Trends…and Counter-Trends

Janet Grant

Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant

I saw an author at a writers conference who was walking around in a daze as she thought about all the demands on writers to successfully publish today–both self-pub and traditional pub.

Here’s what her mind was circling around. She must:


  • Maintain a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and/or Pinterest.
  • Work to build a significant platform on at least one of these social media sites.
  • Needs to sustain a blog or begin a podcast.
  • Figure out Facebook Live because word has it that’s an effective tool in marketing one’s book.
  • And launch teams are requisite nowadays, too. So those people need to be gathered together, given instructions on how to get the word out about a new book, and offer them special attention as their reward for helping with publicizing a new release.
  • Not to mention that the author wants to find communities for writers online.
  • And oh, yes, writing needs to be squeezed in their somewhere.

Let’s take a deep breath and realize that the faster paced and more plugged in our world becomes, the more we long to linger, to slow down. A number of books have been written by people who chose to find ways for their families to become detached from their technological gizmos.

Those books are a reflection of an important concept to remember:

For every trend, there is a counter-trend.

When mass market books first burst onto the scene, readers rushed to buy these handy, fit-in-your-pocketbook reads. At the same time, a love for a beautifully bound book that was luscious just to hold also arose.

While we’ve all developed thumb dexterity via texting, we all treasure receiving a carefully selected greeting card with a handwritten note when it appears in our mailbox.

Middle-grade and teen readers are foregoing digital devices for physical books. Screen fatigue makes them long for turning crisp pages and holding a book. And audio books are the hottest sellers nowadays because people want to “read” a book wherever they are–but not so much off of their phones.

A novel idea

I see that the more we feel enslaved to technology, the more we long for ways to stop the madness. What else does that translate to for the writer to be mindful of?

I think novels are especially popular because they are long stories that take us away from the hit-or-miss connections of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Rather than scrolling through posts, novels explore human connections that go deeper. And they portray individuals’ interiors in ways we can never gauge as we stride through life with our earbuds blocking out bird calls and people’s voices.

Another counter trend…and a longed for counter trend

I also think our desire for a deeper look into another life is one of the reasons memoir and narrative nonfiction continue to be popular.

Many are turning to reading nonfiction books that reflect the reader’s view of the world. We seem to have lost the art of having a civil discourse with someone we disagree with; so we’re huddling around with like-minded people online, in real life, and in the books we read. Wouldn’t it be grand if a counter-trend of seeking out books by those who aren’t like-minded occurred? Or if we read about being civil with each other and then actually lived out the insights we gained?

What other trends do you see? Can you spy counter-trends? How could you apply this concept to your book idea?


Looking for a book idea? Remember, for every trend there’s a counter-trend. Click to tweet.

Writers, missed out on a trend? Sometimes success is found in walking away from it. Click to tweet.

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