Don't Write This (part 2)

Hello, and welcome to the RADblog! I sincerely hope you enjoyed the month of September, and my Character Creation 102 series. If you have anything else you’d like me to cover in the realm of character creation, please leave a comment and let me know! The RADblog is, as always, designed as a way to help writers grow in their craft, to keep them informed about the changing world of publishing, and to have a lot of fun along the way.

This month, I thought we’d talk a bit about the saturated world of publishing, and discuss a few genres and book types I think you’re better off not writing at all. Now, it’s not to say that you can’t write in these genres or that you can’t possibly do well with them, but to give you a little bit of an idea into what publishers might be looking for, and, by extension, what readers are looking for.

 

#2: Saturated Nonfiction Topics

 

Unlike last week’s topic, this one is a bit broader—but it remains in a similar vein by noting what the readers are really looking for, when they head to the nonfiction section.

They’re looking for history, okay? History, the sciences, and religious studies.

What aren’t they looking for?

Self-help.

Why?

Because the field is completely saturated. There are literal millions of writers out there who only write self-help, whose focus is completely on books that are designed to help their readers get from point A to point B through this magic method the writer has found throughout their life. We don’t need any more of those. We really don’t. Most of the time, readers aren’t even looking for things like that anymore.

 

See, self-help books were a trend in the nineties and noughties, and one that went away almost as quickly as it begun. It was fueled by diet fads and the topics for dummies books, and while in many ways it was a boom for the writers in this genre, it also quickly became somewhere where new writers just can’t get themselves seen.

I’m not denying that some readers still gravitate toward self-help nonfiction. In fact, I know very well that they do. The trouble is, the majority of these readers know exactly what they’re looking for. They know exactly who they’re looking for. They came to the bookstore (or went online) looking for a very specific self-help book, one of which they know the author (and have likely read the author before).

Of course, there are still ways to write self-help and get seen by the masses, but it usually begins with a blog. It begins by starting something online and getting people interested in what you’re doing. It starts by creating a following online, who will follow you into your world of book publishing as well.

But for most publishers, unfortunately, publishing new authors in the self-help section just isn’t worth it anymore. A lot of publishers will simply steer clear. Yes, there’s always self-publishing, but without the marketing skills of a big-name publisher, it’s not always feasible to get your book where it needs to be.

My advice, if you have a self-help book you want to write? Go get that blog going. Meet some people. Get them to read and promote your blog. Word of mouth is your best marketing method. It can be done—but it’ll be a rollercoaster of a journey.

 

Rani Divine
Associate Editor, etc.