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  • Older Than Radio: After authors such as Ann Radcliffe and Matthew Lewis popularized Gothic Fiction in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, hundreds of lesser known Gothic novels and condensed re-writes of better known Gothic novels were published in an attempt to cash in. This largely died down by the 1820s, but the large number of forgotten novels published by Minerva press (which also published Radcliffe's classic, The Mysteries of Udolpho) is a testament to the massive popularity of Gothic novels at the turn of the nineteenth century. Indeed, many of these "trade Gothic" works can be bought from Zittaw Press, Udolpho Press, and Valancourt Books.
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  • The Da Vinci Code remained on best-seller lists for an obscene number of months, resulting in many copycat quest novels. The Da Vinci Code itself follows the pseudohistory/conspiracy book Holy Blood, Holy Grail (1982, republished 1996), merging it with Brown's usual 'thriller starring male college professor and companion sexpot in an exotic European locale' formula.
  • The incredible success of Harry Potter has led to a glut of children's fantasy and, while it isn't the first Wizarding School, it is certainly the inspiration for many. Harry Potter's success also persuaded authors and publishers to write longer and more complex young-adult literature. This is a very good example that this isn't actually a bad thing — the success of Harry Potter told authors and publishers that yes, young-adult literature can be enjoyed by a Periphery Demographic of adults, and that adolescents do have enough of an attention span to read a Door Stopper novel if it interests them enough. The most notable examples include: The Inheritance Cycle, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Artemis Fowl, The Bartimaeus Trilogy, The Underland Chronicles, Ranger's Apprentice, Graceling, The Wardstone Chronicles, The Keys To The Kingdom, The Heir Chronicles, Fablehaven, Inkheart, The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Abarat, The Sea of Trolls, Farsala Trilogy, Books of Pellinor and The Mortal Instruments. note 
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  • The success of William Gibson spawned the entire Cyberpunk genre, though credit to the first Cyberpunk work is generally given to John Brunner's The Shockwave Rider. Cyberpunk knock-offs usually incorporate Gibson's use of cyberspace, cybernetics, and crime noir. Cyberpunk in turn splintered into Punk Punk.
  • When Stephen King published The Green Mile in serial format, lesser-known horror writer John Saul attempted the same thing with The Blackstone Chronicles. It didn't work as well.
  • Thanks to Anne Rice making vampires fashionable and Anita Blake making supernatural female detectives popular, there's recently been a massive glut of supernatural mysteries with supernatural PI characters, Urban Fantasy stories, and Paranormal Romance novels that shows no signs of stopping.
  • Various effects of Twilight:
  • Speaking of Fifty Shades of Grey, it spawned the Eighty Days series; another trilogy of BDSM romance books called Eighty Days Yellow, Eighty Days Blue and Eighty Days Red, as well as two additional books set in the same universe, Eighty Days Amber and Eighty Days White. As you may have noticed, even the title is designed to sound a bit like "Fifty Shades." It's no coincidence that it's got a number in the beginning and is followed by a color. And then there's the short story collection 12 Shades of Surrender, which is exactly what it sounds like.
  • Every High Fantasy setting (by this wiki's definition) has its roots in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Sometimes they're knock-offs of works that are themselves knock-offs of Lord of the Rings.
  • Jasper Fforde pokes fun at this phenomenon in The Well of Lost Plots: A Thursday Next Novel. While Thursday is exploring the Well of Lost Plots, where books and characters are created from scratch, a Mr. Exposition explains to her that, when one character is written with a particularly forceful or distinctive personality, characters-to-be are affected by that and take on those traits. A side-effect of Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca, for example, is that hundreds of impressionable characters imitated the creepy and possibly psychotic lesbian housekeeper of the story, which results in, for Jurisfiction, an army of Mrs. Danvers clones. At the end, he offers Thursday, "Can I interest you in a wise old mentor figure?"
  • While Tom Clancy was not the first guy to do the techno-thriller, he spawned a lot of imitators.
  • Somewhat to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's chagrin, Sherlock Holmes arguably opened the floodgates for modern mystery and detective fiction, as detectives like Hercule Poirot, Nero Wolfe, and Inspector Morse all followed in his footsteps in one way or another. Holmes even provided a key inspiration for Batman's status as The DCU's greatest detective.
  • During and after The '90s, serial children's novels aimed at and starring elementary-school-age girls became wildly popular such as Amber Brown, Ivy And Bean, and Just Grace. The Judy Moody series may be the start of this trend, since it established may of the cliches found in these books (a Plucky Girl protagonist between the ages of 8 and 10, a Punny Name, a school setting).
