Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Agent to the Romance Stars Claims Vampires New Alpha Male and...

I read the Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction report and I had to check the date, twice, because of what it contained as it related to romance. Steve Axelrod, agent to romance heavyweights like Suzanne Brockmann, Jayne Ann Krentz, Julia Quinn, Christine Feehan, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, was interviewed on the topic of what was hot in romance and according to Axelrod,

"The vampire is the new alpha male," says Steven Axelrod, a romance agent for the past 30 years. "He’s definitely alpha-’after all, he wants to suck your blood."

Aren’t vampires on their way out? I can’t read another vampire story. I’m into shifters and in a poll I had a few weeks ago, shifters were preferred 3 to 1 over vamps.

He also stated this about erotica:

"You give a group of romance writers a couple of drinks and they’ll admit it’s pornography," he says. "It’s hard to see it as true romance, and it has a limited audience-’they can’t seem to grow it. Very few good storytellers seem to be staking their careers there."

I know that agents before have said that there is a capped audience for erotica and erotic romance, which is essentially the same thing that Axelrod is saying, but I am sure that there is more than one ER author who would not appreciate the porn comparison. And there is one author who is staking her career there and making a bundle and that is Lora Leigh. Is she the exception that proves the rule or is she a trend setter? Hard to say at this point.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

17 Comments

  1. Diana Castilleja
    Mar 25, 2008 @ 21:15:11

    That’s a pretty harsh blanket statement. I don’t see erotica as porn, I see differences in the reading depth between them. And like you, I see several authors making a viable move in the professional arena on their erotica writing.

    I have to agree with you on the vampire stories as well. The market vibe I’ve read over the last few weeks (months?) has been they are on their way out, with a exceptionally written being the exception rather than the norm to exceptance. Strong, loyal based fans for writers will demand them. I do (of ones like Feehan.) but I don’t see vampires as the sole “alpha male” on the block taking the demand limelight. There’s more alpha males out there than that, in a lot of forms. Not saying he doesn’t know his stuff, but it does seem to be off kilter with what’s been circulating in the air.

    ReplyReply

  2. Charlene Teglia
    Mar 25, 2008 @ 21:22:16

    There are, of course, romance writers who will call it porn without benefit of alcohol. *g* But plenty of us disagree. I don’t write porn.

    ReplyReply

  3. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 25, 2008 @ 21:35:04

    I don’t care how much alcohol you give me. I don’t write porn.

    ReplyReply

  4. Tamar Bihari
    Mar 25, 2008 @ 21:39:09

    My understanding is that editors and agents are tired of vampire stories, but readers are still buying them. Industry insiders keep declaring the vampire subgenres in romance & urban fantasy dead, but it keeps popping up again with yet another big bestseller by some new author who found an unusual angle. Truly the undead. :) Axelrod has an interesting take on why that might be the case.

    ReplyReply

  5. amanda
    Mar 25, 2008 @ 22:12:08

    I’ve no doubt Axelrod knows the business, but I will take his comments with a grain of salt for the following reasons:

    1) He represents one of the biggest names in vampire romance.
    2) He doesn’t rep erotic romance.
    3) I don’t write porn.

    ReplyReply

  6. Sherry Thomas
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 07:40:54

    Totally off topic, but I find Steve Axelrod kind of hot. My friends say it’s because I only see him at RWA where there are 5000 women and 2 men. But still, I like that starchy look in a man…

    And he also–or perhaps I should no longer use present tense–represents Judith Ivory.

    ReplyReply

  7. Mrs Giggles
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 07:49:54

    Totally off topic, but I find Steve Axelrod kind of hot.

    I’m rather intrigued by the last name.

    Is it just me or is “Steve Axelrod” ready made for a Navy SEAL hero?

    ReplyReply

  8. Erastes
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 08:57:33

    Stiff Steve Axelrod, Mrs G, strikes me an excellent Porn Star’s name!

    Yes, there are no decent story tellers in erotica. Humph. I love blanket statements.

    And Vampires are new? Hey – Polidori? Are you listening?

    *trundles off, giggling to self*

    I don’t write porn.
    Give us another drink
    I don’t write porn
    Drink please!

    ReplyReply

  9. Amie Stuart
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 09:32:13

    There are, of course, romance writers who will call it porn without benefit of alcohol.

    *bites tongue…HARD* *snort* True that but they probably don’t drink anyway so….

    I *think* (gets ready to duck) that Lora and a handful of others are the exception not the rule…but I also think the same can be said for well, vamps (to a certain extent) and eventually other paranormal creatures and maybe even historicals. The cream always rises to the top (in my oh so humble opinion)…that said, I’m not sure I said that well. Oh well.

