As a reader of Romance Novels, and even more so as a writer, I am fascinated by the ebb and flow of the market. Genres and subgenres of Romance rise to power and then fade away, and everyone is desperate to determine what will be The Next Big Thing. Cashing in on a wave of popularity can and does happen; many authors do it, but they will tell you it’s not easy. So I just observe what’s happening, and keep it in mind, but as most successful authors will tell you- you should write what you want, and then try to find an audience.
I can’t write to a trend yet, can you? My respects if you can do that, if you are prolific enough and have your process down to a science, and can crank out as many novels as you want per year. I’m not there yet. I may never be. There are enough stresses with the business side of writing, social media, research, and then finding time to write the actual book itself, that the added pressure of having to be sure it’s trendy is too much at this moment in time.
I’ve talked about Romance genres and subgenres before, and even though I have done hours of market research, I am still not sure where my stories will fit in when the time comes to market them. In my last post I talked about my author tagline, “The Power of Love with a Supernatural Twist”. There was a distinct reason I chose the word “Supernatural” instead of “Paranormal”.
The subgenre “Paranormal Romance” is a pretty wide umbrella. Surfing through Amazon and Goodreads you are likely to find stories about all kinds of creatures and extraordinarily gifted humans. But for the most part, the word “Paranormal” usually brings to mind vampires, demons, werewolves, shifters, dragons, fae, etc., as those have been some of the most common characters in Paranormal Romance stories the past several years. The word Paranormal is defined in most dictionaries as, “of or relating to the occurrence of an event or perception without scientific explanation; phenomena not of this world.”
Witches, ghosts, and psychics have been huddling under the Paranormal umbrella, too, but I think it’s time for differentiation. The word Supernatural is defined in most dictionaries as, “Above nature, transcending nature, belonging to a higher realm.”
Sure, ghosts and psychic phenomena have not been explained by science (yet). But Paranormal characters are often other-worldly, or complete fabrications of imagination, whereas witches, psychics and ghosts are (or were) mostly human, thus based in nature. (Of course there may be exceptions to this, as they are millions of books in the world, but I am simply looking at trends).
So if we break it down to where Supernatural is human, or nature based, and Paranormal is for anything beyond human, would that help to differentiate stories, so readers could find them? I know keywords and other marketing tools will also help, but the Paranormal genre has become so massive. I believe it is going to splinter into more specific subgenres as popularity of the genre itself reaches critical mass.
Most of the projects I am currently working on feature ghosts, witches, and psychics, and I have been looking for ideas on how to market to the folks who prefer reading these types of stories. I know they are out there, and I know I’m not the only one writing Supernatural Romances. Here’s hoping we find each other when the time comes!
What do you think? Any new genres or subgenres that you think are the next wave? If you could invent a hot new genre or subgenre, what would it be?