Tuesday, January 16, 2007

This is a rant

Pure and simple – it’s a rant. You can tell it’s a rant because I’m capitalizing. And probably using exclamation points! And maybe even a cuss word or two! When I do that you know Krisite is coming out!

This is an all too common story and includes a number of things that bug the hell out of me about the romance industry. Now nobody could be a bigger supporter than me! I buy most of my books new and I concentrate on new and mid-list authors in particular. I’ve been buying/reading primarily romance for well over 15 years now and I’ve seen trends come and go. I’ve gotten discouraged when favourite authors seem to disappear for a while; for example Loretta Chase after writing The Last Hellion, only to dance with delight when she came back to us. I’m still waiting for that with Judith Ivory and; dare I say it; Elizabeth Elliot. My feet are ready to do that happy tap. But I read something today that just fried my socks. Now first off – none of my ire is directed to the author. NOT EVEN a tiny bit. By the sounds of it, she isn’t that happy about the situation either. I’ve read quite a few books by her and the first two in the latest series. It seemed a while and the third one wasn’t out yet so I checked to see when we might expect it and this is what I found.

This rant starts out with series then branches out. Why does almost every single historical book written today have to be part of a damn “series”? Why can’t we have the occasional books that are just fine being standalones? Because you know why I hate this? Because we readers get invested in them! We get sucked in! Some of us don’t want this to happen – but there is no choice. And do you know why I hate the series????? Because, when you least expect it, WHAM! Before the series is done, IT GETS CANCELLED!!!

Nope – this one is directed at PUBLISHERS. It bugs me to no end that they have such a large say in what gets published. I know – that does sound kind of stupid doesn’t it? But really – I’m sure I’m not the only one that has been following along with this series and other series also. I’m sure it’s PUBLISHERS that insist on the series and then they pull the rug before it’s done! How DARE they do that to us readers!! This is only one case but I’m sure it happens all the time. Not long ago Lucy Blue started new series with *surprise* vampires. Now I don’t often read these but I had read her books under Jayel Wylie and liked her voice so I was willing to try these ones. And I thought she had a good thing going. They were paranormal – the current rage. But nooooo. Apparently MEDIEVAL paranormals aren’t good enough because ACCORDING TO PUBLISHERS, the medieval market isn’t solid enough these days. So it wasn’t that long ago that she posted on an AAR board that the PUBLISHER didn’t want anymore. She wrote the third one and that was going to be the final one. I’m not sure what she was planning on after that. According to what she said, she was leaving the romance market for a while. That was some time ago and hopefully she will change her mind. But here she was writing what’s supposed to be “hot” and it still wasn’t good enough for the PUBLISHERS. Her books under Jayel Wylie were also in the paranormal vein.

Now Ms. Kerstan doesn’t say what genre the publishers want but I’m willing to bet it’s PARANORMAL.

Why don’t the publishers let the authors write what they want to write? Why do they have to be so concerned with WHAT’S HOT? I know that some genres sell better than others – paranormals at the moment. But that can change in the blink of an eye. Yea – there are some hot authors writing paranormals these days – Christine Feehan, Sherilyn Kenyon and JR Ward come to mind the most, and the last thing I want to do is deny fans of these authors and genres the kind of books they want to read. BUT I DON’T WANT IT DONE AT MY EXPENSE!!! I love medievals. I love historicals – at least I did until so many of them became almost clones of each other. But looking back at last years reads it’s still the number one genre I read. So how come I’m not able to get many of the books I want?!?!?! Because the PUBLISHERS have decided that’s not what the big sellers are these days.

Well – screw that. There didn’t used to be this big concentration on one particular genre. When I started reading romance, I started with historicals and there were a lot to choose from. Then I was ready to branch out. The off-shoot branch started with Westerns – there were a lot of those, then that branch moved to Colonial and they were plentiful. Then I got a hankering for Medievals and had no problem finding those ones. Then my appetite spread to ghost, time travel and futurists. Found them, found them, found them – all in plentiful supply.

Whenever something gains rapidly in popularity, it seems the rush is on to get as many in the same style out there as quickly as they can be gotten. Remember Who Wants to be a Millionaire? They couldn’t get copy cat shows on the air quick enough after the success of that one. And how many of them are left? Only the original and it isn’t even in prime time any more. Yet at one time it was on for an hour every night almost.

