For What It's Worth

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

tell me something tuesday



Tell Me Something Tuesday is hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings and discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging.

Question: What are things that annoy you right now in the book market?

TRENDS

Everything is a trend it seems. Once something takes off in publishing then we get 1 million more of those things.

All the covers look the same: one book with a feather on the cover sells well then that must mean people LOVE feathers!

Similar titles: Every freaking thriller is Girl on the/a (insert whatever)

There was a love triangle in THG and Twilight so every book needs a love triangle!


via GIPHY

I think the entertainment industry (I’m including the industry because it happens with books, music, TV, movies) wants that guaranteed hit so bad (& I do get that – it’s about $$ and it's expensive to take chances that don't pan out) that they miss why things break out in the first place.

It's because they’re different!

People, especially right now, are craving variety and are totally open to new things. GIVE IT TO THEM!

Not every thriller has to have an unreliable narrator or 8 twists. Not every YA needs a romance or a love triangle or not every love triangle needs to be resolved the same way – how about the girl dumps both guys or they give up and leave her? Not every male character has to be a 6 pack specimen of hotness. Not everything has to be a trilogy…you get what I’m saying. VARIETY! Stop running every popular thing into the ground until it's hated, done and dead. Only to be revived 5 years later.

I'm seeing vampires all over my Twitter feed right now. "are vampires making a comeback?" Answer: They never went anywhere - you just decided 50SoG was what everyone wanted and stopped publishing them. Psst: You can publish erotica, paranormal, thrillers and contemporaries AT THE SAME TIME.

This is why small presses and self pub are taking such a bite out of big pubs. They're catering to what people are saying they want. We're telling you - listen!

Readers can handle all the things. Seriously! We are capable of reading more than one kind of book. Sure we have our comfort zones and things we gravitate to but we are capable of expanding and trying new things. If you keep handing us the same things to choose from and that’s all there is – well…. that’s how you fade away into irrelevance.

And just from a blogger perspective:

~ Review pitches from authors/publishers that don’t read the blog policy.

~ Pitches that compare books to popular titles: a) that’s a lot to live up to so be sure your book is that good! b) it is almost never similar to whatever the heck you are comparing it to.

I doubt your book is really a THG/Stranger Things/Love, Simon/Jumanji mashup.

~ Email from author/publisher: PLEASE, please help spread the word about {insert title}!!!!! We love bloggers! We’ll help spread the word about your post!!!! Posting day….tumbleweeds. No RT’s, no thank you. (btw – that’s not why I help promote books but politeness for the time we put in would not go unnoticed).

So those are my book market gripes – what are yours?

P.S. I just came back from vacation, so I’m catching up with emails; comments and posts so bear with me! Related - I'm super tired and don't want to catch up with emails, comments and posts lol

60 comments:

  1. I love this post. It's so funny and deep at the same moment. Highlights:

    "I think the entertainment industry [...] wants that guaranteed hit so bad [...] that they miss why things break out in the first place.
    It's because they’re different!"
    *round of applause*

    "Not every thriller has to have an unreliable narrator or 8 twists."
    😂😂😂

    "Stop running every popular thing into the ground until it's hated, done and dead. Only to be revived 5 years later."
    SO TRUE.

    "'are vampires making a comeback?' Answer: They never went anywhere - you just decided 50SoG was what everyone wanted and stopped publishing them."
    LOL, poor vampires.

    "I doubt your book is really a THG/Stranger Things/Love, Simon/Jumanji mashup."
    🙄😵😂

    Even cover are copycats lately. Remember all the girls falling from above a year or two ago? Now there are titles in VERY big letters over pics that could mean...anything - or nothing at all.

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    1. :-)

      It's so ridiculous. They won't try something because they think it won't do well - then a smaller pub/studio etc will do it and then it's ALL dystopian or ALL thrillers. They just don't get it.

      I notice it a lot with music too. They only promote the Britney Spears or Taylor Swift's who have been around forever and can handle their ow promo and wonder why rock is dead (or whatever kind of music) when they won't promote new artists int he same way - unless they sound like Taylor or someone more famous.

      I mean - 50 SoG started because of self pub'ing. They didn't think there was an audience for erotica. Then that's all they see.

      it's frustrating.

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    2. Also...this trend thinking of theirs causes a backlash. If you don't like romance (ahem Y*pints at YOU) you feel like you have nothing to read in YA and start looking elsewhere to someone who will meet your reading needs.

      I turned to self pub in romance because they are way ahead of the curve with diversity and pushing the envelope on tropes.

