As a reader of romance, I subscribe to a lot of author newsletters. Every once in a while, an author will send out a survey polling their subscribers. These surveys tend to ask about favorite tropes and what you want to read more of (i.e. firefighters, billionaires, mountain men, etc.). Sometimes, there's a question that allows you to add further comments.
That last question is what inspired this post.
I think authors who survey their readers is a genius marketing ploy. You're writing the stories your fans want to read and hopefully getting future book ideas in the process. I'm curious how many readers actually fill out the surveys, but I'm even more curious if they fill out the comment box.
I can say that yes, I fill out those surveys.
And yes, I make sure to put additional comments in that box. Because as Toni Morrison said:
"If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, you must be the one to write it."
I feel these authors send out these surveys at the most opportune times because I'll see/hear/read something in real life and think "This would make a good book." Since I haven't seen anything recently, I thought I might post some ideas here. Feel free to eye-bang and swipe (and if you need a proofreader to eye-bang your story for you, you know where to find me).
1) Clandestine/Secret/Elite Groups or Agencies - I'm a huge fan of stories about elite groups (Susan Stoker), secret groups (Anna Hackett's Team 52) and clandestine agencies (Alison Kent's Smithson Group). We all know those book covers are FI-YAH and what's not like to about h-a-w-t men finding their HEA on undercover missions. But you know who's not being represented in these types of roles? Females. When you've got actresses like Halle Berry, Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Garner, Charlize Theron, and Scarlett Johansson portraying badass bitches in the movies, I'm wondering why I'm not seeing more of that in romance novels. So if you're willing to write about groups of women who kick ass and take names, here are some ideas:
2) Sports - I'm not a huge sports fan. Let me rephrase that. I'm not a huge fan of the more typical, popular sports. I see a lot of books out there about hockey players, baseball players, football players, NASCAR drivers, and MMA fighters. As someone who prefers ice skating, gymnastics, and diving, I'll read these stories because sometimes I get schooled on the sport as I'm reading it (I feel a rap song coming on: "If you don't know, now you know..."). Which is always interesting. You know what would be even more interesting? Books about other types of sports:
3) Business: Owners - Entrepreneurship is a popular theme in romance novels. Having your own business and not working for The Man is something we'd all love to do. I like the stories where a group of people own a business and I get to read how each owner gets their own HEA. Restaurants, hotels, bars, nightclubs, bakeries, tech companies, media agencies, and law firms tend to be the most represented businesses. But if you think the book world is getting a little oversaturated with the same 'ol-same 'ol, then try out these ideas:
4) Business: Employees - When it comes to stories about employees working at a place of business, fire stations and law enforcement agencies seem to crop up the most. I get it. Men in uniform never gets old. Or does it? I love reading about firefighters and police officers as much as the next woman, but there's a whole wide world of businesses for people to work at out there and I wouldn't mind reading about their employees' love lives. Throw a plot twist in the publishing mix and consider writing about the following:
One of the many things I love about being a writer is that we can find story ideas ANYWHERE. And while it's good to get feedback from your readers, to find out what they like to read, don't be afraid to take the lead and write about something that hasn't been written. Yet.
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