Sunday, May 18, 2014
What to do when your books are not selling well-- other than pout that is. One option is to look at the books by those who are selling. What makes them attract so many readers? The following link is about a writer, who is making $60,000,000 a year (that was no typo). That would seem a prime one to check out for what it is readers want.
A few months back, I went to the used bookstore and looked for some of Roberts' books. I found two full bookshelves of her work not to mention one reader standing in front of one of them to make her selection. I had no idea which would be good but bought four and an audio. These might not have been the best she wrote, just taken at random; so no scientific survey here.
After reading some, listening to the audio, I got it as to why I don't sell gangbusters... I don't even like her plots or characters. But somebody does-- a lot of somebodys do. She speaks to reader needs, which leads to a logical question (I think), should other writers try to figure out the elements in her books that lead to such popularity?
One writer has bragged that she did exactly that. She claimed that she analyzed the best selling books, saw which ingredients were in them, lined up what had to happen when, and created a story using those dynamics. Voila-- best selling romance. I don't know if that would work for other genres but you do see it a lot with the rash of stories that follow something like Twilight, Shades of Grey or Hunger Games.
Some of the things readers seem to like in Roberts books were total turnoffs to me. In the ones I saw, the heroines were more important than the heroes. In that sense she is a bit like chick lit. She had action. I like that. She also had some series books, like say three friends, and each gets their own guy in a separate book. I felt there were repetitive aspects in her plots. She had sex but it wasn't erotica,and it wasn't the whole story.
Her heroines wanted more from life than to get a guy and often took a lot of convincing to settle with the one who wanted them. Still that's not unusual in romance books from what I've seen.The women appeared to be career women, power women. That's a positive.
She always gave her characters the happily ever after, but that's in all romances by dictate. Any reader who fears it won't work out in the end between the hero and heroine is new to today's romance genre. The only time they don't work out in one book is because it's a series and aimed to get you to buy all of them to get to the HEA. Permanent tragic endings are saved for serious literature.
When books aren't selling well (and boy have mine in May not sold well), is a time I have to remind myself I don't write to be popular. I write to do what I love. I am guessing Roberts does the same thing but she happens to love writing what today's romance readers love reading. That's called good timing.