Hey y'all! Jenn here. For those of you who don't know me yet, I've been a member of the QD&M team for over six years now. I also happen to be a published author, which has allowed me a unique perspective on the business. And it is a business, whether you're writing as a hobby or riding the tides of success. Your books and everything that comes with them reflects your author brand. You not only want consistency across your brand, but you also want to reach the right audience.
Okay, so how do you research the latest trends? Today I'll help walk you through the beginner's basic research process. Ready, set, click!
What's Your Genre?
I know this should seem obvious, but I can tell you from personal experience, it pays to look really close at just what your book's message is all about and who your readers are. Not every book is for everyone. It does you no good to write a contemporary romance but use the style of a high fantasy cover. Even more so if you don't fit in the right subgenre (Billionaire, small town, urban, etc) of your main genre (contemporary romance for example). Too many one-star reviews result from readers who didn't get what they thought they were paying for. You could say it was their fault for not reading between the lines of your synopsis. But really, it's all about meeting your reader's expectations. Tell your story, but also be clear enough so they know what they're reading.
How to Research
Before publishing, you need to have a plan. Will you publish exclusively to Amazon or go wide? Are you focused on a USA-only market, or a much broader audience? These factors and more play a huge role in how you approach your research. For expedience's sake, today I'll share how I research the latest trends.
Pick your platforms: Today we'll choose three big whigs - Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo
Pick your genre: Now that you've decided which genre best fits your novel, find that category at each of your three platforms. For fun, let's choose the Paranormal Romance. Click on the platform links for this - Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.
Look at the top five (keep in mind this is only one and arguably the easiest method). Normally, I skip the biggest name authors, as their names are what sells them. Sometimes it also helps to look at the most recent releases, to get a better grasp on what's fresh. Here are my results:
Barnes & Noble Bestsellers
Kobo Top Bestsellers
Cover art changes in style from year to year (sometimes quicker!). It will pay off in the long run if you keep your ear to the proverbial ground and pay attention. Utilize tools like KDP Rocket, or fall down the rabbit hole of your preferred book genre. If your sales for a book in your backlist have fallen low, try updating your cover and interior. Remember trends change. You might be surprised to see what stays the same and the new and creative ways designers and authors are showcasing their work.