Pub Rants

No Vampires Please

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STATUS: It’s really late to be blogging…

What’s playing on the iPod right now? JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH by Depeche Mode

So I had lunch with an editor from Random House who acquires for SF & F.

Her plea? No more vampires. Please. Every urban fantasy does not need to include them. Hum… where did I hear that refrain recently? Big smile.

She also expressed a longing for female heroines that aren’t killing machines. It’s okay to have a little vulnerability or emotional pull in the character.

I have to say I didn’t realize that the heartless woman assassin was a current trend but there you have it.

25 Responses

  1. hldyer said:

    Well, what better time to blog about vampires (and keeping them away) than “really late”?

    And at least you can save your email box from frantic checking-up-on-you messages. 😉

  2. Anonymous said:

    Hmmm. I just watched Blood: The Last Vampire. Acclaimed Japanese anime. Female…killing…machine…

  3. Anonymous said:

    I agree with the latter request. I’m so tired of watching the unemotional, superhuman female on the TV.

    Give me a good tear-jerker anytime.

  4. Angela said:

    Hrmm. I have two, count ’em, two urban fantasies with heroines who are not killing machines, and nary a vampire to be found between ’em…

    … but alas, I have already queried one to you without success, and the other isn’t ready to go out yet. *^_^*;;

  5. Anonymous said:

    So what about a conflicted heroine who has multiple-personality disorder? A simple, mild-mannered librarian by day, She-Terror by night? : D Kidding.

    I think every heroine should be real. I know as a reader, I want to be able to slip into her shoes and relate to her. If I can’t at least understand her, I won’t continue reading a book.

    She needs to be likeable, regardless of what she does for a living, from flipping burgers to flipping open badges.

    -Rachel Glass

  6. Anonymous said:

    Alright! I really like this editor. I have to totally agree with her. My favorite characters in my movies and novels that I’m working on are my heroines. It’s the emotional pull and the vulnerability is what captures the emotions of the audience. It’s no easy task to create a work that is multi-layered. The emotions, vulnerabilities, and relationship issues are what give us life; it makes us connect with the characters.

    People have a hunger to have that emotional cathartic experience. That’s why writing is like a drug…you’re always on an emotional high.

  7. Gypsy said:

    ok well my 5,000 plus online reading group and my 4 face to face reading groups that total about 55/60 people all together all say ppppffftttt to that random house woman. we’re not writers the lot of us we’re readers and let me tell you! I will read anything that has fangs. always have always will. since Lost Boys, haven’t been able to give them up so keep em coming literary world we’ll keep buying them we promise! and the heartless woman assassin…woot! I don’t want to relate to the woman I read because I want to escape! i’m not a kung fu slasher killing machine but I want to be! so keep those coming too! I want to be one when I grow up!

  8. Kristin said:

    I think Ms. Random House is looking for books with the most universal appeal, gypsy. They are trying to sell lots of books, remember? And I’m sure she has seen reader interest decline for the same old vampire storyline…because, you must admit, there is a pattern to this type of story, just like any genre fiction.

    Personally, if Ms. Random House is the one *buying* the books in the first place, I think I would listen to what she has to say. She has more control over what shows up on the shelves than your reading/writing group.

    Write something *without* a vampire in it, get a contract, and *then* try to sell your vampire books. You have to get your foot in the publishing door with something unique, original, different. That’s just the name of the game, and Ms. Kristin is only trying to help us out with her reports….

    ***a different Kristin than Agent Kristin…..

  9. magolla said:

    I’m in the same boat as Angela: Wrote strong non-vampire herione who isn’t a killing machine in urban fantasy, queried Kristin, and rec’d a generic rejection.
    This is such a very frustrating biz. Hubby helped out by mentioning that though I have the bones for the type of story what you want, the flesh covering it not to your liking.

  10. Anonymous said:

    Sorry to hijack the thread, but I just tried to query and got a permanent SMTP failure saying the query email address doesn’t exist. Is everything OK over there?

  11. karen wester newton said:

    I never thought about it before, but it must be difficult when an editor’s personal tastes conflict with what is selling in the marketplace. I personally don’t care for most vampire stories, but except for the occasional one coming through my critique group, I don’t have the read them.

    I never thought I’d feel sorry for an editor!

  12. Anonymous said:

    Karen wester newton 7:16 —

    Don’t worry, this whole feeling-sorry-for-an-editor thing will pass. In the meantime, I just got a big reject, I’ll be disgruntled with them for the both of us until you come to your senses.

  13. Kayleigh Jamison said:

    Interesting, though not surprising.

    Reading and publishing trends are cyclical. I’ve had several NY editors tell me that by the time bookstores get flooded with a certain genre/theme/etc, it’s already on the way out, and the publishers have dozens more on their shelves waiting to go out.

    Personally, I don’t follow trends, and don’t write to the market. I write what I write, and it’s not all the rage right now (though historicals will never, ever die) it’ll come back around.

    Know the market, understand it, but write what YOU write first and foremost. Your time will come.

  14. Anonymous said:

    Karen Wester said but it must be difficult when an editor’s personal tastes conflict with what is selling in the marketplace.

    The key is that what is selling in the marketplace was bought 1.5-2 years ago. What the editor is acquiring now won’t come out until 2010. So it’s likely that her personal tastes aren’t in conflict with what’s selling in the marketplace — her tastes have moved past what is selling in the marketplace today.

  15. Anonymous said:

    Well, the thing is, vampire stories are still going to be written because people will continue to read them. But you should create an unexpected world, like Stephenie Meyer has.

    Um, actually, I wonder if Random House is just a bit upset that they didn’t publish Meyer’s Twilight series…..?

  16. brenda said:

    Just curious if any of these editors have told you what their take on traditional fantasy is? Gone like the dodo, or still living?

    Thanks as usual for an interesting blog.

  17. Gypsy said:

    That’s depressing, that means you lovely writers will stop writing vamps for a while and there will years without them *sigh* I feel depression setting in. Alas, I will not change the world with my wee little book club *tear* Ok, keep the news coming…

  18. Karen Duvall said:

    Hey, Angela and Magola, we’re all on the same page! My UF doesn’t have vampires or killing-machine heroines and I’ve been getting lots of requests off my query. Not from Kristin, unfortunately. I got her form reject, too. I say the three of us should talk and share. Whaddaya say? email me at jkduvall at bendbroadband dot com.

  19. Anonymous said:

    Well, I haven’t gotten a rejection uh…yet. I have a fanciful, emotional, female, only killed once……(well, he deserved it), heroine. And I think my storyline is unique. I’ve never seen it before anyway. I don’t do vampires. (Yuck, they scare me..cringes) I do dragons. My heroine is a dragon…well, maybe. Sigh, oh well, MUST STOP DWELLING. It’s all in Kristin’s hands now!!

    –Carrien’s Keeper

  20. Anonymous said:

    My teenage daughter and her friends all love vampire books. They read any book about vampires that they can get their hands on. Viva la vamps!

  21. Lynne Connolly said:

    You need to put something different in. I think it’s the old fated-mates-compelled-biologically-to-mate thing that’s really going belly-up. Not all vampires have to be the same, any more than all historical heroes have to be rakes with a spying sideline.
    Read the subject, I say, do some research. Look up all the vampire legends, find a new angle, a new way of looking at them. I’m doing pretty well with my Dept 57 and Pure Wildfire books, and one of the things reviewers say is stuff like “nice to read a different approach to the subject.”