Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What do readers want?

Ok so I know we have a lot of readers, and we are thankful for each and every one of you. Because of you, we have been able publish several series and stories and tell our tales to the world. But I want to know what is it that draws you to a book, and when is a subject done to death for you?

The reason why I ask is that at ComiCon in NYC this past weekend, I went to a few panels, and the publishers that were there were showing off their coming soon work, and I gotta tell you, the amount of books that were the same kept me ill.

When I see the same book being spun out over and over I feel like the editors are flooding the market and just giving you more of them same. Case in point. I saw a publisher that put out atleast 4 books involving a PI who solves supernatural crimes. The same pub is putting out atleast 4 urban fantays's with a female kickass heroine written in 1st person. Same publisher is jumping on the vampire YA band wagon, as well as putting out books about Seelie/Unseelie fey and more werewolves. So where is the variety? Do readers wanna just have the choice of three or 4 subjects? Do they want the same old same old every month's release? What is it that they wanna see in books, and why isnt NY listening?

See, I feel like there no room in NY for the unique books that I think readers would embrace. Oh sure theres flukes, like the Jessica Andersen series about the 2012 armageddon, and they have been doing great from what I hear, but aside from Ms. Andersen and a few others that the pubs have taken the chances on, the market remains largely the same book different author. So whaty say you? Are you cowed by the "variety" NY is giving you, or do you Not wanna try anything new, and stay with the old stand bys? How is this industry going to progress to another level, and survive if they just keep giving us the same thing to read? What say you?

So... Now that you are here and have decided to comment here as well... Lemme give you the skinny. there are three blogs and that entitles you to three comments. Each comment will be entered in a contest that will be concluded on Feb 28th and announced on the TEB blog. The winner will recieve a 20$ gift certificate from either BN.com, Amazon.com or Borders, their choice. Pretty good prize just for giving us your opinions eh? So lets get to it... and good luck.


Selena Illyria said...

I feel like you're playing it safe which is sad. There is no variety and that makes me both scared to sub to NY (when I ever do) and pissed off that even if they like a book they won't take it because...yada,yada, yada...

It's just sad. *shakes head*

Bianca D'Arc said...

It's disgustingly like the music industry (which is why I left that far behind years ago). They don't want "new" - they want a copy of what was successful for their competitor. If one company has Star A, their competitors want Upcomer B, C, D, & E who are all lookalikes and soundalikes. As Se said, they ARE playing it safe. One company took the chance on Star A when she was a newcomer. The others have a pretty sure thing with the lookalikes, which will attract some attention just because they look like Star A.

To be brutally honest, I'm not a big fan of the gratuitous violence that has crept into what I used to call "romance". I'm all for paranormal and romance mixed together (hell, I write it!), but why do many new authors feel the need to kill someone in horrible, violent ways every other page?

See, I think it's because 1 or 2 authors had success with a violent book or series and now everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. I don't go for the mix of sex and gruesome violence (as Stella knows from our discussions on the subject), but that's just the way I roll. Maybe I'm a fuddy duddy - but until some books come out without all that gore and violence, I won't be buying any NY pub'd books anytime soon.

Especially when the folks they kill off are the GOOD characters and not the bad guys! ARGH!!! I HATE that!!!

Diana Castilleja said...

I know I'm getting disgusted with seeing the same 5-8 authors every roll over. I read a lot of paranormal. Just A LOT, and right now, I'm not seeing anything to make me want to buy.

I see the same historical authors, the same contemp and para authors. I want new but right now the industry isn't putting it out. And they won't be for a while. They're cutting back hard. Which I understand. Several won't see the new year come 2010.

It's not that there's no room, it's that they don't know how to survive this current economy. And buying anything new is too much overhead risk as things stand.

This is just the wrong time to try to break into NY.

When it opens back up, they're going to be starving for new because they will have dried up their options with the readership that expect new and good. It'll be a stretch if the industry manages both before the end of all of this.

Chris J. said...

From a reader's point of view:
There are several series I have to have, they usually have more than one paranormal element in it. I slao enjoy erotica and that has to be paranormal too. Reading is an escape, a fantasy so lawyer meets normal woman just doesn't do it for me. Hmmm...that proably didn't sound that good! :)
But there are alot of sames out right now and I pass over them to buy the ones I know I will like.
I bought one book a yr ago, she was a historical writer (never read her before) but the cover for her paranormal was eye catching, yes I am a cover chic! lol
Also the blurb on the back made it sound really good, unfortuneately that was the best 2 things about it. I got sucked in, I wanted my money back. Serious, I could do better! No character developement, no feeling for her characters and what "shocked" me was reviews of how well written it was. Are you kidding, the only reason she got that book published was because she was already with the publisher and she jumped on the more popular paranormal band wagon. Without having a love for it, knowledge of what a true paranormal fan wants and she didn't care!
Variety is not at a large degree right now, meaning I read the backs going this sounds like so and so. Therfore I agree with you on that point.
As to the YA, I think it is awesome there are so many books available to them now than when I was there age. But I can also see the boom in that area for them, it is now one of the largest sections in the B & N stores.
As to editing, I am catching errors more frequently than ever, is someone actually editing? I have a friend that is just e-books and all she has to go thru just to get thru the editing phaze is incredible. Shouldn't it be the same for published books? By putting out so many just to cash in, I think they are cheating the readers who buy them.

Thank you for the fun trip through the blogs and the great topics!Thank you for the contest!

Best wishes for ya'll and Congrats on finding a new home for your series!!

