Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2015 Predictions for Authors and Readers

by Madelle Morgan

One age group in particular has the biggest impact on book trends and sales. No, it's not young adults. Baby Boomers - the generation of post-World War II babies - are now in their fifties and sixties. The enormous spike in the U.S. population between 1946 and 1964 is shown in red in this graph (scroll down the linked page).

As they grew, those millions of extra people had, and continue to have, major economic and cultural impacts. As children they drove construction of new schools and suburbs to accommodate them. In their twenties and thirties they adopted computer technology quickly, thus transforming the workplace. 

They generated a huge demand for consumer goods and entertainment (music, movies, television, books) targeted to their demographic, through their teens, young adulthood, and child-rearing years. The buying power of Boomers in their early senior years is stronger than ever.

Now the youngest Boomer is in her early fifties, with more free time. Her children - the Baby Boom Echo generation, aka Millennials - have hopefully flown the nest. Millions of Boomers are retired but active. They're computer literate and know their way around the internet. They're better educated than any generation before them, and like to learn. They read on their phones, on tablets, on e-readers, and in print. Soon their eye glasses will have built-in screens!

1. The Rise of Boomer Lit

What type of romance does a typical woman in her fifties and sixties like to read? I predict that Boomer women will apply their massive buying power to novels that engage emotions and brain, and are relevant to their stage of life.

I don't need a crystal ball to note that Boomers are driving the popularity of historical romances set in the twentieth century. We're already seeing the emergence of movies (The Great Gatsby), television (Downton Abbey) and novels set in the early 1900s to WWII. USA Today bestselling author Sharon Page's latest novel is an example of this trend.

2. The Decline of Erotica Sales

There's a one word explanation for lower sales: menopause. When estrogen drops, so does hormone-fueled lust. I'm not saying that all Boomer women will stop reading erotic romance. However, I predict the number of Boomer readers of erotic romance will decrease in tandem with the amount of estrogen flowing through their collective veins.

3. Second Chance at Love

Unfortunately many women in their fifties and sixties have lost partners to death and divorce. Who of a certain age doesn't fantasize about a second chance with a high school or college sweetheart, or the one that got away? Jove's series in the 1980s was possibly thirty years too early!

4. Search for the Meaning of Life

Wisdom arises from living more than half a century. I expect authors will fictionalize their personal growth and life lessons, helping readers put their own experiences into perspective.

5. Multimedia Trends

Surge in audiobook sales and subscriptions
Boomers will like to listen while gardening, exercising, walking the dog or doing crafts.

E-books will incorporate more media links, enriching the reader experience. 
Boomers are familiar with YouTube, Pinterest, music streaming services, research links, etc. Yes, Boomers will save their retirement dollars by increasingly tapping into subscription services rather than buying e-books outright.

Virtual reality systems will take off as the technology becomes affordable.
Game graphics are already incredibly realistic. The next evolution is virtual interactive and immersive experiences via headsets. Boomer gamers will snap up games that include romantic relationships, exotic settings, and great storylines. Others will love the opportunity to virtually "travel" without leaving the comfort of their armchairs or emptying their wallets.

Readers, do you think these predictions are way off base? What are your predictions?

About Madelle

Madelle's romantic suspense, Diamond Hunter, will be available in January on Amazon KDP Select. To receive notification of free days and deals, "Like" her Facebook page. Please ensure you take the second step of using the "Like" pull down menu to "Get Notifications".


Judith Ashley said...

Great post, Madelle! I'm the "just before the boomer's generation" having been born a few weeks before the start of WWII. Laughed out loud about the decline in erotica prediction. It makes sense and so does the increase in early 20th century historicals. Reading about a time that you have some familiarity with either directly from your own life experiences or through your parents can be a fun trip down memory lane.

To answer your question, No, I don't think these predictions are way off base.

Sarah Raplee said...

I think you hit the nail on the head for changing trends!

However, I also think many Boomer readers will continue to read an eclectic selection of stories. Favorite niches will remain favorite niches. I see us (yes, I'm a Boomer) expanding our reading to include Boomer Lit.

As always, Great Post!

Melissa McClone said...

Really enjoyed the post! Thanks!

J. Jade Jordan said...

I especially like the one about virtual travelling. I already do that with Rick Steves on PBS, but would love for a more interactive way to do it!

I hope you're right about that!!

I'm not so keen on the subscription one because it appears we are already suffering from the Kindle Unlimited launch, so I hope you're off on that one. (Though I fear you're not!)

Great post!

Unknown said...

This is close to what I've been writing and my future projects fall even more into what you have said and just over the last week or so I've started to see a bit of change. Trying to market books like you describe is a nightmare because of the current trend. Thank you for such an insightful post. It gives us all something to think about.

Unknown said...

Awesome post Madelle! As an older woman and writer of middle aged (aka Boomer) romance, I am so excited. I hope the genre Boomer Literature takes off and becomes THE new phenom!
I firmly believe more and more boomer aged women are excited to read stories that are relatable to us - we may be middle aged, but we're not dead......and YES, contrary to what the younger gals think, we DO still enjoy a good romp in the hay ***wink wink***

Kudos and best of luck to you on your new release! I look forward to reading it...

Madelle Morgan said...

Thanks everyone!

I have a divorced friend who found the love of her life at 59. Stories of love at last are not just wishful fantasies!

Boomer romance, IMHO, is not just stories with older H/H. There could be new variations on traditional plots that appeal to Boomers; e.g. 20-30-something heroines, but a a subplot about the older relative who finds love too!

How about a series with a connecting thread about a developing romance of an older character that is not resolved until the last book? I'm sure there are many variations that would appeal to Boomers!

Diana McCollum said...

Love later in life is definitely not just fiction! My good friend lost her husband at 50 yr old. When she turned 60 she was so upset and distressed at the attempts of dating, she said, "I'm not going to find anyone unless a single guy moves in next door." Sure enough, a single man, her age bought the condo next door. She's been with him ever since! Personally, I like all types of genres and all ages of heroines. I don't go looking for 'age appropriate boomer' books. I look at the cover, read the blurb and then decide if I want to buy the book.

Amber Polo said...

I agree there will be changes and you hit a bunch of them. Readers will find the books they love. All we have to do is find the readers.