Monday, May 17, 2010

Romance at Barnes and Noble

Yesterday evening I stopped at Barnes and Noble for a cappuchino and a good browse. Let me first say that Starbuck's is pretty much the only thing I really like about B&N. Nothing against the chain, I just hate bookstores in general. Walking in there, seeing thousands of unsold glossy covers with names I've never heard of printed on the spines, makes me want to turn around and walk right out again.

Hence a hefty dose of fortifying caffeine before daring to peruse the shelves.

My purpose was twofold: read some first pages and see what kinds of openings are getting published, and try to find some novels comparable to mine, so that I can see where it fits into the market. I didn't have much time, however, so I had to be quick.

After downing my cappuchino,
(Are they sure that's a "tall?" 'Cuz it didn't look very tall to me. And there wasn't much espresso hiding under that foam. I mean, for four dollars, the least they could do is, you know, put some coffee in it)
I started looking over the shelves. First I got distracted in the literary fiction section, and wished I could buy some of the titles there. Lovely writing with lovely premises. Anyway, then I went to the Fantasy section, since that's what I'm writing. But I had to pass by Romance first, and so I paused to read the first and/or middle pages of several books there. Romance isn't what it used to be, I guess. More gutsy, less hand-holding and sighing.

Then I looked at the Fantasy section, and quickly came to the conclusion I had been fearing. Very little of it is even remotely like what I'm writing, although I found some more books I wished I could purchase.

What has become apparent to me is that my story, although set in a fantasy world, isn't really "fantasy" as the market defines it. It's Romance.


Despite the fact that I really, really, really do not want to be known as a romance writer (like, gag me with a spoon), this could be a good thing. Because I have noticed that many popular agents state that they don't accept fantasy. And there seems to be a huge market for romantic fiction these days. As well, accepting a "Romance" label would take some of the pressure off of me to try to make the story more appealing to guys.

(I just *sob* you know. Wanted to be 'cool.' For once in my life, I just want to be, you know, not girly but...Cool.)

So it might be okay. If I can get over that whole 'not cool' thing. I mean, and I hope nobody takes offense at this, but if I EVER am compared to Stephanie Meyer I will jump off a bridge. Seriously.

What I really think my genre is, is "Romantic Adventure." If it was a movie, that's what it would be. Like "The Princess Bride" or "Ivanhoe" or "Zorro" or "Journey to the Center of the Earth" or "The Last of the Mohicans." But those are movies, not books. There is no "Romantic Adventure" section in Barnes and Noble.

There was, however, an entire table labeled "Vampires."

1 comment:

  1. Vampires (cue the dramatic music my daughter hums when i say that, and then cue the cat hissing sound we make) - we don't need anymore of those and it disturbs me that they're so popular. obviously, as i tell Kristal on a regular basis, there's no accounting for the public's taste in stories. i wonder if publishers drive the market or if readers do. or is it a combination of the two?

    but romance is always popular. that disturbs me a little too. when my son and i went into a local Christian bookstore to find Christian fantasy, even the books we'd found before in the YA section were gone (Wayne Thomas Batson's Door Within series). when i looked in the adult fiction, i'd say 95% of it was women's fiction and i bet 90% of that was historical romance. i was thoroughly disappointed (even though i read a lot of that). aren't there any other kinds of stories to tell out there? or is it that the majority of people who read Christian fiction are women and they're looking for romance stories?


I apologize for the word verification. I hate it, but the spammers made me do it.