Thursday, January 14, 2010

Our Advice to Authors: Drop Dead

With the year 2009 solidly wrapped in history, news of last year's book sales is, umm, frightening. According to a study of all book sales tracked last year, books about vampires, ghouls, zombies and other "undeads" garnered at least 17 percent of all books sold. Stephenie Meyer led the pack with her Twilight series, but that wasn't the only story behind last year's best sellers.

There were other, less frightening, winners, including a couple of fems known as Julie and Julia, a Harvard symbologist who cracked The Da Vinci Code, and a nerdy bespectacled kid and his diary all flexed their muscles in 2009.

Still, when nearly a fifth of all books sold revolve around things that go bump in the night, writers have to take notice. A true trend (albeit one that could come to a crashing end tomorrow), the undead sales were up from 14 percent of all books tracked in 2008, which was up from a paltry 2 percent in 2007. Are you starting to see a pattern developing here?

Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels that serve as inspiration for HBO's True Blood, had nine titles in the top hundred sellers of the year, and P.C. and Kristin Cast, the mother/daughter team who write the House of Night series, had six.

Not only that, but experts expect the trend to continue this year, again based upon Meyer's continuing popularity. Whether or not she introduces a new book in 2010, the film version of Eclipse, based upon the third book in the Twilight series, comes to life in theaters in June, while the paperback reissue of her 2008 adult hardcover The Host will hit the stands on April 13.

And the ghouls just keep on coming.


Copyright 2009 AmSAW

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