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MDP On MusicVids: “This is What it Feels Like” by Armin van Buuren feat.Trevor Guthrie

MDP On MusicVids: This is What it Feels Like by Armin van Buuren feat.Trevor Guthrie

I really like this song. A lot. It has that D.J. dance beat that characterises club music of the last five years; Swedish House Mafia, David Guetta, Afrojack, Calvin Harris, blah, blah... But I don't think I've been irritated by a video clip so much in a long while. Two men boysing ...

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Peacemaker Blog Tour

Peacemaker Blog Tour

My blog tour has begun. I'll be adding each link into this post and pinning the post to the front page so you can check back and keep track of where I've been. Day 1: An interview with Donna Maree Hanson - how is Peacemaker different from Parrish Plessis? Day 2: Over ...

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Because Rock of Ages

Because Rock of Ages

I just felt the need to revisit one of the best nights of my life: Rock of Ages on Broadway! So below here are videos of some of the best songs. Catherine Zeta-Jones rocks the twinset and pearls like no one else can. And soooooo many mullets. Russell Brand looks right at ...

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MDP On TV: Longmire

MDP On TV: Longmire

Having recently feasted upon modern day cowboy series Justified (I'm up to season 4), I was interested to see whether Longmire could steal my affections. However, Walt Longmire is definitely not Ralen Givens. He's older, (occasionally) wiser, even more set in his ways, and twice as prickly. Walt is Ralen in ...

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Review: Heaven is a Place on Earth by Graham Storrs

Review: Heaven is a Place on Earth by Graham Storrs

reviewed by Jamie Marriage What is reality when all people see is artificial? What is control when all people have is submission? What is truth when all people know is a lie? Graham Storrs doesn’t answer these questions, but he touches on them and attempts to reveal the morality of all-encompassing change. Heaven ...

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MDP ON TV: The Bridge

MDP ON TV: The Bridge

First thing I have to say is, that The Bridge has the most exceptional theme song. Hollow Talk by The Choir of Young Believers is a moody, delicate, depressing song. Perfect for a series, which is all of the above. The Bridge snuck up on me. I had it in the ...

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MDP ON TV: Being Human

MDP ON TV: Being Human

The UK series premiered in 2009 and I heard a lot about it back then. As often happens with me, I watched a half an episode on TV and got distracted and never got back to it. Then I bought series one, but that languished on my shelves for a ...

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The PEACEMAKER Soundtrack

The PEACEMAKER Soundtrack

Quite a few people have asked me if I had a soundtrack for PEACEMAKER. So thanks to Spotify, you can now hear it. Be prepared to surprised! Big Iron - Marty Robins Wild, Wild West - The Escape Club Riders on the Storm - The Doors Timber - Pitbull/Kesha Rawhide - Frankie Laine Prairie Fire - ...

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Freedom Fall Launch

Freedom Fall Launch

by Kim McMinn Kim McMinn is a fantasy writer who masquerades as a librarian by day while she completes her first novel. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Arts from Murdoch University and lives in Perth, Western Australia with her husband and three world-domination-plotting cats.  On a rooftop ...

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MDP On MusicVids: Dark Horse by Katy Perry ft. Juicy J.

MDP On MusicVids: Dark Horse by Katy Perry ft. Juicy J.

Though I'm not strictly a Katy Perry fan, it's hard not to admire how hard she works and what a marketing genius she is. I loved the ROAR video clip but this one is even better. With SUPER high production values, as you would expect, and colourful sets, Perry lets ...

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…And A Side Order of Romance

Two readers walk into a bar. “Read any good books lately?” one reader asks the other.

Two authors walk into a bar. “Sold any good books lately?” one author asks the other.

Honest, that’s the truth. The problem is that the second question is a lot harder to answer than the first. Which is why when I’m asked to wax poetic about the state of the science fiction romance genre, I’ll look at my wristwatch and ask, “Do you mean the state of SFR now or a half-hour from now?”

