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Title: On books that sell : 192-book study of the American YA fiction market showing particularly strong audience resonance in matters of race, gender and moral identity
Author: Spencer, Kerry
ISNI:       0000 0004 2696 6591
Awarding Body: Bangor University
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2010
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In order to determine the extent of book marketing on book sales and the principles of resonance that may be linked to sales beyond that predicted by marketing, a demonstrably random sample of 192 books from the population of Young Adult (YA) books available from 2003-2008 in the national U.S. market were scored with estimations of marketing influence and total sales. Three data analysis methods were used: first, a consideration of simple linear regression and variable correlation, termed the 'linear' method; second and third, the 'difference' and 'quadrant' methods, in which books with sales beyond what was predicted by their marketing scores were compared against books with sales below what was predicted by their marketing scores. In the 'difference' and 'quadrant' methods (the differentiation between the two methods will be discussed in detail later), statistically significant differences between the 'beyond' and 'below' sets of books were established as possible points of resonance or dissonance-i.e., key aspects of audience appeal or distaste. These aspects were then compared to the initial results from the 'linear' method and probable patterns of resonance were established. These patterns had important implications pertaining to issues of race, gender, and the belief-systems particular to teenagers. The nine main patterns established were: patterns of meaning/sophistication, patterns of emotion, patterns of estrangement, self-importance, gender, race, socioeconomic status and divine potential. Three auxiliary studies were conducted first to identify the extent of coverlikeability as it pertained to sales, next to establish that young adults (and not their parents or other adults) accounted for the majority of resonance points observed, and finally to estimate the overall effectiveness of self-promotion among authors. Results indicated that cover likeability may increase sales by up to 14.5%, that young adults can reasonably be assumed to be the primary readers of texts, and that author selfpromotion is not significantly connected to increased sales. As a final exercise, the list of possible principles of resonance was used to evaluate the publishing industry's effectiveness at assigning marketing/promotion. Numbers indicate that publisher book marketing is disconnected with principles connected to sales somewhere between 3% and 55% of the time and a more accurate estimate may not be possible without another study. The results of the initial study and the auxiliary studies were used in order to inform the creation of the novel presented in the creative portion of the thesis, Secrets of the Mam; Wata.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available