First time novelists make good. Oldies don’t move over.

Queen Bee? I heard you're looking for a co-author. Here's my email:

Recently released- then corrected list from Publisher’s Weekly gives the facts and figures behind the top selling hardcover books of 2011.

How nice to see four brand new names on a fiction list that usually sounds like Who’s Who in Publishing.

From the LONG list, Congratulations goes to : The Night Circus, Dollhouse, The Art of Fielding, and The Tiger’s Wife.

I have read one of them, and have another on my short list. ( I will say the one I read was very well done, though lacking true emotion.. it felt exactly how I imagine a piece that has been over workshopped, reads- a story that was a student’s final project…)

The rest of the top sellers ( top 15 of the long list)  are familiar names: Patterson, who doesn’t seem to write his own books anymore, and is hogging three of the top 15 slots. Hey move over! Evanovich, who is not only a great at character development, plot and action, but also the queen of marketing.( I have been on her postcard list since the beginning of time, and have entered  her contests more times than I’ve bought lottery tickets.)

 “James Patterson had seven top-sellers, with combined sales of about 2.4 million, making him the leader in the competitive hardcover fiction race. Janet Evanovich had two winners in the top 10, Smokin’ Seventeen and Explosive Eighteen; their combined sales of more than 1.4 million makes her the female winner for hardcover fiction.”

The King: James Patterson

Of course, there’s Grisham, Crichton, Clancy, King and Sparks. Two I used to love, Two I still enjoy and One I never liked at all, and still wonder if a young girl is secretly penning his words.)

Not sticking to one genre...maybe Grisham should have.

There’s also a couple of dead guys, one who I’m glad ( and I’m not the only one by far according to recent rants and reviews) isn’t able to attempt any more literature… and  two big name gals still writing mystery/ detective/ thrillers, with strong female protags. ( Authors I *used* to read, but grew tired of the series… shame on me.)

And there’s a woman that I’ve never read, but have seen the name on conference lists and in mystery writer circles. She comes in at #9. Nicely done. Hang on. Ok…Two clicks later, I own her book.

One more thing I noticed. ALL of these hard back fiction best sellers in 2011 are

A. from authors on the more *mature* side of life, or they’re dead

B.  from authors who have multiple published books under their belt, usually in several genres

C. all published by NY legacy publishers in the traditional manner

D. represented and promoted by a team of professionals


And all that? Make me even more depressed.

SO, what else is in this list?

Celebrity books, cookbooks…non fiction that I don’t read, but you might. Apparently SOMEONE is buying these books.

It’s tough enough most days to figure out which book to buy to help you escape the world for a few hours a day.  Now, it’s even harder to figure out if the book you’re writing will ever see the light of day.

But, I’m not going to worry about that. I’m going to keep plugging along, writing what speaks to me. Writing for the fun of it. An author friend once told me, “Linda, you’re lucky you’re not published. You can write what you want, when you want and no one can push you, or tell you it’s wrong. I wish I still had that freedom.”


One response on “First time novelists make good. Oldies don’t move over.

  1. Barbara E. Connor

    Many thanks for this excellent information. You just saved me hours of research and I learned something new about you or I should say about us–we like/dislike the same genres of books. I do realize how important branding is, and in today’s changing industry, the hard-cover giants seem to be clinging to the one aspect to which they have been accustomed; branding. Except for personal style, my second novel will bear no resemblance to the first in characters or sites (not even the same country) and if I were to be forced by an agent or publisher into a serial template, my work would never be seen. For the time being, I think I’ll take my time, continue to do my thing . . . and stay tuned. Thank goodness for the Atlanta Writers Club and my critique group, The Fiction Crafters of Lawrenceville,
    where most of us are passengers in the same boat. Thank you again for the comprehensive analysis, Linda.