      So sure, they make the quick buck but I think they burn everyone out on a genre and lose in the end.

      There are too many ways for consumers to get what they want now to be only focusing on one way of doing things.

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    3. Quote: "If you don't like romance (ahem Y*pints at YOU) you feel like you have nothing to read in YA and start looking elsewhere to someone who will meet your reading needs."
      Up to a point...if one likes fantasy, for example, there's plenty of it in YA lately (though it usually does include romance). But love triangles and the likes are, indeed, the reason why so many people think YA is a bunch of trash (or a sub-par thing at least) and won't touch it with a ten-foot pole...

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    4. It's kind of funny because when I talk to people outside of blogging, my nieces/nephew and teens at the bookstore - they have NO idea about all this drama. They just read. They don't get stressed about love triangles or care about the things that get us in a tizzy.

      They just read. If they like something yay! If they don't they move on.

      I keep wondering if blogging and reviewing is what ruins it for us. We start dissecting and notice things more. Plus, I read so much there will be repetition!

      I think teen YA is amazing right now though! The stuff I have been reading is light years ahead of adult in terms of taking chances and diversity. It doesn't always pan out but I guess that's the risk of writing outside the box.

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  2. Love this! I'm sure I could go on and on about a whole slew of things that I've not the time to read let alone gripe. Lol. I agree on all your points, though. I also don't like books that are being compared to a best seller or some shit. Like, come on. Have some originality perhaps?

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    1. Oh yeah - I just stuck to the basic trend thing. I could be here forever lol

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  3. lol, these are all so true! The only gripe I have to add, since you hit on all of mine, is for bookstores. Why can't they have a section for each big genre instead of lumping most everything into fiction. That is so lazy and frustrating!! And they wonder why people are shopping online.

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    1. Oh yes! I mostly shop online because of this.

      It's like they don't listen to what we're saying and then throw their hands in the air and go...I don't know why we're losing customers!

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  4. Yep! The rushing to pump out the knock offs and the book comparisons are big ones. And yes, a thanks for promo-ing after it was solicited for is a good one. Welcome back, Karen!

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    1. I've had a few ask me to be on tours and then when the date approaches - not banners, no links, no nothing. No thank you from anyone when they BEGGED leading up. That's why I say no to most now and just do things on my own if I love the book.

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  5. haha, omg those last ones yes!
    Please review this food erotica cos I know that you read lots of them and I know you will loved it. And please help me spread the word here and there and here and there...arghhhh

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    1. I'm getting so many requests for finance, raising children, weddings....whaaat??? Did you even look at my blog?

      Delete
  6. I cannot stand when a book's synopsis starts with comparisons to other books. The moment I see it, I'm turned off, and I don't even bother looking into the book. If you need to sell your book by piggybacking off of someone else's success, then your book isn't for me.
    As for the vampires, I totally feel you on this. IG is the worst, in my opinion, for highlighting the same books. It's always A Court of Thorns and Roses, Harry Potter, or The Cruel Prince. And you know how I felt about The Cruel Prince. LoL Which I know is not the industries fault since it's readers who are blasting the crap out of the same books, but I'm still bored with my feed being the same damn books over and over. I just want to yell, "You know there are other good books out there, right?!"
    And I get what you mean about doing a release or promo post to get the word out about a new/neglected book, and not getting any thank you or "like" out of it. I had one author who went above and beyond and she set the bar really high for other authors. Like, she rolled out the red carpet for each and every blogger who was a stop on her audiobook tour. She made separate graphic banners with our photos, info on our stop, and a bit of info on us. Then on the day of our tour stop, she blasted the crap out of it on social media for the entire day. After the tour ended, she wrote us all an email thanking us for helping spread the word of her audiobook. I'd never experienced any author so appreciative about bloggers helping spread the word before.

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    1. That's great of that author. I'm really not in it for page views or a pat on the back but it helps everyone if you're coordinated and promo'ing each other. To practically beg for us to read and post then just neglect the effort after is weird ans short sighted.

      I had one tour company that only RT'd the reviews/guest posts of bigger blogs and *liked* the tweets from the smaller ones. Seriously???

      And yes to the IG thing! I guess those books get the most likes so it's a catch 22 almost but there's room for more than 800,000 HP books lol

      And then there's the thing that no one wants to be left out of the excitement.

      I don't know...I just go with the flow and do what makes me happy. I love your IG. Great photos and an eclectic mix of books.

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    2. It is sad that the bigger Authors who have access to people doing all that for them still don't do this. It's really upsetting as alot of their books are sold out because of people like us that blast it out via social media.

