Immortality of Vampire Fiction vs. The Industry

frustratedWARNING: I'm venting a little here today.

The Nelson Literary Agency posted some advice/information in their newsletter about the difference between a “good” manuscript and a “salable” manuscript. You can write a great story, good grammar, character development is tight and storyline is solid. But if the editors don't want it, they won't buy it. I quote the following, but I'm going to put my own adaptation in brackets because I've been told the same thing about my manuscripts (both vampire and steampunk/dystopian):

“For example, dystopian [vampire] stories are hot right now in the young-adult [adult/erotic] genre. As a result, for the past twelve months, editors have been inundated by dystopian [vampire] projects. They are tired of them, even though these titles are still releasing and some are doing quite well. Readers are still enjoying dystopian [vampire] novels, but editors don't want to buy them anymore. So right now, no matter how well written your dystopian YA [vampire novel] might be or how cool the premise, if an agent is taking a look at it, she is probably thinking she can't sell it and will pass on offering representation. That's the bald truth. The timing just plain sucks, and as an agent, selling projects is all about perfect timing: landing the right project, on the right editor's desk, at exactly the right moment.” (my emphasis on the underline)

More than anything else, I think this is a prime example and reason as to why self-publishing is so successful. Yes, you get the crap out there…I totally understand that. But the Big Six (as the big publishers are known as) publish crap, too.

What frustrates me the most is the editors KNOW there is an audience for these books – such as in the aforementioned Dystopian YA and my genre of topic, vampires – and yet because they're tired of reading them, they don't want to see them anymore. This is a business, people! Not your time to have a leisurely read! Print what the readers want!

OMGOne agent told me the reason why editors won't even look at such manuscripts (e.g., vampire, dystopian, steampunk, etc.) is because they're tired of getting a bunch of crap manuscript with the same stories. My response – and I can say this because I'm an editor – OMG get over it! That's your job as an editor. READING MANUSCRIPTS. If you don't like reading crap manuscripts, get another freakin' job. The sad truth is there is a TON of crap out there; it comes with the territory.

I belong to a group called I Love Vampire Novels and they have been my biggest supporters of my self-published novels – my Bonded By Blood Vampire Chronicles. Their FB page boasts over 100,000 LIKES. And I'm sure there are a lot more vampire lovers out there than just 100,000. This group and others like them, J.R. Ward, Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton and Sherrilyn Kenyon are all proof people love vampire stories and they sell well.

But the editors are tired of them. :\

No problem! We'll just self-publish and make 70% off our book sales and the Big Six can continue whining about how their industry is failing. Enjoy the trip down!

Thanks for letting me vent! If you made it this far, thanks for putting up with me! Do you feel just as passionate about this topic? Does it really matter to you? Do you have your own experience about the industry you'd like to share? How about from a reader's perspective? Am I completely whacked in my reasoning?

That's my two pence…

Arial 😉

 

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8 Responses to Immortality of Vampire Fiction vs. The Industry

  1. Wren b. says:

    I have heard countless times how writing and selling books is a business. It’s a business, it’s a business. To hear agents not want to read these genres because they don’t want to, is foolish. Their readers love them! Supply and demand! I love dystopian, paranormal and all that goes bump in the night. Frankly it scares me to death the think that all that will be pumping out will be contemporary. I like it but it usually has to be a bit dark. I usually keep thinking when is the vampire going to show up?
    I am writing a book now and I feel that I might have to go self-pub. because it is difficult to get under contract because it isn’t the right genre for the moment. And also not get taken advantage of as a new writer. It does not always happen but I have heard horrible stories. Also it is more exceptible now. I have a few self pub authors I love. And that is how they got good contracts with pub houses in the first place. I wish there were classes for self-pubbing. It seems so daunting. Thanks for the rant loved reading it.

    • Arial Burnz says:

      SPOT ON, Girlfriend!! I feel your pain and it’s apparent you feel mine. I don’t think are treating it like a business, or they would be considering what the readers are buying. It’s insane.

      I think self-publishing is definitely the way to go if you want to publish vampires. Sad, but true and it’s why I self-published. Agents and editors wouldn’t even LOOK at my stories. As soon as I said “Vampire”, they started shaking their heads. “Vampires don’t sell,” is what they told me. My Correction: Vampires don’t sell to PUBLISHERS. READERS are eating them up. Every day that goes by, I lose faith in the “industry” and it breaks the heart.

