Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Market Update

It's been awhile since I've talked about what seems to be selling, mes auteurs, so below are the five categories I've noticed particular growth in over the past few months.

Keep in mind that (1) these are based on a healthy mix of data and anecdotal evidence, and (2) these are my thoughts on what seems to be selling now, not what will necessarily be popular in a year (the earliest your book would come out, assuming it's acquired in short order).

Graphic novels. It's likely these are seeing a bump because summer is superhero movie season, but it's pretty clear that this category is up from earlier this year. And (according to BookScan) it's not just properties with movies out/forthcoming, such as Thor or Green Lantern, so if you happen to be a graphic novel type of guy or gal, this is good news for you.

YA apocalyptic fiction. This (to my mind, anyway) was probably touched off by Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games in the same way vampire mania was touched off by Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, but I feel like I'm seeing an awful lot of end-of-the-world scenarios (Harold Camping's failed Rapture prediction and the New Age folks' Mayan 2012 nonsense notwithstanding).

Weird diet books. I've seen everything from "only eat raw foods and if you eat a cooked vegetable you will die" to "feel free to eat your weight in bacon." Some of this is probably seasonal—while a ton of diet books come out in January, I figure there's always a beach season bump—but I feel like I've been getting an earful about Paleolithic diets, raw food diets, Mediterranean diets, and no- or low-carb diets for months.

Thrillers/horror novels. While I still firmly believe the mass market paperback is on its way out, sales appear to be holding steady in this format for thrillers and horror novels (not so much straight mysteries, for some reason). Again, it's beach season, and I imagine anyone without a Kindle is buying a stack of inexpensive paperbacks for the beach or pool.

Romance. A perennial favorite, romance is probably doing well for the same reasons as the aforementioned thrillers—it's generally inexpensive and great for beach or poolside reading. Romance readers also tend to buy repeatedly and generally buy more books per purchase than other readers, so the effect may be amplified by those kinds of consumer habits.

That's all I've got for today, cats & kittens. What books have you been hearing about/reading about/seeing everywhere lately?


  1. I weary of reading YA post-apocalyptic dystopias, and I agree with you that they're everywhere. Sigh.
    I hope there's a new trend in YA soon.

  2. I've seen a bunch of new YA dystopians as well as graphic novels lately and agree with your reasoning behind their popularity. I find book "trends" and what causes them very interesting.

  3. I have to disagree with your assessment that Twilight touched off vampire mania. But, I don't have the numbers to back that up, so that's just my opinion. It is nice to hear that horror is holding steady, but I'm afraid that I'm too easily scared to even write a horror novel/short/whatever. I had to research ghosts and possession earlier today, and the creaks and groans of my silent as death apartment freaked me out so much I had to turn on the news. :(

  4. Well, this just might be good news for me, since it's summer superhero season and my YA series is about superheroes :) I'll have to agree of being tired of dystopians as well...

    Trolling through the bookstore, I see a lot of assassin-as-main-toon books. Lots and lots of fiction where the hero is just an overpowered, underdeveloped mess...

    Is that a category?

    YA: Cheat, Liar, Coward
    Adult: Shackled

  5. I'm a died in the knife or gun or whatever other weapon of choice thriller reader and currently just finished Michael Connelly's The Fifth Witness and am reading Steve Berry's The Jefferson Key, a diversion to his home shores for a change. I'll be at Thrillerfest in July pitching my latest you can see I'm committed. Though I do attend local LA area book signings whenever...and some special ones with wonderful stories and such beautiful writing were Caroline Leavitt's Pictures of You and the Canadian Irish author Emma Donoghue's ROOM. And, that is what it looks like on the cover...both paper back.

  6. Wonderful. I'm halfway done with my first thriller. Need to get it done now!

  7. Graphic novels... bringing me to new thought: do you know of any YA books translated into Japanese manga comics?

  8. I've been on my own version of the bacon diet (it also includes beer) for quite a while now and I'd have to say it doesn't work. Well, not for weight loss, anyway.

  9. Glad you make the point that everything here is seen in hindsight. You can't know what will be the next big thing - maybe it will be your book - so you may as well write what you like. That's the only way to write anyway.