Same thing with books!!! Paranormals are hot – therefore we need to have an overabundance of paranormals. But even that wouldn’t bother me so much except – finish the freakin’ series of books that are already started!!!

I’ve been wondering when the third book in this series would be out – and now it looks like we might never get one.

The last time I was this annoyed over pretty much the same principal was when they cancelled The Nine!!! Get us – the consumers/the viewers/the readers hooked and reeled, then clump us over the head. That’s what it seems they like to do – the jerks!

OK – its 4:30 and time for me to go home and try and settle down.

‘til later


A!Ha! Just thought of another anology! It's like when someone buys a sports team and then thinks because he loves sports and owns the team - that qualifies him to run it. It doesn't!! Can anyone say George Steinbrenner?? (although come to think of it the Yankees have won a number of World Series - but then we have.......Harold Ballard. Yes! Now there's an example)

So I say again - publishers should stick to publishing and not telling authors what to write.


nath said...

There's only one answer to your rant, which turns out to be the answer to many other questions: MONEY. Sucks no?

I'm so sorry that the series got cancelled. Seriously, this is so stupid. Granted, why should authors all write "series" in the first place... Oh, well money. Anyway, I'm sorry for you, the readers and the authors.

Devon said...

I get so frustrated when I read these sorts of things, but Nath is right it's all about the money. Authors are getting creatively stifled and readers are missing out on stuff that could be awesome, because its all about the formula of the day.

BTW I've been meaning to try out the Lucy Blue books. Are they worthwhile?

Kristie (J) said...

Devon: LOL - I don't know about the Lucy Blue ones. They fall into the first category of the post I left at your blog. I will get to it though! I will! I will!

Nath: I know it's about the money *sigh* - but they were making money years ago when there were so many more choices. It's about making MORE money - and not giving a damn about the readers! It's not about originality - it's about making a copy of the original original and hoping the copy does the same as the original.

Marg said...

I would never have guessed that this was a rant if you hadn't said so!!! LOL!!!

I do know what you mean though - I am just getting into paranormals and love them, but I do still want to read historicals, in any period. Why do the two have to be mutually exclusive?

erika said...

No. No. Noooo! The Nine is NOT cancelled! I recently watched all the episodes at ABConline and wow, what a great show. It is so NOT cancelled.

Kristie (J) said...

Erica: Is that a cry of despair or a ray of hope? When you say you watched all the episodes, do you mean ALL or just all those that have been aired? Because if it's the first - then you're a fellow sufferer but if it's the second, then I CAN find out what happens. Because alas, it's defintely 'off the air'. I hateses those ABC programmers, I hateses them.

Marg: it was those cuss words as well as the !!! and capitals that really gave me away wasn't it? My Momma would be so ashamed of me. And I don't have a problem with paranormals - I like many of them too - another genre to revel in - but (oops - I'm getting my 'het' up again)why oh why do PUBLISHERS want them so exclusively that the writers who write so well in other genres have to be dragged into that market too!!!!!?????

CindyS said...


Now, being the paranormal lover I am I loved the sudden surge as it was almost impossible to find a paranormal romance let alone a good one. Now, paranormals are every where and well, some are not even good!

Not only that but I can't read paranormals back to back to back. I love historicals also (although I would argue that we have plenty of regency set ones) and would kill to read some good medievals (I believe I have some in the TBR pile) AND I hate, hate, hate being manipulated by series books and yet, I let it happen.

I suck.

Also, where have all the good contemporary books gone? No more Romantic suspense!!!


Karen Scott said...

Man, I'm so with you on this!

I did my weekly Borders book shopping today, and every book I picked up seemed to be part of a series.

It makes me angry because I know full well that not every book in that series is going to be interesting.

I don't want to work that hard when I read, which is why I mainly try to stick to stand-alone books.

Jodi_Lee said...

Well, I have to say I agree with everyone else...it's all about money.

However, I think the authors need better legal representation when they are signing these contracts! Such as: a clause that says if publisher requests author to write a trilogy than author writes all three books and all three books get published regardless of trend, etc.

I worked in the Law industry for quite some time and it has taught me that there is nothing better than good legal representation and a solid contract to get you what you want. Unfortunately, it can work against you in the same way if you are on the other side of table from the one who has the stellar legal representation, which I think happens to a lot of authors.

Oh and for the record - HISTORICALS ARE MY FAVORITE!! Did I say that loud enough for the publishers to hear?? hehe

Tara Marie said...

