Women Writers Head Welsh Book Lists for 2013; What Will We Be Reading This Year? Abbie Wightwick Asks Industry Insiders to Look to the Future and Predict the Trends for 2013
If 2012 was all about 50 Shades of Grey, short stories and women writers will dominate this year's scene - although we haven't seen the back of erotic fiction yet.
Women writers head new title lists from Welsh publishers in 2013 in genres as diverse as historic fiction and business, ts hough the shadow of last year's runaway mummy porn success still lingers.
When EL James' racy offering became the surprise fastest-selling paperback of all time in 2012, it introduced legions of new readers to erotic fiction, says Hazel Cushion of Bedlinog-based Accent Press.
"50 Shades of Grey and the whole phenomenon made a huge difference," she asserts.
"A lot of people read it who had never read erotic novels before and it opened people's eyes to the genre which was fantastic.
"Erotic fiction is still a trend and people are still loving it but people want a happy ending."
The title doing best in the publisher's erotic fiction series is Awakening by Elene Sallinger, which has been in the top 20 bestsellers in the erotic romance list on Amazon.
The genre is going so well that Accent's Xcite series was named Best Erotic Books Brand in 2012 prompting Cushion to go into partnership with an American publisher for the first time to promote the series across the Atlantic.
Mick Felton, of Wales' literary publisher Seren, Helena Earnshaw from women's publisher Honno and Susie Wild from Parthian sell very different books but agree 50 Shades has left a legacy - and that's promoting reading, whatever people's thoughts are on its quality or subject.
"It replaced Harry Potter in the way that it was the title that kept books at the forefront of people's minds and that has to be a good thing," says Felton.
"But I don't think we'll see the frenzy over erotic fiction in 2013 that we saw last year.
"I think people felt it was liberating to read it in a way and erotic fiction will go on in the sense that it's a section of the market and people will keep buying it, but never in the big numbers they did last year.
"There wasn't much of a plot in those books after all."
Parthian editor Susie Wild agrees, adding: "Anything that gets people talking about books has to be a good thing."
Honno admits it used the success of 50 Shades to sell its own very different title on sex, Laughing Not Laughing, a collection of autobiographical writings about sexual experience by women.
It was first published in 2004 but there has been a resurgence in interest this year, says Earnshaw.
"We used 50 Shades of Grey as a hook to promote that book again and it worked as we sold more copies.
"50 Shades kept reading in people's minds and it did raise issues that got people talking, which can never be a bad thing.
"Things are tough and people are looking for a bit of comfort in tough economic times."
If it's a bit early to say exactly what we'll be reading this year the likelihood is it will have been written by women.
All Seren's new fiction titles for 2013 are by women, Honno publishes women-only books and Gomer and Parthian list women among their new expected bestsellers this year.
Gomer expects its big-hitter will be Catrin Dafydd's second English-language novel, Random Births and Lovehearts.
The novel, coming out in September, is a sequel to Random Deaths and Custard, the tale of an 18-year-old Valleys girl written in strong South Walian dialect.
Another title tipped to do well is Cosmic Latte by Rachel Trezise, coming out from Cardigan-based Parthian in May.
Tresize, a Dylan Thomas Prize winner, has been described as 'the champion of the dispossessed' and her new offering, a collection of short fiction, is peopled by travellers, migrants and immigrants.
For a longer read Awakening, by Stevie Davies, is also coming out with Parthian later this year. …