So I’ve recently come across Paperback Writer, a blog by prolific author Sheila Kelly (check the site for a list of books and pseudonyms). In my quest to read the blog from beginning to end, I’ve run across a post in which Kelly talks about how she reads for market analysis. It struck me as something very obvious…that I never thought about doing before.
I think this would be a good monthly activity. Get the top four or five books from the bestseller list in your genre and analyze them. I’m not saying pick them apart. I’ve read writing books that tell you to take a novel and deconstruct it. The advice is to summarize the events of each chapter so you can see the plot arc. I did that with The Lark and the Wren (Bardic Voices, Book 1) by Mercedes Lackey and it totally ruined the book for me. The magic of the story was gone.
As writers, we pick up a lot of this information just by reading. And where do you get the best instruction? By reading what sells. I think this will be my experiment next month, given I can squeeze it in between my Brit Lit II and IV reading.