book business, book promotion, books, contemporary romance, indie, indie authors, indie publishers, indie writers, Inkspell Publishing, market saturation, New Adult, New release, romance, self-publishing, Shelf Life, social media, Stephanie Lawton, traditional publishing, writing, young adult
Confession: I haven’t read a book in months. I’m a writer and I haven’t read for pleasure in I don’t even know how long. I don’t know the latest titles, emerging authors or which series is set to become the latest Summit Entertainment drawn-out movie franchise.
The question of whether or not the book business is oversaturated has been plaguing me for more than year now. It’s partly responsible for my hiatus after initially releasing SHELF LIFE in December 2013 (re-released October 2014).
Six or so years ago when Stephenie Meyer was at the height of her glory, Young Adult lit took off, surpassing all other genres/categories–which were seeing marked declines–for at least a year.
Fast forward a couple years, say, 2012. Like me, many authors had books that didn’t quite fit into traditional YA perimeters, or even upper-YA (hello, WANT). We couldn’t convince agents to take a chance on our books because they claimed they couldn’t sell them to publishers. So, a handful of brave souls flipped the bird to traditional publishing and either went indie or self-published. I chose to go indie and published WANT as upper-YA.
If you’ve read it, you know it barely fits within YA. Yes, the plot hinges on the heroine being a minor, but the rest of it is very heavy and set in an adult’s world. It was released in June 2012. By 2013, New Adult had emerged as a viable category and began to flourish, replacing YA as the new “thing.”
And now it’s everywhere. Like, freaking everywhere. YA is still going strong, and from what I can tell, most other genres aren’t disappearing either. Granted, I’ve been out of the loop for about a year, so I could be blowing smoke and/or sunshine. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Everyone has a book coming out. I see the announcements on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, OMG I’m pretty sure one day I’m going to be on the throne, look over and there will be ads on my toilet paper. I will be wiping my ass with book promos.
SHELF LIFE, despite being released at the height of New Adult, pretty much tanked. Those who read it loved it, but it got lost amongst the cadres of other titles, drowned out by books with more skin on their covers; more extroverted authors who had time/money/energy to market well; full-time novelists who churn out sequels faster than Stouffer’s mac and cheese in the microwave.
Hats off to them for sticking it out and following their dreams. Some of them seem to be quite successful, but I guess these are the questions I’m asking:
- Is the book biz oversaturated with books?
- Or is it oversaturated with advertisements?
- Or did I just get burned out?
- Perhaps a combination of these things?
Perhaps bloggers have a different opinion than authors, who have a different opinion than readers. I’d love to hear from a number of camps who are still in the trenches.
If there’s a consensus that readers are still wanting more, MORE! then I’ll shut the hell up. But if I’m correct and there’s less demand and too much product, why is this happening? When do you think it will even out? What genres/categories do you see emerging? Which ones are dying?
Make no mistake, I (and most writers, I think) am going to keep writing whatever the hell I want. The story has to be told the way it has to be told and I’ll worry about marketability later. But I still think this is a discussion worth having.
Your opinions, please?
Heather M. Gardner said:
Yes, it’s so much easier to get a book out (especially if you don’t care about quality) than it ever was before.
But, no. I do not think the market is over-saturated.
If you take a look at who you follow the most on social media, it’s probably mostly writers/authors. That’s why you see so much promotion. Recently I saw a bunch of non-writer peeps ask on FB what they should read or download after Christmas. They don’t follow all the people that we do so they don’t get bombarded with the ads.
A lot has to do with timing, but keep at it. Keep promoting. You never know who might get a hold of your book and then tell the whole world.
Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Heather, and you’re right — I’m sure authors tend to have a lot more promo in their feeds than straight-up readers and fans.