I took some excellent notes at the [RWA Spring Fling Conference] conference this weekend. Here’s the insider scoop —directly from workshops and the bar. (You have to guess which is actually the better source for “what’s hot” info.)

  • Middle grade (all kinds—contemporary, historical, paranormal, fantastical). This is fiction aimed at the 10- to 14-year-old reader and runs in the 30,000 to 60,000 word count. Want an example? Follow Stefan Bachmann’s debut for THE PECULIAR at
  • For contemporary romance, I heard people drooling over cowboys, westerns, and anything with a cat.
  • Victorian historical romance (historical romance set in the later 1800s instead of the typical Regency time frame of 1814-1816).
  • Anything and everything funny (like Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and since I’m biased about it, like Tiffany Reisz).


Sarah Megibow is an Associate Literary Agent at the Nelson Literary Agency. This post was taken from their most recent newsletter. To get more great industry news, subscribe to their newsletter.

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I know this is going to make me seem clueless, but what the heck is literary fiction? Or Commercial fiction? Admittedly a dork.

Literary fiction is generally more serious in tone and message. It makes you think. The content is more about thought and feeling than plot and action (although there is plot and action in it). It is character driven and deals with emotions and experiences that are universal to the human condition. The writing style is also elegant, picturesque, descriptive.

Examples of literary fiction are: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Poisonwood Bible, and a lot of the titles you read in high school English classes. Or books that win The Pulitzer Prize for fiction and other literary awards.

Commercial fiction (also called mainstream or genre fiction) is generally more plot driven, faster paced, often deals with current social problems. Look at any fiction best-seller list to find examples of commercial fiction.

Nathan Bransford talks about it HERE.

Great article HERE.

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Juvenile vs Traditional Fiction

November 10, 2009

I’m suspending Writing Tip Tuesday for a bit because 1) I’ve got lots of questions in the que, and 2) I can’t think of a tip today. What’s the difference between juvenile literature and traditional fiction? I swear that some books I read could be either. Juvenile literature, more commonly divided into the two categories […]

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Memoirs—To Write or Not to Write

November 4, 2009

I’ve been asked to comment about memoir. Keep in mind as you read this that other publishers will have different opinions on this. I have published memoirs over the years. None of them have made money. None of them have even recovered the costs. Also, in the many years that I was an acquisitions editor, […]

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What qualifies a novel as "historical?"

November 2, 2009

If I want to write a “historical” novel, everyone tells me there needs to be a purpose to setting a novel in that era. I’m currently reading a book titled: “What I Saw, and How I Lied,” by Judy Blundell. It’s a National Book Award winner. It’s about a young high school aged girl, set […]

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Category Faux Pas

June 8, 2009

Would you be interested in publishing my non-fiction novel about my life as a Mormon in the backwoods of Canada? No, because there is no such thing as a non-fiction novel. novel: a fictitious prose narrative of considerable length and complexity, portraying characters and usually presenting a sequential organization of action and scenes. ( non-fiction: […]

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What’s With All the Fantasy?

May 20, 2009

I noticed in the Whitney Awards that not only is there a Speculative Fiction category, but all of the Youth Fiction category nominees were fantasy. What’s with all the fantasy? Uhmm, that’s what is popular right now. The Whitney’s, being a reader nominated award, is going to reflect the general popularity. Right now, fantasy is […]

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LDS Chick Lit

July 30, 2008

Do you think there is a market for LDS chick lit? Do you think that labelling a manuscript as chick lit in a query letter will help or hurt with a publisher? P.S. Thanks for keeping this blog up, hornet nests aside. It’s helpful. Chick Lit: a genre of fiction targeted to, and written by […]

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Top Three Genres

June 19, 2008

I have a question that might be interesting and useful to answer. Recently Candace Salima hosted a survey on her blog about what types of LDS fiction readers like most. She said that Historical Fiction came in as #1. Is there anyway to find out what are the top three best-selling genres in LDS fiction? […]

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What would I like to see more of?

June 5, 2008

What would you like to see more of in the LDS book market? Less of? I think the market is heavy on romance. It’s not that I’d like to see less of it, but I’d like to see more of other genres to help balance it out. We also have an upsurge of speculative fiction […]

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Is LDS Fiction a Genre?

March 12, 2008

Dear LDS Publisher, I recently put a question on my blog about the LDS market. It has been in my mind for some time, and I am really trying to find the answer. I had a few readers and authors give me their opinion, but I’d really like yours, too, if you don’t mind. My […]

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What’s Lacking in the LDS Market

February 11, 2008

What kind of a book would you like to see someone write? What’s lacking in the LDS market? What I’d like to see and what will sell well are sometimes two different things. Personally, I’d like to see more realistic YA that deals with some of the tough things in life from an LDS perspective, […]

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Straight or Not?

January 23, 2008

Do you think romance novels need to include mystery, suspense, or other elements to be successful in today’s LDS market or can a straight romance sell? I personally prefer loads of a little mystery or suspense mixed in with my romance. But there are plenty of straight romance stories out there, with little or no […]

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