Since I’ve been trying to be more involved in social medias, I have noticed a few trends.
The first one is that internet is dominated by the younger generation: if you’re under thirty, you were probably born with an electronic device in your hands. You can whizz through internet and computers alike with the nonchalance of a seasoned pro. Us older people (I’m in my thirties…and not for very long) are still figuring out the technicalities and getting used to expose ourselves on such a grand scale. Of course, I AM generalizing, but you can see my point.
Hence the second trend. The YA genre is exploding right now, its popularity driven by I believe, the young adults themselves who roam Goodreads, Twitter and the likes and heavily promote, write and enjoy this category. The fantasy genre is also very successful and appealing to them at the minute. All other genres, thrillers, mysteries, romance etc…aren’t as exposed. Even the erotica genre, which 50 Shades of Grey propelled in front of the masses, seem to run out of steam.
I do understand that like everything else in life, literature goes through fashionable cycles. The dystopian world is hot (Hunger games, Game of thrones), as is fantasy fiction (Harry Potter). Look at Goodreads Most popular books of 2016, you will find an overwhelming number of YA and fantasy.
The majority of bloggers are also under 30, and will tend to pick and choose a story appealing to their age group. From here, two conclusions came to me.
- Most readers (me included) tend to prefer a book where the main character is close to their own age. Me for example, I avoid any story involving a high school student, or an over 50 character, because they both are at a stage in their life which is harder for me to identify with, so I favour the 25-45 age group. I admit though, that I would rather opt for an older character than a younger one: the retiree over the university student.
- What happens in social medias does not always apply to real life. Look at The best selling fiction of 2016, and you’ll find some recognizable names, the ones that have managed to pierce through the bubbles of YA (Girl on the train, After you) but also a plethora of titles I’ve never heard of. And YA/fantasy, besides Harry Potter, is nowhere to be seen.
So in all the noisy advice that us indie writers should “build our platform” within social medias, websites etc…it seems that unless you write a genre popular with the under 30’s, the task is going to be more difficult.
The young generation seem to be the most open to self-published authors and willing to give us a chance. Some of them will even agree to read and review a book that isn’t necessarily top of their best loved genres. I have to include each one of the bloggers who have reviewed my books: they are all young and FANTASTIC. I am ever so grateful to them.
The over 30’s, because they spend less time on the net, are harder to reach. Those will prefer buying their books in a bookstore, will visit the library more often, and will also favour the traditionally published books.
I believe the gap isn’t as wide as it used to be, and more and more “oldies” (oh dear, I AM one O.0) are broadening their horizons and taking the plunge at creating their own blogs, or searching through social medias to find the elusive literary pearl they wouldn’t have heard of before otherwise. And as the 20 year-old readers and writers of today turn 30, they will bring forward their values with them.
I hope the young generation will carry on reading, writing, blogging, and browsing in their 40’s.
And I hope the older generation will carry on opening themselves to the new literary world developing in front of them.
Of course I have generalized people’s behaviour. But I would love to hear from you, as a reader, or as a writer. What prevalent trends have you noticed yourselves?