Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Over the last two years we’ve been hearing editors say that they’re cutting back on historical fiction. It’s become increasingly difficult to sell new historicals. Those authors who’ve already made a place for themselves and who’ve amassed a loyal following are here to stay but new authors? Those sales are few and far between industry-wide.
Janet Grant and I were chewing on this. It doesn’t make sense. Historical fiction readers haven’t gone away. I can attest to that. If I’m reading for escape, for pure enjoyment, I’ll always pick up an historical novel. I want to be transported to another time and place. To me, commercial contemporary fiction is too often missing a layer of complexity unless the author manages to take us into a different world– like the world of the courtroom, the police precinct, or a different culture within the contemporary world.
So I still prefer historicals as do many of my reading friends. Let me say it again, historical fiction readers have not gone away. My fear is that when CBA publishers stop creating a wide array of new offerings for that reader she will simply move to ABA where there is a never-ending offering to tempt her.
When ABA romance morphed into more and more graphic sexual content many formerly ABA readers moved onto CBA’s inspirational fiction because they wanted romance and nuance, not the mechanics of physical attraction and the ever-evolving spectrum of sexual variety. When the genre shifts it breaks the bonds of genre loyalty.
It got me to wondering about genre loyalty. How loyal are readers to a specific genre? I know I go in spurts. Sometimes it might be gothic suspense historical, other times I’ll go on a binge of historical mysteries. Of course these are different from the more upmarket books I read– the book club-type books, literary fiction or classics. I’m talking about the fiction we read for entertainment.
So I thought I’d ask you to help me gather anecdotal information. How loyal are you to a certain genre or sub-genre? How about friends and family members? How far afield do you go when you are choosing your next vacation read? Have you ever completely left a certain genre and never looked back? Do you pay attention to whether your next read is contemporary or historical?
I know that’s a boatload of questions to be throwing at you but I’d like to tap into the collective wisdom here in our blog family. Will you help?
Your input needed. How much does genre loyalty play into book choice asks @wendylawton. Click to Tweet
We’re examining reader habits. Genre loyalty? Come chime in, invites @wendylawton. Click to Tweet