News from a friend who attended Stellarcon 33 in downtown High Point, North Carolina: Essentially, all straight mystery except for cozies is a dead market for anyone who isn’t already an established author. Cozy series (an amateur sleuth mystery with little violence) by new writers or someone seeking to start a new series must have a promotion hook involving a dedicated group of hobbyists. Most tend to involve arts and crafts.
Now, is my Marfa Lights mystery full of crocheting and scrapbooking? No. But how about UFO/X-Files enthusiasts? It certainly has that mystical touch. It’s a cozy in that it has little violence. And it’s intended for the market that the Anne George books were reaching. And it’s still waiting for the editor at St. Martin’s (who has been attending conferences for the past month or so), so keep praying.
Informally, my friend mentions that she sees many urban fantasy and paranormal novels with strong mystery elements coming out of sf/fantasy lines. Looks like urban fantasy and romance are the only genre novels not badly affected by the recession, and editors seem to be buying them here and there where they aren’t buying mystery. Thrillers are still popular, as ever.
Anyhow. For what that may be worth.