Wednesday, June 15
Sitting on Vampires
I've decided to share a secret with all of you. A secret of fame, fortune, and success as a YA Paranormal author(if in fact that is what you are aspiring to be). Since I am not now, not do I ever plan to be a paranormal writer, I feel it is my duty to share my insight with those who can make the most of it.
Allow me to give you a little bit of back story first. There have been a lot of people in the querying community who are getting really upset lately because their manuscripts are being turned down by agent's and editors, solely because one of the main characters is a vampire. These writers go on and on about how unfair that is, and how it shouldn't matter, etc, etc. Frustrating as it might be, the sad fact is, it does matter. Readers are tired of vampires, so editors aren't buying vampires, so agents aren't signing vampires.(Books about vampires that is.) As writers, we are all subject to the market, and right now, the vampire market is all dried up.
There you have it, that's my secret revelation. Use it well.
What? You didn't catch it?
You missed the two key words?
*ahem* Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, if it pleases your Honor, I would bring up the case of L. J. Smith. In 1991, J. L. Smith releases the first book in The Vampire Diaries series and it is an instant hit. Vampire books start popping up all over the place and that, plus the success of her other vampire series, Night World,
ushers in a wave of vampire/paranormal/Gothic popularity in the teen book market. This wave in the 90's leaned more towards the creepy-horror feel, helping already well known authors to really shine, R. L. Stine(Fear Street series and Goosebumps series, among others), Christopher Pike, and Mary Downing Hahn to name a few. (I was only in grade school at this point and reading The Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley Twins, and the Box Car Children. No scary stuff for me, though I did read the occasional Goosebumps book.) The wave takes the teen literary world through the early and mid nineties, beginning to taper off until about1998 when Harry Potter begins to take over.
Years go by, and we reach 2003. During this year, Stephanie Meyer queries a book called Twilight to 15 agents, to be rejected by 14 of them. (I'd hate to be those folks right now...) The one agent who believed in the book enough to sign it, sold it at an 8 house auction in November 2003. Two years later, Twilight hits shelves on October 5th, 2005 and the wave begins anew, peaking in 2008-2009. The only real difference is that is time, the wave takes us less down the path of scary-gothic, and more towards angsty teen romance.
Moral of the story, if you have a great YA vampire novel... sit on it.
The wave will be ripe for rebirth in about 10-15 years, and that's when we'll say; In 2025, (insert your name here) published his/her vampire YA novel, (insert you title here), which started an international craze!
It will happen again folks, I promise. And yes, it will start with vampires; always has, always will. You just have to wait for it.