Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Guest Post: Vampires - overdone and on the wane by Shawn Lamb

I must tell you that some of you may have strong opinions on this either way...and I would LOVE to hear your opinions! I was browsing the Book Blogs website when I saw that someone had asked a question about the popularity of vampire books. I saw Shawn's answer which really stuck out with me. I asked for a guest post and I got an awesome one. While I am a Twi-Hard...I'll admit, and I still read vampire books, and I still have many in the TBR pile... I do agree with majority of what's said. Take a minute to read and share you thoughts!

Author of ALLON - a YA fantasy series
& former children's television scriptwriter

Just Google the word "vampire genre" and the two top names that come up are Anne Rice and Stephanie Meyer. One is an accomplished, well-known writer who took the genre to its height decades ago, and the other a woman who never wrote a lick before Twilight. I won't even dare go further into the comparison since I admit I am not lover of the genre or admirer of either author. In fact, I don't read horror, but as a former scriptwriter in Hollywood and a YA fantasy author, I have seen what takes place in both industries and how they affect what is published and available for people to read or watch. On this aspect of the 'vampire' craze I can comment.

Anne Rice led the charge of the vampire and gothic genre for decades. Yet, as with all genres, there is a cycle of life. Whereas it may not totally die, it will lie in wait for a new heir apparent to appear and resurrect its popularity. Meyer was that catalyst. The crazed popularity of the movies based upon her books caused vampires to even invaded the Christian market, which has me scratching my head in befuddlement since most consider vampires dark and evil, the direct opposite of the market.

Both publishing and Hollywood follow the money, thus is it no surprise that Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series became a hit despite her poor quality of writing. When a big name publisher or Hollywood producer grabs unto a property they run with it. Ever wonder why a glut of vampire shows cropped up overnight or where the numerous vampire stories came from?

The visual media of movies and television plays a mighty roll in propelling a single book or entire genre to the forefront. This phenomenon creates an environment ripe for copycats hoping to capitalize on the success generated by a hit. However, of the course of a few years since Twilight began, the glut of vampire fiction and shows is causing what is known as market fatigue.

Being an author, I very often visit kids in schools and what I learned and observed this past year confirms the wane of the vampire genre circulating within the publishing industry. Most kids are looking for a new adventure. Anything that is overdone can wear out its welcome. Publishers and Hollywood knows this and will take cues from trends. They may stick with Meyer - a hot commodity to some - but taking on more vampire authors is unlikely to continue as the market goes tepid.

The ability to self-publish has opened up a door to those crazed fans of the genre that can't get enough and even want to try their hand at writing. Having achieved a sub-genre status, vampires will continue, but don't be surprised when they crawl back into the shadows where mass appeal is concerned.


  1. Kris,

    It always amazes me that people seem to think the vampire craze is a new thing. I've read vampire books since I was a kid - having learned to love them from my mother,who as a child would make crosses in her windows every Friday night after watching a late night black and white vampire movie. :)

    I do admit that the success of Twilight has urged more authors to try their hand at the paranormal genre - and for that, I am grateful. The YA market is huge today. When I was a teenager, I would have loved to have the selection of books that are available now.

    I also think that the success of the paranormal genre made way for my favorite genre which is Urban Fantasy. Vampires - supernaturals in general, have gone from the scary bad guys to the hero's. I can't see them going away any time soon.

    As for the popularity of the Twilight series - I think Ms. Meyer is getting the short end of the stick when people say she has 'a poor quality of writing'. The Twilight series is written from the POV of a teenage girl - and in my opinion, written well. My daughter saw hundreds of girls in her high school reading this series - girls who had never voluntarily read a book before - and for that alone, Ms. Meyer deserves recognition.

    Long live the vampire...well, you know what I mean. :)


  2. Hey Michelle!

    I agree....Twilight is what got me into reading again. I know MANY people who were not "readers" until Twilight and then started picking up any paranormal they could get their hands on.

    I was an Anne Rice reader from an early age so I get it. I think they'll always be around. I also think that they are getting to a point where it's less "rushed" to get every vamp book. Just for the simple fact that there are so many.

    But like I said, I'll always be a fan. My butt willbe running to the store today to get Awakened. (They didn't have it yesterday LOL!)