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    3. I don't feel like I'm owed anything but when they go out of their way to ask you to read and cross post reviews to get the word out and then won't even RT or say a simple thanks?? It's even worse when they do thank the bigger blogs or people they are friendly with by no one else.

      That's why I'm so selective now when I take on promo posts.

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    4. I think people share the crap out of Sarah J Maas books because the covers are so pretty... (The books are pretty awesome too!) And the same goes for The Cruel Prince (STILL haven't read it). Harry Potter is just because it's got a lot of merchandise (and fans) and you can get a lot of mileage out of it...
      I do like to see pretty spreads of other books though. There are MANY with pretty covers that'd make great pictures, lol.

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    5. it's kind of self fulfilling too - those get the most likes. If I post a picture of a less known title it doesn't get the same amount of likes as say a new box of YA ARC's does.

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  7. Karen I really enjoyed your post. It is very true that everything that's released is ran into the ground that you, as a reader get over it so quickly. Hello dystopia! I think every YA Author has written a dystopia now LOL.

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    1. Thanks. Yes, I haven't read dystopian in years for that reason. It's not that I mind it but they were all written almost the same exact way. Kids chosen/sorted/big bad government/love triangle/trilogy.

      There are so many ways you could write it and keep it fresh but nope.

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  8. Ugh I can fully agree with everything said in this post. Especially the comparing to other books. I get so excited because "Oh I loved that book! Maybe I'll like this one because it says it's similar" And then it's... not. Which is frustrating.

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    1. It is rarely like the book they've compared it to. I don't even look at the comparisons anymore. I just chose a book based on the blurb or friends opinions.

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  9. I agree with this 10000%! I don't go looking for trendy books, and if's getting lot of hype I tend to run the other way. I don't want to be let down if they don't live up to my expectations, so I'd rather read them on my own terms and when it feels right.

    We ARE telling publishers want we want to read, but they like to stick with what they know, and what has worked in the past. It's definitely a numbers game, and why a lot of authors choose to self-publish. I know a few established authors that are self-publishing because it's the only way to get their story out. It's not "what they're looking for" at the moment, so publisher's don't buy it. Those books end up being some of my favorites.

    I still haven't been able to read vampire books. Twilight and every corresponding book that followed really hurt my perspective on vampire books in general. Occasionally, I'll read one (and yes, I did enjoy Twilight when it first came out), but more often than not I'll pass on them.

    I laughed while reading this--loved your mini-rant on these issues! It's all so very true. <3

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    1. For the most part, I wait a few months to read any hyped books and I mostly try to skip reviews as well unless it's people I know and trust. The Cruel Prince is the only one I can think of that I caved on recently but I got it from the library.

      It's a complicated issue for publishers and I get that but their stubbornness to say certain things don't sell is making them miss whole swaths of readers and breaking trends that self/small pubs are taking advantage of.

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  10. It makes me nuts when authors ask me to review books that are not contemporaries. I am pretty clear about the type of books I read, but I keep getting pitched horror and SFF. Oh, and the name droppers! Every once in a while I encounter a book that lives up to the name dropped in the blurb, but most of the time, I struggle with the comparison.

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    1. Me too and I specifically say that I will delete your email if you send attachments etc so what do they do??? Send attachments, ask if I'll take a chance on a totally unrelated genres. GRRRRRR

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  11. I am with you on the review pitches. I get a lot of requests for genres I specifically state I am not interested in, which is annoying.

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    1. It's SO frustrating! I don't answer any that don't meet my requirements but then they bug you endlessly for an answer.

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  12. Haha you're so right about the trends! I feel like you can see it especially in what current books are about. Just looking at my ARC shelf, so much of what's coming out is similar. Not that I'm complaining, because I love what they're putting out right now! XD

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    1. That's the thing. I do think there are legitimate trends and if something is popular we tend to want more of it so I get where they're coming from. Why not make all the $$ while you can. But why can't they write those stories but in a more varied way? Like fantasy is pretty much told exactly the same way over and over again. Even if I've enjoyed a lot of them I would love a fresh take on it.

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  13. True! I could use a break from books with Girl in the title lol. And I'm getting a little burned out on each new "shocking" twist (how do they know we're going to find it shocking??) and unreliable narrators too. And I have a high tolerance for those! But man talk about running it into the ground- you are right! It kills me too when editors and agents say don't submit this or query that because we have enough of those- even as they keep churning them out! I mean I know stuff's in the pipeline for a while but geez...

