Vampires and Werewolves and Demons, Oh My!

I have a vampire novel I'd like to submit nationally. Does it have the proverbial snowball's chance at being accepted? Or is that trend totally dead.

From a reader's viewpoint, that trend is still going strong. Just notice what books women are reading at the airport or the doctor's office. And if you check out the fantasy best sellers, at least half of them are paranormal—meaning, they deal with vampires, werewolves, demons and such.

From a publisher/agent viewpoint, the trend is done. Probably.

I say, "probably" because really there are only about a dozen or so plot lines in the world—which are constantly being recycled with a twist. A good book with a twist still has a chance at acceptance, even if the trend is on the downturn.

The questions you have to ask yourself are: 1) have all the vampire twists been used up?, and 2) does my novel provide a twist that's new, unique, and captivating?

Just off the top of my head, here are some of the unique spins put on the vampire legends that have made them feel new and fun:
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Joss Whedon)—a vampire with a soul.

  • Twilight Series (Stephenie Meyer)—Good, "vegetarian" vampires vs evil vampires. They glitter in the sunlight.

  • Peeps (Scott Westerfield)—vampirism is an enhancement to prepare the world for what is to come.

  • Morganville Vampires (Rachel Caine)—Vampires have taken over a town where they "sponsor" humans. A vampire illness creates a war between bad and not-so-bad vampires.

  • Sookie Stackhouse/The Southern Vampire Mysteries (Charlaine Harris)—Synthetic blood allows vampires to come out of hiding and join society, sort of.

  • Vampire Academy (Richelle Mead)—There are good, mortal vampires (Moroi) and bad, undead vampires (Strigoi).

  • Vampire Diaries (L.J. Smith)—Cain and Abel, but vampires, both in love with the same woman. They can go out in the day if they have a special ring.

  • Angel Falling Softly (Eugene Woodbury)—"LDS" vampire story. Vampirism is the result of a virus. (This book would have been much better if that had been explored more deeply.)
So, anyway, back on topic. Does your manuscript have a chance at publication? If you can create a unique spin, perhaps. Polish it fast and start submitting it. Be sure to emphasize your unique concept in your query. If no one accepts it because the trend is over, put it in a drawer and wait a few years. Most trends eventually come back around again.


Melanie Goldmund said...

I don't know about anybody else, but whenever I hear the words "vampire book," my heart just sinks. Maybe it's because I'm a participant in an online bookswap, and whenever I check the new books, it seems there's always at least one vampire book. I'm getting so sick of seeing them! And werewolves are almost as bad -- at least to me. I'd like to see something new and different. How about normal sized leprechauns that aren't as jolly as folklore would have them? (And who don't go around saying "They're always after me Lucky Charms!")

Or ... I've just finished a very scary thriller about a "breed" of men on the Shetland Islands who claimed to be descended from the Kunal Trow, or King Trolls, human in appearance, but with great strength, unnaturally long lives, and supernatural powers. But they were a race of males, unable to beget females, and had to steal away human women in order to reproduce.

In other words, there are lots of other things out there besides vampires, werewolves, or even demons -- just have a look!

Marny said...

If you submit your manuscript to a house that is already publishing vampire or other paranormal stories, your chances of publishing will be better. Look at books in the bookstore and note the publishers. Then check their submission guidelines.