March 16th, 2010
The Twilight Effect

A friend of mine and I were talking yesterday about what she calls the Twilight Effect. The Twilight Effect as defined here means the sudden resurgence of paranormal romances. As many of you know, paranormal romance started making huge inlets into the romance genre around 2001/2002. Their popularity grew rapidly over the next five years, then started to drop off due in part to a shift in readership and lack of originality (ie the bandwagon effect). Many paranormal romance readers began to look for material in the fantasy/sci-fi section. Suddenly, urban fantasies took off. Readers devoured the female-centric stories thanks to Kim Harrison, Kelley Armstrong, Patricia Briggs, Karen Chance, and Ilona Andrews to name a few. Thankfully, those authors still do well. For the longest time, it seemed like paranormal romance was waning. Everyone knew it wouldn’t go away completely, but it began to look like it was on its way out. Here’s where the Twilight Effect comes into play. When Twilight was released on DVD followed quickly by New Moon’s theatrical release, a new wave of readers hit the bookshelves. They wanted more of what they were seeing onscreen. It’s safe to say they seemed to be seeking an adult version of what they liked about Twilight. This brought about the ‘Twilight Effect’ (ie the sudden resurgence of paranormal romance sales).

What’s truly interesting about this phenomena is that the resurgence is big enough to last a few more years. That’s quite unusual. Most of the time when a genre starts to fade it’s replaced by something else, not more of the same. I do like the fact that editors seem to be asking for darker, edgier paranormals. I think that goes back to the popularity of urban fantasy. What does this all ultimately mean? Nothing, if you aren’t interested in writing supernatural stories. *g* For those of us who are enamored by the genre, it means a few more years of possible sales. 🙂

Do you believe there is a Twilight Effect? If so, does it differ from my definition? Do you believe paranormals are over? If so, why?

14 comments to “The Twilight Effect”

  1. I think it’s a good thing I like writing dark, edgy paranormal romance with action. *g* I do think overall you can build a readership regardless of trend, but it’s sure easier to sell to a publisher when a trend is hot.

  2. Charli, Yes, it is a good thing. 🙂

    That’s the issue in a nutshell.

  3. Twilight affects me. I have to work 16 hours on Friday because of the New Moon release. ::sob:: Wait…that’s not the type of effect you were speaking of…

    Yes, I begrudgingly admit it’s brought a whole slew of people to the genre. (Fifty dollar words…aren’t they shiny? LOL) A whole new generation of uf/pr fans have emerged, guaranteeing the novels I love will be around for a while. I guess I should give my thanks to the Twilighters.

  4. (((Jackie))) I’ve been seeing signs that say they’re putting it on sale at midnight. Sorry.

    I am glad it’s brought a whole new generation to the genre. I’d like it to stick around for a while, too. 🙂

  5. I think something hot in publishing always cools when the writers begin writing from a template instead of an idea.

  6. Bernard, I agree. That’s why it’s so interesting to have this sudden upswing again.

  7. I don’t know, I haven’t read a good paranormal romance in a long time. (besides yours J) I’ve been iffy on the UF’s lately as well.

    It all feels old and overdone.

    I have my faves that don’t disappoint me, but I have yet to pick up a new one and think ‘hey, this rocks’

  8. ;o) I like the name.

    And yep, I believe in it. I started noticing it a while ago…and every time it seems to start to fade, something else sparks it.

    Paranormal isn’t going anywhere just yet, although eventually, like trends it will level.

    There will always be those who want it, but sooner or later another trend will rise to the top for a while.

  9. Thanks V. 🙂 I do know what you mean. Most of the UF coming out these days are girl detective/special unit/paranormal investigator/cop, etc. It’s hard to be different, when everyone has the same job more or less.

    I’ve tried a few new ones, but I’m mainly sticking with favorites.

  10. Shiloh, Thanks! 🙂 Yeah, it’s odd in that respect. It’s not behaving like the typical trend.

    Absolutely. I just thought it was there already.

    I think the next one will be historical and suspense, but I’m always two years ahead of the curve so take that for what it’s worth. 😉

  11. I want to see more dude UF. Like Mark del Franco’s Connor Grey, or Simon Green’s John Taylor.

    I have one I was just tinkering with, that I would love to develop and try and sell.

  12. Vivi, I would love to see that, too. I’m expanding the one I sold to the Blood Lite 2 anthology. It has a dude lead. I’m really looking forward to writing that book.

  13. Love the title … “Twilight Effect”. Very appropro, Jordan. I’ve always (and always will be) a paranormal fan. Sometimes I can’t get enough of ’em, but I’m really groovin’ on UFs. Discovered Patricia Briggs and was totally hooked. Now I read Chloe Neill, Barb Hendee, Karen Chance … to name a few. I’m forever haunting the bookstores looking for a new author.

    In my opinion, they’re here to stay. I’m even trying my hand at a darker, edgier UF and I’m lovin’ it so far. There are few or no barriers. Gotta love that.

  14. Liz, Like you, I’ve always loved them, too. Could never find them years ago. Glad that’s changed. I do believe they’re here to stay, but there will be another trend. It’s just the way it works.

    Glad you’re trying something new and loving it. That’s always fun. 😀