Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Writing life

In a little bit I will finish up my second cup of coffee and the Instant Seduction contest entry. For me a contest entry is a writing exercise. Will it turn into a real book? Possibly someday or it might become a novella. I will probably find another small writing assignment to play with until February. Or perhaps I will simply wallow in books and practice French for the next two weeks.

Surfing about, I noticed a disturbing romance publishing trend, an Alpha male hero requirement. Personally, I have no problem with Alpha heroes. I wouldn't be a Presents fan if I did. But, and it is an important but, I do not want to read only one kind of story over and over and over again. Heck, I don't even stick to a genre. I read thrillers, mysteries, literary fiction, poetry, classics, humor, and lots of nonfiction. And what's more, I don't think I'm alone in my broad range of printed entertainment. One of the things writers have in common is their love of reading.

Back to the Alpha trend I find disturbing. Making a certain personality type an editorial story requirement seems counterproductive. Publishing is a business. Businesses want to succeed. Success is based on whole host of complicated factors but it starts with giving the customer what they want. Easy-peasy right? Set up a focus group, do polls, pay attention to which items in your product line move the best. All good, sensible, and proven marketing strategies. And if the publisher lives by them alone they guarantee mediocrity and eventual failure. Because it is the exception that makes the breakout best seller. It is the rule breaker that sets the world on fire and brings commercial success to its backers. Was Harry Potter on the list of proven track record stories? No. Some wild-eyed publisher took a chance.

After a steady production of nothing other than say Alpha vampire heroes for a year or so I can predict a decline in book sales with total confidence. Said decline followed by the amazing sensational success of a new renegade romance story featuring a laid back blonde beach bum hero or an equally unlikely protagonist.


Blogger Avery Beck said...

Agreed--I was interested in entering the Red Sage contest until I discovered the Alpha hero requirement. So much for that opportunity!

7:11 PM  
Blogger Evanne said...

I saw the same thing and it was like the third one in a row--hence the rant. And I like Alpha dudes! Not vampire ones but still...

The one that shocked me was Samhain's call for menages, pausing to eye roll. I've got nothing against menages mind you but a submission call for them--and they want them to be romances. Shaking head, I don't think they have the same idea of what an Alpha hero looks like as I do--for one thing they don't share. LOL

7:39 PM  

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