Kristie, are you feeling better?

I'm agreeing with Nath, it's all about the money, most things are. Unfortunately, this has been going on for years and years and I doubt it'll change, but it sure is frustrating.

PS--loved your RTB column, they need more reader input, yours was great.

Anonymous said...

This has been a popular rant lately.

I find series' frustrating b/c you have some great authors and they get stuck in a series... you may get bored with it for a variety of reasons... and there's nothing else by that author out there.

OR, you find a book you like and realize it's book 4 of 8 and the prev 3 are out of print and you aren't interested in a full series.

I read the exerpt (sp??) on Nora's site for the upcoming JD Robb and it did nothing for me. Sigh... not the least bit impressed that the biggest selling part to the book is a marital fight. Personally, there are some secondary characters I'd love to have their plot lines extended. I've already pre-ordered the H/C (she is the last of 2 authors I buy the h/c first)... and now I'm wondering if I shouldn't have gotten it from the library....

We'll see.

The new Julie Garwood got an F on AAR. I use to like the series but the last 2 books have been a disappointment. This one doesn't appear to be an improvement. Sigh.. I ordered it from the library.


Kristie (J) said...

Farmwifetwo: LOL - that's the most intriguing part about the next In Death book - well - seeing how they work it out, because they will. What I love about the In Death is the comprimising the two of them do to fit into each other. And Julie Garwood - sigh - best not get me started on her since I know there are legions of readers who love her books - and I did used to be one.

Tara: Define better *g*. Still annoyed at the next Lynn Kerstan book being cancelled? Yes, but I'll get over it :) There are a lot more out there and the good thing is she IS planning more books.
And maybe I'm looking at years gone by through rose coloured glasses, but it seems when I first started reading romance the second time there were lots in many different genres to choose from. But the field has been getting more and more narrow in the last few years.
And thanks for the word about the RTB column. I wrote it and sent it back in late November and wasn't sure it would get published or not.

Karen: but stand alone books are getting harder and harder to find aren't they???! I blame the readers originally (well - excluding myself and a few others of course *g*) for clamouring for sequels. I was never a clamourer (try saying that out loud). But now the PUBLISHERS have gone overboard!

Cindy: But continuing on from Karen - are we doing it to ourselves as far as series go? Maybe originally - but not anymore. Because there is little choice left BUT to buy series. And again - this rant started because of a series that was CANCELLED before it was done - by the PUBLISHER - not the author. And yes - plain old contemporaries are getting scarcer aren't they? Most of them seem to have a RS twist to them.

Kristie (J) said...

And Jodi: Legal representation is an excellent idea! I'd almost say authors should unionize - but then that would be too scary! What if they went on strike??!! Yikes! But then again it would give me time to dig into that huge TBR pile. I think it would be tough though for new and/or midlist authors as there is always someone else who would be more than willing to take their place if they ruffled publisher feathers wanting any kind of exclusivity (is that a word?) in their contracts to write what THEY want rather than what the PUBLISHER wants.

C2 said...

I was just reading about The Nine and Six Degrees. An ABC exec said they were getting a second chance. The thinking is that there were too many "serial" series at the beginning of the season and viewers got tired of trying to follow them but now, since some have been cancelled and the schedules have been reworked, they might do better. :o)

Kristie (J) said...

C2: Oh thank you for that most excellent news!!! I hope they do go ahead and bring it back. Then I can get my Tim Daly fix again!!! And although I never saw Six Degrees I heard it was pretty good! I wonder if there is an address I can email them and tell them if they bring The Nine back, I will let go of all the mean,negative and evil things I thought about them.
Because really - at least in The Nine, there were so many things left hanging that I need to know!!

erika said...

Hey Kristi J, I watched the Nine but being a habitual channel surfer, I clicked on various other channels and missed the nuances of the drama. Here's a link to The Nine on ABC http://abc.go.com/primetime/thenine/index.html

According to ABC, it was showing the Nine from the beginning to end online. Isn't that neat? Now that I'm hooked, no more show!

Kristie (J) said...

(Can you hear that howl of pain where you live??)
I clicked on the link and only those living in the US can see it!!!!!! I repeat!


The pain!!!

Avid Reader said...

That wonderful bottom line. Don't you just love it? Why even bother buying series books anymore? Is it worth the risk of investmant, monetary and emotional? If you buy a three book deal, shouldn't publishers honor that deal then cancel the series? Fa.