June 27, 2010
Posted In: Fads

“X” Marks the Spot

I’d like to present a point/counter point edition for Groundwire: Should you follow a fad?
Reasons you should not follow a fad in an elegant, but very simple, bulleted list:

  1. Fads will fade
  2. You are an idiot.
And now, I’d like to prove this using the universally supreme logic of mathematics.
Take your current age and subtract 10 years from it. Were you smart back then? Of course you were, you were an idiot! The fact of the matter is, you’re just as big of an idiot today, it’s just going to take you 10 more years to realize it.
Now, if you’d written a book 10 years ago about the one thing you thought was the most awesome thing in the world at the time, would you be happy with it today? Chances are you wouldn’t be, unless it was something really cool—like a fad, right?
Looking at this graph of Supply and Demand, we see that the more the market is saturated with a particular theme, the less demand there is for it, as well as the decrease in quality of that product. If you’re still in doubt, look at the big red X.

It says, “Don’t do it.”

Still think it’s a good idea? Okay, so maybe following a fad might not be such a bad idea if you get in early and avoid these  mistakes:
Young Adult Themes: When the price of an item is calculated by the equivalence of hours worked flipping burgers at the local fast food chain per dollar, your book had better have at least 3 hours and six minutes of satisfaction. Wait, I forgot about sales tax. 3 hours and 18 minutes… You’d do well to ensure your book has appeal to the adult/parent with the actual paycheck, since chances are they’re the one who will decide if they like the premise enough to buy the book for the intended reader. Most of the negative reviews for YA books I’ve read, come from…an adult. Their number one complaint seems to be stereotypical cardboard cut-out characters without any authority figure to give guidance and censure to the main character.
References to bands, popular songs, TV series, and celebrities: Because of the internet, the way we listen to music and watch TV has been revolutionized. People can be picky in their choices of what to listen to and watch, because it’s all at their fingertips. If you like Indie Rock, you can find a music channel totally dedicated to Indie Rock. So out of the songs currently on your play list how, how many were on your list last year? 2 years ago (since publishing a book can take that long). 5 years (given the curve for it to increase in popularity. 10 years (you wrote a series didn’t you?). Over 10 years? Let’s face it, the only music stars to have over 20 years of music publishing credentials are Madonna and Michael Jackson, and you’re not fooling anyone playing “Like a Virgin” for your character’s first dance at her wedding. 
Lastly and most importantly, Steampunk: No one gets it. Let’s be honest, you had to have someone explain it to you, and you don’t even know if they’re telling the truth.
If in doubt, ask yourself this: Would you wear what you wore to your prom at a formal even tomorrow? Since fashion has similar market patterns for trends and cycles as the publishing industry, your answer might reveal more about your susceptibility to fads than you think.


Who is Kimberlee Turley?

Kimberlee Turley grew up in California where she earned a degree in Fashion Design from FIDM in 2005. Soon after, she married her husband, who was neither Mr. Darcy nor Edward Cullen, but he’d read her atrocious first novel and said it was “good” with a straight face.

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