What are some upcoming trends for the next year?
I think that we are going to continue to see growth in subgenre fantasy, such as epic tales to satisfy the George R.R. Martin fans. Steampunk is crossing over successfully from science fiction to fantasy, as with Beth Cato’s The Clockwork Heart. Urban fantasy is still strong, especially with female protagonists. Epic authors like Jacqueline Carey and Anne Bishop have each launched new urban fantasy series over the last couple of years: Agent of Hel and The Others, respectively. Alternate-history fiction blending with fantasy is another area of growth and popularity, especially in YA. Robin LaFevers’ His Fair Assassin series is a great example of this genre blending.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
You may have noticed I tend to read a lot of fantasy? One crossover blend I am starting to enjoy is the Western fantasy—Weird West or “Flintlock Fantasy,” as I have heard it termed. Some of it has been born from steampunk, like Devon Monk’s Age of Steam series. Others are straight from the Wild West, like She Returns from War by Lee Collins and the forthcoming Silver on the Road by Laura Anne Gilman.
As a reviewer of digital-original romances (for Library Journal), I am impressed with the amount of male/male romances that are crossing my plate, but there is always room for more. While fantasy is an easy reach, I like the contemporary romances, with plots that do not make me set aside my sense of disbelief too much. I think the emotional journey is just as important as the erotic one, in this case.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
I am ready to see an end to “If you liked Fifty Shades of Grey, then read this!” titles. Erotic romances are some terrific reads, but the whole naïve-younger-woman/rich-experienced-man trope has gotten long in the tooth.
What is unique about libraries in the context of the publishing industry?
Libraries are serving an expanding role: We acquire titles, introduce them to readers, and market and promote them to the community. As e-books have taken a firm grip on collections, librarians are being forced to choose sometimes between formats—they have more to acquire with the same amount of funding. But they do it and also support publishing through other means, such as developing platforms for publishing local content. Libraries in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and Williamson County, Tennessee, have developed outlets for local authors to publish with library support. While it may be taking time for more self-published works to get into libraries, they are definitely getting there, along with traditionally published works.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I think that the capacity that digital publishing has given readers is monumental, and libraries are still catching up when it comes to readers’ advisory regarding digital originals. However, by working with publishing and social platforms, librarians are finding ways to discover and assess this abundance of titles. I believe this is the best way to meet reading demands, as patrons still turn to librarians for recommendations and suggestions. Keep helping us help you!
Kristi Chadwick is the adviser to small libraries for the Massachusetts Library System, where she provides training, continuing education and advisory services across the state. Kristi is passionate about readers’ advisory, collection development, and ebooks, and is a regular reviewer and writer for Library Journal. Kristi was named a Library Journal 2014 Mover & Shaker and a 2013 Reviewer of the Year. She is a member of the LibraryReads Social Media team, and you can follow her on Twitter.