Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wicked Wednesday - most popular paranormal romances

I've been checking out lists with the top paranormal romances. What do these books have that make them so popular? I see big authors like J.R. Ward, L.K. Hamilton, Christine Feehan, and Sherrilyn Kenyon. Each of them are different, but they've managed to sell millions.

Here are a few things that I picked out:

1) Every book in the most popular lists is part of a series. There are no stand alone novels. I think it's reasonable to conclude paranormal romance fans love series.

2) A lot of the books feature vampires. Yes, we're told that people are getting tired of vamps, but they still remain the main characters in several best selling paranormal romances. Am I suggesting you write about vampires? No, but if you are, there's still a big fan base for them.

3) Comparing the lists from the last five years, there are more YA books on it now. The YA paranormal romance genre is growing. Readers from all age groups love them.

4) The majority of the books are slow romances. The readers want to experience the build up of tension. Again, this is a change from five years ago where we had more fast romances.

5) The authors have definite formulas. While I enjoy reading books by those big authors, each of their books have similar plots. They've discovered what works for them and they can quickly write new novels.

6) There's still a lot of broad male chests and curvy women on the covers. Not so many couples in an intimate pose, though. I've seen a rise in covers that feature symbols or an object, but the most popular books still have a person or people on them.

What else do you see in popular paranormal romances these days?

20 comments:

  1. Probably not the best judge, as I've only read one. And I think yours should be the most popular!

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  2. You are so right about fans wanting series. Fantasy is the same way. I was asked by readers at RT how many books were going to be written in the Gremdon chronicles, and when I answered the woman shook her head and said, "Anything less than 8 is a waste of time. Really?? I had no clue.

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    1. Anything less than eight a waste of time? Oh wow. That's a lot of books. I like trilogies. Long enough but not drawn out too long.

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  3. Sounds like you have made some reasonable assessments.
    I think something important to note is the rise in bad ass female heroines.
    Thanks for posting.

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    1. I completely agree. I love the kick-ass heroines. Paranormal romance has been a great genre for them.

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  4. I agree with your assessments. I definitely can see how series play well for paranormal romance...well, for a lot of genres actually.

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    1. Series seem more popular everywhere today. People seem to want longer stories. Sort of like seasons with TV shows!

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  5. "A lot of the books feature vampires."

    I think people will always be fascinated with vampires, even if editors and agents are tired of seeing them in queries. They are classic.

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    1. That they are. I doubt they'll ever fade from popular books and shows.

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  6. Series are popular in sci-fi, too. Eight, Ciara? Wow, I had no idea they want that many.

    I think once you start publishing and begin hearing from fans, it helps you figure out how to tailor to your audience better.

    Hmmm, maybe I need to write in a vampire.

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    1. I was surprised to hear the eight in a series too. I hope it gets a little easier as I go along. I just need to get some time to write and put out books! :)

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  7. Terrific analysis! What with technology 24/7 and life's roller coaster ride, I think readers want to zone out and zone in on a book that stills the clock but not the mind. And vamps? They'll never disappear.

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  8. You make really good points. I know people on the cover sells really good for any romance. I also like series for reading in any genre.

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    1. Thanks! I'm a fan of series too. Sometimes it gets to be too many like the Stephanie Plum series.

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  9. Interesting observations! Series are nice, because readers can feel like they get to know the characters better. I think that is a trend in a lot of genres.

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    1. I like seeing characters grow in series too. Plus, it's a great way to draw out a romance in fast-paced books.

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  10. Good observations... Vamps sure are popular, but it seems more so from established authors only...:)

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    1. That's very true. It's hard for the new authors to get in there.

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