The Bite Stuff
by Jeaniene Frost

As the author of a vampire series, I'm frequently asked, "Why did you choose to write about vampires, Jeaniene?" Sometimes, that question will be followed up with a comment about the market. Like, "Vampires are hot now, so good choice," or "There are too many vampire books. You should try something else before the bubble bursts."

The truth is that I never considered the market when I started my first book. I've been a vampire fan since all the way back to childhood, when I rooted for Dracula to win over Van Helsing (much to the dismay of my parents, who couldn't understand why I wanted the villain to triumph. .

A favorite vampire movie back from my early years was LOVE AT FIRST BITE, the first one I'd seen that didn't show the vampire as inherently evil--and he even got the girl in the end!  So, from an early age, I've been a fan of the fanged ones. When I finally quit procrastinating and began to write, it was no surprise to me (or my parents) that my story revolved around vampires, or that my heroine was half-vampire.

Fast forward a year. I'd completed three books and had started the fourth when I decided to shop that first novel. After all, it was gently pointed out to me that if I couldn't sell book one in the series, books two or three didn't have a chance. With a lot of ignorance about the process, I started looking for an agent or a publisher.

Fast forward two years filled with rejection and revising until, at last, my dream was realized: I'd sold a book! Not just one book, either, but two. It was a scant couple weeks afterward that I heard the first rumbling concerning vampires in the market. A smaller publisher I'd sent my novel to prior to selling got back to me with a rejection that said, in summary, vampire books weren't selling anymore. It was June 2006.

Still caught up in my glee over my new deal, I didn't think anything about that. Then, a couple months later, I set up a blog and began venturing into the online world of reading and writing groups. Once there, I was shocked at the almost universal response I received when I told people my upcoming book was a vampire novel--they said it wouldn't do well because readers were sick of vampire books. Over and over, I heard the same ominous prediction that no vampire novel could prosper in this market.

The next fifteen months, as my book went through the stages of publication, were nerve-wracking, to say the least. I heard so many negative comments about the market for vampires that I was resigned to failure, but still kept working on my series, because vampires were still the creature I loved to write about. Then the strangest thing happened: Avon bought two more books in the series.

Right after that, my first book--HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE--released and hit the bestseller lists. Other vampire authors experienced success as well--sometimes, amazing success. It seemed vampires weren't dead in the market after all! In fact, in 2007 and 2008, vampire sales took huge bites out of the fiction pie (or throat, to be more on topic ).

Now, more than halfway through 2009, some people congratulate me on my "smartness" in writing a vampire series. This makes me laugh, considering all the tidings of doom I heard before my first book came out. Soon, I'm sure, the perception of the market will swing the other way and fangs will be considered persona non grata again. Will I still be writing vampire books? As long as my characters still demand to have their stories told, you bet I will. Trends may come and go--or be perceived to have come and gone--but loving what you do will always be in style.

DESTINED FOR AN EALY GRAVE, book four in the Night Huntress series featuring half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her undead lover, Bones, hits the shelves on Tuesday. I’m so thankful to all the readers who’ve journeyed with Cat in the series, and I hope they enjoy what comes next for her and Bones. To learn more about the vampires in my books, or to read the first 20% of each book in the series, please visit my website at www.jeanienefrost.com.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Juliana Stone said:

so nice to finally meet you Jeaniene. and kudos for sticking to your guns and writing what you like. My story is very similar. I wrote parnormal because it's what I love. Was told the market was glutted and it would be a hard sell, however, we sold to Avon almost immediately and I am so incredibly happy to be here!

6:55 AM  

Anonymous Jeaniene Frost said:

Congrats again, Juliana! Can't wait to see your cover :).

10:28 AM  

Anonymous Kerrelyn Sparks said:

Congratulations on your success, Jeaniene! I love Cat and Bones--well, especially Bones. Love your covers, too..and especially Bones. The Undead have been very very good to us! Did I mention I have a thing for Bones??

Here's to the Undead! May they never die!
Wishing you continued success,
Kerrelyn

3:15 PM  

Anonymous Jeaniene Frost said:

Lol, Kerrelyn! And thanks so much. Yes, long may the fanged ones prosper in fiction! :)

11:17 PM  

Blogger Brenda Jean said:

I for one am SO glad you wrote about vampires. But they aren't just vampires, they are sarcastic and sexy vamps. All my favorite vampire shows get cancelled but I can read your books over and over and over...

12:00 AM  

Blogger ~THE OPTIMISTIC PESSIMIST ~ said:

Ohhh I am so glad I found this post.. I have purchased the first in the series at ..gurrr to discover RWA that I had gotten the third one. Noooooooo. It is signed **insert cheesy grin**. She wrote life is short Bite Hard. It was such a pleasure to meet Jeaniene. But now feel like a dork. I would have pre-purchased them others if I knew they weren't going to have them all. I had waited for the Literacy sale to get them.
I also got to meet the Wonderful Lynsay Sands. Twas a wonderful day.
I really wish that RWA was in DC every year.
Thanks so much Ms Frost for being so wonderful at RWA. It was truly appreciated.

4:41 PM  

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