can tell you is get out there and do your research. Look at what editors are buying and agents are selling and keep track of the trends that way. Mostly, though, don’t follow the trends at all. Just write your book, submit, and, trust me, you’ll find your time.