What type of stories are traditional publishing houses looking for these days?

I am genuinely curious about that because self-publishing, when the time comes, is not ideal for me.

Thoughts and feelings?


If you have a Twitter account you could search for #MSWL to find out what’s on various publishers’ manuscript wish lists. ¯\_(ﭢ)_/¯


I don’t use Twitter. Is there another way?


This changes from year to year. It does no good to chase the publishers too hard.


Makes sense, but I tend to wonder if the stories I write are qualified for trad-pub.

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Try Goodreads or TikTok. Or just try Googling “popular stories (your genre and age group) 2023” and you’ll probably get some articles/ideas.

I think you can look at publishing trends that way. Or you can also do Polls here and ask people about the kinds of books they like.


That sounds like a good idea! :+1:

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I’m sorry, but I could not say…

I guess there are trends from year to year, like the movies… There was a time in the 80’s where there was a lot of Horror films released, and towards the end of the 80’s into the 90’s it was High Octane Action that was dominant…

Swings and roundabouts it would seem…


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I have no idea :sweat_smile: I mean, I do, but I feel like they’re all over the place now.

I do think they like stories about minority cultures and people. Anything with inclusivity, diversity…

I know romance sells. Even horrible romance.

Dark academia probably still sticks.

Tough female MCs battling monsters or the government or something is probably still popular.

Look up popular books 2023 on Google and you’ll see the current trend at least. Also, try 2023 New Releases, and upcoming books in 2024.


@TheTigerWriter and @SecretDurham

Got to make a thread soon on what people want read nowadays and for next year.

Also, in that very same thread talk a little about my story and how to make pop or something


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Depends on the publishing house and what’s trending at the time you decide to go for it :thinking:


I have no idea when I will decide to query this novel.
But that can be two or three years from now, if a miracle happens.

I can only hope by the middle of next year that I finish this first draft. Maybe I will get lucky if I buckle down and use the motivation to see the finish line to finish a few months from now.

So, yes, you are correct. It truly does matter what is trending around that time. What is popular now, might not be popular around time I go to try and publish.

Food for thought.


It’ll vary on the genre and target audience you’re going for. According to this website, it says…

  • YA (retellings, fantasy, science fiction, or novels with LGBT+ characters) is one of the biggest categories asked for.
  • Romance (with LGBT+ characters, or swoon-worthy) is what agents were looking/asking for.
  • Fantasy (a plus if it had a romantic subplot, because well, romance sells).
  • Horror (light horror, or survivalist type stories may be a win).
  • Middle grade (similar to YA).

Overall, it’ll vary from year to year. What’s trending this year may not necessarily trend next year, and so on. I’ve heard that looking at the “new” section of a bookstore or through online booksellers may help figure out what they may be looking for.

Fantasy and romance is the top ones, though, and I don’t think they’ll leave the trend-chat any time soon.


I hate romance…at least in my fiction.

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I have been thinking about this for a while. Maybe not traditonal publishing, but the sort of stories that certain demographics online seem to like a lot. There is a certain demographic, mostly made up of Queer Women and other Queer people, that seem to like stories such as ATLA, LOK, Arcane, and Netflix She-Ra. I’m writing something for them, that they will think is made for them. But it is a trick, you see.


I feel you, sister. I feel you. Romance subplots are rife with stupid bullshit.

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