Did you know there is no market for dystopian novels? Neither did I, but had I heard this astonishing news before I’d started writing “I am not Joe Donovan,” it wouldn’t have worried me because I didn’t know what dystopia was. What I was writing was an adventure story and it’s setting didn’t seem all that important. But it is now. Apparently the trend for my readers, (Young Adults and greater), has changed and publishers are looking for next big thing.
I was a bit worried for a few hours then I thought, bollocks to this. A quick google search and what did I find? Some of the most enduring and entertaining books written in the last 70+ years are dystopia. Think, “1984” by George Orwell, “The Handmaids Tale” or “Oryx and Crake” by Margaret Atwood, “The Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess, “The Running Man,” by Richard Bachman (who is of course, Stephen King in disguise).
And then to make myself even happier, I looked at the calibre of the writers writing classic dystopia. In addition to those above I noted HG Wells (“The Time Machine”), Cormac McCarthy (“The Road”), J.G. Ballard (“The Drowned World”), P.D James (“The Children of Men”) and the most recent Nobel Prize winner for Literature, “Kazuo Ishiguro (“Never Let Me Go.”) When it comes to having something to say, extremely talented, hard-hitting writers, write dystopia. And not only that but these are the stories that time and again are turned into films and television series.
I know better than to argue about getting published. Of course Amazon will have me – it will have anyone who can string a sentence together. What I wish, is that the publishing world would begin to act less like ears of wheat blowing in the wind, and more like the old oak tree in a strong nor wester.
Until then, I might just have to hunker on down.