26 November 2007

Trends

I think there's time for a more writerly discussion today on a topic that's been on my mind quite a bit of late as I finish up my latest paranormal novel, Sweeter Than Wine (releasing December 11th from Samhain). Now that the obligatory plug is out of the way, the thing I've been wondering about is just how long the amazing popularity of paranormal romance might last.

I've been an avid reader since high school and have a paperback collection that tops 3,000 books - and those are just the ones I've organized and counted! (There are ALWAYS more lurking in the shadows of my home. They seem to multiply in the dark.) I remember a time when it was really HARD to find a paranormal character in a romance book. I remember a time when having characters with paranormal abilities was a strict no-no in the publishing world. Okay, maybe around Halloween each year, they'd publish a few paranormal-type books, but that was about it.

Only in recent years have the taboos lifted. I think the trend started with Christine Feehan's phenomenal success and the change in the popular culture brought about by the success of things like Buffy and all the copycats/spinoffs. Now, it seems, paranormal is everywhere! But that begs the question: how long can it really last? Is it a fad? Is it a fashion that will go out of style next year or the year after? Just when might the bubble burst?

As a writer, I'm concerned about trends, of course. I want to write things that have the best chance of selling, of course. But, more importantly, as a reader I want to know the kinds of books I really like will be out there and available for me to pick up and consume. My fear is that - as has recently happened with historicals and westerns - the books will just dry up as the bigger publishing houses decide they aren't as profitable anymore.

Personally, I'd hate to see that happen. Of course, there are now a wider variety of smaller publishers that can take bigger risks and can publish things that bigger houses may pass up. So that's one thing in the reader's favor that wasn't there before. But I do think that every publisher - regardless of size - is always looking for "the next big thing." A few years ago that was Chick Lit. Today it appears to be paranormal. I wonder what will be next?

Bianca D'Arc
Come over to The D'Arc Side... www.biancadarc.com
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