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 almost five years now. I also happen to be an illustrator for Qamber Kids and 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? If you’ve been following along with us so far, you’ll note our monthly cover trends features. I started this feature last year as a way to showcase what books are in the Top 10’s across publishing platforms. What patterns are we noticing in these covers? Today I’ll help walk you through the research process.
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 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 to ten (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
This last year we created cover trend guides every month for specific genres. Come and check out our past list and see how the trend has changed since then. You might be surprised to see what stays the same and the new and creative ways designers and authors are showcasing their work:
Thanks so much for reading! While most of our clients are seasoned pros at what they do, just as many of you are starting fresh. We are here to help you navigate through your publishing journey. If you’re one of our seasoned vets, please feel free to share your own tips and tricks of the trade in the comments below. We’re stronger together, as one big publishing family, than apart, right?
Happy writing and creating, friends!