As the leaves turn red and gold (which might have something to do with the steadily worsening near-drought conditions here in Virginia), I am reminded of the spirit of the season.
And reminded that we don’t have many new Halloween-y, horror-y offerings this year.

We will have sales, and themed posts, and tubs of pumpkin spice lattes consumed between the CQ crew, but nothing that screams (ha!) Halloween.

Which brings me to wondering why that is. Is this our personal wishlists and tastes? The lack of submissions WE receive that fits what CQ currently sees as our standard of quality? Or is it that authors these days are feeling increasing need to limit themselves to such a strictly limited definition of any genre that perforce, the titles that do pop up via the contests and regular submissions all too often feel stale?

Of course, during contests, one is limited to 140 characters - or at most, 3 lines of text - doesn’t exactly help matters. The elevator pitch is king, and even queries are only expected to range from 1 to 2 longish paragraphs when it comes to describing the actual story.

All of which seems to contribute to dearth of submissions that do not have that sense of been-there, read-that, wore-out-the-T-shirt.

And strictly genre-identified fiction, such as contemporary romance and horror fare, seem to suffer the most from this sort of confirmation bias. But not just on the authors’ side.

We, as publishers, ask for a unique voice. For a different story. For something to catch our attention - but do we really mean it? Do we feel confident in being able to sell something that doesn’t quite fit into a specified niche? For that matter, do we, as readers want to give something really original a try on the off-chance we will like our venture into the unknown?

So, you gentle reader, author, fellow publisher - what do YOU want to see in you query wish list / beta reading queue / among your seasonal offering? Asking for a friend here! ;)