Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Keeping the Faith

"The market for historicals is tight." "Historicals are dying." "You can't sell a historical in today's market place."

We historical writers have all heard these lines. So how do you keep going? How do you find the faith to continue with your historical story?

When I first started writing, historical romances dominated. And you could find a book from a variety of eras. Personally, I think the market has been so badly filtered, it damaged itself. Let's face it, when was the last time you read a historical which didn't take place in Regency England? Yeah, they are out there, but you got to look. When was the last time you read a book that didn't take place in the British Isles?

Author Lydia Joyce has broken from the mold. Her last book Music of the Night took place in Venice. Her next release takes place in Eastern Europe. And her books are selling. Is this sending a message to the editors and publishers? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel for historical writers?

I confess, I've put aside my aspirations of writing about the American Colonies or the War for Independence at this point. A book on the Revolution would be so exhaustive to research, I don't have the heart to do so and see my story never sell. However, I find I can't write Regency. I've tried and while I can do it, I don't enjoy it. I have nothing against it, I happen to prefer other eras. I keep writing historical because it is what I enjoy and I happen to be good at. But I have found myself developing my skills in other genres. Is it giving up? Hmm, not sure. Jayne Ann Krentz does it, but there are a bunch of historical authors that have jumped the ship and are now writing contemporary.

What do you think?


Camilla said...

Lydia worked really, really hard on her Voice. And she wanted to write a sex bargain plot with a gothic twist. The combination of the two helped her to sell.

I think that it's important to work hard on your Voice and Style and then write a story with a) high-concept hook or b) tried-and-true plot but your Voice or a twist to it makes it different in order to succeed in the Market.

That said, I am always disappointed when a historical is set outside of (Regency)England and it's terrible. It only serves to further prove to publishers that only Regency Historicals sell. That said, I'm writing historicals, but not with the purpose of selling to the romance genre--it keeps me on my toes.

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