I've been watching Burn Notice on USA and what I like about this show is that it's funny, it's got interesting characters, and there's a little something for everyone. I think they have a shot at a wider-than-usual demographic with this show. And as anyone in television will tell you, hitting a wide demographic is what makes a show successful. Also hitting the right demos, i.e., the ones with disposable income.
Fortunately, publishing is not as dependent upon disposable income as television advertising. Sure, publishers sell more hardcovers when the economy is booming, but people still buy books if it's not doing great. Though libraries no doubt get more traffic when the economy is dragging. Still, I recently looked at a novel and was shocked to find it priced at $9.99. The publisher was being a bit sneaky, I thought. It's a tiny bit bigger than a mass-market paperback, but probably not so big that it would not be racked like a mass-market paperback. The print was a bit bigger than usual. But I would have preferred a $6.99 paperback to a $9.99 really-a-trade-paperback. That said, I bet the slightly larger type would be worth it to one demographic: aging baby-boomers. As our sight goes, our enjoyment of reading can follow. But Large Print books, or in the case of this one book, larger-than-average-print books, relieve that problem. And there are specific genres that particularly benefit from these larger formats, as they tend to appeal, I feel, to an older audience. With this in mind, I'm looking for...
- Mysteries, especially Cozy Mysteries
- Espionage novels
- Suspense Fiction
But keep in mind that I want books that are as much character-driven as high-concept, with strong characters likely more important overall. Suspense or Thrillers with a Paranormal Element are also good. But—and this is very important—plots that involve intellectual puzzles that allow the reader to try and figure it out with the protagonist are of great interest.
Of course, you have to be a compelling writer and be able to keep the reader turning the pages. And, other than with paranormal stories, I think you have to keep things within the realm of plausibility and also avoid being cliché. You also need to get the details right. Too often I get submissions in these genres that have the FBI guarding the President, rather than the Secret Service. Or they create some super-secret unit of the military when there are already units that would fill the bill. In short, if you aren't willing to do the research and get it right, then perhaps you're writing in the wrong genre. But if you are a research junkie who can also make the pages turn like the wind, I want to hear from you.