1. Books without romance
This goes for all genres, and all age levels. Let us just have books about friendships and siblings and parents and everything else. There’s so many wonderful types of relationships out there that aren’t romantic, and books just don’t feature them often enough.
2. Better research on guns
People do not fly out of their boots when you shoot them. I promise. Stumble back, sure. But fly out of their boots? No. Not a thing. If you are going to write something involving the use of guns take the time to go to a shooting range at least once and fire off a couple rounds, talk to the people who work there, etc. Nothing kills the believability of your book faster than having someone fly twenty feet after getting shot with a hunting rifle.
3. Sibling relationships
Yeah, yeah, I kinda covered this up in #1 already, but it is one type of relationship I would like to see the most. There’s nothing quite like the ride or die mentality of siblings. They’ll stab you with a fork if you touch their pancake, but may the gods help anyone else who tries to to stab you with dining utensils.
4. Genre mixing
I’m a huge fan of throwing a few genres into a pot and seeing what happens, but traditional publishing is annoyingly not a fan—especially for debut writers. Let us have vampires in a space-operas and murder mysteries in epic fantasies. Toss out those cookie-cutters, darnit.
5. Characters in their early 20s
Why the publishing industry believes people in their early 20s don’t read is beyond me. Honestly though, it sounds a lot like what people used to say about teenagers not reading before Harry Potter burst onto the market. If you aren’t publishing any books beyond romance marketed towards people in their early 20s, of course it is going to seem like they aren’t reading it—because you haven’t given them anything to read!
I am Colorado born and bred, and there will never be enough novels based in my state. It offers so many options for settings and stories. Great history, mountains, plains, lakes, just about everything. Please write books here. Please.
7. Stories with follow-through
I am a sucker for survival stories, and stories with any sort of struggle, but I am damn tired of having the book end with the immediate end of the struggle. Show me a bit of the happily-ever-after part. Show me how they’re dealing with the consequences of what happened. Show me the reunions with loved ones. Just a little epilogue or something!
8. Stories with romance established from the start
Look, the build-up to a relationship can be fun. But having thousands of books that ONLY focus on that build-up is getting boring. Give me books where the characters have been dating or married for weeks, years even. Let me see their little inside jokes they’ve developed, and their little domestic routines, and how they work together having been together for as long as they have.
9. Illustrated books
As an artist and an author I am a sucker for a pretty, illustrated book. Slowly but surely we are seeing more and more illustrated novels coming back into popularity, but I would love to have even more! Even if it’s just adding a few decorative elements, such as unique scene dividers or chapter header symbols, rather than full illustrations it can really add to the book.
10. Artists who stay artists
As an artist, I can promise you that 99% of the time we WILL finish painting that one tree before we go deal with the encroaching army outside the gates. No artist is going to drop what they do when things go to hell, it is to much a part of who they are. So seeing characters who stop doing art when they go on an adventure is just unrealistic. Sure, how often and how they do art may change, but they’ll still do it somehow, even if it’s just doodling in the dirt.