Publishers have long believed that if a particular story sells well, then their best move is to inundate the market with that type of story. To some extent, they’re right. (Though I’m a firm believer that the lack of variety is largely responsible for driving a great many readers from the romance genre completely.) You want a vampire book? We’ll give you a hundred. Secret babies your thing? Here’s a whole passel of them. Or do you prefer millionaire heroes? We’ve got billions of ’em on our list.
This can be both good and bad. If you’re intrigued by the idea of someone waking up in a whole new world, not knowing even his/her own name, then the simple mention of “amnesia” in a blurb will draw you in. If you’ve sworn you won’t read one more word about adorable precocious kids — his, hers or anyone else’s — then “secret baby” or “family” will make you put that book back so quickly its pages won’t stop fluttering until you’re long gone.
I’m not much on hooks. I never read a Navy SEAL book that I found remotely accurate in its depiction of either the Navy or the SEALs. (Too many years as a Navy wife.) Granted, I haven’t read that many, because as soon as I see the magic word, I run the other way. Ditto with vampire books. Demons. Futuristic/alternate-reality warriors. Super-secret covert agencies full of prime hero material agents. Ooh, serial killers . . . kill me now, please, before I have to see another!
On the other hand, I like fantasy. Medieval romance. Funny witches. And yeah, I do find the idea of waking up not knowing who you are pretty intriguing. “Amnesia” will always make me flip through the book, read the front matter and the first few pages. I may not buy it, but it stands a way better chance of going home with me than one about a cowboy or a virgin or a mistress.
So how you feel about the same-old, same-old? Do you love a particular type of story? Are there any hooks you avoid even knowing you might be missing out on a great book? Is your hunger so great that you’ll read one blood-sucker after another . . . or one knitting book after another . . . or one cowboy millionaire book after another? Or do you get hook overload and wish for a little more variety to choose from?