Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Myth On Book Trends

So what's 'IN' this year as far as books? Dystopian? Faeries? Steampunk? Vampires? Werewolves?

Who knows these things? And the truth is ... somethings will always be a trend.


So when you go to the bookstores and find out that all the new books for the year has come in and now your beloved Vampire sagas are all gone does that means you are in love with a dying trend.

Bookstores and the public is fed what publishers produce. So if you have a hankering for something that is no longer NEW or FRESH you won't be finding that special book at the bookstore anymore.


I always wondered if the large publisher houses did research on book sale numbers, economic analysis on which books do well during what times, and serious pow-wows to determine based on actual data what they should be selling the next year. Like if Large pub 'A' is kicking out all of these teen Vampire series, Large pub 'B' should kick out Mermaid series. From where I'm standing ... they all seem to be grappling for the same things.


Personally after surveying my friends who are avid readers, my daughters friends who are insatiable readers guess what?! THEY PRETTY MUCH READ THE SAME STORIES - OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

For some reason my son is hooked on Zombie books - but get this they have to have certain characteristics or the kid won't even pick it up. The MC has to be male and a teen. There has to be a large death count, lots of action and a smidgen of a relationship with a girl.

My daughter's bent is a little wider, she likes faeries, sea creatures, magic - but no vampires or werewolves unless they don't show there bad side. She has to have a bit of romance in each, and doesn't like the love triangle thing at all. And you know what - she will read other things I give her, review it fairly but admit that it's not her thing.


Maybe all this means is that if you want to write/publish those Vampire books - you will have an audience for them and any other trend that you 'think' is dead. Because readers are creatures of habit. So maybe it's not about chasing that next big wave in publishing ... maybe it's about FINDING YOUR AUDIENCE.



Beth said...

I always get frustrated when agents/editors talk about trends. At the national con last year, I heard so many times "well, we don't really like this but it's the trend," or "We only buy this b/c it's what's selling." The truth is "trend" is a self fulfilling prophecy. They stock the bookshelves. Whatever they buy is going to be what people buy. The "NA" trend never took up b/c one major publisher had one line that equated two series. Guess what? Everything else on the shelf was hs and hs is what sold. Duh. It's just frustrating b/c if they would put different stuff on the shelf it would sell too.

Beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Catherine Stine said...

Yes, trends are annoyingly elusive. And I do wonder how the "experts" decide what's in and out, and who these "experts" even are?!
I chuckled at your son's very specific requirements that there be a large zombie kill count. My boys had very specific tastes as teens too! One was into history books, and the other appreciated fantasy like Lemony Snicket's series and Artemis Fowl.
I'm sure that if an author writes a fresh take on a vamp, that it will find it's way into a publisher's hand, no matter what the market.

Kelly Hashway said...

I never write to trends. I write what I want to write. Having said that I do tend to read a lot of the same kinds of books, mostly paranormals. That's what I like.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I totally agree! I think readers like what they like, and finding the audience that likes what you write is the most important thing. One of the reasons I started writing MG SF was because I couldn't find any on the shelves - publishers weren't publishing it. And not for lack of submissions. ;) One of the great things about self-publishing is there's no longer a reason why you can't publish whatever you like - and find out for yourself if there's an audience for it.

LM Preston said...

So true! And when you find your audience and write what you love, that's called success :-D

cleemckenzie said...

You are saying it well. Find your audience! That's the key. I love that you're daughter reads so much.

M Pax said...

I've never been swayed by trends. My reading is diverse. I'm not sure about the trends. I think they hope something will catch on. Sometimes ti does, sometimes it doesn't.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

interesting post. I hate how trends dictate what bookstores carry because I don't like going and finding a million similar books, when what I really want is something totally different.

I actually have a wide taste in books though. I know some people stick with similar things, but I like to branch out. I'm a huge contemporary fan, but that doesn't mean I don't read paranormal or fantasy or dystopian. I like YA and Adult. I want to read more MG. I like all sorts of things really.


Rusty Biesele said...

I wanted to write science fiction/fantasy for gifted middle school students. I doubt any trend will ever cover that. 700,000 potential readers may not be enough for a large publisher. But its more than enough for me. Sometimes to reach a specific pool of readers well, you have to write specifically for them and publish it yourself.

Jess@The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow said...

Great post! I think we need to write what we feel- and we can't predict what will be the next trend. I like to read a wide variety of books. I will go on a kick for a while and read a certain type of book and then I will move on to something else. Also, I like to keep things interesting by spicing up my reading with different genres. :)

Joel Arnold said...

Long ago I tried writing to the trends a bit, but my timing was always off, anyway. So now, no more!