The latest issue of Romance Writers Report featured an article "Industry Insiders Give Their Predictions" - which, of course, is nearly impossible to do, but it was interesting to read all the same. Among the points mentioned:
~Upswing in acquisitions of dystopian and post-apocalyptic stories (this is a tough one...writing a happy ending in a notably unhappy world situation...hmm)
~Erotica and paranormal romance markets are fairly saturated (which is not to say you can't sell in them, but you need something a little different & fresh)
~Upper YA is becoming more popular: think heroines between 18 and 25 (hey, that's a terrific but terribly fragile time for many women...great potential for both conflict and happy endings!)
~Contemporary romance, esp. those with small town settings, may see an upswing, along with the idea of "gentle fiction", set in places with a slow pace and charming, small-town characters
Of course, this last one interests me the most, since I just (finally! it's about time!!) finished the second draft of my contemporary/small-town romance, Beacon of Love. It's off to a beta reader now while I figure out where to send it (agent, publisher, etc) and what project I want to tackle next. Let's hope these predictions ring true in 2012...