When is a Book like a Chocolate Chip Cookie?

I made my special secret recipe chocolate chip cookies.  The kind that are gooey in the middle even when fully cooked and the chips melt in your mouth.  My family loves them.  My kid’s school loves them.  I made this batch for a fundraiser bake sale.  Did my cookies become the hit of the sale?  Did we sell out in the first minutes?  Sadly no, I took 90% of them home much to the happiness of my family.  Who devoured them.  I felt like a failure.

What happened?  People wanted brownies.  Three sets of brownies sold out in minutes!! I contemplated this on the drive home, that night and the next few days.  Yes, I hold on to things…for a long time.  I finally realized that books are like chocolate chip cookies.

Here’s what I mean.  Go to the bookstore, Amazon, a brick-n-mortar, follow any book news list or newspaper book section or any book club.  Look at the books that are selling/people are buying.  Is one better than another?  What makes one book sell better than the other?  Is one author better than another?  Is this story more enjoyable and that one less?  What is it that differentiates one from the other?

Or is it just that some people prefer plain ole everyday brownies over gooey delicious chocolate chip cookies. (Okay, I’m pushing it to make a point, the brownies were good just not as good as my cookies — get it?).

Isn’t that what happens with books too?  Some readers prefer that book over this one, and others hate both.  Personal preference and maybe what’s around, like having those brownies next to my cookies, you know, the gooey delicious secret recipe chocolate chip ones. (Next year I’m making brownies, just saying.)

But, I can’t write brownies, I write chocolate chip cookies.  So maybe I won’t sell a lot of books, just like I had to take those cookies back home because they weren’t the hit of the bake sale.  I was happy making the chocolate chip cookies, you know, the secret recipe gooey delicious ones, and I’m happy writing what I write.

4 thoughts on When is a Book like a Chocolate Chip Cookie?

  1. I think it helps to think of the books you’ve really enjoyed reading yourself–those niche books that haven’t necessarily hit the best seller list, but in your opinion, should have done. There’s more pleasure and satisfaction in finding the right book for you, that connects and moves you, that any statistics.

    • Very true and usually my favourite books too. But like my cookies, they won’t be for everyone.

      Efharisto for stopping by.

  2. The other thing to remember is that maybe people wanted brownies THAT DAY. But some other day, they might be craving chocolate chip cookies. I’m sure there are those who try to guess what the trends will be, but it’s about as accurate as predicting the weather, IMO.

    Also remember, there will be others–like your family–who will want to devour your book/chocolate chip cookies over another book/brownies. I agree with Maddy, write what you enjoy writing/reading. Eventually, they will buy.

    • So true, they definitely wanted brownies that day.

      I would never write to trends; I wouldn’t know how to spot one in time to write a book that could fit. I’m got enough ideas of my own.

      I do hope there will be those that love my books as much as my family likes my chocolate chip cookies.

      Efharisto for stopping by!!

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