  • The Mageworlds series are sci-fi novels which feature a mystical power that binds everything in the universe, and can give those who wield it telepathy, telekinesis, psychic predictions, etc. The power has good and evil users (Adepts and Mages, respectively) who use melee weapons in a galaxy full of blasters—and frequently, the Adepts' energy manifests as blue or green, with the Mages' being red. The main characters include a princess/queen, a free-trader/smuggler/space pirate, and a very old, very wise mentor who is also secretly a user of the mystical power. It just might remind people of a very popular film seriesnote . There are enough plot differences that it doesn't read like a Serial Numbers Filed Off kind of thing, though.
  • The UK and Ireland at one point saw a surge of popularity for "misery lit" books based on stories (some true, some not) of childhood abuse/Parental Abandonment etc. They all look exactly the same (a mostly white cover with a photo of a big-eyed child and a heartstring-tugging title in twirly, bright lettering), occupy entire shelves in shops, and seem to be competing with each other to see which can be the most depressing. Possibly launched in America by A Child Called It by Dave Peltzer, which then brought the craze to Britain and Ireland when it was released there. Many bookshops began considering these a legitimate genre and established a section devoted to them, often called "Tragic Lives".
  • Philippa Gregory's Tudor-era historical romance novels (starting with The Other Boleyn Girl) jumpstarted a new wave of imitators set in or around the reign of Henry VIII (a trend exacerbated by the TV series The Tudors).
  • The Zombie Survival Guide and its companion World War Z have provided a lot of the momentum for the surge in zombie fiction. Works like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies have their origin in these.
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter spawned a number of works mashing up public domain stories and characters with pulp conventions — see Literary Mash-Ups for a list. The knock-offs even spread to Brazil, with Undead Memories of Brás Cubas, The Alienist Mutant Hunter, Dom Casmurro and the Flying Saucers (all three before based on Machado de Assis), Escrava Isaura and the Vampire and Senhora, The Witch.
  • After the success of Gossip Girl and the subsequent TV series, many more novels about rich white teenage girls (with a Token Minority or two) in private schools have been made. Some of the imitators include The Clique, the Private series, and Pretty Little Liars.
  • The Kimani Tru series, books about African-American urban teens, now has many imitators.
  • Almost everybody knows of John Milton's Paradise Lost. What many people don't know is that Dutch writer Joost van den Vondel published De Lucifer, a play with the same basic plot, roughly four years before Milton even started writing his poem. While it's doubtful that Milton knew enough Dutch to fully understand the play, it's no stretch to say that he was inspired by the premise. A shorter, anglo-saxon poem based on the same themes seems to be an actual blueprint of Milton's poem.
  • R. L. Stine's success with Goosebumps led to dozens of similarly named series being published including Bone Chillers, Deadtime Stories, Shivers, Spinetinglers, Spooksville, and Strange Matter. And Galaxy of Fear is pretty clearly taking inspiration from Goosebumps, though the books follow one set of protagonists for the whole series and have a clear arc. Subject matter is largely the same, the kids are around the same age, there are constant Cliffhangers and Pseudo Crisis chapter endings...
  • At one point in the mid-nineties you couldn't turn around in a British bookshop without tripping over a "comic fantasy" with a Josh Kirby style cover. All they proved was there is only one Sir Terry Pratchett.
  • After the success of Don Pendleton's The Executioner books, a flood of copycat vigilante justice series jumped onto the bandwagon, with names like "The Destroyer" (which lasted the longest), "The Butcher", "The Penetrator", "The Liquidator", etc. Oh yeah, and a little comic book by Marvel called The Punisher.
  • The success of The Hunger Games has been responsible for a number of such cases:
  • Cory Doctorow's Little Brother has one: Brain Jack by Brian Falkner, and a few other stories about Deadpan Snarker teen hackers resisting a government technological regime.
  • While the whole fictional-story-written-as-a-journal/diary is nothing new, Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has at least one major imitator: Rachel Renee Russell's Dork Diaries. Other humorous graphic novel/children's novel hybrid series that have followed in Greg Heffley's wake include Middle School (James Patterson), Tales of a Sixth Grade Muppet, Timmy Failure (Stephan Pastis), and two Star Wars-inspired series in Origami Yoda (which takes place in a regular school) and Jedi Academy (which outright takes place in the Star Wars universe).
  • The success of Black Beauty led to the (also successful) novel Beautiful Joe in 1893 (the latter even references the former); both novels helped raise awareness of animal cruelty.
  • George Orwell's revolutionizing book, Nineteen Eighty-Four. One of the most popular books in history to the point of being repeatedly treated as the "Citizen Kane" of Literature. It was inevitable that from then on to even today, there are writers making stories about Dystopian Police State Crapsack Worlds, with the only twist being that their protagonists win in the end. It gets even more stereotypical if it floats towards Issue Drift like Orwell was doing, except it's taken way too seriously. Books like The Hunger Games owe all their premises to this trope.
