Pub Rants

The Tipping Point?

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STATUS: All good stuff happening but I don’t think it could get any crazier at the office if I tried. I’ll be able to talk more about why in a couple of weeks…

What’s playing on the iPod right now? SOUL MAN by Sam & Dave

I’m going to try and have this all make sense by the end of this blog entry. I’ve been reading THE TIPPING POINT for my book club, and I’m just fascinated by the whole concept he explores about what makes things tip in terms of a trend catching on like wildfire or a book becoming a huge bestseller seemingly out of nowhere.

Powerful stuff.

So I’m reading this nonfiction book right after I finished reading TWILIGHT over the weekend (because I couldn’t put the darn thing down). This is a good agent friend of mine’s book so I’m just over the moon for her that the book is doing so well. And I have to say I wanted to read it because this book has sold over a million copies world-wide (so it has tipped) and why is that.

I’m not sure I have any answers to that last question but I can tell you what drew me to the story and why I couldn’t put it down.

First off, Stephenie Meyer is the master of atmosphere. I FELT tense while reading the novel (and tense in a good way in terms of not being able to turn the pages fast enough). Her story is set in the rainiest town in Washington and let me tell you, the relentless rain becomes almost a character in itself.

Then there is Edward.

If you’ve read the book, you know exactly what I mean. The story itself is told in first person from Bella’s perspective but Edward is the character who is unforgettable. Their love is impossible, forbidden, and absolutely inevitable.

Timeless. Is that what made it tip? The tortured Edward (who has fans in his own right)? Is that what made it tip? Is it Bella’s voice?

My guess is that it’s a combination of all these things along with masterful writing that got readers talking to each other about how they must read this book.

But I think it’s worth analyzing (even if there is no clear answer) because whatever IT is, you want to capture it in you work whether you write young adult or adult fiction.

18 Responses

  1. Rebecca Burgess said:

    I love The Tipping Point. I read it last year for a community psychology class I took for my grad program. Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen, it takes all of these for a trend or product tip. Not to mention, the concept must be sticky. Twilight is very sticky and I’m quite certain word-of-mouth roared through the Myspace sphere once the Mavens read it and told their connector friends. It’s interesting, I know many authors, agents, and publishers would love to crack this concept, but it really is very self regulating. At the end of the day, you still need an amazing product, otherwise no one cares enough to run with the ball. When you’re finished pick up Blink, it is equally as good

  2. Gail said:

    My daughter LOVES the Twilight books. She asked if she could preorder Eclipse, the next in the series, and she loves the books so much how could I say no? 🙂 I know some parents beg their kids to read… I can’t get her to get her nose OUT of a book. 🙂

    She hasn’t tried to break down why she loves it for me… but she does and big time.

    I’m reading all the HP books through right now… back to back.. then I’m going to read 7. Maybe when I’m done I’ll read Meyers’ books.

  3. Jen said:


    For me, it was definitely Edward and the setting.

    Edward is an amazing character. He’s much deeper than Bella is. Have you read Edward’s chapter on Meyer’s website? I would almost have rather read the book from his POV.

    Setting…I LOVE the rain, so seeing it all the time made me giddy. Also I love forbidden love stories.

    For me, Bella could have been more. She could have had some hobbies, some interests, something to make her more real. But I still love the books and I’ll be haunting the bookstore come August 1st.

  4. Rebecca Laffar-Smith said:

    Both sound like wonderful books and I’ve added them to my hunt list.

    It’s intriguing to watch trends and I’ve noticed the tipping point is often very dependant upon luck. People are interested in some very strange things and it is difficult to try and predict what might capture the imagination of consumers.

