Often I’m asked, “What’s the difference between a trade book and a mass market category book?”
Great question! Here are some primary differences and as always, the exception proves the rule.
Trade books are:
- About 95,000 words in length, varying between 85,000 and 100,000.
- Trim size called “Trade Paperback” is usually 5.5″ x 8.5″
- Not restricted by the rules of any category or genre.
- Published seasonally, usually 2-4 times a year, meaning books are promoted for several months.
- Meant to sell in large part by building an author and author
- Have no guarantee of a specific number of sales since they aren’t marketed through clubs.
- More expensive than mass market. In CBA fiction, the typical range for retail is $12.99 to $15.99.
Some publishers, such as Harlequin, have “lines” of “category” fiction that fit into certain genres, such as romance and romantic suspense. This is a primary type of book marketed differently than trade. These books are:
- About 40,000 to 70,000 words in length, depending on the line.
- Trim size called “mass market” is usually 4.25″ x 7″. Sometimes a little shorter on the long side.
- Written to the rules of the line’s genre.
- Published frequently, often four to six books within several lines each month.
- Geared so that the reader looks for the publisher’s line first, then the author. However, notable authors should see increased income and contracts.
- Often marketed through clubs, so a certain number of sales is guaranteed.
- Less expensive than trade books, currently ranging from about $5.99 to $9.99 retail.
Some authors choose to write one type of book while others write both. When deciding, it’s a great idea to consider what you enjoy writing, and how you ultimately want your career to look, before you set your fingers typing.
What differences did I miss?
Which do you read more: category or trade? Why?
Which do you write? Why?