We have seen quite the string of vampire novels in publishing the last few years. From Anne Rice to THE HISTORIAN to TWILIGHT, every time I have heard someone in the publishing business say the whole vampire thing had run its course… along came another successful vampire book to prove that it had not.
America apparently loves vampires! And I’m still getting more vampire novels in my Inbox than perhaps any other genre/trope.
What do you think? Is the public still ready for fresh takes on vampirism? Or is it time to break out the garlic?
R.J. Self says
I don’t think vamps are dead, as long as people still need a fansty outlet there will be vampires. Vampires were around in folklore long before they were ever published in any type of written form. They are a type of myth that has expanded thoughout the ages. I do think that have been softened up a bit, Twilight did not contain a single fang in the movie, and I long for the real vamps to come out and play.
Like everyone else and their mother it seems these days, I have written a YA vampire novel (currently being revised before querying starts). My interest in vampires goes back almost ten years now, back when I tried to write my first novel. It was about vampires, too, although very different from what I have written now. I’ve had lots of people telling me that the market is already saturated and that I need to make mine stand out and I have to bite my tongue from saying, “Gee, you don’t say?” Heh.
Like with all things, trends have their ups and downs and I guess right now we are in an “up” with regards to the number of vampire books and series out at the moment. There are people who love vampires, zombies, werewolves or whatever, just as there’ll always be people who hate them. So long as someone writes well and has a good story involving vampires (that don’t sparkle) then I’ll read it, at least.
Lauri Shaw says
On one of last week’s topics, I’ve just posted an interview with Vineet at my blog, you can find it here.
Or cut and paste this link: https://www.laurishaw.com/vineet-bhalla-klazart-interviewed-about-authonomy/
Someone please put a stake through this genre and end it.
If it’s a good story, it’s a good story, whether it’s about Vampires, Zombies, Unicorns, whatever. Give me a story that sucks me in and makes me forget about the economy, my kids running wild, and North Korea with nukes.
I just want a story with characters I love. I want to miss them when I finish the book, and I don’t care if they’re Vampires or your normal non-magical humans.
Pierre Roustan says
It’s funny that you bring this up, Nathan, ’cause my novel THE CAIN LETTERS (surprisingly, guess what, is a VAMPIRE NOVEL) will be released this December 2009 through Eirelander Publishing.
So I guess my comment is that, NO, vampire novels probably will never die.
My novel is a high concept, melding a religious thriller (sort of like THE DA VINCI CODE) with something like “Underworld” and “Blade”.
It’s always interesting how people turn on best-selling authors. SM created millions of dollars in sales for her books, everyone read them, they make movies out of them and now, everyone’s like, well, I like vamp stories, but only if they aren’t like SM’s.
Doesn’t anyone realize that it’s the impact of SM’s vampire Edward that is keeping other vampire books in the stores? That created the appetite for them?
(I’m not a huge defender of SM’s writing style — I find it repetitive and overwrought, and Edward too perfect — but I can certainly see the appeal of Twilight.)
**But on to my question, which is, you don’t see mass disdain for JK Rowling — yet people loathe SM. I can’t figure it out. Help me, some one.
A fresh take on vampires? Why, that would be a book on the banking industry.
Sheryl Tuttle says
Oh but the garlic thing is just superstition!
Personally, vampire, zombie, human…I don’t think it matters as long as the story is GOOD!
Disgruntled Bear says
Vampires won’t go away, because they touch something in our subconscious. They are our “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” predators who look like us and might be among us. They are scary and sexy and timeless. Vampire stories may go out of style from time to time, but they will never go away.
Mercy Loomis says
Anon @ 6:48 –
The vampire books are not still in the stores because of Twilight. There were tons of vampire books before Twilight. There will be tons when it is gone.
(I’m frightened to hear that they are doing a show on the Vampire Diaries. I read those back when I was in middle school as they were published. The first time. In the 90’s.)
Personally I love PN Elrod’s Vampire Files. 1930’s detective novels set in Chicago, with vampires. How can you go wrong?
The thing with Twilight is the vampires in that series are very different. They break with a lot of traditions. That creates a whole lot of love/hate. (I think sparkly vampires are ridiculous. I giggled for weeks. That did not stop me from enjoying the stories, however.)
The other thing with the Twilight series that generates a lot of love/hate is that SM nailed certain teenage girl experiences right on the head. I mean, I’m in my thirties, and reading New Moon in particular took me straight back to high school and my freshman year of college. I remember being so drunk on being in love that being separated from my boyfriend was an agony, and how just the sight of him after being separated was like getting my fix. Everything was all right with the world again. And also the feeling from losing someone you loved that much – I went through that too. Her description of what Bella goes through in New Moon – the zombieness, the feeling like you’re about to shatter, that you literally have to hold the pieces of you together – was dead on. I went through that. I know. It is a stunning portrayal. And people who haven’t been through that think it’s overdone and over the top, so they bash it.
