The next sumo-san trend

Dear Snark-san,

I've read countless warnings from agents admonishing writers against chasing a trend - e.g. books about schools of magic or what *really* happened to the Holy Grail - and instead urging them to concentrate on the story they feel most compelled to write. But what about the flip side? How does an agent know, or sense, that a submitted manuscript might be the start of the Next Great Trend? Did Helen Fielding's agent have a "eureka!" moment upon first reading "Bridget Jones's Diary"? Did Dan Brown's agent start pricing new Bentleys when he first read "The Da Vinci Code"? Did Spencer Johnson's agent exclaim, "vanishing cheese! Genius! Corporate America will be *all* over this!"

I've written something (currently in the query process) that, in the warped recesses of my brain, makes me think I might be on to the Next Great Trend. Naturally, I've refrained from mentioning this in my queries lest I appear too, um, nuts, but I remain curious as to how agents sniff these things out without a loyal pooch to sort the slush. There is, after all, only one Killer Yap and I can't imagine you'd let another agent's grubby paws mange his royal pelt.

Thank you for your time. In lieu of gin, I would like to offer a traditional straw-weave barrel of my mother's ancestors' favorite tipple, sake. And a stack of Kobe beef for KY. (domo arigato)

They don't. Trust me. We are as surprised as the next guy when things take off.

That's not to say I haven't SAID that to editors but I phrase it as "this isn't out there already, and it's good, and if you read it you'll agree".

Mostly though everyone figures out that something is hot when the sales force perks up their pointy little ears and starts salivating at sales conference.


Sherry Decker said...

The idea of trying to tag along on a famously-used idea is . . well, it's just boring. I'd lose interest fast and writing the book/story would fizzle. If you've actually come up with a new concept (there aren't any, really -but there are the unfamous ideas we can develop) then push push push and good luck!

S. W. Vaughn said...

Miss Snark! Anata wa Nihon-go ga hanashimasu ka?

Blast it. Why couldn't my chock-full-of-chop-sockey-action-packed novel (helpfully labeled by a certain anonymous blogging editor) have found its way to your desk?

Oh, the humanity...

gdotcom said...

"Bridget Jones's Diary" . . . you mean back when it was called "Pride and Prejudice"? heh heh