The wave of mermaid books is upon us.
I had no idea mermaids would be a “big thing” when I first started writing my merfolk/selkie story back in early 2009. I wrote about my fantastical and tormented sea folk because I loved them. I have loved them since I was two years old. (I have pics to prove it.) Like any other manuscript of an aspiring author, I had no idea if my story would ever be published, but I wrote it anyway. I couldn’t not write it. I loved it too much.
When I queried agents in the spring of 2010 many told me they already had a mermaid manuscript.
Slowly, I heard about one mermaid book deal after another. More and more mer tales popped up on Goodreads. People started tweeting about mermaids being the next big thing. USA Today even published an article saying mermaids are the trend in paranormal this summer, and that yes, Stephenie Meyer is working on a mermaid story too. *sigh*
As an author of a soon-to-be-released merfolk novel, I can’t help but worry. What if Tangled Tides is too late? There are so many great mermaid books out there. Some have been out for months, a year, or even longer. More are already scheduled to release throughout the next year or two. By the time mine releases will readers be tired of reading about merfolk, selkies, sirens and such?
So many times I’ve heard the success of a book depends on many factors: timing, marketing, competition, etc. I have stayed awake many nights wondering whether my timing is bad or good. Since signing my contract for Tangled Tides, I have seen new mermaid stories popping up on a regular basis.
The wave is getting bigger. The trend is picking up strength.
How do I not end up like one of those unicorns in the above photo that you can hardly see? Or, worse yet, one of the unicorns you can’t see at all? How do I keep from being invisible in the crowded wave?
How do any of us authors not get lost in a tidal wave of books? So many great novels are out there begging to be read. With self-publishing becoming more popular, it makes that number even higher. So how does a book or author—especially a debut—stand out in the crowd?
A good friend gave me a simple answer: Have faith in your story.
Sometimes that’s easier said than done. As writers, we love our characters, our worlds, and our plots, and if we’re lucky enough to get published that means a whole team of people have faith in them. That’s a great feeling. But it’s easy to lose confidence when you realize you’re going to have A LOT of competition.
I keep trying to remind myself that strangers believed in my story, so maybe readers will believe in it too, and actually buy it. Actually read it. And maybe, if I’m really lucky, some will love it. Oh, how I hope so.
I also hope the wave of mermaid books doesn’t come crashing down anytime soon. Not just because one of the latecomer novels will be mine, but because I genuinely love sea folk. I’m excited to read all the different twists and takes that fellow writers come up with. I believe the ocean is big enough to hold all of our stories. And even though I have my moments of worry, I am happy and grateful to be part of such a fun and magical trend.
What about you?
Do you have faith in your stories?
Do you worry about trends when writing?
Would/have you ever read a mermaid book? ;)