I’m not saying that her books are high literature – they’re fluff with a little bit of meaning. But they’re quite entertaining fluff and they speak very strongly to their target audience, which is why they are so wildly successful.
Alessa Ellefson says
Yes, the vampire spiel has been done, over and over again, especially in the last 10 years or so.
But, so have all the other categories (romance, thrillers, mysteries, memoirs). Do people ever say: “A sassy heroine’s so out right now.”
So I think it’s silly to say that something’s in or out. It all depends on how well the story is written, how much it pulls the reader in and makes the reader feel.
But, of course, this has to do with fiction only, as I do believe some non-fiction books can have an expiration date.
**But on to my question, which is, you don’t see mass disdain for JK Rowling — yet people loathe SM. I can’t figure it out. Help me, some one.
I can tell you why I loathe SM – because she makes it sound all SO EASY. She had this dream and then wrote Twilight in 6 months. Then ten query letters later she had an agent and a six figure deal. What??? C’mon!!!
If the story is good, vampires are fine. Frankly, I have never understood the attraction considering they are dead and subsist on blood.
For anyone looking for BAD vampires in jeans and boots, I recommend the movie Near Dark. ‘Nuff said. 🙂
Cross over Vampires.
J R Ward’s Brotherhood series mixes in erotic romance, rap music, violence and manly (but larger than life, since most of the BDB are close to seven feet tall) vamps. These vampires have a huge multicultural fanbase. There are a number of authors in this genre like JR (Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole, Patricia Briggs, just to name a few)that are doing quite well in this genre.
But personally, I’ve always enjoyed the Werewolves more. I’m waiting on the next great WW novel
(hopefully it will be mine)
Can vamps be done? Please???? I’m so sick of every.person.on.the.internet. talking about Twilight!
“Can vamps be done? Please???? I’m so sick of every.person.on.the.internet. talking about Twilight!”
I’d say not until everyone ont the internet is done talking about Twilight. You pretty much nailed the question, it is still wildly popular, and draws attention. Look at how many people voted.
I wasn’t a vamp fan until I saw Blood Ties and read the books. I’ve read the books that True Blood is based on and now I’m reading the Dark Hunter series of books by Sherilyn Kenyon. Vampires are like everything else, they come back in cycles. Will they ever die, NOPE.
Bill Greer says
I hope agents continue to get a plethora of queries about vampire novels, so that when my query arrives, the agent says, “It’s not about vampires! It’s fresh! It’s different! Have that man send me a partial!”
We all have our fantasies.
Sun Up says
I don’t know really. I’m just not all that impressed with the whole vampire genre. I used to be really into it back in the day–but that was 10 years ago when I was still a teenager.
Til this day, the only vampire or occult fiction I can really get into is Anne Rice. Her writing is more like, prose than just a story. And to this very day, reading her work always takes me somewhere.
I heard the Twilight series novels were pretty good. But I justh haven’t been inclined to read it. It feels like all of these vampire novels follow a formula that’s…predictable. Maybe it’s just me–but I really don’t like it. It’s something better suited for young adults I think.
Allegory 19 said:
“… I can tell you why I loathe SM – because she makes it sound all SO EASY. She had this dream and then wrote Twilight in 6 months. Then ten query letters later she had an agent and a six figure deal. What??? C’mon!!!…”
Oh, well, hell, point taken. THAT I understand! 🙂
Sun Up says
“I can tell you why I loathe SM – because she makes it sound all SO EASY. She had this dream and then wrote Twilight in 6 months. Then ten query letters later she had an agent and a six figure deal. What??? C’mon!!!”
I wonder if I could turn my dream about a giant crab eating my hair into a series?
I don’t think anyone would want to ‘read’ about my dreams–they’re creepy and very nonsensical.
I have to agree, vampires are not going to go away. They are an archetype (like someone mentioned above) but as with all sub-genres, there will be an ebb and flow to the vampire craze. There was hardly a post-apocalypse sci-fi story written in the 90s. Yet after 9/11 all of a sudden Armageddon seems possible again, and we have tons of books in the sub-genre being written and “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy winning the Pulitzer. I would say we are currently in a vampiric market, but will see a downturn over the next few years…
Vampires will never go away. They may take a short respite but they always “rise” again! They’re the classic horror story that can be turned into a romance story or a serial killer story – take your pick! The recent onslaught of vampire series and movies: Blood Ties (Lifetime), MoonLight (NBC), True Blood (HBO), Twilight, Let the Right One In (Sweden) etc. demonstrate how the vampire genre isn’t a generational fad – it’s definitely here to stay and will continue morphing to fit the times.
