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Staying Away From Trends

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by Don Stevens —

Trend via Allen SandquistFinding a good story, whether fiction or non-fiction, and selling it to the right audience is what all independent publishers hope to achieve. While some trends come and go, selling the right story at the right time is not just luck; it takes much research and planning to release a title when its subject or genre is trending. Do you want to sell books in the next hot trending genre, and then re-catalog your inventory in a few years, or do you want to build a solid audience dedicated to quality writing, not only what is popular? Let’s be clear, popular titles can include quality writing, but the story and publisher have to be a match.

When A Story Is a Match

The books we choose to publish need to be good match—yes, it is a business, but we still should be choosy and make sure the published work represents the company well, and vice versa. Choosing to publish a book because it is trendy can prove disastrous for both publisher and writer. Two examples: the publisher may not be aware of how to market to book well, or the writer is writing outside their comfort zone, and trying a new genre because it is popular. This is jumping on the band wagon, we need to be true to ourselves. As publishers, and writers, we owe it to ourselves to present the best book possible to readers, even if that means selling to a targeted audience.

Can Trends Be Successful

While I stress not to choose a book because of a trend, sometimes publishers and writers specialize in books that are currently trending. They have already established themselves in this genre and are reaping the benefits of newfound success. Talk about timing. I say enjoy the limelight while it lasts, another trend is probably lurking around the corner.

Making Your Books Trend

If you are publishing books in a genre that is not trending you can make them trend by finding the right audience. Nowadays there’s a group for everything. Try searching online to discover your readership; use social media and hashtags to find some influencers in your subject who can make your book popular. This may take some time, but publishing a less competitive genre is an easier market to crack, and more rewarding.

Know What You Can Sell

It’s okay if publishers  only specialize in a few genres, it is actually shows integrity. I do not publish westerns, erotica, or vampiric sci-fi because I am not familiar with this genre. They all could sell well in their respective fields, however, I would not know a good plot from a mediocre one; they simply do not interest me, nor my test readers. Be comfortable and proud of the books you sell. The last thing a publisher needs to do is accept a project because it is the only one in the pipeline.

Image courtesy of Allen Sandquist.

Don StevensDon Stevens is an experienced writer, marketer, and blogger as well as the President of Merge Publishing and Finger Lakes Copywriting. Don has helped authors reach their potential in the publishing business with Merge and help build their author website platform and press kit with Finger Lakes Copywriting. His experience with PR and marketing offers writers a chance to grow their audience. Don currently resides in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, where he also reviews food and wine and is the author of the Finger Lakes Wine mysteries (coming 2015). Merge Publishing is currently seeking submissions for quality fiction in Mystery/Thriller, New Adult, and Romantic Suspense.

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