Karen T has a great entry asking who is the next Nora, Crusie, SEP, etc? on her blog. You should definitely go read it.
Think about it. Who can you name of the â€œnextâ€ generation, for lack of a better word, with the starpower, or potential starpower, of a Nora, an SEP, a Cruisie? I canâ€™t think of anyone, although if you can, feel free.
I…don’t know. I think pure romances are a rare breed now, and with the “hot” subgenres coming and going, those who are stars are only stars until their market’s saturated and goes away. The thing with Nora and Crusie and SEP is that they all write romances, period. (Although Crusie’s passed into a women’s fiction hazy area that some of her readers love and some of us don’t.) But they’re not affected by the whole sex is in, vampires out, and let’s have the heroine carry a gun merry-go-round. They write solid, damn good love stories that transcend the genre. But that’s just my take on it.
Then again, maybe itâ€™s simply because distributors and retailers donâ€™t give newer authors much of a chance, either, preferring to stock backlists of already bestselling authors.
This is a big thing that really, really pisses me off every time I hit the book aisle at Walmart. There are literally dozens from Nora’s backlist, and then dozens from her Robb backlist. There at least a half-dozen other authors whose backlists they also stock. Considering the pathetic size of their book half-aisle, that doesn’t leave much space. Factor in the bestselling section, and there’s a very small area left for everybody else. I get incredibly frustrated when I know there are good books out by newish, very talented writers, and I can’t find them because there are three copies each of every release Nora’s ever had. And I do have a great deal of respect for her success and I know those books are there because they sell, but I can’t help resent the lack of space for rising stars.
Just my 2 cents.
I think pure romances are a rare breed now, and with the â€œhotâ€ subgenres coming and going, those who are stars are only stars until their marketâ€™s saturated and goes away. The thing with Nora and Crusie and SEP is that they all write romances, period. (Although Crusieâ€™s passed into a womenâ€™s fiction hazy area that some of her readers love and some of us donâ€™t.) But theyâ€™re not affected by the whole sex is in, vampires out, and letâ€™s have the heroine carry a gun merry-go-round. They write solid, damn good love stories that transcend the genre. But thatâ€™s just my take on it.
Hmmm. . .just wrote practically the same thing on my blog. I mean just, as in a minute ago. :crazy:
Synchronocity, baby. :thumb:
Yeah, the lack of shelf space is kind of an issue. It’s amazing how often I end up ordering the books I want, even when I go into a store like B&N, because they aren’t in stock. :shrug:
I think it’s one of those unfortunate instances of what the market will bear. Look at the CSI franchise — you can hear the network execs saying, “If they like the original, they’ll love Miami and New York!” I won’t even touch on all the Law and Orders.
In this case, I think Nora’s original stuff sells so well, and is probably appealing to a new generation of readers, that her backlist still does brisk business. If it didn’t, I don’t think it would get that shelf space.
I agree, though — it’s harder and harder to find romances you want by new authors in the stores, which is a shame.
I think that popular fiction is one of the few realms where those at the top pretty much deserve to be there. Look at Hollywood movies, for example – most of the big flicks are crap, whereas the indie pictures are usually way better. SEP, Nora Roberts, et al write really damn good books.
Having said that, probably 90% of the romances I buy are written by mid-listers. Why? Because these books might not be as complete, perfectly rounded, emotionally satisfying, etc. as the books written by the heavyweights – but their lack of “perfection” makes them more memorable.
The next big things… honestly, I think they are there, but we’re blind to them. I can think of maybe a couple of people just starting out who I think are going to be huge, and a couple working up the mid lists who wouldn’t surprise me…. but until they actually start to achieve those successes, they’re just part of the crowd. We don’t see them until they hit the heights.
That’s just my take.
re the whole issue of only the bestsellers getting all the shelf space, Stephanie Laurens did a fantastic, but sobering, talk on exactly this at the RWAustralia conference in September. Her argument is that with 85% of book sales in the US now being through Walmart, K-mart etc, and only 15% through actual book stores (including Borders etc), then it will make it extremely difficult for authors to break into midlist, let alone into best sellerdom. Her talk was the best and most informative analysis of the current state of the industry that I’ve heard.