    *runs*

    ReplyReply

  10. Patricia Briggs
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 11:55:47

    I remember that vampires were declared on their way out before. Then along came Laurell K. Hamilton’s rise to NYTimes. :)

    The real danger in any *hot* area of publishing (I mean hot in the economic sense, of course ) is that it will be flooded with substandard work. That’s what happened to gothics in (I think) the late 70′s and horror in the early 80s.

    Sometimes we authors forget we are not in competition with each other. The more great storytellers there are in any genre, the more the audience grows for everyone. Steve Axelrod’s valued opinion aside, I think that applies to erotica, too.

    ReplyReply

  11. Marianne LaCroix
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 16:46:26

    Oh dear. He’s at a conference I am going to this weekend. I’ll try not to get drunk. LOL!

    ReplyReply

  12. I Write Romance.com » Blog Archive
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 17:10:33

    [...] on pitching a book to a few editors and agent Steve Axelrod. I am nervous as can be. Then I read this over at Dear Author. My book is mainstream romance, but still, the little snippet doesn’t [...]

  13. Sandy (strlady)
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 18:56:08

    Vampires… Hum.. I think he must be thinking Paranormal Heros as a whole. No reason to focus only on vampires because not alot of them are showing face any longer, the genre has so many possibilities that focusing on just vampires is being narrow minded. And while we are talking about being narrow minded….
    GOOD Erotica is NOT porn. Notice the ‘Good’ part of that statement. I have read alot of great writers that put out quality work, stories that go waaay beyond the bump and grind. Strong characters that stay with you. Lora Leigh is just one. Emma Holly, Sherri King, Shiloh Walker, Lisa Marie Rice just to name a few.
    I agree there are some work out there that can be classified as porn but it’s the authors that just missed the mark, those authors that didn’t really get what the genre was about. You get that in all genres. How many times have I picked up a ‘historical’ romance where the author thought that by dressing the characters up in period clothes and make them ride horses fills the qualification of the book being a ‘historical’
    You see it in every genre and for him to make such a blanket statement shows little professionalism and a lot of disregard for the great Writers that make Erotica their Genre of choice.

    ReplyReply

  14. Vampires Done to Death? « Harlequin’s Paranormal Romance Blog
    Mar 31, 2008 @ 14:47:06

    [...] it time to kill the vampire hero? I was catching up on my blog reading and I saw this interesting post over at Dear Author.  In passing, the writer comments on the relative popularity of the vampire as [...]

  15. Roxanne Rhoads
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 15:25:13

    I wrote to WD about that comment. I am a paranormal erotica author and a Huge fan of vampires, always have been. I’ll read all the vampire stuff out there whether it’s “hot” or not. I think vampires will always have a readership because there are fans like me who want them and their stories.

    As far as the erotica, porn comment, I think that’s a bunch of crap. I don’t write porn. I don’t think what I write should be lumped into the same category as a web site featuring gang bangs and who knows what else.

    I think there are a tremendous number of writers that are extremely talented in the erotica genre. Then there are the writer’s who are hugely popular and NYT bestsellers (Laurell K Hamilton for one) who once you break it all down could be lumped into the erotica category because of the sexual content in her books. Others like J.R. Ward and Kresley Cole alos have explicit sex in their books. So is he saying these best selling authors aren’t talented? I think many would disagree.

    Oh, and no matter how many drinks I down I’m not going to say that I write porn.

    ReplyReply

  16. Kangaroo
    May 12, 2009 @ 02:55:13

    Re Porn comments
    For me, the distinction is about the purpose of the work – if the main thing is to excite sexually and if there’s no book without the sex scenes, then I cant say I’m reading a romance. I think, unfortunately, people who write erotica should be proud of what it is and not insist on it being a romance. One award winning author wrote a category which was back to back sex scenes including the male masturbating the woman to orgasm at a set of traffic lights (30 seconds written over 6 pages of his ‘magic fingers’ when the girl couldn;t wait the 5mins to get home…) which I commented didn’t strike me as a romantic interlude – he was sort of shutting her up, really… I got thrown off the forum for ‘flaming’
    SHEESH – Talk about people being sensitive/defensive about what they admit to reading! Gays are marching in public, surely straights can be as honest?
    There’s my 2c worth.

    ReplyReply

  17. Elullyfum
    Feb 26, 2010 @ 19:13:51

    Taggart would sigh, they are. I didnt feel like sleeping. No, I didnt have to. I dont read the stuff. There was an edge of sharpness in his voice. I dont understand you, she said very quietly. The mind is powerless against them. The sincerity of his voice was genuine.

    ReplyReply

Leave a Reply


4 + = 6

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

%d bloggers like this: