Copycat book trends

When a book is very popular and successful, it amazes me how quickly very similar books are released from other authors and publishers. I’m not sure how it’s done. Maybe when an acquisition is predicted to be a bestseller, agents take on more books which fit the trend, or it gives authors enough time to write similar books. If anyone has insight into this, I’d be interested to know. It can take many months to write a book, let alone time spent on revisions, editing, proofreading, advance copies and marketing… so how do books with ‘copycat’ titles, concepts or cover designs appear so quickly to take advantage of the trend? Anyway, here are some I’ve recently noticed, merely by seeing what’s new on NetGalley, Goodreads, the library, book blogs, etc. I’m not mentioning any specific books, but you may know of some like these:

  • Non-fiction science / nature books about the secret life of one specific animal.
  • Psychological thrillers set on islands / luxury holidays.
  • Romance novels named after the titles / lyrics of pop songs from the past.
  • Retellings of fairytales, myths and classic books from different perspectives.
  • Narrative nature writing combined with memoirs of terminal illness.
  • Rom-coms or historical novels with chemistry as a theme.
  • Contemporary literary fiction with privileged, confused young female protagonists.
  • Gothic-tinged mystery novels set in manor houses in the present or past.
  • Darkly humorous books about women killing their families / men.
  • Murder mysteries in cosy settings such as tea shops and book clubs.

No doubt some readers find it convenient to discover books which are similar to others they’ve read. You’ll probably have guessed that I’m not one of them, considering that I’ve written before about the best and worst publishing trends and also about why I rarely read hyped books. I’m very much in favour of variety and originality, so I’m therefore unlikely to read a copycat book unless I’ve sampled the style and am hooked enough to continue reading.

10 thoughts on “Copycat book trends”

  1. I agree with you on originality, the same old types of books are pretty tiresome. The only exception for me is the Gothic mysteries set in Manor houses – I can’t get enough of those!

    1. Oh yes, I know you like the gothic manors! There is nothing wrong with wanting to read similar kinds of books.

  2. If you are able to write quickly, you can take advantage of trends and “write to market”. It can be a money maker, many as readers tend to voraciously go through books with their favorite tropes.
    If I tried to do that, my book would be done after several trends had already passed, and more importantly, I wouldn’t enjoy doing it.

    1. Very good points. I do envy authors who are able to write so quickly for these trends, if what they are writing is good quality also. Interestingly, authors are often advised not to write to follow trends… I’m sure for that very reason, it would be out of fashion by then. Better to start a trend than to follow one, I say 🙂

  3. I think it’s more to do with publishers than writers. I get the impression that when a certain kind of book becomes popular there’s a mad scramble to find any books that fit the trending theme. Certainly that’s what one author who suddenly became v popular said at a book event. I do think there’s probably some writers who can turn out books to a certain sub genre quickly and there may be an element of coincidence (different authors being inspired by the same story in the news or current events for example) but I think in the most part the books were already there, they were just waiting for their moment

    1. Thanks, that does make sense! It’s maybe the luck of which books fit the theme at the time. Coincidence could also be a factor, I agree.

    1. Thanks. I know it’s not new, it just seems to annoy me more than it used to 😀

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