Adult science fiction novels, according to my agent, Kristin Nelson, are on the down-trend. http://pubrants.blogspot.com/2010/09/when-its-not-hot-passion-can-carry-it.html “This week I went on submission with an adult SF novel. Ask any editor and they will tell you, adult SF is not hot. Fantasy is hot—particularly urban fantasy,” Nelson says.

This obviously is not happy news to anyone reading this blog. Nor is it startling news. Statistically, science fiction has always been a low point-scorer in the game of fiction, accounting for about 8 to 10 percent of all paperback sales. Mystery clocks in around 15 percent.

Which brings me to my title… a side order of romance.

Romance fiction accounts for about 45 to 50 percent of all fiction paperbacks sold. This is a whopping huge number to those of us who follow the business of writing fiction (ie: the second set to walk into the bar above.) So one would think that combining a romance plot with a science fiction plot would bring that additional 10 percent of readers to the game.

It hasn’t—yet. Or it hasn’t to any great extent. A lot of the reason is marketing. Publishers are sincerely confuzzled on how to market science fiction romance or romantic science fiction (and the two are not the same, no.) When publishers hype the romance with kissy-covers, the science fiction fans flee. When the publishers slap a starship on the cover, romance readers recoil. No, not all. I’m exaggerating to make a point (and to have fun with alliteration, obviously). But in the six years I’ve been on the shelves with SFR books, I’ve not seen the barriers come tumbling down from either side when it comes to a side order of romance with SF.

There have been high points. SF readers who like the character-driven visual media tend to be more accepting of SFR. Romance readers who watched FIREFLY and aimed to misbehave along with Captain Mal found the same kind of hi-jinx on the pages of an SFR. But there are still barriers—there are still readers (and bloggers and reviewers) who thrust their heels into the mud and refuse to budge on the issue of mixing SF with R.

The reality is that a goodly amount of SF is plot-driven and/or theme-driven, with the characters simply as vehicles for the plot or analogies for the theme. If that’s the kind of journey a reader wants then, yes, any character-driven novel is going to feel strange to her. It doesn’t mean that plot is better than character, or character than plot. It’s what the reader likes or expects to find between the covers of the book.

And various publishing marketing departments haven’t had much success in telegraphing just what it is between the covers, so that readers can judge whether or not they like it. Which, of course, affects sales and, of course, affects an author’s “numbers,” which of course affects whether or not the author’s next manuscript will be picked up. Which affects the state of SFR as a genre overall.

Dorchester’s SHOMI line and Silhouette’s BOMBSHELL are almost poster-children for this dilemma. Both had SFR/Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Romance plots. Both lines folded. Both were—in the opinions of just about every editor and agent and author I’ve spoken to in the past two years—horribly mis-marketed. And when a line goes down, detractors love to point to that and say, “See, I told you SFR doesn’t sell.”

No. SFR poorly marketed doesn’t sell well. But with romance readers making up danged near half of all paperback sales, and with SF books traditionally having the longest shelf-life of any paperbacks in a store, there’s every indication the combo CAN and SHOULD work.

If only someone can figure out how to market it.

Maybe we need some guy in a trench coat standing in the bookstore aisles going, “Psst, hey, reader! You want a little side of romance with that?”

Bio:

A former news reporter and retired private detective, Linnea Sinclair writes award-winning, fast-paced science fiction romance for Bantam Dell, including Gabriel’s Ghost, Games of Command, Hope’s Folly, and her current best seller, Rebels and Lovers. Her short story, “Courting Trouble,” is featured in Songs of Love & Death: Tales of Star-Crossed Love, a cross-genre anthology edited by Gardner Dozois and George R.R. Martin (Simon & Schuster, Nov. 16. 2010). Sinclair splits her time between Florida (winters) and Ohio (summers)—and the Intergalactic Bar & Grille at www.linneasinclair.com.

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