1. aClem
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    aClem Active Member

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    Different kinds of readers

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by aClem, Jul 25, 2014.

    This could be a really long essay, but I will spare you. Something that has come to my attention more than ever is just how varied readers' tastes are. This would include stylistic preference and subject matter preference.

    In trying to promote one of my books, I came a cross a lady from Scotland whose hobby is "pimping" other people's books on Facebook. We struck up an online friendship and she is helping me solely out of the goodness of her heart. But what I found most interesting is the kind of books she reads, almost exclusively. These were genre I didn't even know existed, as genre. Her preferred reading material is paranormal romance and within that, shape shifter alpha. I can't read books like that, due to my OWN limited tastes, but apparently the components are a woman in danger and a shape shifting wolf type that protects her and maybe they live happily ever after together. I should ask her.

    Looking at the categories in Amazon for self publishers like me, it was somewhat surprising to see some of the genre that were listed among those I could choose from just under the Fiction category:

    Fiction/African American/Christian
    Fiction/Amish Mennonite
    Fiction/Christian/Futuristic
    Fiction/Christian/Western
    Fiction/Dystopian
    Fiction/Holidays (what might that be, I wonder)
    Fiction/Fantasy/Urban
    Fiction/Fantasy/Paranormal
    Fiction/Occult and Supernatural (but not paranormal, apparently)
    Fiction/Romance/Historical/Scottish
    Fiction/Romance/Historical/Viking (!)
    Fiction/Romance/Science Fiction
    Fiction/Romance/Time Travel
    Fiction/Science Fiction/Apocalyptic and Post Apocalyptic
    Fiction/Science Fiction/Steam Punk

    Some puzzle me less than others. Some I don't really even know what they are, such as urban fantasy or futuristic Christian. I have a vague idea what Steam Punk is having run across a description somewhere, but up till then never imagined it was a genre unto itself.

    I suspect categories will be added, and some dropped as trends (dare I call them fads?) change. There will probably come a time when there won't be 10 zombie apocalypse books published per day.

    I suppose a certain amount of my frustration as a would-be writer is the fact that my time to be 'hip' or in fashion has long passed. My frames of reference are very different than a twenty-something's.

    What's my point? I forget. Please forgive me. I'm old.
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It seems to me like your point is that trends can't be predicted because certain genres, some of which you haven't heard, of might suddenly become popular. You're also worried that what you're writing won't ever make you very famous because you can't predict these trends. Assuming I guessed right, I agree with the first point and think you need to change your outlook about the second. It's true that trends can't be predicted. What's popular now may not be popular five years from now. That's just the way it goes. Regarding the second point, you don't need to be "hip" to become a popular writer. The market isn't made up of only young adults; there are older readers too. Ideally, you should be writing for like-minded readers and not worrying about popularity and fame. It's hard to find fame as a writer. The odds are against you. So I suggest changing your outlook about the second point. That way, it won't even become an issue anymore.
     
  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    It can be intimidating but as someone who loves to browse thrift stores and used bookstores and flea markets - I've watched bins of books that used to be in style in the 70's suddenly become unsellable at 10 cents. Gothics, nurse fiction, Vigilante,
    Southern slave sleaze. It's better to write something you're passionate about than try to ride the trend wave.
     
  4. aClem
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    aClem Active Member

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    I didn't mean to come off as a whiner. I think the point I should have made is that IT SEEMS TO ME that readers have become rather more narrow in what they read. When I was a pre-teen I read almost entirely science fiction. My education forced me to try other styles and I am SO grateful for that.

    It's hard to imagine an avid reader who only reads paranormal romances, but I actually know one! I am past the point of wanting to be famous, or even rich (really!) I would like the satisfaction of finding an audience that likes my stuff, a few hundred would be okay. It's been a struggle and I'm not there yet with most of my "catalog."

    If I were convinced that what I wrote had absolutely no audience, I could accept that. It's harder to accept that it may exist, but reaching it is a bitch, bordering on impossible. WAIT! I just had an idea! If it works I'll let you all know!
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    That's just because there's so much out there. You have all these different genres because of the sheer number of books being published each other. Also, a lot of the readers I know stick to two or three genres. They don't branch out because, again, there's just so much to choose from in each genre that they don't feel it necessary to go out looking for something different.
     

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