I’m a big believer in the fact that a good story is always going to be a good story however publishing, like most businesses, is very trend led. When it comes to memoirs especially, tapping into a particular trend can mean the difference between getting your book published or not.
A trend can be sparked by anything such as a film or a TV programme. When I first started ghostwriting around seven years ago, publishers were clamoring for nostalgia memoirs largely due to the huge popularity of TV shows such as ‘Call the Midwife’, ‘Mr Selfridge’ and ‘Downton Abbey’. So the memoir market was awash with tales from servants below stairs, shop girls, Norland nannies, miners and midwives. This wave of literary nostalgia also provided me with my first ghostwriting project which was the story of a Pan Am air hostess from the 1960s. Again a US TV show had sparked a renewed interest in the good old days of the airline and this book tapped into that.
More recently the buzz words seem to be ‘narrative non fiction’ and the past couple of years have seen a spate of professional memoirs. From the legal profession laid bare in ‘The Secret Barrister (whose anonymous author is currently writing a follow up) to a multitude of medical and nursing memoirs from brain surgeons, palliative care nurses and forensic pathologists. Topped off by perhaps the most successful of all in this particular genre – Adam Kay’s tales of being a junior doctor in ‘This is Going to Hurt’ which actually started life as a stage show and was a Sunday Times number one bestseller for over seven months.
So when you’re pitching your book or even thinking about what to write it’s always helpful to keep an eye on what’s ‘on trend’ as that can give you a helping hand to publication.