Thanks Staci & team of the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Blog Site -- pleasure to be here & make everyone's acquaintance . . (thru the clouds & all that :)
Romance is a wonderful genre. Our readers keep us on our toes. What was hot last year, is waning this year. You think you've got a great story, & suddenly, they've all turned their backs, or pocket books, against vampires.
Our readers evolve. Their interests change, a lot. Why do you think that is?
Well, being one of those finicky readers myself, I've got a pretty good idea, but even better insight, from having been the Romance buyer for a national bookstore chain for almost 16 years.
As publishers, editors, authors, & so forth, we tend to get a little frustrated with the fast pace of this business. Of course, if you listen to our readers, they don't think that authors write fast enough! It is hard to please everyone
Readers, specifically, romance readers, read, lots. Coming from a national retail chain, our average romance shopper purchased 6-10 romance books in a month, every month. So you can imagine, if you are reading a minimum of 6-10 books a month, every month, you are reading a lot of books . . . so you need variety . . . .therefore, trends change & things evolve at a very fast pace.
So that said, trends today are just that & can change at a moments notice, or rather, at the readers notice. After all, that is who we are trying to satisfy.
One of the easiest ways to figure out the trends in this biz is to look at best seller lists: NYT; Amazon: B&N; USA Today & so forth. See who's at the top of the lists, break it out by genre, you'll see right away where readers interest lie. Readers are keeping a close eye, & more importantly, spending their dollars on:
Karen Marie Moning
****to name a few. These authors write some awesome paranormal stories, however, the story lines are far from similar.
- Nalini's Psy world still intrigues her readers
- Lara, breaks the rules & continues to have great success with her vampires in the Order
- Karen does nothing traditional in romance with her latest series except delivers great characters . . .
- Sherrilyn now excites fans with Bear Shifters
- Christine is rockin the world with Ghost Hunters, enhanced, former military men
- Charlaine has introduced to every generation and oddly, successful character by the name of Sookie . . .
Try to figure out the trend, the similarities, with these big best sellers & you'll go nuts, as each of their story lines are vastly different. However, there is one commonality.
Now, I debated with myself to stop the post here, as I thought that would be the most fun! But, I didn't want to P.I.A., so . . .
It's all about the characters. Ok, don't scream at me, I know you hear this all the time & you're like, 'it can't be . . that's just to easy' --- but, really, it is. All about the characters.
When you talk to readers, no matter what the age, what sub-genre, in romance . . . let me repeat, in romance, they are all about the characters. They want the hero (alpha is winning on our poll at www.romanceatrandom.com, come & vote), and heroine; "she's mine"; 'the journey'; & HEA.
In paranormal, characters are 60%+ of the mix. But, paranormal authors also must deliver the world. The world needs to be diverse; expand from book to book; have lots of 'different' types of characters; and make sense . . . it must be clearly defined. It is important to know if the world you are creating is a portal to another time or a universal platform, adjacent to our own. Details are important - but, above all, it is the characters.
So, I've laid it out, bared my soul.
Remember, in the title of this post, I did preface it saying, 'by Sue Grimshaw (in her own words so don't blame anyone else but her)', so you can just call me crazy & move on to the next post, or, you can chat with me now.
Tell me what you agree with? or don't agree with? & what you've pitched as an author that has gotten great responses? Or have not?
Love to get your opinions as well -- really, none of us has that crystal ball -- only the reader knows what she wants next!
Thank you for having me here -- SueG
BTW - visit me at Romance At Random, www.romanceatrandom.com, our new blog site that celebrates the romance genre with everyone! Take a look at our new LOVESWEPT line -- it's on the site too! &, we're still looking for the LS paranormal romance to publish ---- I'm just saying --- Happy Romance!
Sue Grimshaw is joining Ballantine Bantam Dell as category specialist and editor-at-large, effective March 28, reporting to Gina Wachtel, v-p associate publisher, mass market, Ballantine Bantam Dell. Grimshaw was most recently at Borders, where she was a buyer for romance, horror, westerns and large print books; she also wrote for the retailer’s blog True Romance. Grimshaw will remain in Michigan in her new role, and will scout talent in the romance community; enhance author brand strategy and platform development across channels including digital media; and selectively acquire for hardcover, paperback, and original digital lists. She will also work with Ballantine’s library marketing group to create a marketing program for romance readers.