Sometimes it is impossible to tell with any precision how the public will react to a book, even for someone working in the publishing industry. It’s not unheard of for a book to be successful for reasons no one even previously thought of. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised with how well some books do, while other times I am disappointed with some books performances that had all the qualities to do well. What works for one book, won’t necessarily work for the next. At a certain point, people get tired of the same thing, the same story line, the same plot, or the same genre over and over again. This is when it becomes difficult to predict. Life is about variety and change, and so is publishing. People are always searching for the next “big thing.” This requires chances to be taken and gut feelings to be trusted. Sometimes the best we can do is make educated predictions based off of market and social media trends. Maybe it will stick, maybe it won’t. Maybe it will stick next time. Maybe it will take five more times.
Right now, two of the bestselling books on Amazon are coloring books… geared towards adults! Of all the amazing content out there in the abyss that is Amazon, coloring books? I was a little surprised to see that. My initial thought was who has time to color? I have a list of literary books I want to read that just keeps getting longer and longer, why would I pick up a coloring book? As I thought more and more about it over the weekend, a coloring book topping the charts of Amazon actually made me really happy.
Think for a moment about the purpose of a book. The rudimentary purpose of a book is to transport the reader into a different world. To remove them from their chaotic life, even just for a brief moment, and put them into the book’s world. Well, this is exactly what coloring books do too. They give the readers/artists a mental break from their own life. It’s a mindless activity meant to relax and calm the soul, where your biggest problem is what color to make that flower in the corner. They also give the reader/artist a chance to be creative, to take something and make it their own. They can make their world any color, shade, or texture they want- wherever they please. You can also color outside of the lines, if you wish, by adding elements of your own design- adding on to the content that is already there. You are the captain of this literary adventure, not the author.
Don’t be afraid to take chances with your writing and think outside the lines that are already there. No one ever knows for sure what is going to sell from one published work to another. Success always requires the biggest risks.
Who knows, maybe a Mad Libs book will top the Amazon charts next. Write on.