What are some upcoming trends for the next year?

A trend I’ve seen which may continue is a change in the publisher model. More independent publishers are offering no advance, royalties that are sometimes higher than traditional royalties, and a required earn-out of production costs. Occasionally, those production costs are shared by the author and publisher. An example is Diversion Books, which began as a digital publisher. They now publish print books as POD [print-on-demand] and position themselves as a P&E [print and electronic] publisher.

Even established small publishers, which in the past offered advances and royalties, are offering this hybrid publication model. I say hybrid because it’s not self-publishing. The lists are curated like traditional publishing lists. The author doesn’t pay up front for publication, though I’ve heard of a small publisher that does require some initial investment.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see more small publishers offering nontraditional contracts.

What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?

I love fiction and would be delighted to see a contemporary women’s novel dealing with the lives of women 50 and over. I’m a fan of crime fiction, so a juicy crime novel with an unfamiliar setting and a fresh protagonist would be a great read.

What are a few published books that fit the criteria of what you’re looking for?

That’s tough, as the point is there are too few such examples. One is Jeanne Ray (Julie and Romeo and Step-Ball-Change). I’d like to see 50-something women in books similar to those of Liane Moriarty, Adriana Trigiani, Dorothea Benton Frank

For crime, my taste is diverse. I like Louise Penny, Donna Leon, Jo Nesbø.

What topic don’t you ever want to see again?

Any category of book I don’t represent. Potential authors should do their homework and study our website and other online sources before sending query letters.

What is unique about your corner of the publishing industry?

Most of my authors have been with me for 10 to over 30 years. That indicates I’m fulfilling my goal to develop long-term careers and that I have happy authors.

Longtime clients include Sherryl Woods, Dr. William and Martha Sears, Laura Castoro, Gina Wilkins, Peter Spiegelman.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Like most industries, publishing is changing. It’s changed and evolved about every decade. While fewer people are reading and buying books, there’s still a robust audience. We just have to find them and give them books in ways they’ll read or listen to them. We know that in the last two years, audiobook sales have grown more than those in other formats. Audio publishers are on buying streaks. 

I think we’ll always have people who love to read and who will buy books. We want information, knowledge, and entertainment, and books offer each in such a compact format!

Denise Marcil is the owner of Denise Marcil Literary Agency and vice president of Marcil-O’Farrell Literary, representing commercial fiction and nonfiction. Her authors’ books have appeared on national bestseller lists including the New York TimesUSA Today, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Named one of Glamour magazine’s Top Ten Outstanding Young Working Women, Marcil has been interviewed in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the New YorkerBusiness Week, and Working Woman, and shewas featured in the PBS program Working Women. Marcil has launched the careers of authors whose works have been honored with nominations for the Pulitzer Prize and have won RITAs and Shamus awards for Best First Novel.