re: What’s a Poor Vampire Writer to Do?

in Publishing Biz/Teen/Middle Grade Fiction by

Dear Editor…

It’s no secret that editors and agents are sick of werewolves, ghosts, and especially vampires. So is there really any point in writing a vampire novel right now? Don’t agents and editors just roll their eyes when they see the words “Vampire” and “Young Adult Paranormal” in a query letter?

Sincerely,

Megan

Dear Megan…

If that’s all your story is—“a vampire book”— then yes, they’ll roll their eyes. The market has plenty of those. That hook is no longer enough to make a sale. Your paranormal story must be more than its monsters. One thing I hear editors asking for now is cross-genre paranormal to offer readers who love vampires something fresh. “Vampire” has been done; “Vampire astronauts who take over the first human colony on Mars” has not. Don’t simply get gimmicky, though. A genre blend must be a natural one, with a solid story at its core. Gimmicks may get attention, but solid storytelling earns the sale.

Happy writing!

The Editor

5 Comments

  1. Absolutely! Super answer, especially about the gimmicky part. The market is way too glutted and there has to be a strong, unique hook to make editors/agents stop yawning or rolling their eyes. Blending two genres–and doing it well–is an exciting way for a writer to become original, whether it involves vampires or not.

  2. Great answer. I think another solution is to change up the vampire. Give him additional abilities and different weaknesses than the standard lore. Perhaps call his ‘race’ something other than vampire. He can still be tall, dark, and sexy – just not the same as all the others.

  3. Have you seen the movie trailer with Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford where it’s a mix of sci-fi and western? It looks fun. I think that type of change up is what Deborah is suggesting. It can’t be Blue Blood. It can’t be Twilight. An unexpected mix or setting would make it interesting. Or as one of you said, different traits for the vampires. Maybe they really are just misunderstood and not dangerous after all… LOL Some research into some old beliefs about vampires might unearth something interesting.

  4. I do think it is a bit of a [reject now] button. I am still shlepping mine about – but I think the fact it has a vampire too – is working against me. Of course, my query could just be a pooch smoocher. I am going to try writing a new query without mentioning the vampire – see if it helps.

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