As a reader have you ever thought where the books you love fit in the great scheme of things? Reading tastes are constantly changing. It would require a brave person indeed, willing to predict what the next bestselling book will be.
As a reader, it may not matter to you. But if you are a writer, how your books will be received is always at the back of your mind. Every genre has multiple compartments within it, where discerning readers, critics, reviewers and publishers like to place your work. People are people after all, they can’t help themselves. They must pigeonhole things to make sense of everything, including books, at least in their own minds.
Only one of my books sold well. The one I still prefer, which has earned nine straight five star reviews on Amazon, did not. Why – because its subject has become a shrinking market. If I had written it forty years earlier it might have enjoyed a modicum of success. While folk like it, not many are actually buying it. It fits into a small niche market which is currently out of fashion – traditional fantasy.
In its particular case, all I can hope for is a wholesale rediscovery of fantasy tales about goblins sometime in the future. At the moment people don’t necessarily want to read an anthology like ‘Goblin Tales,’ no matter that I made them friendly. Perhaps that very fact is why Goblin Tales is not popular. Traditionally goblins are always seen as evil in the extreme – think Tolkien. And yet people are willing to read about a rebellious young archaeologist out to save the world before the deadline to destruction for the Earth and the entire Solar System of December 21st, 2012, according to the various interpretations of the Mayan calendar, in my book ‘Race Against Time’, which sold well. Who knew it would appeal to so many people – certainly not me.
With the never ending changes within the literary world, some would say unnecessary upheaval; at least the ebook versions of our work are always available over the internet and therefore in the public eye, unlike their physical cousins who have a short shelf life in the bookshops of this world before they are remaindered and forgotten for all time.
Knowing this still doesn’t answer my question – does it matter which market I write for? In my opinion – no! I would suggest that you all change your approach. Write the kinds of books you love to read. Chances are if you love them, others will too – one day…