What makes something a trend? It's no secret that retailers and designers glom on to what's popular and create their own version of what's trending to appease fashionistas. Are readers treated the same way when when it comes to books?
As I’ve been finishing up my third novel, Finding Bliss, I’ve been interested in what’s trending in books these days…and does it really matter?
I looked up a few articles online, because I wanted to see what people had predicted for 2012, and if they were right. Here’s one I found from Bookmark Radio:
“The most popular book categories for 2012 will include Mystery Thrillers, Economics, Political Biography and Alternative Health. But Self-Help/Psychology will loom as the most popular category as many of us try to stay grounded after having been uncorked by the sustained recession!”
Well, I’m not sure they were entirely spot on, but who could have predicted the success of Fifty Shades and friends. Oh my!
Here are Amazon’s top ten best sellers for 2012:
Fifty Shades Freed: by E.L. James
Gone Girl: by Gillian Flynn
Fifty Shades Trilogy: by E.L. James
Bared to You: by Sylvia Day
No Easy Day: Kevin Maurer, Mark Owen
The Marriage Bargain: Jennifer Probst
Reflected in You: Sylvia Day
The Racketeer: John Grisham
Defending Jacob: William Landay
The Innocent: David Baldacci
In a Huffington Post article about the above list, Amazon.com's editorial director, Sara Nelson made the following statement:
“This was truly the year of the billionaire bad boy in romance—Amazon readers just couldn’t get enough of the genre.”
So, does that mean readers have had enough of him now? Will the vampire resurface and claim his throne as king of romance? These are things I think about; although they don’t necessarily mean I should change what I do. I write contemporary romance/women’s fiction. My books are character driven, and (hopefully) relatable when it comes to relationships both romantic and familial. I write with a sense of wit, and tend to use a lot of dialogue in my scenes because I love writing dialogue.
Should it matter to me that erotica and mysteries are the most popular recent genres? Should I abandon what I’m doing and write outside of my comfort zone? Uh, no. I enjoy reading erotica, but if I attempted to write one of those love scenes, my inexperience in that arena (the writing, of course) would be painfully obvious.
That being said, I would LOVE to write a mystery. I’m a long time fan of James Patterson, John Grisham and Ann Rule. Being able to craft a psychological thriller would be immensely rewarding. One day maybe…
So, with that being said, I’d be interested in hearing your opinions. What sort of books do you read? Do you read outside of your normal genre just because a book is popular? I know I do. I guarantee you I would’ve never picked up The Hunger Games had it not been such a chart topper. There’s nothing about the description of that book that interested me in the least, but I ended up reading the trilogy and thoroughly enjoying the ride.
And as an author, do you write what’s trending? Does it matter to you? Do you write what you enjoy reading? Or do you approach your craft differently altogether?
Please share your thoughts!