Chris J. said...

ooops I didn't edit, sorry for the mispelleds!
Have a Wonderful Week!

Luci.Calanor said...

Ok normally, when I'm shopping for books (at a store) I get drawn to the covers first. If course, I LOVE ya'lls covers so that's not a problem. If I saw them on the shelves, I'd be drawn to them instantly. Beyond that I read the synopsis and decide from there. I HATE cookie cutter books. I swear there are years where there's nothing but the same damn story written by a diff author from a diff publisher on those shelves by the hundreds and I dispare of ever reading something good. Someone once told me that it's the oldest generation of romance novel readers that keeps the publishers in strangle hold. If the pubs don't deliver what this select group wants, nothing sells. But I don't think that's true. I think when the pub's deliver nothing but the same old shit over and over again, THAT's when the pubs loose money and decide to change what they publish. That being said, the majority of decent to fabulous reading material is all e-pub these days. Eventually, when the current "old crowd" dies off, the publishers will realize that all their customers are online now and no one wants to pay their prices for crappy stories when they can get better reading material cheaper and never even have to leave home.

Suzette said...

I think most books out there are generally the same. The publishers are sticking with what works and makes them money.

I'm always looking out for new authors in the paranormal romance genre because I'm hoping for something a little different than the last one. I don't always get what I want though. Most paranormals out there sound the same. Yes, the voice of the author is different and the style is different but it all is really the same with very few differences. There are at least three authors I read that I actually love but if it comes down to it, they are writing basically the same story:

a group of "warriors" protecting mankind and falling in love with the women that will be their other half of their soul, lifemate, beloved, ect.. with twist and turns in between

The above is just an example but I'm sure you know what I mean. I would like to tell you that I dont buy those books any longer but I am to an extent, stuck in the rut. I know the author so I buy the book. If I dont know the author I will probably still buy the book in hopes that somewhere between the pages they have written, something will surprise me.

I probably contribute to the madness that is NY publishing because I am out there buying those books,and I'm sorry if it screws other authors like any one of you who may or may not be interested in breaking into that world(NY PUB). I guess because I don't write I never really thought about how unfair it is for other authors.

If I rambled and didnt make any sense, I apologize since I know what I want to say but it doesnt always translate well when written.

Karin said...

I would like to see some new stuff. It does get a bit old when you start reading and it feels like you just read the same story with small variations from some other author.

It's sad that the industry is that way, but it is understandable, especially during the current economic problems. Publishers are worried that trying something new instead of sticking with what appears to be the 'tried and true', they'll have to make cuts. It's a disturbing pattern I don't see ending any time soon.

However, like another commenter said, because of that I tend to look for new authors or something that appears a little different from all the others. It may be hard to find, but because I will read pretty much any genre, I can usually find something that is new to me.

Lisabet Sarai said...

I agree that NY is running scared and only signing stuff that they've seen sell elsewhere. However, I also think that the romance genre can be rather limiting. Or maybe it's the publishers' marketing slots.

For instance, I recently pitched an idea for a menage story that had MM as well as MF elements. The editor said, thanks but no thanks, this series is strictly MFM. Argh! I like to mix things up in my books, following my belief that people tend to be ambisexual with the right lover, and that the labels and rules don't always apply in real life.

Anyway - I should be writing - not blog posting! But I do enjoy your opinionated semi-rants, Stella!


darbyscloset said...

"Safe" is not always better!
Best to leave everyone in your "wake"!!!! Arrrrrrrrrrr
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

susan L said...

This link really made me think which type of mystery do I prefer one witten in first person or one that is narrated. I'm at a crossroad - I like both and decided it really depends on what type of mood I'm in.

tigger9 said...

I completely have to agree with you Bianca. I don't like too much violence in my books, especially when they kill off good characters. I absolutely hate that. My favorite genre is paranormal. I don't mind some violence but not alot and it should almost always be the good guys kicking the bad guys butts.

Julie Robinson said...

Great post, Stella, and great comments by everyone. I totally agree. I'm tired of the same things being redone. My pet peeve is movies. Yes, I know a remake of a movie like Parent Trap is done to keep up with the times, but why not keep a movie that's already well made as a classic? I think movies are remade for the same reasons more violence and sex with less quality writing are a standard in today's romance novels. It's either what 'they' think the publishers want, or it's a slow form of indoctrination :-)

lindseye said...

I read a lot and I like paranormal but am only reading a few NY authors who seem to have unique worlds. I am buying more ebooks since I bought a dedicated reader but do find more variety from really sweet to hardcore erotica available than I can find at the bookstore. Also it is easier and cheaper to try out authors and see if I enjoy their voice with a short story. I will still support the authors I love but I think the ebook publishers will emerge stronger when the economy recovers.

orelukjp0 said...

Well, I buy everything that around 48 different writers write along with books fromanother 80 different authors as the mood and book strikes me. They do not write the same things. They range from Sherilyn Kenyon to Sandra Hill, to Hannah Howell to Katie Mac Alister and Jaid Black so you see I have paranormal/vampire/gods, comedy/time travel, historical, dragon/ supernatural/ comedy to erotica just to list a few.

No, I feel that we readers do not like the same old stuff, just the names have been changed like the old Dragnet shows. I like variety. I like to be challenged at times, romanced at times or just wowed.

It's a shame that many old publishing houses just churn out the same old stuff. I've found that I am beginning to read more e books and purchasing from smaller publishers in order to get good quality stories.

Thanks for letting me vent a little and tell you how I feel.