      The tough part about self-publishing is if the author doesn’t have the skills to do it all, it takes more out of their pocket. I’m one of the lucky ones that can do most of it – formatting, cover design, website, ads, etc. One thing an author should NEVER do is publish without an editor. OMG! Even I, a writer and an editor, cannot edit my own stuff. We authors are just too close to our work. We can’t see mistakes because we don’t consciously write mistakes. If we thought we were writing mistakes, we wouldn’t write them. (Geez…did that make ANY sense? LOL)

      Sounds like you’re just starting out, so do your research now to find resources. There are plenty of services out there that can do the formatting, for both ebook and print, as well as cover design. Just Google “self-publishing services” and shop around. I would recommend asking your author friends who they use and if they recommend them. That’s the best way to go since you’ll have the chance to see the final product and get personal input.

      I do cover design for myself, several self-pubbed authors and for a publisher, so I can help you with that if you’re looking for someone to do your cover (http://www.mysticalpress.com/cover-design/). If you’re interested in learning to format books yourself (for e-book and print), I have 15 years experience as a software instructor and can do a Skype session with you for $25 per hour. Depending upon how fast you can pick it up, it shouldn’t take more than a hour or two and I supply the templates. It’ll save you a lot of money if you do it yourself.

      Thanks soooo much for stopping by! It’s nice to get that confirmation I’m not alone in my frustration. I know I’m not…it’s just nice to hear.

  2. Wren b. says:

    Awesome! Thanks I will absolutely seek you out when I have the… well when I get the guts to publish. I still need to finish it up and then have many people read it and tell me I am silly or say wow that was awesome, just do it a thousand more times and you will have it. LOL, I think an editor is the best way to go. Yes some people can do their own work but that is so tough and it is hard to be cutthroat with your own work. I have a few author friends that I talk to and I will be continuing to do so. The web has made it so much easier to get advice from the experts ;). Thanks again for the help any info is good info.

    • Arial Burnz says:

      LOL! Take your time! And I think if you can get a freelance editor to edit a very short piece – like a short story or the first chapter of your novel (give them a synopsis so they know at least where you’re going with the story) – then you’ll get a very real education on where you are as a writer and what you personally need to do to improve your skills. That is THE most educational experience any author can get – being edited. OMG it will save you YEARS of research and struggling.

      Good luck!! 😉

  3. Jodie Pierce says:

    I have a short funny story. In 2007ish, I sent my first story, The Vampire Queen to my publisher who turned it down. BAM! Twilight fans exploded out of the woodwork. I resubmitted the story to the same publisher in 2009 and they took the story, no editing, no additions, same as it was. It’s amazing the cycles publishers go through. Vampires had been a big topic before Twilight but they didn’t want anything to do with it. That publisher, also took my next three vampire stories before I found out they did no marketing for me and I was left to figure it out for myself. So, I decided, I could keep my money, do the marketing I was already doing, make more money at it and not have to worry about their rejection. Obviously I had some talent or they wouldn’t have taken four stories, crap or not so it gave me the boost I needed to branch out on my own. I guess I owe them a great debt really for showing me the light!

    • Arial Burnz says:

      LOL! I know what you mean! I had submitted Midnight Conquest to an agent who showed interest in my work before and I told her that since the movie Interview with the Vampire had just been released on screen, I was pretty confident there would be a surge of interest in vampire novels again. She actually said that as much as the movie industry would like to believe they drive book sales, they don’t. Sorry, vampires are just not selling right now. That was in 1997 and I fell out of the circuit for awhile. Of course she was wrong, because when Twilight hit…as you mentioned…sales for the books went through the roof and the publishing market was saturated. Whut-EH-VER! *shakes head*

      Thanks so much for your comments an enthusiasm!! Keep in touch! I think we’re stalking each other on Twitter and Facebook now. Hee hee!!

  4. Ilex says:

    I so understand your frustration. I’ve been trying to query a novel with a vampire protagonist since August, and when I started, I was innocent to how very dead agents believe the “vampire novel” to be.

    And no amount of trying to convince them that mine is different — it’s more of a contemporary coming-of-age novel than any kind of supernatural novel — works. It’s clear that agents see the v-word and automatically reject the ms because they don’t believe it’s marketable. (The ironic thing is, people who like “vampire novels” probably won’t like mine …)

    I’m just wondering how long this trough is going to last. It’s breaking my heart that I’ve got what I believe is a poignant, emotionally powerful story about loss, grief, and finding a reason to embrace life anyway … and no one will even consider it because it’s full of the v-word.

    • Arial Burnz says:

      That’s a good reason to self-publish. That will then give readers the opportunity to experience your story. I encourage you to visit my writers blog: http://arialburnz.blogspot.com where I give instructions and advice about how to self-publish and market your books. I’m just starting to share all this information I’ve learned, so there aren’t a whole lot of articles up yet, but I’m workin’ on it. 😉

      Good luck with telling your story! And thanks for stopping by!

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