A former music industry exec has a few words about why the publishing industry is quickly recapitulating the implosion of the music industry.
...instead of music coming off the streets and up to the marketing office, it was imagined in the marketing office and then shoved out onto the street. Of course with this kind of creative process, someone new is going to win the popularity contest today and by tomorrow, Mr. Today will be Mr. Yesterday. It's just what happens when instead of starting with the musician and working forward to find the audience, music starts with the audience and works back to what kind of artists it will sign. This is the only model the industry can support now..
Emphasis mine. Susan used to work for (among others) Rounder Records, so she clearly knows a thing or two about music scenes that do not depend on hit-of-the-millisecond strategies to stay vibrant and even profitable.
The same thing clearly applies to books as well, although the publishers seem to be just as clueless as ever about how to use social media and networking (and, yes, Amazon itself) to figure out what sort of audience a given talent can be paired up with. It still involves taking someone and shoehorning them into a number of easy buckets. The fact that the buckets are becoming ever-more subdivided — romantic fantasy, or fantasy romance, or whatever you want to call the latest wrinkle in said fabric — doesn't mean the strategy is becoming that much more refined; it just means they're swapping one set of old, unattractive labels with new, sexier ones. It doesn't mean there's any less effort going on to tailor things to more readily accept those labels ... and, correspondingly, it means that much less room for real diversity and creativity.