It’s About What’s Selling
I’m thinking that since it’s summertime (and the livin’ is, supposedly, easy) I want to lighten up on the blog posts a bit—not fewer of them, but shorter. So I’m going to try and keep my posts short and sweet for the next month or so. Of course, I’ve said this before but I never seem to be able to do it! I’m naturally long-winded, I guess.
On to today’s (short and sweet) topic:
On Friday, a few people wrote that they’re frustrated by the publishing industry’s focus on “hot” genres, whether it’s paranormal romance or bonnet books (or whatever). Timothy Fish remarked: “The simple answer is that it is a business decision, but that business decision is based on what publishers believe readers want to read.”
True enough, and it’s something everyone should remember. But more importantly, you should realize that decisions to focus on hot genres aren’t based on what publishers think people want to read. It’s not a guess. It’s based on what’s actually selling.
Every publisher has stories of trying to go “out of the box” and publish books and genres that aren’t yet proven commodities or simply aren’t “hot” right now. And every publisher also has stories of how the sales of those books were dismal and simply not enough to justify continuing.
In this day of economic woes, publishers must take fewer risks (notice I didn’t say “no risks”). They’ve got to publish the books they pretty much know will sell. In fact, this is often heartbreaking for the editors and publishers who have to make these decisions. Sometimes it means turning down manuscripts they love in favor of those that are “sure things.”
You may not like the fact that what’s “hot” isn’t what you’re writing. But I think we all need to be happy that millions of people are still reading books, and more importantly to us, buying books. They’re buying some genres more than others, obviously. But they’re still buying them, and for that, I’m thankful.
P.S. Below 400 words! I did it!
Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent