Saturday, January 7, 2017

Writers Must Keep Up With Trends, Trivia & Facts

As a writer, blogger, and book promoter you need to have a strong foundation of knowledge.  You need to have an understanding not only of what’s in the news but of cultural literacy.  You have to possess a good vocabulary and have a command of the English language.  But you also need to have a sense of trends.

In the look-it-up era of the Internet you may be able to locate facts that you seek out, but you should also have an awareness of miscellaneous facts, trivia and statistics. If you thumb through a book like The World Almanac and Book of Facts:  2017, you’ll get such an awareness.

You can look up who was president a century ago, find out which nations have the largest populations, how many Americans are married, a summary of landmark Supreme Court cases, a chronological listing of historical events, visuals of every country’s flag, the tuition at hundreds of colleges, lists of Academy Award winners, and sports champions, and so many other interesting and relevant things.

You will see trends regarding dieting and health, dog ownership, cancer survival rates, crime, international tourism, housing, Wall Street, popular American names, Internet usage, and scores of other important areas.

Want to know which websites got visited by the most unique visitors?  Here you go:

1.      Google (includes YouTube, Blogger)                         1.233494 billion
2.      Microsoft (Bing, Xbox Live)                                      909.193 million
3.      Facebook (Instagram)                                                 834,810 million
4.      Yahoo (Flicker, Tumbler)                                            557,106 million
5.      Baidu
6.      Sohu               

Amazon was ninth in the world and Wikimedia 10th.  Apple was 17th globally and Twitter didn’t crack the top 20.

Did you know that the U.S. doesn’t even crack the top 20 countries with the highest percentage of population using the Internet?  98.2% of Iceland uses the Internet.  Taiwan, at 20,th has 87.98% of its population online.

Did you know that in 1980, 233 films were released to 17,590 screens in the U.S., playing to 1.021 billion admissions.  In 2015, 708 films were released (triple 35 years ago) to 43,661 screens (2.5 times 35 years ago), playing to 1.321 billion admissions.

Want some publishing and book facts?

The top public libraries with the most holdings of print, electronic, audio, and video materials, are:

1.      New York Public Library
2.      Boston Public Library
3.      Detroit Public Library
4.      Los Angeles. Public Library
5.      Cincinnati Public Library

What were the most challenged books in libraries of 2015?  A challenge, by the way, is a formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting the materials be removed because of content.  Here are the Top 10 of that year:

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
I am Jazz by Jessica Herthal and Jazz Jennings
Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon
The Holy Bible
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
Habibi by Craig Thompson
Nasreen’s Secret School by Jeanette Winter
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Interestingly, the circulation of daily newspapers was 62 million in 1970.  The same for 1980 and 1990.  But then things collapsed.  We’re down to 34 million in 2015.  It was 41.132 million in 1940 when there were not even half as many people in the U.S. as there are now.

Which books sold the most copies in 2015?

Trade Paperback
Fifty Shades of Grey as Told By Christian
Paper Towns
Secret Garden

Hardcover Fiction
Go Set a Watchman
The Girl on the Train
Rogue Lawyer

Hardcover Non-Fiction
Killing Reagan
The Pioneer Woman Cooks
The Wright Brothers

Top News Websites, 2016, Based on Visitors
Yahoo – ABC Network
The Weather Company
NBC News Digital
USA Today
CBS News
Huffington Post
New York Times Digital
Washington Post

One trend to follow is new words.  It seems like new terms are coined daily.  Fist bump shouldn’t be confused with fist pump.  Do you have a baby bump or did you unfriend someone?  Be aware you may need some manscaping or you’ll become cringe worthy.  None of this was spoken of a decade ago.

Another, The CIA World Factbook: 2017, can be useful to inform the writer that the needs to begin to know.  This is a global dossier of every country, broken down by demographics, history, climate, government, economy, energy, transportation, military size, communication capabilities and other statistical oddities.

If you want oddball books, go for Ripley’s Believe It or Not or Guiness Book of World Records.  Each is a colorful, glossy, oversized annual edition of amazing feats, records and obscure things or people.

You don’t have to memorize a lot of data, but you need to begin to have a sense of proportion.  You need to know when a country is tiny or big, or whether some sports teams are good or lousy.  You have to spot trends and be able to extrapolate from hard numbers.  Is the world moving in a certain direction, and if so, are you ahead of the curve?

The more you know, the better you write.  Know your facts and trends and you’ll greatly improve your writing.

All-New 2017 Book Marketing & PR Toolkit 

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby 

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