View from the UK

Two months into 2019 and the year’s trends and patterns are slowly emerging – with some early indicators of the books that will be big over the next 12 months.

Last year was largely dominated by two fiction titles, Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and Sally Rooney’s Normal People – and the success of both authors has certainly informed the shape of fiction in 2019.

We saw the first stirrings of what has become known as ‘up lit’ in 2017, but it feels that 2019 will determine whether this is a genre that is here to stay. Certainly the positive reaction to books such as Needlemouse, The Truth and Triumphs of Grace Atherton, and The Other Half of Augusta Hope suggests that readers are still charmed by stories that provide a seam of comfort in an ever more confusing world.

Sally Rooney’s phenomenal success has given a major flip to literary fiction, reminding the public of the joys of the smart contemporary novel that examines the way we live now. In the likes of Candice Carty William’s Queenie, What Red Was by Rosie Price and Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor, we’re already seeing a new generation of writers take on important subjects in innovative and different ways.

While selecting our Books of the Month and looking at nominations for Roundups and Featured Titles promotions, we’ve been struck by the breadth of the titles being published. Publishing is often accused of being risk-averse, but there seems to be a much more varied choice in stories than even eighteen months before. Certainly, it has become even more difficult to select the books we feature!

This broadening of horizons is replicated by readers’ tastes, which we’ve seen become more varied. More nonfiction titles have been added to NetGalley than ever before, with publishers recognising that members are attracted to interesting stories whether they are invented or not. It’s great to be able to showcase such titles to our members, and to help them find titles they might not ordinarily have requested.

We’re fond of saying that NetGalley is like a sandbox for books – a place where you can see how a title performs before it goes out into the wild – and we’re delighted to see so many titles, in so many different genres, picking up great reviews from our members.

NetGalley UK will be back in April to look back on the year so far and share our insights with you!

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