On the weekend, a NY Times bestselling author spoke to my local RWA chapter. On multiple occasions during the course of the day, she said that because of the war in Iraq and the present US economic woes, people wouldn’t want to read/buy contemporaries. They want Historicals, she said. Paranormals, she said.

Okay, yes, paranormals are still hot sellers, and historicals – well, they were always my first love (though frankly, I’m really tired of Regencies – particularly ones set in London and involve ‘the ton’. Yawn. It has to be really something different to get me to pick one up in a bookstore these days. Instead, give me a good Roman Invasion story or medieval. I love Civil War stories and westerns, too. Or better yet a medieval fantasy!)

But I still love my contemporaries. I love to find a heroine I can identify with in my own time period. I especially love heroines and heroes who deal with all the same day-to-day cr*p I do and make it sexy. How they overcome the very things that plague me or help shift my own attitude to one of “I can do this!”

So I was really pleased to see a post over on Smart Bitches today about trying to “Save the Contemporary“. Which solidified a question that had been simmering all weekend.

Are sales of contemporaries down because people aren’t buying them? Or because publishers aren’t producing them and hence the bookstores aren’t selling them? It’s sort of one of those chicken and egg questions. If I write it, will they buy? What a conundrum.

A Chicken and Egg question
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3 thoughts on “A Chicken and Egg question

  • October 20, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Dang, google ate my comment.

    Grrr. It was to the effect that I wouldn’t want them to die out.

  • October 20, 2008 at 11:07 am

    I like contemporaries but have noticed there are less around to choose from. I figured it was cyclical and would come back. I’m still going to search them out. I think it’s easier to find an erotic contemporary than a straight contemporary.

    Just as an aside my recent Samhain release is a contemporary romance and it’s the only one out of all the weeks releases that hasn’t hit the top 10, so maybe what your speaker was saying is right.

  • October 20, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Shelley – yes, it’s probably cyclical. And I agree about the erotic contemporary vs straight contemp being easier to find.

    But “oh dear” on the sales figures of your latest release. Both Private Property and Personal Protection aka Sam’s story are contemporaries, though on the erotic side. Hmm, guess that gives me more of a reason to keep working on my paranormal erotica.

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