I don’t know about you, but I keep hearing these rumblings about vampire stories and vampire romances dying out.
Back when I was still thought getting a New York book deal was a good idea, and was submitting manuscripts to agents and the odd editor, I was getting feedback even then telling me they were overstocked on vampire novels, or that they weren’t acquiring vampire novels anymore – pass.
I had one of the biggest agents in New York, and this is a name that everyone mentions in the top three of all agents…he and I were doing the opening steps of the author/agent courtship ritual, which meant I was at least two steps beyond the auto-bounce letter most authors get. I’d got a personalized letter from him praising my credentials and writing, and requesting anything other than a vampire romance from me, as soon as I could manage it. The relationship failed to kindle after I submitted my new idea to him. I guess it was too new as no one else out there had done anything like it.
In hindsight, I was so lucky I wasn’t sewn up into that relationship, because three months later, I indie-published Blood Knot, the book he rejected in favour of something other than a vampire romance.
But that was the tail-end of 2009, and I published Blood Knot in March, 2010. That means that even as long ago as 2009 New York publishers and agents have been talking about the vampire romance market as being glutted, or even dying, wilting, or disappearing.
Except that numbers don’t lie. Let me tell you a little story.
Historical Romance’s Track Record
It’s the New York editors and agents who decided about fifteen years ago that the historical romance market was dead as a doornail, too, and stopped releasing historical romances. Dozens, if not hundreds, of historical romance authors were either out of business or suddenly had to develop new genres and find entire new readerships in those genres, or starve.
Five years after that, epublishers came along, and they had no problems publishing historical romances, and they sold just fine.
Julia Templeton and I released two historical novels in 1993 under the pen name Anastasia Black. Those two books sold steadily and well for nine years, and I would even say they sold marvellously well in their paper edition, once it was released. I am also making allowances and adjusting for the lack of acceptance for ebooks in 1993, the lack of distribution into brick and mortar stores for epublisher paperback editions, etc. If the paper editions of epublisher books had the same distribution as New York paperbacks, I suspect that Julie and I would be looking at very similar sales figures as the New York authors.
There are other historical romance novels out there that do as well, if not better, than ours.
I get constant email from readers begging me to write more historical romances.
There’s Facebook fan pages, Yahoo Groups, blogs and sites devoted purely to historical romances.
How can the historical romance market be declared dead, or even moribund? Whenever a New York publisher does release the odd historical romance it gets snapped up with cries of joy, and bounces up into the best seller list almost instantly. And I have even more proof – in a minute.
You can see why I was skeptical when I started hearing that the vampire romance market was dying. I wanted proof.
Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics
One of the major advantages of indie publishing is instant sales feedback. I can watch my sales figures change from minute to minute. The average legacy author can only judge the effect of her marketing and the decisions she has made about which genre to write and how well her book is doing when she gets her monthly, or quarterly or sometimes six monthly royalty statement. This delay in cause-and-effect is so large it is useless in providing any real feedback on the effectiveness of anything she had done, because she doesn’t know which element has had the effect on her sales, or even if she has had any personal effect on the sales at all.
I am 100% responsible for every copy I sell, so I can track the sale of every copy and be reasonably certain what I have done to help the reader decide to buy the book, or not. So when I was told that vampire romance novels were dying, I self-published.
And watched my sales soar.
I happened to publish a non-vampire romantic suspense novel within a month of Blood Knot. And since then, I’ve published twenty-eight other titles. Beth’s Acceptance brings the count up to thirty indie titles. Blood Knot is my personal #1 best seller. All my vampire romances outsell everything else, by a factor of five to one.
What expert said vampire romances were dying?
Here’s even more comfort that your favourite romance read isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. As a blog owner and advertiser I have access to Google Adwords and their very handy keywords search tool, so I did a bit of research and that was very interesting indeed.
I wanted to find out what sort of interest there was in vampires. The more vampires and the term “vampires” were searched for, the higher the interest, and therefore, the longer vampires and vampire fiction would be around, yes?
Want to guess how many times “vampires” are searched for each month?
Thirty point four million times.
I’ll put that into figures.
More than 30,400,000 times a month.
And that’s just “vampires”. There is a long, long, long list of sub-terms and related terms that includes the word “vampires” in it. “Vampire romance” is searched for over 33,000 times a month. Here’s a list:
Vampire 30,400,000 time a month
Vampire Romance 33,100 times a month
Vampire Books 165,000 times a month
Vampire Diaries 13,600,000 times a month
Vampire Series 301,000 times a month
This is incredibly good news for vampire fiction lovers. If readers are looking for vampire fiction in these numbers, then the demand for vampire fiction isn’t about to dry up anytime soon. There’s room in the sandbox for more and more novels and authors and readers can feast their fill.
Just in case you’re wondering, I did run comparison figures.
Here’s the full array, including Vampires, in search rank order:
Historical Romance……49,500 times a month
Vampire Romance……33,100 times a month
Paranormal Romance……33,100 times a month
Urban Fantasy……22,200 times a month
Romantic Suspense……5,400 times a month
Contemporary Romance……8,100 times a month
Urban Fantasy Romance……1,000 time a month
MM Romance……260 times a month
MMF Romance……170 times a month
The evolution of indie publishing has taught authors that they have more control than they thought.
These figures should tell readers – you — that you have more power and influence over the market than you have been led to believe. Historical Romance – the “dead” market — is right at the top of the list. Vampire romances, that the legacy publishers are starting to try to tell everyone is dying, is right up there with it.
Isn’t that great news?