This really is the time where, in so many ways, we slice and dice what happened in the previous year, and the bestseller list is not immune to this scrutiny. So continuing with the bestseller list theme, there’s a new article at Publishers Weekly breaking down the bestsellers of 2014 by category in print. Here’s the link:
It’s ironic because on the one hand you would think that in knowing what is gaining or losing momentum with readers that it would be easy to figure out where to spend your energy and time as a writer. This isn’t always the case, because just when you think that you’ve written next best thing in fiction – say a thriller – the world of readers, publishers and booksellers turn away from your category, or sub category, and want something different. After all there are only so many copy cat stories a reader can take. BTW – the same thing happens in the world of movies and other entertainment arenas. It doesn’t seem to take long for what’s new to become old, especially when there’s glut or saturation in the market.
Often if you wait long enough there will be a dry spell and possibly a new thirst for what you’ve written and then you might just have another shot at being a publishing hit. However, since we’re talking about print versions of books, all bets may be off going forward due to a shift among readers who are increasingly favoring the electronic versions of books. A notable example is the 11 percent decline in sale of romance novels in print. However, this particular article didn’t break the romance category down even further so it’s hard to tell which sub categories of romance novels in print showed the most decline in sales and sub categories are very important in the world or romance novels.
As you can imagine, a publisher of romance novels in print will be paying attention to this information because publishers are for-profit businesses after all and it’s hard to make a profit on something with declining sales. What this most likely means for authors is that only those authors with a proven track record of sales will be offered a print contract up front. We’re already seeing this in the digital first imprints that publisher after publisher is establishing. Then there’s the whole social media influence. Just check this out:
Oh, the print categories that did the best in print in 2014? Well the award goes to both the self-help and graphic novel categories. So, if you can write a self-help book that reads like a graphic novel, you just may have a hit in print at your fingertips – literally and figuratively.