  • The non-fiction book The World Without Us (2007), whose premise is showing what would happen to the world if all humans suddenly vanished one day, was followed by two 2008 documentaries that were basically The World Without Us with the serial numbers filled off: Life After People and Aftermath: Population Zero (each would later give birth to full TV series, with only Life staying true to the original premise). After that there was a noticeable shift in post-apocalyptic fiction from sterile, gray or brown settings often brought by nuclear warfare to "green" overgrown cities where humans had been decimated by some disease and/or anarchy, but everything else was doing alright: I Am Legend (2007), Revolution (2012), Tokyo Jungle (2012), The Last of Us (2013) and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014).
  • Dime Novel hero Nick Carter was pretty clearly a source for Doc Savage. Reading through the Nick Carter dime novels is like going through a Doc Savage checklist: trained since childhood by father to be a mental and physical superman, travels the world righting wrongs and battling evil, a master of disguise, has a Rogues Gallery full of sinister villains, leads a team colorful assistants, etc. Its Doc Savage, only in the 19th century.
  • The success of A Song of Ice and Fire led to a wave of dark, cynical fantasy series being published and becoming popular, such as The Malazan Book of the Fallen, The First Law, Second Apocalypse and Gentleman Bastard. They are often lumped together under the name "grimdark." Though some of the titles are quite different in terms of subject matter, the success of Martin's books definitely helped get them a foothold in the market.
  • Following the Breakthrough Hit of The Fault in Our Stars, all of John Green's earlier works were rereleased with covers incorporating design elements from Fault's cover. Additionally, Fault seems to have made Young Adult fiction that doesn't fit into the Paranormal Romance or dystopian society tropes a bit more popular; instead, YA romances are trending towards the more mundane.
  • The Day of the Triffids gives more than one plot point away to The Walking Dead.
  • Things are gonna get complicated now, so listen up. When The Millennium Trilogy was translated to English, the publisher decided to give the books in the series similar-sounding titles. So they translated the title of the second book, The Girl Who Played With Fire, completely faithfully, and then gave the other two books brand-new titles: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest.note  That way, it was immediately obvious to people that the books were related. A few years later, a Swedish humor novel by Jonas Jonasson was translated into English. Its title was faithfully translated into English as The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. This title clearly resembled the Millennium titles, and because of this, it's become common for English-language publishers to give Swedish novels English titles along the lines of "The person who did a thing."
    • Jonas Jonasson's Spiritual Successor to The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared had a Swedish title that translates to The Illiterate Who Could Count. The English translation was named The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden.
    • Swedish writer Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg wrote a book called Kaffe med rån, which can mean both "Coffee with wafers" and "Coffee with robbery." The English translators gave it the title The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules, and in another example of this trope, gave its cover the same kind of design as Jonasson's novels. When she wrote a sequel, the English translation was named The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again!
  • One formula that became popular in Brazil are literary adaptations of Minecraft campaigns, mainly made by Youtubers such as Authentic Games and RezendeEvil, whose channels are crowded with Minecraft gameplay videos.
  • Sometime in the early 2010s, it became trendy for Light Novels to have ridiculously long titles that function as more of a tongue-in-cheek description of the general concept than a proper title. "There's No Way My Little Sister Can Be This Cute" was probably the original inspiration; many imitators have tried to push the envelope further with titles like "I'm A High School Boy and a Successful Light Novel Author, But I'm Being Strangled By A Female Classmate Who's A Voice Actress And Is Younger Than Me." Many other examples can be found in the Light Novels section of Long Title.
  • The Dresden Files has spawned various Urban Fantasy novels that featured a First-Person Smartass protagonist.
  • In 2009 Telegraph journalist Ian Hollingshead compiled Am I Alone In Thinking...? Unpublished Letters to the Daily Telegraph, a collection of Strongly Worded Letters from the paper's archives. This was successful enough that he compiled several follow-ups with similar titles. Then in 2017, Colin Schindler compiled I'm Sure I Speak For Many Others...: Unpublished letters to The BBC, which even duplicated the subtitle, even though it's not clear where letters to the BBC would be published.
  • In 2017, Elena Favilli published a book titled Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, which told stories of real-life women and girls who defied gender stereotypes in order to change the world. A year later, Ben Brooks published a book titled Stories for Boys who Dare to be Different, which, you guessed it, told stories of real-life boys and men who defied THEIR gender stereotypes in order to change the world.
  • Invoked throughout Grady Hendrix' Paperbacks From Hell, since, once one novel succeeded, others tried to capitalize on its success.
  • Terry Deary and Martin Brown's Horrible Histories series resulted in a slew of other children's non-fiction on school subjects with Bloodier and Gorier Black Comedy, loads of puns, alliterative titles with lots of negative adjectives, and similar artstyles. Examples include Horrible Science, Horrible Geography, and Murderous Maths.
  • When Survivors began publication, two other middle-grade Xenofiction series about dogs in post-apocalyptic settings, Dogs of the Drowned City and The Last Dogs, soon followed.


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