One of the most exciting things in book publishing (at least from a marketer’s perspective) is trying to anticipate what the next “big thing” is. What sub-genre of story is going to capture the public’s attention to the point where aspiring writers are scrambling to jump on the trend train? Our advice: don’t do this, since the publishing industry is slow moving, by the time you finished the project, a new trend will have appeared. Just write what you love instead. If you love it, odds are others will too.

While we are not practiced at divination, below are some trends we think could pop up in 2019 and would love to see in our query inbox. Speaking of, we are now open for submissions. Though even if your story doesn’t fall under these categories, send us a query if it meets our other criteria.

1) Urban Fantasy (Kyle’s Pick)

Urban Fantasy has seen immense growth and is arguably already a trend for 2019, though I think there’s still room for expansion. Though the pioneer of Urban Fantasy was probably Charles de Lint, this genre particularly took off through Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files (check out the audiobooks narrated by James Marsters. They’re spectacular). Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and Terry Brooks’s Running with the Demon are other clever and imaginative representations of Urban Fantasy that we love. And with Fox21 optioning the rights for a TV series about The Dresden Files and Netflix confirming Bright’s sequel, I think the public will continue to be thirsty for more.

2) Science Fantasy (Allison’s Pick)

Wizards in space! I can’t wait for this genre to explode. There have been some amazing contributions to Science Fantasy over the years, including Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern books, China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station, and Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, and I’m hoping to see more authors mashing sci-fi and fantasy together in unique ways.

Kyle’s addendum: I maintain the best Final Fantasy game was Final Fantasy VI, where both magic and technology are racing for supremacy. So I fully endorse this pick as well.

3) Utopian with a Post-Apocalyptic Origin (Kyle’s Pick)

It’s not uncommon for Dystopian stories to be about a post-apocalyptic world, like The Hunger Games and Divergent, though the societies have deteriorated and reverted to a more primitive state. Utopian novels, on the other hand, typically involve humanity solving their problems and becoming a “better” society. I think seeing a rise in Utopian stories will give us some desperately needed hope, but I’d like to see an apocalyptic event serving as a catalyst for those stories, almost like a crossover of the two genres; building something amazing from a world that has been destroyed may make that hope feel strangely more realistic.

There are not many examples (yet) of this idea but Cormac McCarthy’s The Road would qualify, and maybe Kass Morgan’s The 100 (If any of the characters ever acted like a decent human being).

4) Diversity in Fantasy & Sci-Fi (Allison’s Pick)

Editors and agents are constantly on the lookout for books written by marginalized authors and/or about underrepresented characters. Characters who are disabled, people of colour, LGBTQ+, strong women… we want more!

I recently enjoyed Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth, which features a protagonist cursed by chronic pain, and Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, a racially-steeped novella about the first of the Himba people to be offered a place at the finest university in the galaxy. I’m particularly hoping to see more YA published in this category during 2019.

5) Cyberpunk (Kyle’s Pick)

My love of Cyberpunk started when I was a teen with William Gibson’s Neuromancer—arguably the quintessential Cyberpunk book to get anyone hooked on the genre (either that or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, the novel Blade Runner is based off of). The genre also had traction back in the late 90s with The Matrix on the big screen.

With the growing likelihood of real Artificial Intelligences and the distrust of governmental authorities, I feel like we have a perfect stage to set up more Cyberpunk stories in 2019.