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Could a Gothics micro-market exist today?
#1
I'm posting this thread really to indulge my own curiosity more than anything.

Do you think a micro-market for Gothic Romance/Suspense could still exist today?

I just wonder if a publisher were to put out original Gothics (new, but written in the great tradition) either as paperbacks or ebooks, how many fans of the genre would buy them now? (And this would be assuming that they would be good books, perhaps some of them even written by authors known within the genre in the past.)

(No, I have no plans to do this myself, but it's crossed my mind that perhaps there is a niche, albeit a small one, that might be filled online by some micro-publisher out there.)

Your thoughts appreciated.
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#2
I'd say ALL the fans of the genre would buy them. I think the problem is how many authors are willing to write traditional gothics, forgoing hot and steamy sex, vampires, werewolves, fast-paced action, course language etc. etc. Smile
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#3
(07-03-2011, 08:47 AM)Penfeather Wrote: Do you think a micro-market for Gothic Romance/Suspense could still exist today?

I think there is a small market for them now, particularly among older women. However, many in this age group are not computer literate enough to appreciate or become aware of e-books. This group will also be dwindling as they age and die off. The only possibility of regaining them as readers of new gothic romance e-books is through e-book readership encouraged by their children's purchase of a Kindle for them, as the type size can be enlarged as a vision aid,

This is very sad, but IMHO true.

We also need to keep in mind that fewer and fewer people are reading novels these days as a form of entertainment. There are too many other, easier, demands on their time. Also, there are fewer and fewer people out there that read well and actually ENJOY reading. Add to that the fact that newer generations cannot imagine life without computers and their electronic gadgets, all of which intrude on a gothic romance story in the traditional mode.

Red Rose Publishing recently began a gothic romance line, and I've heard that Harlequin may be doing so, also. Maybe amazon.com's new publishing arm will try to fill this special niche...? One can only hope these are positive signs that remaining readers appreciate the lure of the type of good story a gothic romance provides.

Thanks for your question! I'd be interested in reading others' opinions on this.
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#4
Smile 
I would love to know this as well. I loved the Gothic novels of the 60's and 70's. I just about inhaled them. Big Grin

I've recently published a couple of ebooks with Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook, and it made me wonder if there might be a market for the Gothic novel. I love writing in the paranormal genre but prefer not to write about vampires. I don't care for steamy scenes either.

I found this site quite by accident and just signed up hoping to find out the answer to this.

I do know that one of my fellow authors writes Regency Cozy ebook novels. Very short and formulaic...like the Gothics were....and she sells a ton! People are loving her short Regencies. I'm wondering if they will also love some Gothics. I can try it and find out I guess. Smile

Nice to meet fellow fans!
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#5
(07-31-2011, 01:47 AM)Jace Wrote: I would love to know this as well. I loved the Gothic novels of the 60's and 70's. I just about inhaled them. Big Grin

I've recently published a couple of ebooks with Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook, and it made me wonder if there might be a market for the Gothic novel.

I'd suggest that you join the Romance Writers of America, if you are not already a member, and then join the Gothic Romance Writers subchapter. Here's a link to their home pages:

http://www.rwa.org/
http://www.gothrom.net/

That chapter of writers can offer you some great info and support.
Are your ebooks gothic novels? If so, what are their titles?

Best wishes with your writing efforts. Sounds you are a writer after my own heart.
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#6
Hi,

Thank you for the links. I appreciate that. I haven't written anything in the Gothic genre yet. I'm a working Pet Psychic Medium so my first book is about my experiences with my work.

I've also epublished a short children's story in verse and a short sci-fi paranormal story. I'm working on four others right now. But my heart has always been in the Gothic arena and I am hoping to write one soon to epublish. I'll keep you all informed. I may ask on an ebook kindle forum what the other writers think about bringing this genre back. I know we aren't the only Gothic lovers out here. Smile Thank you for the kind welcome. Jace (Jeanne)
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#7
I think it will exist in e-books, of course. But don't count out the older generation--back in 2009, news reports stated the average age of a Kindle buyer was over 40! Gothic romance could make a comeback if those who wrote them (myself included) focused on crafting compelling and romantic stories within the confines of the genre, rather than knocking off Victoria Holt or Phyllis A. Whitney, et al (hence why the market was glutted with pale imitations and ended up exhausting the genre). I know there's a hunger out there for gothic romances of old, and it's up to us to show readers that the genre isn't merely about virginal, innocent heroines, brooding older heroes, and spooky castles!
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#8
(08-07-2011, 08:12 PM)Cherchezlafemme Wrote: I think it will exist in e-books, of course. But don't count out the older generation--back in 2009, news reports stated the average age of a Kindle buyer was over 40! Gothic romance could make a comeback if those who wrote them (myself included) focused on crafting compelling and romantic stories within the confines of the genre, rather than knocking off Victoria Holt or Phyllis A. Whitney, et al (hence why the market was glutted with pale imitations and ended up exhausting the genre). I know there's a hunger out there for gothic romances of old, and it's up to us to show readers that the genre isn't merely about virginal, innocent heroines, brooding older heroes, and spooky castles!

