To Follow or Not To Follow? #trends

With the increased number of authors coming into the market it is becoming very crowded. You have a large possibility of getting lost among the crowd.

I’ve been writing and publishing for about ten years now and have seen trends go up and go down.

I have seen unique authors stand out and flourish like never before. I also have seen authors come and just as quickly go.

I know I have had my own share of ups and downs. Publishers closing doors, my books being taken hostage, have been ripped off by companies, even not fit the as one would say in crowd because you either followed in line or you were not one of them. Hell most people would have said to themselves “are you nuts? Is the stress and crap worth it?”

Honestly….yes…maybe at the time it was a hard road and I wondered but in the end it just made me stronger.

Ever since I was  little girl I was not part of the in crowd. I was not popular. I was me. I did my own thing and was my own person. Even to this day I am still me. My writing is mine and I don’t follow what one would say is cool. I don’t force myself to write what is in style and trendy. I write what I am inspired to write.

Have I ever pondered and thought why not as one would say get in line and be a follower? Yes it has crossed my mind, but what came out of that was the fact that I would just get lost in the crowd of books following a trend. I did not want that. I wanted to write stuff that would make me stand out in my own way. I wanted to be unique, even if it meant I was different and not what is expected.

So I ask you. As a reader are you a trend follower when it comes to books? Do you like when your fave author joins a trend that is popular and writes a book in that genre that is over flooded with books?

As an author do you follow trends and if so why do you do so? Do you find it gives your work extra attention?

Stay naughty,
Savannah

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Comments (11)

Cara BristolFebruary 4th, 2014 at 7:58 am

What to write is such a personal decision and there is no right or wrong answer. In publishing, as with other things (for instance, fashion), there are trend setters and trend followers. One can make a career of both.

I have noticed that trends work like this: somebody produces something that gets attention (i.e. sells well), everybody jumps on the bandwagon, the market is flooded, people get tired of the product and it stops selling. Everybody moves on to the next trend.

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Savannah Chase Reply:

Cara,

You are so right as to the bandwagon. The flood of the market does end up getting big and people get tired and move on. I also think it will get reused after a few years. You can see the trend with vampire books for example. They were huge then they vanished and then they came back.

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Cora BluFebruary 4th, 2014 at 11:05 am

I can’t write what I don’t feel in my heart and bones. It will come out lacking in depth. So I don’t follow trends in my writing.

I love Regency Romance, but would never attempt to write it. I don’t have that inside of me. And there are enough wonderful authors out there that do justice to that subject.

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Savannah Chase Reply:

Cora,

I know how you feel. I can’t force myself to write something because it is cool. I write what I am inspired to write and what my imagination gives me. Even if it is out there. You are a wonderful author btw.

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Shyla coltFebruary 4th, 2014 at 11:39 am

Savannah I just loved this post. In the words of my Mom, I never worried about you following the crowd because you always did your own thing. I continued that habit with my writing. I go with my gut and what the characters demand. As a reader unique and fresh takes really catch my eye. I think when a writer is true to their vision it really jumps out at you.

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Julia BarrettFebruary 4th, 2014 at 2:24 pm

I don’t follow trends. I write what I write. I suspect if I did follow trends I’d sell more books.

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krissyFebruary 4th, 2014 at 6:05 pm

I think too many books, multiple genres and authors are doing what is trendy because that’s what sells so i can get why so many of them follow suit but at the same time writing what is trendy isn’t always going to work for everyone. after awhile writing whats trendy is going to go out of style a new one will come in and for those that write outside of the box those will continue on and may stand out when the next trend comes around. i support doing both but at the same time i also feel that writers should make a name for themselves too, find something that stands out, find something that is unique amongst the crowd. i think thats why so many aspiring writers get lost in the crowd is because so many others are already doing “this” or already doing “that” and with smashwords, barnes and noble and amazon as well as many other site making self publishing/ self published books so accessible to anyone that you literally have millions of books all competing for a special place to stand out that i think some lose their voice regardless of how special their work may be simply because of the overwhelming numbers.
im not for or against either one but i feel that in the end its the person and the work as whole together that will make it to the winning end.

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MaxFebruary 5th, 2014 at 12:06 am

Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. I rarely watch trends, so it’s hard to be influenced by them when it comes to writing. When I do realize there’s a mad dash into a specific subgenre – be it spanking, ravers with furry tails, or MMA wrestler bios – I rarely feel compelled to jump on the bandwagon.

That doesn’t mean I won’t mention them. My characters have interests in music, art, media, and fashion. They might express an opinion or even try some things out on their own. I might lampoon a particular subgenre, or spend some time redeveloping a theme to suit my amusement and pleasure. Sometimes trends provide an inspiration to do better or hack the heck out of an idea until it has entirely different characteristics.

At the same time, people’s voices and means of expressing themselves evolves. The visibility of circumstances evolves with broader awareness. There are topics – like widows left lost and desperate for a care provider and lover after decades of conflict in the Middle East have taken away so many husbands – that I couldn’t openly write about ten years ago but I can now because the public has come to realize something has really happened. Cheating spouses who are really individuals fleeing abusive situations take on a much more nuanced nature now that people are more aware of how common domestic violence and abuse is. And thank goodness for the resurgence of Dr. Who – the ultimate hero and anti-hero with a nice scifi setting that is still so comfortable for the masses to accept. These trends in awareness help make characters come to life without slowing the pace of a story to fill in all the backing details. They also get you some occasionally undeserved attention.

That second part of your question is hard to quantify. Attention. Following trends positions your work to be discovered by consumers that are also following trends. So you benefit from fitting in with the crowd. Any spammer will tell you that so long as you have a 1% conversion rate while aimed at a big enough population then you’ve got money to put in the bank.

At the same time, following the trend at the peak means you’re work is one of many many many options all chasing the same big population. Audience fatigue and competition from well funded marketing campaigns will probably reduce your prospects.

Get in on the end of a trend… and your audience is crickets. Depending on the trend, your work is also possibly compromised and tainted because the trend followers have already locked down on the three or four must read authors for the trend. There are loads of amazing authors who put material out similar to JK Rowlins (Harry Potter) but JK Rowlins defines the trend and only one or two other authors even get mentioned by subgenre fans.

What I’ve seen is that if you get in on a trend early with a unique voice then you do get attention and lift. If you get on a trend too early then people follow you and do it better. If you get on a trend too close to the peak then you’re voice is lost in the chaotic choruses of hanger-ons and wannabes.

And if you skip the trends altogether then you probably were already a niche author and you’re comfortable with that.

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Shelley MunroFebruary 5th, 2014 at 3:40 am

I tend to write what makes me happy. I’m not sure if this works for the market, but bottom line I write the books that I’m passionate about. Writing to trends would feel like being on a treadmill.

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Julia BarrettApril 3rd, 2014 at 1:41 pm

No, I don’t follow trends. I write what I write and I let the chips fall where they may.

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Mary RoyaApril 4th, 2014 at 12:16 pm

I like some of the new adult and especially the more popular exotica that have a good story going with it. However, I will normally go for the stories that I love. Ghost stories, suspense with all have the happily ever after.

Yes, I still buy my favorites, Charlane Harris, Kim Harrison, Laurell K. Hamilton and a few others.

What I don’t like is paying full paper back price for an ebook. What I don’t like is buying a chapter of the story each month or every other month.

As a reader, I read what I like or that it catches my interest. As writer, I have the numbers of the pages completed…just need to finish filling the pages with words.

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