The remarkably successful Fifty Shades of Grey by Erica James, or E.L. James, was so successful that it reportedly sold one paperback book per second during the summer of 2012, according to Barbara Walters (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzRbcL-a6M8), to become the fastest selling paperback of all time. The subject matter of Fifty Shades of Grey revolved around sex, but not just regular sex, all forms of sex: bondage and masochism are included, or should we say it is highlighted.
In USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2012/12/19/james-interview-fifty-shades/1767497/, James says in an interview that women all want romance and fantasy, or in other words, most women want to escape into a world of romantic fantasy and forget the chores and the mundane day to day pressures of life; whereas men prefer to escape into a world in which power, action and adventure predominates. The most noticeable gender difference between book buyers is reflected in books sales data. Women are the overall biggest book buyers. In a 2010 news article it was stated that women make up over 60 percent of book buyers and the average age of those women is over 40 (http://seattletimes.com/html/books/2012801171_litlife06.html).
So to recap the idea of break through novels in the book world, women evidently control the market. To test that theory out: Amanda Hocking sold over a million eBooks in which romance and the paranormal made up the plot, Danielle Steele (never forget the mega romance author), who has become her own brand, has sold from 600 to 800 million copies (depending of the source of the count) of her romance novels, which is getting close to the one billion sales mark. The subject matter of Steele’s books deals primarily with romance in every possible setting, and the majority of the buyers are women.
Most recently, Colleen Hoover penned romance novels that appeared to be aimed at the young adult audience, although the numbers of her sales suggest older buyers. The subject? Yes, it is romance and sexy romance (http://bloodybookaholic.blogspot.com/2013/05/review-hopeless-by-colleen-hoover-must.html). I could go on and on, but the finalize the point: if you want to attract the most eager buying crowd , it may be a good idea to write steamy romance aimed at the young adult crowd, while knowing the 42 year-old female buying power will back it up.
I don ‘ write romance novels,and even if I did, there would be no guarantee that I would be able to ‘break into’ the crowded market. When you read the success stories of the authors who have made it big, you find a common denominator in many of the success formulas: luck and timing.
So keep writing and hope for luck, and be ready when the timing is just right.