    I’ve settled on into the idea that we can only really write for ourselves. There is no way to predict what trend might be next and books are the sort of thing that are long term. There is no point writing what is in fashion now because the fad will have passed by the time the book his shelves. I write what I’d love to read and hope that I’m not completely abnormal so that others might share my tastes. lol

  5. Joelle said:

    It’s kind of funny, but when you mentioned “the rainiest town in Washington” I thought, “Have I read that?” and then I realized that it was the book FRAMED (MG) and it takes place in the rainiest place in Great Britain (Wales). Weird…

  6. Alyssa Goodnight said:

    I know exactly what you mean about TWILIGHT…and NEW MOON. There’s just some indefinable something that makes those books tense and urgent and impossibly alluring. I was trying to pinpoint it recently after finishing NEW MOON, and I wish I could say I was successful.

  7. The Writers' Group said:

    I just picked up Twilight the other day for my daughter and started thumbing through it while waiting for her. Unfortunately for my daughter, that first page hooked me. Yes, it’s Bella’s voice that distinguishes this book, that and the writing is deft. I don’t read YA, but Twilight transcends genres much like Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet. Kudos to Stephanie Meyer and the person who designed the cover. Both are accomplished artists.


  8. h-c said:

    I never noticed that Amazon puts includes videos of authors speaking about their work. Did anyone else see this? Have I been in a cave?

    I wonder if every book will have a video bit. It’s only about 1 minute long-great idea.

  9. Michelle said:

    Oh, see, now you’ve pulled me out of lurkdom. I LOVED “Twilight” and “New Moon.”

    Edward, Edward, Edward.

    Have you ever searched You Tube for Edward and Bella? You would be amazed at what some of these kids have done. Made their own trailers using other movies to depict the books in such a way that it couldn’t have done anything but fan the flames higher. (be prepared to lose a few hours)

    Not to mention Stephanie Meyer is such a humble person. If you ever listen to her talk you immediately like her. (which doesn’t hurt sales I’m sure)

    But back to what I think makes the books or series so captivating? Love of the forbidden. And it’s not just the fact they ‘shouldn’t’ be together it’s the fact that Bella’s life is in danger every minute she’s with Edward. I love that. Instant and constant conflict built right into the story. It makes you feel like you’re sitting on the edge of your seat the entire time.

    Okay, back to lurking now. I really enjoy your blog by the way.


  10. Calenhíril said:

    Glad to see another fan of Stephenie Meyer 🙂 I came across Twilight when I was at a NaNoWriMo meeting a few years ago, bought it that night, and finished very quickly after. The story hooked me, because I really felt the emotions from all the characters. Also, I’m a sucker for angsty vampire romance, so this one got me good.

  11. Karen Erickson said:

    I literally had Twilight in my hands a few days ago at Borders and then I put it back down. I regret it. I guess I’ll have to go back to Borders and buy it – it sounds wonderful.

    I think I need to read The Tipping Point too…

  12. Amra Pajalic said:

    What I found facinating was that the book’s plot actually moves very slowly. In fact at certain points there’s not much happening. We think that young adults can only read pacy books because of their attention span. Twilight highlights how these stereotypes are wrong and a good story will trancend all.

  13. Jana J. Hanson said:

    I loved Twilight. An amazing book I recommended to all my friends.

    Isn’t Ms. Meyer writing a book from Edward’s POV? I thought I’d read that on her website…

  14. Edie said:

    I’ll have to get Twilight, but after reading your blog Thursday, I got an email from my library telling me that my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows was in. While I picked it up, I also checked out The Tipping Point. I ended up reading Tipping Point first, lol. The subject fascinates me. While reading about the reasons the Ya-Ya Sisterhood reached the tipping point, I got two ideas for books. I’m excited just thinking about the books. So thank you for the recommendation!

  15. Maprilynne said:

    Okay, I have to share the irony here. This blog is from my birthday, talks about the book written by one of my best friends, and you tipped you hat at my agent.:) It was so fun to come back from vacation and read this blog!

    And, of course, I love Twilight, love Edward, and those of you reading the series are in for a real treat with Eclipse.:)

  16. Anonymous said:

    Oh, I love this series…I first read about Twilight in a newspaper at my library and decided to check it out. And that was all it took to get me hooked, at 29 years old I try and read as many YA books as I can.
    I own the first two books in the series and can’t wait for Eclipse to come out (although I like Edward, Jacob Black has really grown on me as well).