Marketing – Choose your Genre – Historical Sales vs. Modern Sales

This is an intersting site for anyone who is looking for some direction vis a vis Genres.

I am at a loss to explain or understand the popularity of one genre vs. another.  Other than romance and erotica (sex sells) there doesn´t seem to be any reasoning behind people´s preferences.  And as proven by the 50 Shades debacle, apparently a well written book with believable characters and situations isn´t part of the public´s criteria where buying a book is concerned.

So what makes one genre a bigger draw than another?

Hollywood would be to blame for some of the public´s tastes.  They set trends and then sell the trend to death until they establish another trend.  Repeat.

And let´s admit it, the vast number of people in this world get their comfort not from thinking for themselves but rather by being part of the pack.

So where does this leave a writer.  Well, the two packs are clearly ´Conform´ or ´Innovate.´

Is it any surprise that if you do a search on Google for ´Trends in fiction genres´ you come up with a bunch of web-pages dating back to 2012?  Maybe the only people out there keeping track of the trends are the Publishing Agents and they are likely only sharing their insights with their already signed authors.

So how is an unsigned author supposed to figure out what to write next?  The NY Times bestseller list might be a good place to start.

I´m going to look at the Hardcover fiction section since that´s the most recent releases and assuming that if it is popular in hardcover (the most expensive version one can buy) then it is a good reflection of both the public´s taste and their buying habits.  After all, they´ll probably only shell out the $30 or $40 on books they really expect to like.

The NY Times today is listing.

Finders Keepers, Stephen King #1  (what, again ….. no comment)
The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins. #2 A psychological thriller
All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr.#3
In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume.#4 Historical Romance
Radiant Angel, by Nelson DeMille. .#5  Spy thriller / Terrorism
Memory Man, by David Baldacci #6  Crime / suspense / thriller
Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson #7 Sci Fi
14TH DEADLY SIN, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. #8 Crime Drama
PIRANHA, by Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison. #9 Action
THE NIGHTINGALE, by Kristin Hannah.#10 Historical Drama

Nothing new in these trends so it’s probably a good idea to look through the whole top 100 bestsellers to see if a trend is emerging.  Right away I do see the element of ‘Historical’ becoming more prevalent in many genres.  Why write a detective novel when you can write a Historical Detective novel?  Why write a Romance when it could be a Historical romance?

As is the usual, it seems I come away with more questions than answers.
If one were able to read a couple hundred bestsellers in a heartbeat, the trends might become clearer.
Not a possibility here so …. I guess I’ll just stick to writing what I write and hope I hit the right combination one day.

David Gordon Burke
Find my Books here.


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