    Ha loved this post!!

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    1. If you know that every book has 10 twists and unreliable narrator then it's not really shocking anymore. If mysteries are what people want right now then yes! go for it but there are ways to keep mixing it up so you're not just repeating Girl on Train...Girl on the Mountain, Girl on Bike lol

      I follow a few editors of smaller pubs on twitter and I see something taking off in self pub land and they are always saying - it doesn't sell. Then of course it does and 2 years later they are scrambling to acquire the new trend.

      but then, like you said, that takes awhile to make it through the pipeline and you end up with too many or too late.

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    2. Girl on Bike lol... that would be a fun post, to rip on all these ridiculous titles!

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  14. GRRR to love triangles and yepppp everything has to be a trend :(

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    1. Not only do I hate them but they are written exactly the same in every book. Then we're told that the romance doesn't matter. O_o

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  15. Oh gosh, I'm so sick of everything sounding the same. I think it's part of why YA in general gets a bad rep. I don't need romance in every book. I don't want love triangles all the time because it rarely works and it turns me off books if I think it's going to feature one. And I love variety!!

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. Yes Lauren. It's not that there SHOULDN'T be love triangles or romance or mystery but put a new spin on it!

      Variety, variety, variety!!!

      Almost everything that breaks out from the pack is because it's a fresh take and they were told there was no market for it.

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  16. Ok, hmm, how to express my thoughts here. I'm frustrated with trends too, but maybe in a different way? Because I feel like it's not just publishers' faults that this happens. It's more like I'm frustrated that it seems like so many people will only read what's trending at the moment. Like the vampire thing? Exactly what you said. Vampire books have always been there. But all the sudden everyone is so excited that they're back... but if people wanted to read about them, they could've been doing so the whole time! Sorry, I'm ranting, but I have a lot of angry feels about the stigma toward indie and self-pub books lol. Also yes to all the blogger things!

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    1. I agree. They do it because it works. Trends make money.
      But I also think with self pub they're ignoring so much and are getting left behind.
      They'll say such and such won't sell - then something like 50SoG, The Captive Prince, etc breaks out and then that's all they will acquire.
      Same with diverse people on covers. It won't sell. Self pubs did it and it sells then they're left scrambling to keep up.
      The whole market is changing and like I said - I think it's all media industries - and it's getting harder to pinpoint what people want because we have so many choices now.
      But back to your point - yes, so many people will only read (or feature) what's new so it's self fulfilling. They think we want more of it which i think some people do! And I'm not criticizing things because people love what's popular - but there's room for different types of stories right now. IMO anyway.

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  17. Yes I agree that when authors write just to satisfy a trend than their work doesn't feel fresh and unique which is what most readers want so kinda defeats the purpose??? I definitely understand that marketing trends have to be kept in mind but write just to satisfy them.
    And... It drives e totally craaaazyyy when I see some books and authors outshined by books that are not as good just because some marketing frenzy. Like FSoG. There were SO MANY great and much better erotica books written before that got much less attention.

    I do get some book review requests that are not only annoying but RUDE! Like "HI Nocturnal Devices" My name is everywhere on the blog? Can they just take TWO minutes to find it? Especially since they are asking me to spend days reading their book? UGH UGH UGH Welcome back I hope you enjoyed your vacation! :)

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    1. I think my problem isn't so much trends but that marketers refuse to make new ones? Like - there are all these markets just waiting and begging to be tapped and instead they are publishing the 1000th twisty thriller that is exactly like all the other thrillers they've published the past few years. Thrillers are fine but you can write them in a unique way. They forget that the reason the unreliable narrator trend broke out is because someone took a shot at it.

      OMG yes! There was amazing erotica already out here. But again - "erotica doesn't sell" so they don't bother with and then someone else does it on their own and they play catch up with inferior products.

      I just got a book review request that said "insert name" lol Thanks, but I think I'll pass and just delete that.

      Delete
  18. OMG yas to all of these. And I totally LOL'd at the feather on the cover. There definitely seem to be trends in publishing and just about every damn industry and it's dizzying to keep up. Like last year those pompoms were in; this year it's straw bags and tassles. What's up with that? I saw an article the other day about home trends that had died (lol so dramatic) and one of them was salt lamps. Like, screw you! I like my salt lamp!

    Anyhoo...

    It annoys me when I get pitches that are totally unrelated to my blog and what I write about. That's been happening a lot more lately. As well as "hey do you accept guest posts? I'd like to spam your blog with these 30 dofollow links!" If it's beneficial to me/my readers, I'll consider, but just seems to be everywhere lately.