By the way Nathan, it’s
Anne with an “e” Rice. 😉
Nathan Bransford says
Ack! Thanks, anon.
Christine H says
I have no experience with vampire novels, as they don’t interest me, but I did ask this question of the fresh-faced twenty-something salesclerk at Borders today. He said that he didn’t think the trend was over yet, but it would be before too long. He observed that Twilight was “terrible.” He tried to get into it, but just couldn’t. I said, “The movie or the book?” and his reply was “both.” But, he really liked “Let the Right One In” because it was very quirky and different, and well done.
So I think that pretty much plays along with what others have said… It’s not so much what you write, as how you write it. But, if you are sending off a fantastically writeen vampire novel at the end of a booming trend, it may not get the attention it deserves just because of the trend. So, put it in the closet for a while and, just like those bellbottoms, it’ll come back in style.
I hope they’re not dead! I just finished a manuscript that involves a vampire, although he’s not the protagonist.
There are insufficient stakes in the world to drive through the entire vampire genre. It is immortal (however stressful this may be to some of us).
Kim Stagliano says
I went to school with a relative of Vlad the Impaler – Sandra Florescu. Her mom was my French teacher. Her Dad is/was a professor at BC, Radu Florescu. Vampire lore has been with us forever – why should a well written, interesting take on a vampire have to hibernate? If the story is well told I’m all for vampires. That said, as I posted on fb, in an effort to appease the editorial gods, my new WIP is going to include a Werezomvampirenistein. That should cover all the undead’ish bases, yes? (And I have a prologue, about 300 words, and am now cowering in the corner wondering whether to keep it….)
Michelle Miles says
As a romance and fantasy reader – I say pass the garlic. I’m tired of vampire books, but then, I never liked them to begin with. My apologies to the Lovers of the Undead, but I simply can’t stand them.
Now give me a good, juicy fantasy epic and I’m all yours.
Two Flights Down says
Vampire stories, even going back to Carmilla all had issues in society as well as sexuality that people seemed to fear. Are these stories still so popular because these issues still exist? We must be fascinated by them for some reason, right?
I actually started sending queries out that stated there are no vampires in my book. Some agents found it funny.
mnemosyne's afterthought says
Just a few minutes ago, Jezebel posted a note that Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series is going to be the foundation for a television series on IFC.
The comments are funny.
“Are ‘vampires’ dead?”
Duh. Um. yeah, being ‘dead’ is part of their charm, Nathan 😉
No idea so outrageous can be put to sleep — nap, yes. But there will always be new takes on vampirism, methinks. Some may even get published. I haven’t written anything ‘vampire’ yet. Still waiting for that AWESOME blood-sucking character to accept my afternoon tea invitation.
Glen Akin says
Vampire genre die? Nah, not going to happen. Not ever. I don’t like it. The first and only time I tried getting into it was when my sister got me to read Twilight.
Worse. Mistake. Ever.
And I don’t think a writer has to come up with something unique or write something really good. Just tap into mass appeal and you’ve got yourself a bestseller. Twilight was hardly unique and not very well written. It still sold buckets.
Long live vampires! hahaha!
Do vampire novels fall into the Horror genre or Fantasy genre? I’ve gotten mixed answers about this when it comes to querying. Hope you can resolve it!
I really really REALLY hope vamps are dead. At least for now.
You forgot to mention Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stakhouse Books)better known as the True Blood books author. They’re the only ones I can still stomach.
i don't wanna start an online-war; but i hate twilight (for reasons https://twilightsucks.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=twilight&action=display&thread=638) but i love vampire books if they're done right. someone else said that vampires drinking blood is wrong in the romantic way, and i agree with that. but the idea has to be written out well. another one said vampire books (twilight) is "overrated" and another that vampire stories are "timeless". i agree with both of them. vampire books will never die, and twilight is overrated. as long as kids think that a vampire lives on the closet, as long as 30 year old women read vamp-mance and sigh with the book, as long as authors like myself are willing to keep writing them vampires will never die. they are undead, you know. (i'll give the vamps some room, maybe 3, maybe 4 years?)
Vampires will never die (pun intended). It seems as if everyone loves the idea of vampires because they are mysterious and strong. Essentially everything a human is not. The action and romance in the vampire stores tends to draw the reading into the novel more than any other kind of fiction.
They will never die. The vampire myth will only transform as time progresses. As long as the story is original and full of adventure, i don't think the vampire will die
Lynn Hughes says
There is always a differnt spin on a vampire novel….