What do you think will be trends in publishing in the coming year?
I think we’re only beginning to see the splash of “up lit” hitting the market. Current events are pushing readers away from heavier topics, and they are looking for books that help them escape. With the renewed success Netflix has brought to rom-coms, the result is a rush of people looking for feel-good stories.
I’m also starting to hear of some trends that died down a few years ago starting to make their comebacks, most prominently paranormal and urban fantasy. I’ve been asked for projects with witches and vampires more times than I can count in the past few months, and I’m here for it!
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
I’m looking for voice-driven fiction that makes me laugh. I gravitate toward characters with strong personalities that look at the world with a unique perspective. If you can throw in a strong, resilient female protagonist, I’m a happy camper. Any story that makes me feel deeply is always on my wish list. If you can make me laugh and cry and give me a satisfying ending, that’s all I need! I love books that blend reality and the fantastical, such as A Discovery of Witches or The Hazel Wood. Books that make you sit back and think, “Wow, what if that was actually possible?” Finally, I love when speculative fiction or magical realism is used to investigate emotions, whether it’s grief, trauma, or anything else.
What topic do you never want to see again?
I’m not a fan of stories that continuously make me cringe. I’m OK with a few cringeworthy moments in a rom-com, but when it happens too frequently, I end up putting the book down. I’m not looking for World War II historical fiction or nonfiction. If you want to send me historical fiction, it should be Victorian or Regency.
What would you like to change about the publishing industry?
I’ve seen publishers trying to retain rights that they will never be able to exploit, but they want to hold them just in case, to the detriment of the author’s career. So many authors are fighting to make ends meet, and holding their rights indefinitely is prohibitive to their success. I’d also love to see more people pushing the boundaries or the norms in the industry. Just because we haven’t seen something done before doesn’t mean it won’t work! Trying new initiatives is how we grow audiences or revitalize a property. We should be constantly trying to think up new, fun campaigns that excite readers!
Devin Ross earned her B.A. in English from Lawrence University and her publishing certificate from the Denver Publishing Institute. She began her publishing career as an author’s assistant, helping authors grow their platforms and meet their deadlines. Her next career move landed her in the subsidiary rights department at Crown Publishing Group before she found her home at New Leaf Literary & Media. As an agent, she works in adult and YA fiction.