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View Full Version : Are fads truely fads?



Maiden
06-26-2009, 01:47 AM
I have read several times people referring to specific fads in genres, etc. but a lot of the times it does not appear to be something new.

For example the vampire/werewolf fad. There have always been books about them. Always will be. Is it really correct to call it a fad even if there are more books about them? Even in the YA books there have always been these characters. So what makes something a fad?

Yes I have several stories that involve in various degrees werewolves, vampires, demons, and the like. It has nothing to do with the current popularity of them though. It does seem it would be much harder to sell a story with them in the shadow of some of the popular stuff out there now. But do is it really a fad or just a momentary increase in interest in an already popular subject matter?

Sorry if I didn't make a lot of sense... try typing while keeping three kids from killing each other and fighting your natural urge to ramble for fun.

Salis
06-26-2009, 01:55 AM
You could make the argument that it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Publishing House decides that subject is in vogue. Publishing House looks for decent books in subject, publishes them, markets them well because they're in fad.

Books sell.

Fad perpetuates itself (etc), until people get really tired of reading the same books, and then Publishing House tries something else.

You can see this phenomenon in news media too. Biased (i.e, left or right, not centrist) shows are made to service a specific audience, but after they're on the air for 10 years, they've probably created half as many viewers in their mold as they serviced in the first place.

Millicent M'Lady
06-26-2009, 01:57 AM
I think the momentary increase in interest sounds about right.

If I can liken it to to music, I would say that a few years ago, when I was a heavy rock fan, I was frequently called a weirdo or a goth (which I wasn't- I've never listened to a goth album in my life!) A couple of years later the rock scene took off and my interests were suddenly "cool". That music existed before the extra interest and will prevail long after a lot of these new fans move onto something else. It's only a fad for a while- if something's worthwhile it will outlast trends.

scarletpeaches
06-26-2009, 01:58 AM
Vampires, for example are more of a genre of their own - their popularity rises and falls. They'll be around long after we're gone. So to speak.

The publishing business is cyclical, rather than fad-based, I think.

Izz
06-26-2009, 02:52 AM
I have read several times people referring to specific fads in genres, etc. but a lot of the times it does not appear to be something new.

For example the vampire/werewolf fad. There have always been books about them. Always will be. Is it really correct to call it a fad even if there are more books about them? Even in the YA books there have always been these characters. So what makes something a fad? I liken it to the fashion industry. Things go in and out of fashion. After a while that particular trend/fad/whatever recycles and may look ever so slightly different, but is still the same basic thing. I reckon it's the same with novel subject matter, genres, etc.

Cyia
06-26-2009, 03:04 AM
The genre isn't a fad. The interest in one specific part of the genre is.

Vampire/were books are reasonably popular on a regular basis - not a fad.


Twilight is outrageously popular in a short period of time due to people who want that specific version of the vampire/were - fad.


"Vampire fans" will generally read most anything with fangs (and they're crazy loyal about it, too). The genre (sub-genre, whatever) of vampires/weres gets a boost because Twilight makes more people say they're vampire fans when they're actually fans of one specific version. It may appear that "vampire" is the fad, when it's not.

ccv707
06-26-2009, 04:54 AM
Fads are fads...that's why we call them that. They happen all the time, in all walks of life. That's simply the nature of our follow-the-crowd society.

jennibly
06-26-2009, 06:48 AM
Maybe it's just because I grew up in New Orleans, where Anne Rice lives and vampires are perennial favorites, but I don't see it as a fad. As others have said, there's something for everyone and there is a LOT for a vamp fan.

I was actually more surprised by how well Twilight has done because the writing isn't as compelling (in my opinion) as some other stuff out there. Maybe it's the sparkles. ;)

Maiden
06-26-2009, 07:21 AM
The genre isn't a fad. The interest in one specific part of the genre is.

Vampire/were books are reasonably popular on a regular basis - not a fad.


Twilight is outrageously popular in a short period of time due to people who want that specific version of the vampire/were - fad.


"Vampire fans" will generally read most anything with fangs (and they're crazy loyal about it, too). The genre (sub-genre, whatever) of vampires/weres gets a boost because Twilight makes more people say they're vampire fans when they're actually fans of one specific version. It may appear that "vampire" is the fad, when it's not.

That actually puts it in perspective. I just hear a lot about vampires being a fad and it just made little sense with me. Mostly it sounded like people did not want to be associated with the Twilight stuff. I could be wrong though (and don't blame them.)

But it is hard to know if people assume that the whole werewolf/vampire thing is a fad in general or if they know the difference between the pop-culture stuff and the works that came before and will come after.

ChristineR
06-26-2009, 06:31 PM
I've been thinking about this, and my math geek brain came up with something I'd like to share with you.

What is a cycle? Well the mathematical model for a perfect cycle (the one that results in sine curves, if you remember those from high school trig), is that the backwards pressure is proportional to the displacement.

An example should make this clear. If the price of a stock drops $1, 1000 people think about buying it. If the price of a stock drops $1.50, 1500 people (the first 1000 and 500 more) think about buying it. If it drops $2.00, 2000 people want to buy it.

Obviously this is not a perfect model for the stock market, or things would be a lot simpler than they are now. But if you think about it in these terms, you can see how the market really must cycle.

So. Books. Let's say there are two kinds of books--vampire books and slice-of-life books. Some people like one, some like the other. If it happens that almost all books being published are vampire books, the people who like slice-of-life books are deprived. They all converge on whatever slice-of-life book is out there, and they make it a bestseller. Vampire books also sell well, but their sales are spread out over more titles.

The publishers take note of this. Two years later, the shelves are crowded with slice-of-life books, and the trends are reversed.

People talk a lot about the economy, the war, escapism, Harry Potter, things like that, but I don't see that there's a real obvious connection beyond the inevitable cycling effects. Obviously there are other factors--people grow old and die, and their kids are no longer very interested in (say) World War II. But the current trend for ghosties and ghoulies may just be publishers jumping on the bandwagons.

Mad Queen
06-26-2009, 09:21 PM
It was pointed out in another thread that the agent Nathan Bransford blogged recently about this:

So there's this book called TWILIGHT and it's kind of popular.

Whenever there is a popular book, my inbox explodes with query imitations. There was the epic and ongoing TOTALLY NOT HARRY POTTER deluge, quickly followed by the TOTALLY NOT DA VINCI CODE phase. Often these queries boldly come right out and say they are the "next" [insert book they are imitating].

The current TOTALLY NOT TWILIGHT era we're in blows all of the other eras out of the water, particularly when you combine it with non-vampire paranormal and/or urban fantasy tropes. Well over half of the queries I am receiving these days involve some combination of vampires, zombies, faeries, pixies, ghosts, and/or Dick Cheney.
Excerpt from PSA About Vampires (http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/2009/06/psa-about-vampires.html).