Have you ever noticed that whenever a certain genre niche gets popular, the market is suddenly inundated with a ton of similar books? Secret Baby trend hits big and – BOOM – 100,000 new secret baby books hit the market overnight. WTF? Were all those authors actually sitting on a finished book, just waiting for that particular niche to make it big before publishing? Why didn’t I think of that?! Ugh!
But is that the truth of the situation, or just how it appears? Are niches really popular long enough for authors to start a book from scratch and publish it while the trend is still hot–or do they just have remarkably lucky timing with what they’re already working on?
These aren’t the only questions I find myself scratching my head over when it comes to why certain books make it and others don’t, despite how alike they are. Of course, we already know why some books make it big, even from unknown authors – it’s because they had that extra. It doesn’t matter what the extra was, it set them apart from the competition. For example: Hunger Games, Maze Runner, and Divergent are all YA/NA Dystopian/SciFi and deal with a society or group of people “trapped” in one place, oppressed or strictly governed by a more powerful force. They have a romantic entanglement tossed in or love triangle, which is a common trope for this genre – yet they are so distinctly different with their “extra” that they made it through the mountains of books that just weren’t different enough – or weren’t written as well.
Those are the two key factors: Uniqueness and Well Written. The bonus third factor of course, is marketing/branding/exposure.
But I’ve got a 4th key factor that I never paid any attention to in the past, and maybe you haven’t either: Genre Trends.
I’m not saying you should be searching for a daily report while obsessively typing away to try to get a trending niche book out on the market before it drops in popularity – I’m saying once you have the book you just had to write finished, check the market trends before publishing. There’s a possibility that if you hold off just one week, two months, etc. your book will actually do 100% better at its launch, then if you publish too soon (or not soon enough).
We spend so much time and effort ensuring that our books are at their best before introducing them to the world at large, doing this one extra step is definitely not going to hurt. Impatience is just as big an enemy as procrastination. I for one am going to add this step to my pre-publishing process from now on – and maybe I’m the only one here who hasn’t actually been doing it this whole time (that would not surprise me, lol!) I just wanted to share in case others haven’t been paying any mind to the current trends when they publish, either. And I also wanted to mention it for those of you who are still aspiring writers, for future reference.
I’ve stumbled upon a good website called “Watched Plot Never Boils” that is specifically designed to keep authors up to date – weekly – on MOST genre’s niche trends. It covers quite a bit of the common genres, but misses others. Though, the website owner might be open to suggestions. It’s pretty cool, if you want to check it out and I’m sure it’s not the only one, but I like it. Week by week the trends don’t change much so it can get a little repetitive – but if you only hop on there to check out your specific genre when you’re getting ready to publish, it’s quite informative breaking down the niches, character types, and plot tropes in a way that’s fun to read rather than dry and analytical. But, as with everything else in this industry, double and triple check your information and never rely on just one source for the whole picture.
Now, I’d like to pose some questions, which you can answer in the comments below or just use as food for thought. 🙂
- Do you write only according to what’s popular at the time or do you write your own thing and hope for the best?
- Do you often find yourself searching for a way to add a new twist – that “extra” – to an old, favorite theme? ( i.e. fairytales, mythology, etc.)
- Would you ever sacrifice your true “writer” self just to sell books? i.e. write differently (or in your opinion, worse) than normal, try a POV you’ve never used before, or write about topics you typically wouldn’t, etc.?
- Do you hold fast to the long-standing belief that publishing one astonishing book a year is the best practice – or, do you think that’s become outdated and no longer smart business for the modern-day, e-commerce marketplace?
- Last, but not least and this is a 2-parter. #1: What’s your view on ghost writers and do you think they’re in more use today than ever before due to the high demand for faster release dates? #2: Would you take an entire year off (or longer) from publishing to just write, so that you could have multiple finished books to publish in faster succession or would you rather hire a ghost writer to pick up the slack?
❤ Okay, that’s all the questions (for now) 😀 Happy Hump Day, Indies, make it a good one!