So, I recently made a trip to Barnes & Noble’s, with the idea for ‘research’ in mind. I read somewhere that you should study and read as much as you can of your chosen genre, to get an idea / sense of the trends in your area of writing, and your target audience. Basically, I wanted to feel out my market (with my market being cautiously aimed in the urban fantasy / teen fantasy / YA. I was mostly interested in what the structure for book blurbs were like, as I’d had some trouble constructing my own a few days ago. (The wreckage of said attempt is viewable on my ‘Redhaven Saga’ page.)
Anyway, I learned some stuff, and I thought I would share. Perhaps some of you have noticed the same things? Something contradictory?
3 Things I Learned From My Writing Field Trip
1. It’s all about the same girl – And it’s always a girl courted by some mysterious boy (or boys). This is kind of a no brainer, but it still struck me as noticeable, because every cover had a pretty girl on it and thesynopsis started almost the same. Girl X does stuff, and gets noticed by Boy X, and crazy romance-y stuff happens. I kind of wanted to read a book where the girl was in charge, but the whole ‘being pursued’ thing was still pretty hot. My book will probably have a bit of this same flavor, romance-wise, but it still seems very… cookie-cutter from the selection I saw. Maybe it’s time to change the formula.
2. But it’s not all about the vampires anymore – This relieves me. Apparently mermaids are on the rise, from what I can tell. Other supernatural races, besides vampires, are growing too. There’s the shifter sub genre (which isn’t just wolves anymore), and even stuff like Valkyries and Witches are up and coming. This makes me feel better. Vampires are still king right now, but it’s looking less and less so.
This really does it no justice at all – the inside of it is intricate and beautiful and glossy.
3. And that thing about cover design is actually true – I’ve read that cover design is absolutely HUGE. Probably the next important thing under the content of your book itself. And this is absolutely true. As a reader and a shopper, I can tell you that the books I picked up and read were the ones with the gorgeous covers, and it’s not even completely just the look of the cover, its the feel too. Some of them have beleveled titles, or intricate gold filigree, or are just detailed inside and out. The cover of the book Blessed by Tanya Hurley is probably the single most beautiful physical cover I’ve ever seen. The girl on the front isn’t some average looking brunette with smuldering eyes – she’s pale, and gaunt and almost so beautiful, she’s creepy. The inside of the jacket is even intricate and features a kind of alternate cover face. It was freaking awesome. I almost bought the book for the cover alone. (I still might). My point is, you kinda really do judge a book by it’s cover. Its an enormously important factor, and I’ve tested the notion.
I also happened to find a signed copy of Amanda Hocking’s Wake, which admittedly made me squee a little. Plus, the cover was holographic and pretty. I hope someday I can pick up my own book like that. One day, someday… Motivation!