Am I writing in a “dead” genre?

Recently I got some exciting news: one of my novellas took first place in a contest. I was excited, but the final round judge’s comments weren’t especially heartening: a cute story, she said, but a tough sell in today’s market.

So I started doing some research. Apparently there is a huge glut of paranormal romance stories out there. Apparently as early as 2013, editors and agents were calling this a “dead” genre. In other words, paranormal romance is on a down cycle. There’s too much supply and not enough demand.

As I read more and more articles proclaiming the genre I write in to be “dead,” my heart sank. Two years ago to the day, I quit my magazine job to write fiction full time. What if I’d made a mistake, dedicated my waking hours to stories no one wanted?

So where does that leave me? I plan to start querying next year; what if no editor is interested in my paranormal romance stories?

I only know this: There are no guarantees. All I can do is write the best stories possible, regardless of genre, and hope that they find readers who love those kinds of stories. I do know that romance readers are voracious, that paranormal romance fans are passionate about the stories they read.

I know that each and every day, I am writing the stories of my heart. I love romance; I love magic; and I love fantasy. So I keep writing. And I hope that readers love my characters and their fantastical tales even half as much as I do.

Lastly, this week’s ROW80 check-in:

Writing: Wrote 3,606 words in The Broken Mirror, a YA retelling of Snow White.

Reading: Read Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin, et al. Reading this book was literally transformative. I plan on following the nine steps and seeing where I end up. I also started reading The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Click here to cheer on fellow participants.

So what do you think? Am I writing in a “dead” genre? Do you write or read paranormal romance? What do you think of the idea that the genre is dead? Is there hope for those of us who feel called to write it?

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14 thoughts on “Am I writing in a “dead” genre?

  1. As writers, I think the best we can do is to write the stories we want to read and trust that there are other readers out there. Markets are always in flux; hitting at the right time is often just luck.

    • So true. I’ve never been the type to chase trends. By the time you discover a trend, write and revise a story, and publish it, there’s a good chance the trend will be over. Who knows where the market will be in a few years, right? Maybe the glut of paranormal romance will ease up and it will be easier to break in.

      Thanks, Katherine!

  2. You’ve got the correct mindset. Even agents say it. If you write what you love (instead of chasing trends) it will show. I do read Paranormal Romance and the genre is more bloated than dead. You just have to find your audience.

    On that last note, I have burned out my brain cells taking 4 webinars in 3 days on audience building. They all say it is about the newsletters/email lists. I have only the notes written up for one, but hope to write up the others as well (after I do what I’m supposed to do for writing today). Want me to send them to you when I have them all done?

    • You’re right. It’s all about building a platform and connecting with the right audience. And yes, I’d love to read through your notes. You can email them to me at deniseyoungwriter (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you! 🙂

    • I think “write what you would like to read” is some of the best writing advice out there. And if you follow your creative instincts, that tends to be what emerges: the kind of books you’d like to see on the shelves. Thanks!

    • I’m grateful every day to be able to wake up and pen stories of fantasy and sweet romance. It’s a good place to be. You’re right; I do need to think about platform and connecting with readers. That’s a good step to take. Thanks!

  3. Like all fads, genres go through cycles of popularity. I think a well crafted story regardless of current fads will find a readership. I also think if you love it, write it. That above all in important. Keep writing.

    • I honestly can’t imagine writing anything else, to tell the truth. I love stories of magic and adventure–and if there’s romance thrown in there, even better. Thanks for your thoughtful comment. 🙂

  4. Denise, I have been trying to get over here for, well, ever since you wrote this post. Life, it seems, got in the way. Anywho, I have a hard time accepting her statement. First of all, I think most, if not all genres have neared the saturation point. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of writers. So, in turn, there’s a lot of books. As with any business today, there’s a lot of competition. That doesn’t mean you give up. You make yourself unique within the realm of your genre. Listen, I don’t notice a lack of paranormal shows on TV or movies for that matter. So why should books be any different? Especially when most of those shows and movies are based on books. Worry not my dear friend. ((Hugs)) 🙂

    • Aw, thanks, Karen. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I’m just going to write books I love writing with characters I enjoy following and hope they connect with readers. That’s really all we can do.

      Have a wonderful holiday season! And hugs to you as well. 🙂

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