    Hope you're having a great week, Karen! Sending much <3 oy. Post-vacation recovery is the worst! Best of luck getting settled back in this week!

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    1. Yes! It's like when they decide the trend is over you must burn all the things. NO MORE POMPOMS! lol

      Oooh that reminded me of an email I got of someone wanting me to replace a link for a 3 year old post with their link instead because they believed themselves to be more relevant. And they keep emailing over and over!

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  19. I couldn't agree more about the book trends. I think that is why I enjoy the classics so much. They are original and very few current writers write that way. I also love memoirs, but even they can seem all alike after a while. I'm a very eclectic reader and try to dodge the trends as much as possible.

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    1. I've been skipping around more. I'll read a romance then a dystopian, then contemp or non fiction. It's keeping things fresh for me.

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  20. Yes..I am so sick of the same old same old. I am in a huge reading slump right now because I am bored out of my mind with the same old same old. I have almost given up on YA because I got so sick of the unoriginality, love triangles, cliffhangers. Then when I gave a couple a try, I was slapped with all the things I hated again, so I am steering away. I am all about small pubs and even indie authors because I long for something unique. Totally hate the comparisons, I dedicated a whole post to it coming soon!

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    1. Now that I've caught up on a lot of my books I'm jumping all around and that's helped SOOOO much with burnout on trends.

      Can't wait to read your post on comparisons!

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  21. I'm sending you a virtual round of applause right now. I agree 100% with pretty much everything you've just written.
    My current band-wagon pet peeve is freakin' princes. Everywhere I look there is a contemporary romance about a prince marrying a commoner... FFS. *eyeroll* That said, I'm totally going to read Emma Chase's Royally series because that was the first one that came to my attention and it was LONG before the others did. :)

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    1. Yes, of course because of the royal wedding coming up we need a billion royal prince stories.

      I think I would be less irritated about trends if they would allow for multiple trends at one time or if they put a fresh spin on a trope. Like - why is every prince marrying a commoner, or a sad little rich playboy?

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  22. I LOVE YOUR POINT about readers being able to read more than one type of book at a time. Sheesh, give us options people! I hate tropes too. THERE IS NO WAY THAT GIRL IS THE ONLY ONE IN THE WORLD WHO HAS THE POWER TO SAVE IT FROM DISASTER, OKAY! Love triangles, the worst. Dead parents, over done. Vampires, well, i'm not ready for their "comeback" because the market was SO saturated with them for awhile...glerg (my annoyed/disgusted noise)

    no i'm just getting frustrated! SEE WHAT YOU DID, KAREN! :P

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    1. They pick something and go all in until everyone hates it and then are perplexed. Hmmm....why doesn't this vampire book sell?

      i dont' think any kind of book (or music or movie) actually goes out of style but if you gave a little more variety it could transcend trends.

      Like for awhile there EVERY vampire YA/dystopian was a 3 book, love triangle. And they were almost all resolved int eh same ways.

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  23. YES TO ALL OF THESE!

    First of all, the blogger things are spot on, it's so painfully obvious when an author/publisher deosn't read the blogger's policy, how hard can it be?!

    Second of all, I hope the THG/Stranger Things/Love, Simon/Jumanji mashup is not a thing, please don't let anyone ever write such a thing, my brain is screaming right now.

    And lastly, I totally agree with the trend but also, once something becomes a trend it also looses some of it's value, like Twilight, like Hunger Games or FSoG (not that they are all on the same level) but now every book with vampires, girl heroines or BDSM is categorized as THAT KIND OF BOOK and that is not okay, people are missing out on some great books just because they are marketed as THAT TYPE OF BOOK.

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    1. That's such a great point!!! For one it's derogatory anyone who did enjoy those books and makes it difficult for anyone to find - say a dystopian - that does break the mold of THG.

      As far as I know that mash-up does not exist. yet lol

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  24. Awesome Post, agree with the blogger issues. I feel bad sometimes not responding to review requests but I get so many generic ones, it just annoys me. If you actually wanted a review, reading my review policy is not hard.
    Tori @ In Tori Lex

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    1. I was the same but it's pretty clear they aren't taking the time to read my policy so I don't bother anymore. But that just leads them to sending repeated emails so it's all pretty frustrating.

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  25. I've quit a few authors when they started chasing the trends instead of writing how they used to. It's disappointing to see.

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    1. I've been quitting more authors for writing the same in every book. That can be comforting but then it's also so paint by the numbers that I get bored.

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