I'm glad you're optimistic. I am cautious, though, about coming to conclusions about why the genre ended -- or, more precisely, why publishers ceased to print Gothics. I think it's reasonable to say that changes in social attitudes, the influence of graphic sex in movies and TV (I'm no prude, but I don't want to follow my friends into the bedroom either), and shifts in readership background had as much to do with the decline of the genre as the diluting of quality within it. Remember, also, that the decision to quit publishing Gothics was an across-the-board one throughout the publishing world, and it happened within a very short time period. This coincided exactly with the arrival of the bodice-rippers in the late 1970s.

This also brings up the question of originality and freshness within a genre. As I've said before, one reader's cliché is another's favorite and familiar trapping. It is, really, the clichés that define a genre. How far can one change the expected features of a Gothic romance novel before it ceases to be that and becomes something else? In one sense, I believe, an author should write in the genre for precisely the same reasons she reads it. And I would go so far as to argue that this involves writing your book as if its ideal reader were a newcomer to the genre. You would want to distill the very best things about the genre for that reader to relish, so that he would be hooked. (That is, instead of wanting to innovate and break free of the usual elements simply because you, the writer, have read too many Gothics and find those elements stale. If you change the genre, the success of the results should still depend on their quality, rather than merely because they are new in a sensational way. In my opinion, of course -- I don't mean to sound dogmatic or doctrinaire.)

In other words, I believe the bottom line is the quality of the fiction -- even if it DOES conform to the more old-fashioned features of a traditional Gothic (if this is the author's choice).
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#9
I don't believe the readership changed all that much. Yes the "bodice-ripper" dominated the market during the 1970s and 1980s, but many gothic romance authors were still going strong and a number of new authors entered the genre (with many careers lasting into the 90s), and Harlequin category romances of the 1970s and 1980s featured virginal heroines paired with brooding alpha men too! Also, by the end of gothic romance's strong run, many authors began to include paranormal elements to the traditional format--and look, now you can't go anywhere without running into vampires, witches, ghosts, or werewolves. I will also add that today's romantic suspense genre shows its roots in the contemporary-set gothic romances of authors like Phyllis A. Whitney and Elsie Lee, and another genre that owes a debt to gothic romance is the cozy mystery genre--so the gothic romance genre still exists, it's just packaged differently.

I agree with your stance that breaking too many tropes and/or elements which make a gothic romance "gothic" pushes the book out of the genre, and that quality matters most. However, there is something to be said for why many readers--even those who cut their teeth on gothics as children or teenagers--wrongly consider the genre a product of pre-feminist movement America, and why gothic romance tropes are merely considered flat-out cliches. But I will say that in my WIP, I'm working from the inside out...playing with the conventions yet at the same time, trying to see where I should stop before I step over the ledge of "cliche." It's fun and challenging, and I hope it turns out great.
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#10
(08-17-2011, 10:41 PM)Cherchezlafemme Wrote: I don't believe the readership changed all that much. Yes the "bodice-ripper" dominated the market during the 1970s and 1980s, but many gothic romance authors were still going strong and a number of new authors entered the genre (with many careers lasting into the 90s), and Harlequin category romances of the 1970s and 1980s featured virginal heroines paired with brooding alpha men too! Also, by the end of gothic romance's strong run, many authors began to include paranormal elements to the traditional format--and look, now you can't go anywhere without running into vampires, witches, ghosts, or werewolves. I will also add that today's romantic suspense genre shows its roots in the contemporary-set gothic romances of authors like Phyllis A. Whitney and Elsie Lee, and another genre that owes a debt to gothic romance is the cozy mystery genre--so the gothic romance genre still exists, it's just packaged differently.

I agree with your stance that breaking too many tropes and/or elements which make a gothic romance "gothic" pushes the book out of the genre, and that quality matters most. However, there is something to be said for why many readers--even those who cut their teeth on gothics as children or teenagers--wrongly consider the genre a product of pre-feminist movement America, and why gothic romance tropes are merely considered flat-out cliches. But I will say that in my WIP, I'm working from the inside out...playing with the conventions yet at the same time, trying to see where I should stop before I step over the ledge of "cliche." It's fun and challenging, and I hope it turns out great.

Agreed. But everything is relevant to the reader. A reader just discovering the gothic genre will not have encountered some of those clichés before, and they might seem fresh to him. Ultimately, even the term "genre" must refer to some defining universal characteristic that everything within that bracket shares. In the gothic bracket is a certain atmosphere embodied in a creepy old house and possibly an angst-ridden love story to go along with it. As with any genre, extraneous optional elements not necessarily contained within the brackets will eventually redefine the genre as they gain dominance, at which point -- as you say -- the genre itself fractures and morphs into something else. This creates the usual opposed camps of purists vs. permissivists and luckily there is something out there for everybody.

I think the main point on which we agree absolutely is that we look for quality above all. A novel can contain all the archetypal gothic trappings that I look for -- a creepy old house, fog, inclement weather, a fey heroine, a host of brooding suspects, curses, hexes, execrations, ancestral oaks, vapours and delirium -- but if it's poorly executed, then it's on to something else. And conversely, if a "gothic" lies outside of the orthodox boundaries and the author approaches the theme from an entirely new angle, I can be most pleasantly surprised provided the writer knows how to write.
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