Blogger: Rachel Zurakowski
Location: Barnes & Noble, Santa Rosa, Calif.
When I was in Denver at the Jerry B. Jenkins Writing for the Soul Conference, two questions I was asked frequently were, “What’s popular now?” and “What book trends do you see in the near future?” I want to walk you through ways to discover answers to these questions and to predict the market as best as we can. It’s impossible to know the future, of course, but we can make educated guesses. Today and tomorrow we’re going to talk about the bookstore and what it can teach us about the market.
Here we are! Let’s go in together. A bookstore is one my my happy places.
All those books on the shelves represent an investment made by the bookstore as it tries to predict what customers are going to buy. So, what topics and themes do you see a lot of on those shelves? Be sure to check out the section that you imagine your book would be shelved in. What do you see?
Are there 100 copies of the latest vampire fantasy?
Are most of the novels contemporary or historical?
Which books are faced (on the shelf with the cover facing out)?
Do you see more evergreens (books that were published a while back that sell well) or are there more newly published books?
Are there other people browsing in your section? What are they looking at?
After we finish at this store, we might want to see if the things we noticed here are popular at the competing store as well. This fun exercise can give you a good idea of what’s hot.
If you’re writing a Christian book, be sure to check out the corresponding general market section. I’ve heard frequently at writers’ conferences that the Christian market is about 2 years behind the general market in the topics/concepts being published. That’s something to keep in mind as you try to predict the future interest in the market.
Another way to do this type of research is online at sites like amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com. You can check out the top-selling books in any category.
Something to keep in mind is that it can take as long as two years from the signing of the book contract to publication. So many of those newly published books on the shelves were purchased by the publishing house about two years ago.
While at the bookstore snapping these pictures, I asked myself the questions I posed in this blog post for Christian historical romance. I’ll unveil my findings tomorrow. 🙂 I might even include more pictures.