Re: Is it possible to predict the success of a book?

#21

Silurian Wrote: I thought success was getting a finished product but the further I go the more I believe with others that success is having an audience.  If you can have someone wanting to read and waiting for the next installment, that is success, to me. 

You don't need to be popular, but if no one is reading it then it is only really successful as therapy for yourself isn't it?  Finishing a task alone can be successful for a person no matter if anyone would ever read it or not.  Just the fact that the act was done. 

I feel that the true sense of accomplishment of success is really, in the end, what you make of it.



I agree with you, "Success is having an audience". It sounds amazing

Re: Is it possible to predict the success of a book?

#23

teodor_m Wrote: Well, if I sell snow shovels during summer, I might not make enough money to cover the investment.

Success often is dictated by trends and the state of the market. If you wrote a vampire romance during the Twilight craze, it would have sold, and you could predict that.



This is not a success for me)) I mean something else: creating your own unique story. When a writer does not follow fashion, but creates it, and others follow him or her.

Re: Is it possible to predict the success of a book?

#24

teodor_m Wrote: Well, if I sell snow shovels during summer, I might not make enough money to cover the investment.

Success often is dictated by trends and the state of the market. If you wrote a vampire romance during the Twilight craze, it would have sold, and you could predict that.



This is not a success for me)) I mean something else: creating your own unique story. When a writer does not follow fashion, but creates it, and others follow him or her.

Re: Is it possible to predict the success of a book?

#25

David Wrote: I've got a few readers who are staying with the ongoing story and occasionally commenting.  That is my success, and while I wasn't sure if anyone would want to follow the story, several have, and I'm grateful to all of them!

The White Horde (Revised) | Royal Road


I love your approach)) Unfortunately, it doesn't suit me, because writing a book takes much time and energy, so I need something equivalent in return)))

Re: Is it possible to predict the success of a book?

#31

Silvia Wrote:
teodor_m Wrote: Well, if I sell snow shovels during summer, I might not make enough money to cover the investment.

Success often is dictated by trends and the state of the market. If you wrote a vampire romance during the Twilight craze, it would have sold, and you could predict that.



This is not a success for me)) I mean something else: creating your own unique story. When a writer does not follow fashion, but creates it, and others follow him or her.

That's definitely impossible to predict, then. 


What's a unique story? One could argue that if you're writing fantasy, you're following a fashion. Twilight was a trendsetter that made vampires go everywhere, yes, but it tapped into a readerbase that already existed. It followed the formula/'fashion' of an already established sub-genre of romance and gave it a little twist. This is the way almost all trendsetter stories emerged, if you look at it. 'Beware of Chicken' is a super original work, but it's built on the cultivator stories and (I'm guessing) the current shitposting internet humor. Chrysalis, Salvos and Azarinth Healer are about an ant, a demon and an isekai'ed human respectively, but they are all system-based stories with levels, evolutions and stat points that you can trace back to a few common origins. 

I'm not implying that these authors are 'selling out' or that their work isn't original, I'm saying that avoiding the influences that shaped your writing and you likes and dislikes is impossible; and also not desirable in my book. 

But yeah, books that go BOOM all basically have a market and audience waiting for them already, just waiting to get that one book they didn't know they craved. An author can follow that consciously, or it's up to luck whether they manage to reach such an audience. 

Re: Is it possible to predict the success of a book?

#32
"Is it possible to predict the success of a book?"

Depends when and where.

<1975. 75% chance.

1985, 50% chance.

1995, 25% chance.

>2020, 0% chance.

Like some ppl said above, search has broken down. Totally broken down.

The cost of search exceeds the benefit of search. So people don't search.

I've found many great authors by and only by recommendation.

To find anything with reasonable probability you need to search say >5% of the pile.

But the pile is huge these days. It's not competition even. Merely the pile is too big. Too big to be worth searching.

Cost of such a search far exhausts the benefit of anything you find these days, simply because it is such a big pile.

Book A, Book B are not competing. Merely it seems nobody at all knows Book A exists and furthermore there is no mechanism whatsoever whereby this can be changed.

Sometimes word of mouth and the accidental features of a search algorithm overcome that. There is then a hit.

Meanwhile established institutions will gatekeep heavily rather than search for something great. Because by putting all marketing behind a text that and not necessarily its strengths will determine the winner in the market. And that works, even where the thing has no strengths, because it is not competing with anything. That is a huge, broader problem.

So much for the economics of the problem.

Whoever solves this problem gets a Nobel. (JK, most likely nobody will read the paper until 50 years after it is published. Same effect.)

Google etc did not solve the problem. They create SEO. Search Engine Optimization. Google does not do a great job finding what is out there. Rather it sets rules for what is found and determines what people see, because so many people use it to search. Very clever, but did not solve the hard problem.

Further Reading. Al Ries, Jack Trout, Positioning.

Edit. Further comment. Re: Where. JP market perhaps, simply because people still, apparently, do search. Even though cost is quite high. It seems because people consume so much more fiction in written form and run out. So the cost of search then seems worth it. That helps start word of mouth. But if the main audience comprises slow readers who do not consume vast amounts of fiction and run out and then perform search out of boredom, then only factors that determine word-of-mouth marketing will be significant. Which is largely random. Enough slow readers must by chance all at the same time when they finish reading their previous book (a) not be recommended anything by their friends (b) randomly select your book to read. Remember that they don't search very much. Only sample. That means no particular work of fiction will stand out on its merits. Heavily marketed works from institutions will also have a reasonable chance to succeed because they are the only ones marketed in such an environment and face no competition in terms of subject matter. Too few consumers are searching and comparing them with other texts in the pile.

Re: Is it possible to predict the success of a book?

#33
I go between the lofty and realistic.

Lofty means I imagine a world where my writing took off and became something more than just a book. I imagine adaptations or stories beyond it.

Realistically? No one is ever going to care about anything I write. Ever. Not in a million years. I could spend decades of my life pushing one story and not a living breathing person would give a damn.

That's just how life is. I have to accept it.