Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What makes a book take off?

It's interesting how tricky publishing can be. I've been asked from time to time, typically from people who are not writers, what makes a book take off? My answer = I have no idea.

It can be a character, a new trend, a slogan in the book that becomes popular in everyday culture. Why did TWILIGHT take off? HUNGER GAMES? FIFTY SHADES? Who knows. One thing is for certain, when one of these books takes off, it starts a domino effect. Readers want more. So with TWILIGHT we had a surge of paranormal romance. HUNGER GAMES lit up the dystopian genre. And now with Fifty Shades you'll see that many of the top sellers are spicy women's fiction.

But I think there is one commonality in all popular books--reader investment, and I'm not talking about the cost of the book. Readers like to get invested in the story--whatever that story may be. Which is why I think books with little to no marketing budget can do well. Word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool and once it's activated, there's no stopping it.

So tell me, why do you think books take off? And what do you think is the next trend?

~ Mel