Generally when thinking of launching a product one of the first questions that should be asked is what the current trends are, as it is important to find out the current interests of the buyer. This is also true in the publishing industry, and this is why writers are advised to always keep tabs on what’s current and what is being published. Having said that we must be careful when doing our research, as in my opinion, “trends” today can be trickier than they were just few years ago. This is true because the source of the information can come from any and all different types of outlets which keep growing by the minute. For example, I recently read an article published in 2010 by a literary agent about what the trends were at that time, and where he thought the trends were going. There are many unpredictable factors in this ever changing industry, but as a writer reading the article of a literary agent, I must consider whether the information presented took into account the trends within traditional publishing, Indie publishing, small press, and digital publishing all together or just the one pertaining to his own agenda as a literary agent?
As writers I believe that we must be careful not to base our decisions on only one aspect of the industry if we wish to create a successful career publishing our work, whether we go traditional, Indie, audio, print, or digital. Here are some things to consider when researching the market’s trends for specific publishing goals:
- Be clear on your target market when researching the trend. If the book idea will be pitched to traditional publishers and agents, then it makes sense to research what type of books they are selling most, to see if they might be interested in your book, as well as to learn whether or not your book idea could be profitable.
- Traditional publishers also publish digital, but does this mean that their sales are the ones determining the digital books trends? Not in my opinion. I believe that the digital books trends are determined by the Indie e-books sales, as the e-book readers will have a bigger pool of books than the ones produced by the traditional publishers. It makes more sense to see what type of Indie e-books sell better to determine if your e-book idea has a shot to be profitable, as well as to decide whether or not it is worth investing the resources for a print format as an independent publisher from the beginning.
- Finally, writers must be realistic and practical when deciding to move forward with a project. Many of us set our goals to be a trend maker, but doing so without considering the reality of what the audience is requesting can be devastating. Does this mean that a WWII historical fiction writer must forget their story idea because everyone is buying Fantasy? I don’t think so, but the writer might consider a different way to present the heart of the story to give it a better shot within the trends of the time. A book that I can think of to explain my point is Susa’s “The Book Thief,” which is a WWII story narrated by Death.
I truly believe, that in the end all writers have story to tell that will be welcomed and appreciated by some readers. The size of that audience will be determined however, on many factors, and many of those factors will have to do with not only how good the product is, but also by how many readers discover the product. Media is the tool that puts books out there, and they are likely to cover current topics. This is why researching for trends the right way in a culture where being unique is what makes things standout could payoff. For more information about Reader Views click here.