Friday, June 3, 2011

The Next Big Thing

Before I get to my post today, I'd like to announce the two winners of Undercover Lovers, my erotic contemporary anthology with Dee Carney, Chloe Cole and Dee Tenorio, from last week's post. Congratulations Susan and Dragon Lady (Stacy)! Please email me at cariquinnauthor at gmail dot com to claim your prize.

Tonight I'm taking a class through Loose Id that, among other things, helps authors track their individual sales and book trends. Which books were big sellers for you, for example, and which ones tanked, all nicely charted out and analyzed.

Armed with that data, authors can feel a little more informed the next time they sit down to play the "what if" game in front of a blank Word document. If I know, say, werewolf ninjas are selling big, I can hurry my werewolf ninja idea to market and hope that wave hasn't crashed before mine releases.

Some writers don't track things in that manner. They follow the dictates of their muse and write where their stories take them. Others approach their career a bit more methodically.

I think I kind of fit in the middle, though as of yet, I haven't written anything that I didn't feel compelled to write at that time. Well, that's probably not true. Full Disclosure, my first novella, I wrote because a) I wanted to try to write an erotic romance and b) because I'd been told so-called "cougar" novels were hot.

I also wrote my vampire menage (which I'm still wrestling with) for the same reason. I've delayed and dawdled over that book so long that vampires are no longer hot or even lukewarm…and some people downright hate them now. But that, like most other things, will swing around again, I think. In a few years, vampires will probably enjoy another resurgence. A girl can dream, right?

So I have a two-part question for you today. For writers, do you write to trends or do you strictly follow the muse? And for readers and writers, what do you think the next big thing in romance will be? Is paranormal dead? Will it be cowboys or historicals? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Anonymous said...

As an avid reader just starting to dip my toesies in the water, I'd say I write whatever lil story my mind congers up. Definitely not seasoned enough to write what I think the market demands. And speaking of said and old or tried and true. Whatever that means :0&. Anyhoo, one market I've seen jump is gay romance. I read hordes of vampire books, and for now I'm taking a break with the furry side of paranormal. Personally, I think no matter what genre of romance is written, it will sell. Every reader will read what they love, even if what they love to read changes. With such a vast variety of women (and men), and their preferences, there will always be demand for numerous genres. How lucky for the reader in each of us that there are so many choices. I'd be bummed if all my favorite authors started gearing their writing toward one specific genre.


Regina Carlysle said...

Great post, Cari. I read just about everything except sci-fi and m/m (those genres don't ring my bells). Years ago everyone said historical was dead. Just about killed me because I loved writing and reading them. Much later one of my erotic regencies came out and it is, to date, my biggest money makers. Dead? No. Not hardly. Later folks were saying contemps are dead. I said BULLSHIT. No way. It didn't happen. Basically, it seems someone is always saying a genre is dead and they are wrong.

We all look for particular things when the mood strikes and lucky US...there is a huge selection. As for writing? I write my furry critters and then my cowboys, alternating between the two. This expands my readership plus puts me in my 'happy place'. I don't get bored because I'm always doing something that moves me.

Regina Carlysle said...

Oh sorry. Something else. I do sometimes write to trends. Menage isn't a comfort zone for me yet I will do an occasional menage simply because they sell really well. Does that make me a money ho? I don't know. I do know that once I get into the story (and put it in a paranormal realm) it becomes more believable for me and more fun.

Marie Rose Dufour said...

As a reader, I read anything that appeals to me, so the genre doesn't really matter, as long as the story is good' I don't think it's wrong as a writer to see what sells and try to write something that fits. It might work for the muse or it might not. I feel that it's not how you start the journey but how you end it that's important.

Unknown said...

As a writer I follow where the muse leads me.
As a reader I'll read whatever appeals to me at the time I'm looking for a book.
I don't follow trends because as you pointed out with the vampires - they die out. I don't want to be stuck with something that people are sick of. :)

Molly Daniels said...

I also write whatever the muse dictates. I started writing erotic romance to see if I could do it, and the answer was yes:) I find I'm going back to more sensual, but that's okay; I've proved to myself I can write a publishable book and people enjoy what I'm writing. I laugh I started the 'teacher' trend, b/c it took me so long to get it out there, and other authors heard about my idea and wrote faster than I could polish and find a publisher:) But that's okay! Mine is not anything like the ones pubbed a few years back.

Tess MacKall said...

I've always subscribed to the theory that a professional writer should write where the money takes them. I've taken a lot of flack for that stand, too. But as I see it, a writer is supposed to do just that.

We're not just in this for the joy of writing--at least not once you turn pro--but in it for the bucks as well. And a good writer can pretty much write anything. Now that doesn't mean that a writer isn't more inclined to be better with one genre than another. We all have our faves, those types of stories that we love to write.

But I see nothing wrong with tracking trends and jumping on the money train. Writing is hard work and we deserve to be paid for our work. Besides, writing in different genres is a personal challenge--at least for me. I enjoy it.

Great subject!

Eileen said...

That was a good post and it made me think about what I do as a reader. I read for pleasure and it runs across all genres. If I get tired of one I switch to another. As for the writer going with the trend and putting something out there that might sell, I see nothing wrong with that. I like writers that can write different genres and if they write good stories I'll look them up and read them.

Harlie Williams said...

As a reader I will read anything but sci/fi and urban fantasy. The trend that I see fading is menage with more than three people. More and more readers are having a hard time keeping track. LOL!

I read what I like at the time, not what the trend says.

Mia Watts said...

Wow! I'd love to see my stats like that. Sounds fantastic.

Jen B. said...

I keep reading about trends in the market. What I find interesting is that everyone you ask talks about a different trend. I think the trends ebb and flow so fast that it's far better to just write what moves you. If it doesn't sell right away, then hold on to it because eventaully the trend will occur. BTW, I'm a reader not a writer.

books4me said...

I love to read and will read whatever "calls" to me. Personally, I still love paranormal and will seek that out first before other genres but I love all books! I would think that an author would write what moves her and what she does/knows well and not what is popular but since I'm not an author, I don't know that one.

Cari Quinn said...

Hi everyone! Thanks to all of you for stopping by.

It seems like a lot of people fall more in the middle between following the muse and chasing trends. I tend to agree with Tess that if you're writing professionally, keeping an eye on the market is smart business sense. Even so, sometimes the market doesn't dovetail with your own strengths. Sci-fi seems to be pretty popular at the moment, but I can't write it. So I guess in that case you focus on your own preferences and hope it all shakes out in the end. After all, readers all like different things! Thank goodness. :)

Dragon Lady said...

What EVER y'all write, I read! Tho, I AM working on Regina for a really intense menage. ;)

What ever genre you prefer, it has to be something comfortable. There are readers for just about ANY thing y'all can come up with. If it is not the "trend", who cares? As long as you keep your works true to your own ideals, then that is what counts. Please, no matter what fans might try and say, if it NOT something your comfortable with (looks at Regina and grins), then don't write it.

Btw, Regina....... Jaguar Hunger is FANTASTIC!

Cari, I emailed you earlier. Sorry I did not get in touch sooner! Been a heck of a few days.


dragn_lady at yahoo dot com