One of the fun things about being an agent is that I get to work with all kinds of books, fiction and nonfiction. I love words, and I’m excited about working with others who love them. I’m passionate about working with books that I believe will have a real impact, both in the here and now and in the eternal sense. Books that encourage, strengthen, and challenge people, and books that share deep, spiritual truths from a Christian worldview. But we all know how hard it is to figure out what topics will resonate with readers. That is the holy grail of publishing. Finding that topic, that angle, that hot spot that will mobilize readers to not just buy our books, but to pass them along and encourage others to do the same.
So how do we, as agents and writers, accomplish that?
First, let me say I’m not talking about predicting trends. I’ve spoken at a lot of writers’ conferences over the years, and been on countless panels as an editor or agent. The one question I’ve heard almost every time? “What trends do you see?” But friends, it’s not about what I see. If you want to write a book that will strike to the core of your readers, it’s about what you see.
So rather than looking ahead for trends, I encourage you to look back. What are the timeless issues, the things—both internal and external–that people have struggled with across the ages and changes and trends? Ecclesiastes says it best: “There is nothing new under the sun.” Indeed, regardless of the current state of the world, certain things never change. Think about it. Were Adam and Eve’s struggles all that different from what we wrestle with today?
Let me ask you, then, as you consider the people around you: What do you see? What do you think are their most pressing struggles right now?